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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Seattle
    Boat
    SeaRay
    Details
    2010 Sedan Bridge 520
    Engine(s)
    Cummins QSM11
    Posts
    46

    Shipping a big boat

    We are looking to upgrade to a larger boat, in the 50' range, with a fly bridge. Problem is, there are very few on the west coast (just 2 in fact), compared to many on the east coast and lakes.

    Our broker is telling us that we should only consider boats on the coast, that can be moved by container ship, and that shipping via truck is a bad idea - that the fly bridge would have to be removed (so the truck can clear overpasses) and many times the boat isn't the same after such a journey. Obviously some boats must be moved by trucks -- how else would they get to lakes???

    I'd like to hear about experiences moving larger boats, particularly across country.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Tri Cities, WA
    Boat
    Sea Ray
    Details
    1995 550 Sedan Bridge, 2010 Boston Whaler 130 Super Sport, 1971 Boston Whaler 130 Sport,
    Engine(s)
    CAT 3406C's, 580hp.
    Posts
    6,174

    Re: Shipping a big boat

    j98052,
    You found one person who's been there, done that and can answer some of your questions. We were in EXACTLY where you are when .we were looking to upsize. The type of boat we wanted (50-55' Sea Ray fly bridge) could be found on the west coast, but they were salt water boats, most had Detroit Diesels and were expensive as hell. I found our boat in the Detroit area. Over the space of 4 months of negotiations, two flights to DTW to sea trial it and two surveys we bought her. I found a shipper, had her shipped to Portland, OR for re-commissioning and installation of some extra equipment.

    After all was said and done, and after paying freight for the new boat to get here and my trade in (330 Sundancer) to get back to Detroit, I figure I saved somewhere around $75K over buying a west coast boat, and our boat had Cat diesels.

    I can give you a LOT of tips on how to save time, money, frustration, etc. Just give me a PM or ask away on here and I'll answer your questions.

    Mike
    1995 550 Sedan Bridge "Beachcomber"
    'There is nothing-absolutely nothing half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats"
    Proud dues paying Charter Member of the Hole In The Water Club!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Lake Lanier, GA
    Boat
    Sea Ray
    Details
    2004 550 Sundancer w/ MAN's - Unleashed
    Engine(s)
    T-800 MAN's
    Posts
    79

    Re: Shipping a big boat

    Quote Originally Posted by j98052 View Post
    We are looking to upgrade to a larger boat, in the 50' range, with a fly bridge. Problem is, there are very few on the west coast (just 2 in fact), compared to many on the east coast and lakes.

    Our broker is telling us that we should only consider boats on the coast, that can be moved by container ship, and that shipping via truck is a bad idea - that the fly bridge would have to be removed (so the truck can clear overpasses) and many times the boat isn't the same after such a journey. Obviously some boats must be moved by trucks -- how else would they get to lakes???

    I'd like to hear about experiences moving larger boats, particularly across country.
    Seems to me that you need another broker... Many of the brokers we have locally are just sales folks with minimal boat expertise -- more focused on the sales commission. You need a broker that can contribute more or eliminate the broker & do it yourself.

    Every large boat on an inland lake was shipped by truck. Many of these boats are designed with shipping splits where the manufacture plans for disassembly for shipment. Some marine trucking companies will provide full service derig & rerig, just ask. Otherwise, work with an experienced service yard on each end. It's not cheap but it's a fairly simple process.

    I bought my boat in Lake Powell, AZ and brought cross country to Lake Lanier, GA. Contracted with local yard for haul out and disassembly. Hired hauler separately San Diego Boat Movers (got 25% discount for allowing them to coordinate to get a back haul). Contracted with local yard to offload, re-rig and to fix everything on my punch list.

    It's basic project management, broken down into manageable pieces. The difficulty is in the coordination as nothing happens in the time line initially presented. Therefore plan accordingly, I added 50% additional time to every portion of the schedule given by a contractor.
    Last edited by Brett H; 01-11-2017 at 09:23 AM.


