Boat relocation options compared
If you need to relocate a boat because you are trying to sell it, moving house or just want to use it in a different place there are a few different options you can consider.

Why do people relocate their boat in Australia?

boat transportation information

In Australia thousands of people get their boat relocated every week because we live in such a large country and there are marinas, boat dealers and auction houses that buy, store and sell boats to anyone in the country. The most common reason people give us on the phone or via email when asking us for a boat relocation quote is they are buying it from a site that is too far for them to go to and they don’t have a vehicle or trailer to relocate it themselves. That is why there are so many boat relocating services to choose from in Australia, there is big distances between cities & to drive a boat by water is quite dangerous because of the rough oceans around our country.

We ask people what other relocation options did they research and we’ll explain below what most people tell us they found and what decision making process they used to assess each option. The majority of people end up using a boat transportation company to relocate their boat by road because of the relatively low cost, simplicity & peace of mind it can provide.

Cost to transport a boat across country in Australia

The cost to transport a boat across country in Australia will vary depending on its size & the method you choose to use. For small boats that are 15 foot or shorter it might be easy to put that on a trailer and tow it with a 4WD. Although for large boat relocating you really need to consider using a professional transport company. Some large boats can weigh 10, 15 or 20 tonnes so you need someone who is licensed to haul heavy loads by road to take it across the country safely.

Fortunately there are a few relocation options available for motorised large boats or even sailboat relocations that make it quite possible to move your boat from Sydney over to Perth travelling across the country from the east coast to the west coast.

So your costs might be $1,500 or $30,000 depending on the size of the boat and how much work is involved. Moving a 50 foot cruiser might require pilot vehicles, permits, roads closed & could take a week to complete. In comparison moving a small 15 foot boat with a 4WD might take a few days.

1. Getting a friend to relocate your boat in Australia

pay someone to drive your boat by sea to relocate it in australia scaled

The first thing a lot of people think of is getting their mates together to help relocate a boat. Sounds like a lot of fun and it could be a bit of an adventure especially if you are travelling interstate. It could end up being a bit of a holiday while you transport it thousands of kms to a new location. If your mates have the right vehicle and trailer you might be able to relocate it by road but for many people that is too hard and for big boats that are 25 foot or longer there is lots of risks involved.

Some groups of mates will try drive the boat by sea, do a bit of fishing and take a few days to get the boat to its new destination. Although the problem with this is it can take a long time, cost lots in fuel, adds loads of engine hours, is risky if there is high tides or bad weather & if you are selling it, you devalue the resale value even further for the buyer.

The other thing to be really careful of is knowing how experienced your mate is, maybe they have done a few relocations but they won’t have the same level of experience as a boat transportation company in Australia does.

2. Hiring a skipper and crew to relocate your boat

contract a skipper to relocate your boat in australia

The other popular option is using a boat relocation company that will have their own full time staff or sub contract the relocation work as it comes up. For large boats that are maybe 30, 40 or 50 foot this can be a viable option because you might go along for the journey to enjoy some time away. Although as we mentioned before it can be very costly because of all the staff required including a skipper, crew, petrol, insurance, food etc. Professional yacht or boat delivery skippering can end up costing a fortune compared to other options available in Australia.

The other thing that people get nervous about is letting other people drive their boat. Even if they are an experienced skipper that drives boats to get them relocated from one port to another, who knows what else may go on during that trip. Will they have a small party, will they invite a friend or two – you just never really know. 

If you choose to have your boat moved this way it is important to read the fine print to make sure what is or isn’t covered with insurance or even simple things like proving damage was caused while on a voyage. So if it is a newly purchased boat that needs to get relocated to its new home or simply getting it moved north for the winter you can avoid the cost of hiring a Master V or IV skipper or even avoid deck hand costs by using a boat transporter who does it all by road.

Dealing with a company like ours means you pay for the labour and skill of one person not a whole team.

3. Get a boat freight company to relocate your boat

use freight company to reloate a boat in australia

Depending on the size of your boat it may be possible that it can fit into a shipping container or loaded onto the back of a semi trailer to be relocated. This would normally require getting your boat lifted out of the water and taken to the freight company’s depot to then be loaded and transported. So this method can take more time, be a bit of a hassle and take longer to arrive at the other location due to all the handling involved.

