Average Cost to Ship a Boat per Mile (Road, Ship, Crew)

Written by Sophia Roa in Cost of Sailing

The cost to ship a boat by road, by ship, or with a crew varies based on factors such as the boat size, the travel distance, and the specific services required. Market fluctuations affect maritime transportation costs, so you may have to stay up-to-date with current shipping rates.

The average cost per mile to ship a boat is between $1.50 and $4. The per-mile rate decreases as the travel distance increases. Road transportation is often more affordable for smaller boats, with costs around $1.50–$2.50 per mile. Shipping by sea might be necessary for larger boats or international destinations.

With crew shipping, expenses include their wages, transportation, lodging, and meals. This can increase the overall cost, but having a professional crew ensures your boat is in reliable hands during the journey. Let's see how much you can prepare for these costs.


  • Establish your boat's measurements and the desired destination.
  • Reach out to multiple companies and compare quotes, services, and potential discounts.
  • You can potentially cut costs if you need to ship multiple boats or schedule the transportation during off-peak seasons.

Cost to Ship a Boat by Road

The cost usually increases with the shipping distance, as transporting your boat further requires more fuel, time, and labor.

Travel Distance Cost to Ship a Boat by Road
Below 500 miles $2.50 to $4.00 per mile
500 to 1,000 miles $2.00 to $3.50 per mile
1,000 to 2,000 miles $1.50 to $3.00 per mile
Over 2,000 miles $0.75 to $1.50 per mile

The boat's length, weight, and height directly influence the cost. Generally, larger boats are more expensive to transport as they require specialized equipment and additional permits.

Boat Size Cost to Ship a Boat by Land Cost to Ship a Boat by Sea
Small boats (less than 20 feet) $2.50 to $4.00 per mile $3.00 to $5.00 per mile
Medium-sized boats (between 20 and 30 feet) $3.00 to $5.00 per mile $4.00 to $6.00 per mile
Larger boats (over 30 feet) $4.00 to $6.00 per mile $5.00 to $8.00 per mile

Pickup and drop-off locations: The accessibility of these locations may affect the cost. More remote locations or ones with limited facilities can increase the price of shipping.

Season: Busy seasons can result in higher demand for boat transportation services, leading to increased prices. You may find more affordable rates during off-peak seasons.

Transportation company: Different companies offer different prices based on their experience, services, and resources. It's essential to obtain quotes from multiple providers to find the best deal.

Possible additional road shipping charges

In some cases, there might be additional charges added to the base cost of shipping your boat by road. These include:

Additional Fees and Services Estimated Cost when Shipping a Boat by Land
Permits and fees $100 to $500
Insurance 1% to 3% of the total value of the boat
Preparation and packing services $500 to $1,500
Door-to-door or terminal-to-terminal service $500 to $2,500
  • Permits and fees: Depending on the size of your boat, you may need to obtain special permits for oversized loads. These permits and fees can add to the overall cost of shipping.

  • Insurance: It is necessary to have your boat insured for transport, which may lead to additional costs depending on your chosen coverage level.

  • Preparation and packing services: Some companies offer services to prepare and pack your boat for transport, including removing hardware, securing loose items, and shrink-wrapping the boat. These services can add to the overall cost of shipping.

  • Door-to-door or terminal-to-terminal service: The cost of transporting your boat directly from its current location to its destination, also known as door-to-door service, may be higher than having it picked up and dropped off at shipping terminals.

Cost to Ship a Boat by Sea

In the case of ship transportation, most commonly used for international or long-distance moves, your costs will depend on the chosen service. You may opt for containerized services, roll-on/roll-off (RORO) shipping, or lift-on/lift-off (LOLO) shipping. The prices can vary significantly based on the specific service you select and the distance being covered. However, this method is often more expensive than road transportation due to the complexity of the process.

Travel Distance Cost to Ship a Boat by Sea
Below 500 miles $2.50 to $4.00 per mile
500 to 1,000 miles $2.00 to $3.50 per mile
1,000 to 2,000 miles $1.50 to $3.00 per mile
Over 2,000 miles $1.00 to $2.50 per mile

When you decide to ship your boat by sea, larger boats require more space on a vessel and may require specialized equipment for loading and unloading. Longer distances incur higher fees, and busier routes may have more competitive rates due to increased demand.

Possible additional charges for sea transport

Along with the primary factors influencing the cost of boat shipping by sea, there may be additional charges that you should be aware of. These can include:

Additional Fees and Services Estimated Cost when Shipping a Boat by Sea
Port fees $500 to $2,000
Pilotage and tug fees $500 to $2,000
Demurrage and storage fees $500 and $2,000
Crane services $500 and $2,000
  • Port fees: Depending on the specific ports used for pickup and drop-off, there may be fees associated with docking, port access, and other services.

  • Pilotage and tug fees: In some cases, your boat may require the assistance of a pilot or tugboat for safe navigation in and out of harbors. These services may come with additional charges.

  • Demurrage and storage fees: Delays in loading or unloading your boat can result in demurrage fees, which accrue if your boat occupies space in the port for an extended period. Additionally, storage fees may be charged if your boat needs to be stored in a port facility before or after transport.

  • Crane services: If your boat requires the use of a crane for loading and unloading, this service may come with an extra fee.

Crew Shipping to Transport Your Boat

Finally, for a more personalized touch, you may consider hiring a professional crew to sail your boat to the destination. This option is suitable for luxury yachts or larger boats that cannot be transported by road or conventional shipping methods. The cost of hiring a crew can vary depending on the distance, experience, and reputation of the crew members. In most cases, crew transportation is the most expensive method, as it includes additional costs such as provisions, fuel, and potential maintenance.

Additional Fees and Services Shipping a Boat with Crew Transportation
Wages $1,000 to $3,000 per week
Transportation $500 to $2,000 per crew member
Lodging $100 to $500 per crew member per week
Meals $50 to $100 per crew member per day
Insurance 1% to 3% of the total value of the boat
Fuel $0.50 to $1.50 per mile
Potential maintenance $500 to $5,000

When hiring a crew to ship your boat, there are several factors that can affect the cost. Firstly, the experience and qualifications of the crew members play a significant role. Highly skilled and experienced captains will charge more but may also provide a safer and more efficient transport service for your boat.

Another important factor is the crew size needed for your specific boat. Smaller boats typically require fewer crew members than larger vessels, which will affect the overall cost. Additionally, the route taken to transport your boat can also impact the cost, as longer or more challenging routes may necessitate additional crew members or specialized equipment.

Extra charges in crew shipping

  • One such expense is provisioning. For example, crews usually charge per diem for food and water while they are on the vessel. According to Captain James Lowe Captain Services, provisions can cost around $45 per day per person.

  • You should also consider fuel costs for the entire trip, which can vary depending on the distance and boat type. Additionally, any customs fees or permits required for international shipping should be calculated in the overall cost estimate.

  • Don't forget to account for insurance costs when hiring a crew to ship your boat. A professional crew should have maritime insurance; however, it's essential to verify this and ensure that the coverage is adequate for your boat and transportation needs.

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