    1962 Correct Craft - Atom Skier - Sold
    1994 Sea Ray 330 Sundancer - "It'll Do" - Sold
    1988 Fountain 10 Meter - "Impulsive" - Sold
    2000 Sea Ray 410 Sundancer - "Offshore Adventure" - Sold
    2007 Nautica Rib 11DL - Current
    2004 Sea Ray 550 Sundancer - "Unleashed" - Current

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Cleveland, OH
    Boat
    Sea Ray
    Details
    1989 340 Sundancer Raymarine E90W Radar/Chartplotter
    Engine(s)
    Twin 454 Mercruiser 340's
    Posts
    875

    Re: Shipping a big boat

    Quote Originally Posted by Gofirstclass View Post
    j98052,
    You found one person who's been there, done that and can answer some of your questions. We were in EXACTLY where you are when .we were looking to upsize. The type of boat we wanted (50-55' Sea Ray fly bridge) could be found on the west coast, but they were salt water boats, most had Detroit Diesels and were expensive as hell. I found our boat in the Detroit area. Over the space of 4 months of negotiations, two flights to DTW to sea trial it and two surveys we bought her. I found a shipper, had her shipped to Portland, OR for re-commissioning and installation of some extra equipment.

    After all was said and done, and after paying freight for the new boat to get here and my trade in (330 Sundancer) to get back to Detroit, I figure I saved somewhere around $75K over buying a west coast boat, and our boat had Cat diesels.

    I can give you a LOT of tips on how to save time, money, frustration, etc. Just give me a PM or ask away on here and I'll answer your questions.

    Mike

    Mike, I know you have nothing but time on your hands

    Any possibility of putting this process and the pitfalls of this into some Cliff Notes like thing under the 'Tech Articles / Tutorials section'?
    I could end up doing the same thing a few years down the road and would love to know about the process before hand......

    -Mike
    Last edited by northshore; 01-11-2017 at 12:22 PM.
    Laurie and Mike and 'The Boat to be Named Later'

    Proud Member of the Hole in the Water Club

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Florida
    Boat
    Sea Ray
    Details
    Boatless
    Engine(s)
    Boatless
    Posts
    1,219

    Re: Shipping a big boat

    Not exactly your question, but related.

    We are shopping for our next boat for use on the East Coast. I got the wild idea about considering boats on the West coast - since that would increase the size of the market pool.

    Granted Mike had a positive experience with removing the fly bridge, I choose not to. Looked into options for shipping on the water.

    West Coast to East coast, carried on a larger ship - around 60K. That is a ball part number, not a fine tuned quote for a 60' boat. I doubt it opens up the west coast market for us, given the hassles and the need to buy the boat 60K less.

    One note when shipping via water. There is a law (I think it maybe called the Jones Act) which prohibits the shipping from one United States port to another US port direct. So the west coast boat would have to be loaded on the ship in either Vancouver or Baja Mexico, not a west coast US city. For my discussion purposes we assumed the destination would be Fort Lauderdale.

    Just some incremental information,

    Mark
    Previous Boats:

    Sea Ray 47DB
    Sea Ray 340DA

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Boat
    Sea Ray
    Details
    2004 420DB Sedan Bridge, 'Fair Game'
    Engine(s)
    Cummins 480 CE's
    Posts
    219

    Re: Shipping a big boat

    For those of us in the Pac NW - boats would ship to Vancouver. There's a route from Florida to Vancouver that they do larger boats a few times a year. Your broker should have the details. It's how brand new big Sea Rays get up here from the Florida factory.
    No, it is not cheap. I seem to recall easily 30-40K assuming everything goes well.

    Let's dispell a myth. Saltwater boats that are well kept in the Pac NW can easily be in better shape than anything along west or east coasts. saltwater is saltwater. And although Florida has a stronger pool to choose from, the proximity to the equator aka the sun has a far more detrimental effect than a boat that's northeast or northwest.

