As of 2017, there were more than 12 million registered boats in the U.S. As more people take an interest in owning a boat, that number will dramatically increase in the course of the next few years.
Whether you’re looking to join the growing community of boat owners in Florida or have had a watercraft for many years, chances are you’ll need to relocate your vessel at some point.
Fortunately, there are many boat shippers devoted to the business of boat transportation. The problem, however, is finding the perfect boat transport company for your specific needs.
How can you tell that a boat shipping company will keep their promise to deliver your vessel without a scratch and within the time you need it? How do you go about finding the most reliable boat carrier in the region?
We’ve prepared a checklist of things to look for before making your final decision.
1. Authorization of the Boat Transport Company
All Florida boat transport companies must comply with legal requirements to operate. The carrier you settle on must prove that they’ve been given authority by the Federal DOT and the Federal Motor Carrier Authority to provide boat shipping services.
What if the boat shipping company you’re considering working with cannot prove they’ve been authorized? That’s a huge red flag.
But how can you verify that a company is compliant with all requirements? Start by checking their profile information. Next, visit the website SAFER to verify the carrier’s MC and DOT license numbers.
2. Experience of the Boat Shipping Company
How long has the carrier been in the industry? On average, how many boats per year do they successfully transport?
You want to work with a company that knows boats inside and out and can handle the vessel properly throughout the transportation process.
A boat moving company that has dealt with the kind of work you’re about to give them will usually know all the challenges that may come up along the way. More importantly, such a company will know how to address these challenges without making a mess.
Of course, there are new carriers that can still do a splendid job.
The question to ask yourself is whether you’re willing to take your chances a company that’s just launching. Often it’s best to stick with someone who has a proven record of doing an excellent job.
3. Insurance of the Carrier
How much value do you place on your boat? Some vessels have a six-figure price tag, others even more. How can you let an uninsured boat moving service handle such a valuable commodity?
Before considering hiring a boat moving company, look up their insurance information on SAFER. Ensure the company provides cargo insurance since liability insurance does not cover your boat. Where their insurance policy cannot cover the value of your boat, inquire about buying additional coverage.
4. Fair Payment Terms
Some boat transport Florida companies will demand upfront payment, especially when they’re dealing with a private party. How can you navigate around this hurdle and make sure that the company meets you halfway?
The industry-standard procedure is to make half payment once the boat is loaded onto the trailer. Doing so indicates good faith by both the client and the shipping industry. Both parties then agree that the balance will be paid upon delivery of the vessel.
Once you’ve agreed on the payment terms, go over the contract carefully to ensure you understand every word before signing on the dotted line. Never send any money to a boat shipping company before confirming that your boat has been loaded onto a trailer.
5. Flexible Payment Methods
Once you’ve reached an agreement on the payment terms, ask what payment methods the company allows. The best companies allow a wide variety of payment methods to suit the needs of the customer.
What about boat moving companies who insist on cash only? Such companies usually have a reason for it and it’s hardly ever a good one.
Any reputable boat hauling Florida company should be able to accept credit cards. That way, you have leverage against the company in case you need to make a claim against them.
6. Adequate Equipment
What does it take to successfully transport a boat from one area to another? Every reliable boat shipping company will tell you that boat transportation is no easy affair. To do a fine job, the company needs enough resources.
The firm must have a variety of vehicles to aid in moving vessels of various types. In case you intend to transport two or more boats of different models and sizes, the carrier should have the necessary equipment to do the job.
Ask to see the equipment first. What is their condition? Consider this before making your choice.
7. The Ability to Track Your Boat
Your boat is a huge investment and it’s only understandable that you’d want to stay on top of its location during its transportation. Before hiring a boat moving company, ask them what kind of tracking options they have.
Can the company guarantee that their GPS will stay on while your boat is on the road?
8. Positive Customer Reviews
What’s the best way to know about a boat moving service you’ve never dealt with before?
Talking to previous customers of the carrier is a foolproof approach in determining what kind of experience you can expect when you finally start working with the boat moving service.
Ask the company to provide you with a list of clients they’ve served in the past that you can contact.
Take the time to go through online customer reviews of the company to see what the clients have to say about the boat moving service.
Choose the Best Service
Doing due diligence when selecting a boat transport company is the most crucial step when it comes to moving your boat.
Ultimately, you want to work with an authorized firm that has a proven track record of doing a fine job and providing excellent customer service.
Are you interested in a boat transportation company to haul your boat in a safe and timely manner? Contact us today for a solution perfectly tailored to your needs.