Ship Shipping Ship’s; Yacht Transportation 101

Why ship your yacht instead of sailing her?

Many people think that a ship shipping ship is just a tongue twister, but in reality putting your boat on a ship or truck can be more effective than you might think. In fact, shipping costs for ocean-going yacht transport are often lower than many people expect.
Depending on the size and type of your yacht, shipping can not only be cheaper but also quicker than delivering long distances, especially when there are oceans involved. If you don’t have time to sail your boat across an ocean but would like to have it abroad then shipping is definitely a viable option.

Shipping Options

There are different types of ship that you could use to move your yacht – choosing often depends on the shipping routes, the size of your yacht and budget – but it is good to understand the options and shipping language.

Types of loading

· Lift on lift off is the most common way your yacht would be loaded/unloaded. This would involve using a crane either in the port or one that is permanently on the ship.

· Float on float off requires a specialized ship. Some shipping companies have semi-submersible vessels where you sail the yacht onto the cradle on board the ship and then the water is pumped out before the ship leaves the dock. This method is often more expensive and is directed at larger vessels that cannot be craned.

Types of vessel

· Liners are general cargo vessels that can take a yacht or two on board with them. The advantage to this is that they are usually large operators offering fixed and frequent services between ports.

· A charter cargo vessel, or part charter (space on the deck) is organized for delivering specific cargo from A to B. These vessels often tend to have a crane on board and thus the choice of ports is wider as they can load and unload yachts anywhere.


Other options

Of course shipping is not the only option to get a boat somewhere without sailing it there. Another method which is often only considered with new boat deliveries is transporting by road. This would not be an option if you’d like to hop across the pond, however putting your boat on a truck can be very efficient if you want to get somewhere accessible by road. This could be great for deliveries to the Mediterranean from the UK, delivering across the US, or across Asia. One downside to transportation by road is that it requires a bit more time at each end for preparation and re launching. The rig would need to come down on a sailing boat, you might have to remove some deck hardware and potentially wrap the boat to protect it. Usually going by road is even quicker than shipping.


The price difference

The price difference often depends on your location and destination. Busier routes at the ‘right’ time of year can mean cheaper shipping costs. For example, pricing for a 40ft yacht to be shipped rig up to the Caribbean from Southampton for the 2021/2022 winter season was quoted at around €12,000 including insurance and cradle rental. This may seem like alot of money, but remember – this is a door to door service and the boat will arrive in the same condition it left in, in a matter of weeks. Leaving time for a winter refit when she would have been sailing south adding more work to the jobs list.
Sailing her there would have involved a delivery South to either take part in the ARC or RORC Transatlantic for safety. This would involve costs such as; fuel, wear and tear, food, marina berthing along the way, Sat Comms, crew costs (flights back to UK), race entry, and potentially a lot of new equipment as so many miles have been put on them. It’s definitely a comparison worth weighing up.

Where to find the shipping companies

Interestingly, the ships used for moving smaller boats are usually not only carrying them as their only cargo. Below decks they take a diverse array of other items from shipping containers to road vehicles, making their journey more efficient. There are many specialised shipping companies that move yachts around the world such as Peters and May, Sevenstar and Pindar. A quick web search will help you. Not only do these companies have their own ships, but they will also assist in finding slots on other ships. Always remember to get more than one quote – just like when comparing your yacht insurance!

Next month we’ll discuss important things to consider when shipping, agreements to be made, and how to prepare your yacht for shipping.

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