4 Different International Boat Shipping Options


There are hundreds of boat manufacturers in USA producing every possible type of boats: from small deck fishing boats to party pontoons to express cruisers. Hundreds of boats are sold via boat dealers, online auctions (ebay motors), classifieds (Boat Trader) and private parties. A lot of US-made boats attract foreign buyers. Abundance of options, low prices and high quality make boats good buys for overseas customers.

It’s easy to find and purchase a boat these days but shipping it from USA to a new owner in a different country may involve some challenges.

Here are 4 main international boat shipping options from the USA to countries in Europe, Mediterranean, Middle East, Asia, Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

1. Shipping boats overseas in ocean containers. This option works quite well for smaller boats. The inside width of the ocean container is 92 inches. Usually boats up to 21′ in length are suitable for international container shipping (depending on the model and manufacturer). The width of the boat’s trailer is usually not a problem as the wheels and fenders can be removed. It’s a good idea to let a professional export packing warehouse to handle the loading and securing of the boat inside the shipping container.

International Boat Shipping Options

International Boat Shipping Options

2. Shipping boats overseas on the flat rack containers. A flat rack container is a type of ocean container with the side walls and roof removed so it provides more space to fit larger boats. However, in the past few years the equipment shortage has been an issue plus not many ocean vessel operators are willing to accept oversized cargo on flat racks due to space availability on their container ships.

3. Shipping boats overseas on Roll-on Roll-off vessels. These RO/RO vessels are multi-level swimming “parking garages” specifically designed to carry all kinds of vehicles and rolling stock. If the boat sits on its own trailer it’s very easy to load and off-load it onto the roll-on roll-off vessel for overseas boat transport. Boats that do not have a trailer would require a cradle to be built so that the boat can safely travel to an international destination.

4. The 4th method of shipping boats internationally is called Lift-on Lift-off. It’s usually used for very large boats and yachts. The cargo is lifted using a crane directly onto the vessel floor and then secured by the ship or port crew. With roll-on roll-off shipping all cargo sits INSIDE the ship. With lift-on lift-off service the cargo will be exposed to the weather. This is the most expensive type of international boat shipping and is only used for very large and expensive boats that cannot be shipped any other way.

If you’re looking to purchase a boat in USA and require international transport to your home country – please, use any of the forms on this site and let us know how we can assist.

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