    When you get into the Great Lakes, there are more freshwater boats, but pulling the boat over the winter on dry land has it's issues as well.


    As I recall, GoFirstClass was positioned to take advantage of a heck of an economic downturn. He also wanted a boat with a specific engine package that could not be easily found on the west coast. Combine those factors, he made it work. I don't think he'd tell anyone it's easy to remove a flybridge and ship that too.

    In today's dollars, you're easily looking at 30-50k in shipping costs, and could be looking upwards of 8-15k in boatyard costs for teardown, packing, and reassembly. That assumes the people on each end actually have a clue about what they are doing. You would probably want to fly out the same person who took it part, to put it back together. That's an additional cost.

    I've looked at all of these options for various boats. They all became cost prohibitive very quickly. Even running a boat up the west coast from southern california will run you 15-20k when it's said and done.
    2004 420 Sedan Bridge 'Fair Game'
    Twin Cummins 480CE's

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Watkinsville, GA
    Boat
    Sea Ray
    Details
    2006 260 Sundancer, 2007 Silverado Duramax w/Allison, 2013 Boat Trailers Direct Trailer
    Engine(s)
    350 Mag w/ Bravo III
    Posts
    1,257

    Re: Shipping a big boat

    Quote Originally Posted by northshore View Post
    Mike, I know you have nothing but time on your hands

    Any possibility of putting this process and the pitfalls of this into some Cliff Notes like thing under the 'Tech Articles / Tutorials section'?
    I could end up doing the same thing a few years down the road and would love to know about the process before hand......

    -Mike
    +1

    Bennett
    Last edited by bbwhitejr; 01-11-2017 at 01:58 PM.
    Bennett and April

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Cedar Point, OH / Miami, FL / MacRay Harbor, MI
    Boat
    SeaRay
    Details
    1997 400DA / 1999 280BR "Project"
    Engine(s)
    340HP 7.4 Mercruisers / Twin 250HP Merc 350's w/ Alphas
    Posts
    2,173

    Re: Shipping a big boat

    Quote Originally Posted by CougarCruiser View Post
    As I recall, GoFirstClass was positioned to take advantage of a heck of an economic downturn. He also wanted a boat with a specific engine package that could not be easily found on the west coast. Combine those factors, he made it work. I don't think he'd tell anyone it's easy to remove a flybridge and ship that too.


    He also forgot to mention that he leveraged a helpful CSR member 5 wells away from where his boat was being kept and loaded. Said helper took pics of the loading process after Mike had left town so he could verify that the status updates he was getting were true.

    jeez, what does a guy have to do around here to get a little credit??

    1997 400DA
    1999 280BR

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Tri Cities, WA
    Boat
    Sea Ray
    Details
    1995 550 Sedan Bridge, 2010 Boston Whaler 130 Super Sport, 1971 Boston Whaler 130 Sport,
    Engine(s)
    CAT 3406C's, 580hp.
    Posts
    6,174

    Re: Shipping a big boat

    Quote Originally Posted by northshore View Post
    Mike, I know you have nothing but time on your hands

    Any possibility of putting this process and the pitfalls of this into some Cliff Notes like thing under the 'Tech Articles / Tutorials section'?
    I could end up doing the same thing a few years down the road and would love to know about the process before hand......

    -Mike
    Mike, It's funny, but I've never looked at that "Tech Articles/Tutorials Section". When I come onto CSR I always just hit the "24 hour search" thingie and look for what's new. Yeah, I'll cobble together something and put in some of the stuff I learned along the way. Good idea!

