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Top tips for safely transporting your yacht

The Newly Restored Christina O Former Private Yacht Of Aristotle Onassis

As you prepare to transport your yacht from A to B, three questions should be on your mind: “How do I make sure my boat is in safe hands?”, “What should I do to prep my boat to minimise the risk of damage?”, and “Am I protected if something happens to it on the road?”. With this in mind, here are our tips to ensure that transporting your yacht is a snag-free and hassle-free experience.

Confine your search to yacht transportation specialists

A boat is far from a ‘standard’ heavy load. Safe, successful transportation requires a purpose-built or specially adapted trailer combined with operators with expertise in handling this specific type of load. Look for yacht transportation specialists – as opposed to general logistics companies who merely “dabble” in moving the odd boat from time to time.

To test the credentials of companies on your shortlist, look for verifiable references and testimonials. Ideally, make contact with prior customers. Yacht owners’ forums can be a useful source of recommendations.

Ensure all formal movement authorisations are taken care of

This is especially the case where cross-border transportation is involved. The simplest way to deal with this is to select a transportation company that will take care of all movement authorisations, permits and ferry bookings applicable to your route. It is also helpful if the company will liaise directly with the departure and destination marinas to deal with any special loading/offloading requirements on each side.

When shopping around for quotes, seek clarification on whether the figures given are inclusive of permit costs and any other ‘extras’, such as charges for any additional escort cars.

Careful preparation makes for a safe journey

Have your yacht prepared for transport at least one or two days in advance of the scheduled pick-up time. That way, you are ready in case the transport company is forced to move forward its itinerary because of weather or other reasons.

Areas to focus on include the following:

  • Remove any loose items or stow and secure them down below.
  • Remove all covers and canopies as these are sometimes prone to becoming loose in a crosswind/motorway situation.
  • Drain water and fuel tanks depending on the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Close and secure hatches (with rope or tape if necessary). Similarly, latch and tape cabin windows.
  • Switch off fuel, gas, electric and water supplies.

Your boat transport company may have its own policies on what can and cannot remain on board during the move. There may also be other specific preparations you will need to make depending on the build of your boat. Marine surveyors and repairers tend to offer transport preparation services if you are not confident of dealing with it all yourself.

If damage occurs to the yacht as a direct result of your failure to prepare it properly, you are liable for it.

Check for pre-existing damage

It should be a standard term of the contract that the transportation company shall be liable for loss or damage to the yacht between the time when the company takes control of it and the time of delivery to the end-destination.

To avoid any dispute over whether the boat has or hasn’t suffered damage, the company’s employees should inspect it with you and complete a condition report before setting off (if this doesn’t happen, ask for it).

Check the insurance position

Check the precise terms of the insurance cover held by the transportation company. For instance, most insurers will specify a maximum length of boat they’re happy to cover when transported on a trailer. You should also check whether your insurance will cover situations where loss or damage is caused by a third party motorist.

More generally, whatever the reason for transporting your boat (to a holiday or permanent relocation, perhaps,) this is a good opportunity to check you have the right boat insurance in place. Here, Bishop Skinner is a natural port of call for comprehensive yacht insurance tailored to your needs with special discounts for RYA members.

This post is sponsored by Bishop Skinner, boat insurance specialists with over 40 years of experience across the marine sector.

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