MARINE TRANSPORT ALL THE RIGHT MOVES!
1. Before you start to build, take a few minutes to call a marine insurance
company and ask for details of the cover they offer whilst your craft is under
construction. Many marine insurance companies offer a "Course of Construction"
cover, which is ideal for owners and builders of craft whilst construction is
taking place. Most marine insurance companies offer policies that will meet your
requirements and protect you against damage, theft or accident. Some insurance
companies offer the option of transit insurance as part of their "Course of
2. Like any other service it is wise to remember that generally speaking you get
what you pay for. "Don't sink your investment before it is launched", be
selective about the carrier you use, and equipment and expertise utilised by
that organisation. If at all unsure, contact a marine insurance company or your
nearest marina or brokerage manager for their recommendation.
3. Before you build, carefully study the proposed site, paying particular
attention to the accessibility and manoeuvring area available for trucks, cranes
and any other equipment that may be required to load and transport your craft to
the water. If in any doubt, contact an experienced and reputable boat transport
or craneage company, most operators are only too pleased to provide you with
some advice that could save you a substantial amount of money.
4. Be aware, not only of the equipment requirements needed to successfully
transport your boat, also the laws, safety and traffic rules and regulations
imposed by statutory bodies which may be applicable. If the beam of your boat is
over 2.5 metres, the length including the trailer and prime mover on which the
boat is to be carried is over 17 metres or the height over 4.2 metres, the
transport company you select will require at the very least a permit and
possibly accompanying long wide load permit escorts and perhaps Police,
Electricity authority and Telstra / Optus escort crews. Don't forget, if the
transport company you select does not comply with all the laws, regulations and
traffic rules, your insurance cover could well be null and void. Don't be caught
by the "she'll be right" approach. If you think the above may apply to the
transport of your boat, ask to see the appropriate long, wide or high load
permits and ensure that all escort vehicles and equipment are available and are
being utilised. Don't forget, there really are no short cuts in marine
transport. Unlike any other field, marine transport requires specialised
equipment, experience and expertise.
5. Don't select a transport company which does not have the experience to handle
a craft of your size, or the equipment to safely transport it. Apart from the
fact that you could be endangering the public and breaking many laws and traffic
regulations, once again, if the wrong equipment is being used your insurance may
6. When your boat is ready for transport, clear the immediate area around the
boat to allow easy access and manouverability, and if possible, only fill fuel
and water tanks to a minimum level. Height and stability can be critical during
craning and loading operations.
7. The day before the transport is to take place, do a last minute site
inspection to make sure weather conditions have not adversely affected the site
and entrance and exit points. Carry out any last minute fastening down and
ensure securing points on the boat are provided for and are satisfactorily
located. This is particularly important if the site on which you have located
your boat is on a steep slope as it is difficult to gain traction in damp
8. Check to make sure that since beginning construction, repair or refurbishment
work your boat, no new electricity wires or telephone wires have been installed
across the entry and exit points. Once again, this can severely restrict access
and can dictate the type and size of equipment required to make the move
9. Ensure neighbours and property owners around you are aware that the move is
taking place, and that you have permission to enter the property if required. In
some cases a boat may need to be craned over the fence line of a property or
right across another house to make transport possible. Obviously in these cases,
the owner of a property must be consulted and approve of any access rights or
work to be carried out on the property.
10. The transport company responsible for the move will, in most cases, contact
you the night before to confirm any last minute alterations to the time
schedule, route or launching point. It is important to reconfirm the delivery
address, start time and tide charts for optimum launching time. Wherever
possible, choose a launching ramp you are familiar with that has good depth and
11. If you make any major alterations to the craft in terms of length, height or
beam, advise the transport company of those alterations prior to transport.
Minor changes in any of these areas can mean major alterations to the selection
of equipment, pilot vehicle requirements etc.
12. All personal items and gear inside your boat should be properly stored and
secured. Remove canvas covers and windscreens where appropriate, and store them
securely inside the boat. Radios, antennas, depth sounders, and other valuable
electronic gear should also be removed and secured inside the boat. Additional
shipping preparations for sailboats include removal of all standing rigging,
turnbuckles, masthead and bow lights. Antennas, spreaders, wind indicators,
wires and mast winches should all be removed from the mast after it has been
unstepped. Cabinet doors, drawers and all lockers within the boat should also be
closed and secured. Close and lock all ports, hatches and windows also. Be sure
to disconnect battery cables and make sure all fuel, water and holding tanks are
empty or as nearly empty as possible. Paint thinner, paint and other hazardous
substances cannot be shipped.
13. On the day of loading, transport and launching, try to be on site early. In
many cases you will be required to provide assistance and general information
regarding site details and securing points.
14. If your boat is shipped on a cradle, extra caution should be taken. Cradles
that may be adequate for storage are not necessarily adequate for shipping. If
your cradle is to be used for shipping, it should be in good condition and fit
the contour of your hull. Of course, your boat must also be properly secured to
15. Like most boat launchings, boat builders and owners are glad to see the
completion of a worthwhile project, and like to have their friends, family and
workmates along to share the experience. It is nice to have your friends around
but it is important that wherever possible, you keep a minimum number of people
in the immediate vicinity of the loading and transportation of the boat. This is
particularly relevant where large equipment is being used and special escorts
are required: in this case it is particularly important that the general public
keep clear for safety reasons. This applies to the loading site, along the road
in the traffic, and at the launching ramp. At all these points, it is important
that you are available to provide any assistance or information required
regarding your particular craft, and to keep friends, family and workmates not
directly involved in the work being carried out, well clear. Try to pick a
launching point easily accessible to the size and weight of equipment required
to make the launch possible.
16. Before launching and immediately after, check all bilges, cock valves, skin
fittings, and the general hull and bulkheads to ensure they are watertight and
not likely to allow water into the hull. Generally speaking, close observation
should be kept of these areas up to 6 to 12 hours after the original launching.
17. Make sure bilge pumps are fully operational, and also safety equipment
normally required on the boat is present.
18. Ensure that you have a rope of suitable length and quality to adequately
restrain the boat when it is launched into the water.
19. If you need to install a mast, make sure all rigging wires are of the
correct length and rigging screws accounted for. Wherever possible, stepping
should be carried out on land at the launching ramp.