Transport a Sailboat

Follow these precautions to make sure your sailboat is transported properly and with a qualified transporter.


  1. Stow and secure all loose gear.
  2. Boats should not be transported with fuel or water in the tanks. Drain both the fuel and water tanks. Remove any drain plugs from the hull. There should not be any water in the bilge while it is being transported. During winter months, water should be drained from the water systems, pumps, air conditioners, etc.
  3. Disconnect and secure batteries.
  4. Remove anchors from the deck.
  5. Wooden boats can be expected to dry out. A coat of linseed oil will help.
  6. All rigging, winches, wind indicators, and lights must be removed from the mast. Carpet should be provided for the mast at the points of tie down. Expect some chafing at these points. If the mast is painted, it is almost impossible to keep the paint from chafing.
  7. Life lines, stanchions, bow and stern pulpits should be removed if they render the boat over an acceptable height, generally over 11' (keel to highest point not on the carriers trailer).
  8. Locate a qualified transporter for your boat. Try using Yellow Pages to find listings of qualified transporters quickly. If price is more important, then try listing your sailboat shipment on, where several qualified transporters can bid on your listing.


  • On center board sailboats, make sure the board is secured and will stay upright during transit.
  • Light built or racing sailboats can expect some hull indentation from the support pads. These indentations generally disappear when the boat is returned to the water.
  • Keel sailboats may expect some separation where the keel joins the hull. This is not structural damage, but rather is the paint or filler cracking at the joint.

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