Four Tips: How to Safely Truck Your Boat Over the Road

Choosing the Right  Shipper

ALEXANDRIA,  VA, November 4, 2013 — Last year, Steffen Schmidt wanted to move his 37-foot  sailboat from Seattle to Rhode Island. Schmidt was not unfamiliar with hiring boat transportation services,  and had done it once before with no issues. But this time was different: the  boat was delivered in Wickford, Rhode Island with its mast gashed and mangled;  the prop and cutlass bearing damaged. Then problems occurred in getting  compensated for the damages. How can a boat owner looking to transport their  boat over the road avoid an experience like Schmidt’s? Boat Owners Association  of The United States (BoatUS) has four tips:
1. Find a boat transportation  specialist: It’s best to use a  shipper that specializes in boat transport. Request copies of DOT or state  license documents and cargo insurance – reluctance to provide this information  is reason enough to look elsewhere. You can also check a company’s history of  inspections, crashes and the status of commercial carriers’ licenses at  Had Schmidt checked here, he would have found his shipper had high percentage  of failed truck inspections – a red flag. All transportation agreements should  be in writing, with complete information about costs, taxes, tariffs,  scheduling, security, and pickup and delivery locations, as well as rules about  refunds for cancellations or delays. Make sure you read and understand the  shipper’s contract.
2. Prepare the boat for shipping: “When shipping overland, most insurance claims come  from poor preparation – not from hitting bridges,” says BoatUS Director of Consumer  Affairs Charles Fort. Consider that your boat may be traveling down the highway  in hurricane-force winds and experience road vibration for days. To help  prepare, Fort strongly advises boat owners use an experienced prepper and  consider hiring a marine  surveyor for the loading and arrival of the boat, as they know load points  and can also document damage. Also take lots of pictures with the date  imprinted, just in case you need prove your case for compensation.
3. If something does go wrong, document  it: It’s the boat owner’s  responsibility to document any damage upon arrival and unloading. Don’t let a  trucker depart without acknowledging in writing any damage on the “condition of  cargo” documents and share copies. This is where more photos can help your  case. And call your insurance company immediately if any damage is noted.
4. A word about online bidding  websites: The BoatUS Consumer Protection Bureau has received numerous complaints from members who used bid-type  clearinghouses to find transportation service providers. For a fee, the  websites allow you to enter your information and receive bids from several  transport providers. Unfortunately, the websites don’t verify or validate the  claims about experience, insurance coverage, and licensure made by trucking  companies that are bidding for your business. They also won’t help if you have  problems with the shipper. If you decide to use such a service, use the same  diligence you would if you called a shipper directly. BoatUS members have  access to the BoatUS Consumer Protection Complaint Database and can also check  for any record of complaints.
To  see more detailed information on boat transport, go to:

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