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Old 18-02-2006, 04:24   #1
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Trucking a Boat Accross N. America

Trucking a boat across North America:

THE GALIANDER JOURNEY

Copyright 1997-1998 by John and Eleanor Coulthard
Permission to copy for non-commercial purposes is granted provided the source is acknowledged ~ http://www.galiander.ca/trucking.htm

In 1996 we trucked our Catalina 34 sailboat "Galiander" from Vancouver to the Baltimore area and then in 1997 trucked her from Fort Lauderdale back to Vancouver. It is not cheap, and there is a lot of preparation and reassembly involved. In addition we had to handle crossing the US/Canadian border.

To truck a boat like a Catalina 34 across the continent expect to get quotes that may range from $5,000 to $8,000 (US) each way depending on a variety of factors. For example getting a "backhaul" involves getting a deal from a trucker that is delivering a boat out to your location and who would otherwise be returning with an empty truck. You need to be prepared to be flexible with respect to departure time to take advantage of a backhaul. Our trip from Vancouver to the Chesapeake was a backhaul and we were delayed about a month because the original load coming out to the West Coast was cancelled and we had to wait for another trip.

The cost will only be for the trucking. The quote will not even cover lifting the boat onto the truck. You need to make arrangements with a marina at both the departure and arrival end. With respect to preparing the boat for trucking and refitting the boat, the more work you do yourself the more reasonable the cost will be. Expect to pay from $300 to $1000 US and up at each end depending on how much work you expect the marina to do.

Arrange the trip several months ahead of time. I would suggest a minimum of three months. I would recommend obtaining three quotes unless you are really comfortable with the company you have chosen and are not terribly price sensitive. The following list of trucking companies was obtained from other boaters in the Bahamas. I believe in each case the boater had actually dealt with the company and presumably was happy with the service. I used Wyskochill Marine.

o A & B Marine Trucking, Annapolis, Maryland

o Joule Yacht Transport Inc., Fl. (800) 237-0727, (813) 572-0235(fax)

o Andrews Trucking, Niagara on the Lake, (800) 263-7140, (905) 262-4223(fax), (905) 262-5335, Contact: Glen Stewart

o Wyskochill Marine, Fl. (941) 758-0223, (941) 758-4196 (fax) Contact: Ken Wyskochill

o Booking Agent: Overland - (410) 263-1312, Contact: Dave Spokely.

The trucking company will need to know the specifications for your boat. Weight and width are not typically as much of a problem as overheight.

Try to get a reference for the trucking company. Things to consider include the importance to you of timing. If you can be flexible with respect to the shipping date you may be able to negotiate a discount. On the other hand if you really want your boat to be moved on a certain date attempt to find out how reliable the company is with respect to shipping dates. Be aware that even the most reliable companies may not be able to control all the factors behind the timing of the move. For example on the return trip from Ft. Lauderdale our truck had a bearing overheat. That one day delay turned into a longer delay when the truck was not allowed to move through the state of Montana over the Memorial Day weekend.

Allow at least a week to prepare your boat. The mast must be removed and wrapped. The mast will be laid close to the bed of the truck and will be exposed to road grime. The marina should be able to prepare the mast for you. Typically the mast will be wrapped in plastic bubble wrap. Scraps of carpet will be used to pad winches. Some boaters recommend wrapping the entire mast in old carpet before putting the bubble wrap on. Another layer of plastic and lots of duct tape will follow the bubble wrap. Some boaters recommend shrink wrapping the boat. This involves putting plastic completely around the boat, right down below the water line. If you are not price sensitive, go ahead, as there is no apparent downside. Other than that the value of the shrink-wrap seemed to get mixed reviews from boaters I discussed this with. We did not shrink-wrap our boat for either trip. We did put a good thick layer of wax on the mast and the boat. This will tend to repel road dirt and make the boat easier to clean after the trip. Galiander was so clean on arrival at Baltimore that we didn't touch the hull at that end. On the return trip we power washed her and applied another coat of wax. How dirty the boat will be seems to be determined by the weather the trucker encounters during the trip.