    Quote Originally Posted by Cougar Cruiser
    Let's dispell a myth. Saltwater boats that are well kept in the Pac NW can easily be in better shape than anything along west or east coasts. saltwater is saltwater. And although Florida has a stronger pool to choose from, the proximity to the equator aka the sun has a far more detrimental effect than a boat that's northeast or northwest."
    There is some truth to the statement about saltwater boats, but I think the operative phrase in there is "boats that are well kept". Therein lies part of the problem--many boats are not washed frequently so the damage from salt appears in the form of corrosion on most metal parts. Many of the boats we looked at around the Seattle area showed some heavy corrosion so it's obvious they were not well cared for, and those seemed to be the rule rather than the exception.
    "When you get into the Great Lakes, there are more freshwater boats, but pulling the boat over the winter on dry land has it's issues as well."
    That's true, but with Great Lakes boats what you find is a short season (Memorial Day to Labor Day) then they're hauled out and stored on the hard or, if they're kept in the water it's in a heated shed or boat house where there's no chance of freezing. As to the damage from hauling over the road in the winter, that's true but damage can be mitigated by shrink wrapping the boat.
    "As I recall, GoFirstClass was positioned to take advantage of a heck of an economic downturn. He also wanted a boat with a specific engine package that could not be easily found on the west coast. Combine those factors, he made it work. I don't think he'd tell anyone it's easy to remove a flybridge and ship that too."
    I was very fortunate that my buying time coincided with the downturn in the economy. I started the process in January, 2010. The unemployment rate in and around Detroit was about 35% and NOBODY was looking to buy any kind of toy--boat, rv, etc. That helped with the negotiating on the price of the boat but I doubt it had much to do with the cost of transporting the boat from Detroit to Portland.

    In today's dollars, you're easily looking at 30-50k in shipping costs, and could be looking upwards of 8-15k in boatyard costs for teardown, packing, and reassembly. That assumes the people on each end actually have a clue about what they are doing. You would probably want to fly out the same person who took it part, to put it back together. That's an additional cost."
    I think you might be a bit on the high side with your estimates of shipping cost. It cost me $20K to get my boat from Detroit to Portland and $6K to get my 330 Sundancer back to Detroit. I doubt those costs would have gone up by more than a few percent per year.


    As to the cost of teardown, that was included in the price I negotiated with the selling broker. Now, on a side note about that. The selling broker was a sleazeball. I didn't trust him any further than I could throw the boat I was buying. I didn't trust him to do the tear down because he would have just gone in and started cutting wires to save himself time. They also wanted to pick the fly bridge off by putting the forks of a fork lift beneath the fiberglass fly bridge and lifting. That would have likely cracked the fiberglass and they wouldn't have repaired the damage.

    The selling broker had this boat in his inventory for over a year. He basically was selling it to me and not making anything but was getting it out of his inventory. Any costs he incurred in the tear down and/or shipping would have been money out of his pocket. Sleazeball that he was I just had no faith in his desire to do a good job.

    As part of the price I negotiated with the yard in Portland to do the reassembly, I had them fly their technician back to Detroit to do the teardown. I paid for his airfare, hotel, per diem for meals and a rental car. That was undoubtedly the smartest thing I did in the whole process. He marked every wire before he cut it, marking it on both sides of the cut and when it came to lifting the fly bridge off the boat he showed them how to do it with lifting straps and the fork lift. The whole tear down went well and because he'd done the disassembly, the reassembly went smoothly as well.

    As to removing the fly bridge, done properly it was not a difficult job, just time consuming. It had to be shipped on a separate trailer on a cradle they had to build to fit the fly bridge (by itself it's 12' wide x 24' long) pulled by its own truck and they had to get separate permits for that load.
    1995 550 Sedan Bridge "Beachcomber"
    'There is nothing-absolutely nothing half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats"
    Proud dues paying Charter Member of the Hole In The Water Club!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Seattle
    Boat
    SeaRay
    Details
    2010 Sedan Bridge 520
    Engine(s)
    Cummins QSM11
    Posts
    46

    Re: Shipping a big boat

    For the model we are looking for, there are 2 on the west coast compared 20+ on the east coast, and they are both more expensive than the average price of the east coast boats. We have ruled one of them out because it has considerable mold in the below deck compartments.

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