Shipshape: Things To Consider When Choosing A Company To Transport A Large Yacht Over Land

A large yacht at sea is a graceful, elegant sight, expertly using the power of the winds and waves to ply the seas and oceans. On the road, however, your elegant yacht can become an awkward and unwieldy pain in the neck, and if you intend to transport your yacht over land, for example to a new berth or a storage facility, you would be well advised to hire a professional towing company to transport your prized craft.

However, not every towing service is properly outfitted for transporting something as cumbersome and delicate as a yacht, and choosing the wrong service for your ship transporting needs can become far more trouble than it's worth. As such, you should ask yourself the following questions before deciding on the best yacht towing service for your needs:

Does the company offer suitable towing vehicles?

The vehicle required to tow your yacht will depend largely on the size and configuration of the yacht itself -- while smaller racing and freshwater craft can generally be towed by a properly modified ute or 4x4, larger seagoing yachts will require more robust transport. As such, you should inspect the towing fleet of any prospective company before you hand over your cash.

If you require a larger transporting vehicle for your craft, ensure that the vehicle is fitted with proper rigging and strapping to keep your ship firmly in place. Many transportation companies specialising in these larger craft offer vehicles fitted with air-cushioned suspension, giving your yacht a smoother ride and minimising the risk of hull damage while on the road. While covered transport for your yacht is ideal, it is often impractical when transporting large craft, so you should also ensure that the vehicle is adequately equipped with boat covers, tarps or other protective equipment. 

Will the company use your trailer or their own?

If your yacht is carried on land by its own dedicated trailer, you should enquire about the possibility of a towing company using your trailer to transport your yacht. Doing so has a number of advantages; it is often far cheaper than utilising one of the company's own towing trailers, and eliminates the risks involved with transferring your ship from one trailer to another.

However, towing on your own trailer also carries certain risks. If a mishap occurs on the road as a result of mechanical failure of your trailer, the company may not be liable to repay your costs, and you may even find yourself in legal trouble yourself for endangering their drivers. Transporting on your own trailer may also increase the price of any transport insurance you are offered. As such, utilising your own trailer is more suited to short journeys, such as moving a yacht between nearby berths, where such accidents are much less likely to occur.

Will your yacht require escort vehicles?

Depending on the size of your craft and the local jurisdictions it is expected to pass through, your yacht may also legally require one or more escort vehicles to travel with it, ensuring safety while warning other motorists of the large load passing through. If this is the case, make sure that your towing company offers escort vehicle services. These escort vehicles must be fitted with distinctive markings (and sometimes lights), and should ideally be fitted with CB or two-way radio that allows escort drivers to communicate swiftly with the driver of the towing vehicle.