The rigging will be completely removed, coiled, wrapped separately, labeled and stored, typically in the cabin. We managed to fit the boom in the cabin as well. Turnbuckles should be removed. Anything that sticks up will have to be removed. Radar arches must come down, as will your dodger. For through hull masts seal up the mast hole very well. Think about a rain driven by a 60 mph wind!!!. Tape the companionway board seams. The boat may travel backwards. (See picture). Everything that may normally be on the outside of the boat will be placed inside. For example your barbecue and bumpers if they are normally stored outside. Anchors must be placed securely in their anchor well or inside the boat. Your dinghy must be deflated and stored, as must your outboard motor. It is surprising how much space all this will take and how long it takes you to prepare everything. Load your boat up as much as you want. Just be aware that everything inside should be well secured for the trip. Pack all dishes and glasses in boxes with packing paper. Then place them on the floor. Secure drawers with tape. On the return trip, drawers, which have never opened under sailing conditions, opened and fell to the floor.

You may want to consider special insurance for the trip. Your marine insurance will probably not cover the road trip. The trucker should have insurance. Discuss it with them and decide if it is adequate.

It would be nice to be there when the boat is loaded but that may not be practical. For example you may have a flight booked and the truck may be delayed. In this case it is important to deal with a marina that you trust to load the boat competently in your absence.

Upon arrival everything has to be unpacked and reassembled. Allow another week. Check your masthead instruments and wiring while it is convenient.

If you are crossing the US Canadian border you will have to deal with US/Canadian customs and immigration. For Canadians entering the US the border officials seem to be most concerned that you have a permanent address in Canada. I gather they want assurances that you do not plan to stay in the US indefinitely. I went to the border ahead of time, explained to them what we planned to do, and got the necessary forms. I then filled them out and gave them to the trucker. Despite this homework the trucker was delayed at the border. The boat dealer we arranged the trucking company through had to make a personal trip to the border to get it moving again. Although I went personally to the border ahead of time to make sure that we met all the US conditions, there was still a problem. If you can personally be there when the boat crosses I would advise it. Contracting with a customs broker might be satisfactory.

Canadians need a cruising permit. This cannot be obtained ahead of time. You have to wait until you arrive at your starting point. We picked up ours in Baltimore. Our permit contained the warning, "FAILURE TO REPORT AT EACH PORT OF PLACE IN THE UNITED STATES MAY RESULT IN A PENALTY OR FOREITURE OF THE VESSEL." The first time we phoned in we asked when they would like us to call in next. The response was always that calling in when we entered the next state was sufficient.

On the return to Canada we reentered Canada about a week before Galiander arrived. We met the trucker at the border. We had kept careful track of our expenses and although it took about an hour, the procedure was straightforward and the officials were courteous. Another boater I chatted to arranged for a customs broker to expedite the passage of his boat. That worked as well.

Here is a picture of Galiander in the holding yard at the Canadian border on the return trip. Note that she is sharing the flatbed with a brand new Catalina 38 being delivered to the Vancouver area. This is called piggybacking and truckers love to be able to do this when they can. This represents a big load. Note that one boat is travelling backwards. There are strobe lights strapped to both ends. Note the mast lashed to the side. The bow pulpit was removed from Galiander to shave off a little more length. The trucker noted that they were "really stretching the envelope" with this load.

