Houseboat Movers and Tips for Transport


Personal experience in shipping a number of houseboats via houseboat movers, has led me to the following conclusions: First, you get what you pay for, and second, choose a good hauler in order to Do it Right the First Time! The following article compiles this lesson and more into an easy-to-read guide that will help you manage a trouble-free, successful move.

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Houseboat Transport Basics

Why do shipping quotes vary SO MUCH?

  • Price and cost seem similar, yet are very different. You don’t want to make a mistake of choosing a houseboat mover based solely on price, because it might cost you much more in the long run. I could write an eBook on the "bad experiences" had by people who chose solely on price.

There’s a lot of truth in the old saying, “You get what you pay for”, so don’t try to save a few bucks by hiring someone who doesn’t have the proper credentials. Be sure to do your homework, and try to compare "apples with apples".

  • Permits are an necessity for crossing state lines. Permits cost money.
  • Mileage is calculated possibly both ways, if "no load" on the return trip.
  • Size and weight are big factors, since they may require "escort vehicles".
  • Return trips need to be calculated, unless there’s a "boat" to pickup.
  • Carrier insurance is a hidden cost that reputable firms have to absorb.

Details You Should Know

To ensure you have a smooth experience when shipping your houseboat, get all the details on the following issues upfront:

  • Licensing is an important requirement, and they should provide you with their DOT & MC numbers, which can be verified at the FMCA website.
  • Adequate Insurance is necessary in order to be compensated in case of damage or loss. An uninsured, or under-insured carrier can be costly; make sure they carry proper coverage.
  • Read the Contract and fine print to be aware of any important details.
  • Down Payment amounts should be discussed prior to accepting.
  • Refunds are sometimes allowed, so verify conditions that must be met for a refund.
  • Full Payment is due when? Upon delivery, or before departing?
  • Schedules & Delays are inevitable, but how do they charge for them?

Houseboat Preparation Guide

Preparing a houseboat for safe transport is an important step to insure a smooth and timely shipment. This following tips identify areas that will need your attention. Remember that general height limitations are 13’6".

  • Choose the right marina to begin and end the shipment, since you’ll most likely need a travel lift or hydraulic trailer to load, and unload, the houseboat. Keep your eyes open on the road access and height available at the marina, since the truck driver will need to back in to launch her.
  • Disassemble fly bridge and radar arch if their height is more than 13’6" once loaded on the trailer or flatbed. Take into account antennas or flagpoles.
  • Loose gear, anchors, and any other items should be securely stowed.
  • Dinghy and PWC should not be left in their davits, but stored on board.
  • Drain water and fuel tanks to a minimum, and remember to winterize.
  • Lock hatches, doors, and windows, to eliminate water damage & theft.
  • Disconnect batteries, as so to protect against equipment damage.

Looking for more on houseboats and other boat types? Explore...

Editor's Note: Content courtesy of Ian Morton. For more articles like this, please visit


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