Go to The Galiander Journey Introduction: http://www.galiander.ca/galiandr.htm

Revised: May 9, 1999
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Old 18-02-2006, 09:45   #2
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A couple of points. First, the insurance issue. Most trucking companies have their cargo insurance with a different company than their liability insurance. Ask them to provide the carrier information, and check the limits. Most will be million dollar limits, but verify. If something happens to a $250000 boat, and the policy limit is $100,000, you will find yourself suing the carrier for the balance. Many trucking companies are self insured. Confirm the amount of the bond to verify it is sufficient to cover the value of your vessel.
I have two friends that are in process of arranging transport. One has moved to Fla, and is trying to transport from Ca to Fla, a 37' boat. The other is in Ca, and just purchased a vessel in Md. So far he has seen quotes from $6600 to $9600 to transport a Columbia 45.
Finding a truck looking for a backhaul is a good way to go. Back in my trucking days, we would often take a load for fuel cost only to avoid deadheading to the next location. It is unlikely that you will find a deal this cheap in the boat hauling industry, but substantial discounts are out there if you can move on short notice.
Very timely post GORD, I will pass this info on to my friends.
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Old 18-02-2006, 11:10   #3
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Gotta plug my buddies here:

Some of the best customer service I have ever experience in my life was from a team of 3 that hauls boats out of Eliot, Maine. They are on the ME/NH border near the seacoast, and do such a professional job, it's legendary in that area.

The name of the company is Independent Boat Haulers. They were featured in Road King Magazine, and they are very interesting people. A Google search for "Independent Boat Haulers" (in quotes) will turn up a bunch of people talking about how great they are.

If you are trucking to/from New England, they are a good place to start. They hauled my old 30 footer for many years.

Independent Boat Haulers
Rte 236. PO Box 61
Eliot
ME
03903
207 439 8871
www.independentboat.com (site is down right now)

They have had a few issues with computers over the years. Could be why the site is down. I used to help them organize their databases before I moved. They may remember me.

Coolest thing is to watch them handle the truck and submersible hydraulic trailer. They back the semi down any boat ramp, and scoop you right out of the water - while you're still aboard! And then they take a large crane that is part of the truck and un-step the mast right there at the boat ramp. I've seen them do 50ft boats.

Wow... guess I'm a fan. ha ha ha
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Old 18-02-2006, 11:14   #4
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Those hydraulic trailers are great. One size fits all I wish I could afford one for my impending haulout of Kittiwake. It sounds like they are set up better than most. The boom truck is a real plus. No boat yard fees.
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Old 18-02-2006, 11:29   #5
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Yeah, the equipment they have is so cool.

What's also interesting is that I've seen them do 5 boats in one day. Mine was the smallest. When they are working locally in the fall, they will rush from boat ramp to boat ramp at high tide. They will haul one, un-step the mast, put it on stands right there at the boat ramp, and run off to get another out. They then come around and pick them all up and deliver them locally. Efficiency!

So do you have access to a rig then, if you were talking about wishing you could get the trailer?
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Old 18-02-2006, 11:30   #6
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Sean.

You're saying that this trucking company, has a crane built onto the trailer. Damn!! I never seen one of those kind of trailers before?

How long has this kind of trailer/truck been out? Man, I need to hurry up and move back to the water!!
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Old 18-02-2006, 12:09   #7
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Sean, I can always get access to a truck. All these years in the industry have given me some good contacts, and I still have my commercial license. For what I want to do, I want a trailer that I can keep the boat on, and I will probably just hire a truck to deliver it. Less hassle for a 100 mile trip.
K, boom trucks, and tractors with knuckle booms are quite common. Down there, the common thing is for drywall and roofing trucks to have knuckle booms.
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Old 18-02-2006, 12:16   #8
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Oh!!

One of those kind. I've only seen them a couple of times.

But, I thought the both of you were talking about something bigger?
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Old 18-02-2006, 13:37   #9
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Captain K: The crane (boom) is attached to the rear of the truck cab. The truck is a standard 18 wheeler, and the trailer is the size of a standard 18 wheeler's trailer.
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Old 18-02-2006, 13:50   #10
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Red face Ohhh!

I see.

I guess I'm still not fully awake yet here!!

I was thinking that there are something in the bigger range?

Yes I have seen these trucks before. And not very many mind you. But, I now know what the two of you were talking about!!
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