The other big consideration is the cost, the actual boat freight my not cost too much but all the extra handling and time involved may may this a very labour intensive or costly way to get your boat to another destination in Australia.

4. Relocating a boat by container on the sea

use boat shipping company to relocate a boat in australia

Similar to the boat freight companies, there are some services available that do boat shipping and literally your vessel will get moved by water on a container or cargo ship of some kind. You would normally consider this if you are buying a boat from anther country because these shipping services specialise in traversing oceans. In Australia it is not very common to relocate your boat this way, the other methods described here are much more common.

5. Getting boat relocation by road transportation

15 meter long river interstate boat relocation from Sydney to Melbourne

Last, but probably not least, is what our company does which is boat relocations by road transportation. We have a semi trailer and a custom built boat trailer that can carry boats that are up to 60 foot long, yes huge, big, large boats can go onto our trailer to be taken to another destination.

Just like any other type of cargo getting moved once it is loaded onto our trailer we can take it nearly anywhere you like, Relocating a boat by road is cost effective, relatively fast & best of all you know exactly where it is without other people driving it or waiting for it to come out of a container somewhere.

Our transportation routes travel between all the major cities in Australia so we regularly take boats from say Sydney to Brisbane as these two cities have some of the best waterways & the most boat owners. Some of our customers even move their boat up north during the winter so they can enjoy the warmer climate or go wherever the fishing seasons take them.

Boat relocation services that haul a vessel by road are the most popular in Australia because of the cost, simplicity & time it takes compared to other services available.

Can a large boat get relocated by road?

Boat transport Mustang 430 sports coupe from Sydney to Melbourne

Abso-blo@&y-lutely we can relocate large boats, it is what Peter does every day of the week. Some say it is an odd obsession but he just loves being out on the open road moving heavy loads. Most marinas will have travel lifts that literally pull any type of big boat out of the water so that it can be placed onto a trailer and relocated. They will charge a fee for this because of the time and labour involved to pull it out of the water, but it means you get the option of leaving it there or getting it taken somewhere else when you need it.

The biggest thing you have to consider is the legality and safety of moving a marine vessel by road because it could be oversize, your vehicle might not be capable or you don’t have the right equipment to even get it out of the water. We resolve all of those issues and do everything for you.

How much does boat relocating cost in Australia

Large boat transport moving coastguard patrol boat by road

How long is a piece of string you say? Well the costs for boat relocations in Australia are a bit like that because of all the variables to consider. Relocating a small boat might cost less than $1,000 but our company specialises in handling larger boats that are 25 foot or longer. The key factors that will contribute to relocation costs are;

  • What is the cost of getting it out of the water & onto a transportation trailer
  • How long, wide and heigh is the vessel
  • How heavy is the load going to be
  • What is the exact location of the pick up
  • What is the delivery location
  • The total distance that has to get travelled. This may not be a straight line depending on the boat’s size.
  • The total time it might take from loading, transport and unloading
  • Will pilot vehicles need to be required
  • Will permits or other approvals be needed
  • What is the value of the vessel to ensure there is adequate insurance
  • What seasonal period or how quickly it needs to be relocated

You can contact a number of relocating services and they will generally all ask you the same questions to then work out the costs involved and their availability. You might be lucky and they have a truck going one way with an empty load so you’ll get a great deal. At other times like summer season the transporters are so busy they can’t deal with the volume of relocations being done.

The other factors that have to be considered are;

  • The type of boat it is
  • The weight of the boat
  • The value of the boat
  • How difficult the access will be at either location
  • What trailer and truck we have to use
  • Value of the boat to be insured

How can you save money on boat relocations

Boat transport 36 foot flybridge motor cruiser moved from Melbourne to Sydney

If you want to save money relocating your boat follow these steps;

  • Use the most direct method possible e.g if you pay a boat dealer they will be making a profit on the transporter they use
  • Relocate your boat during off-peak times e.g during winter, during the week and not on school holidays or Christmas periods
  • Remove as much as possible from the boat to reduce its weight
  • Don’t change dates, re-schedule or cancel the booking so you avoid cancellation costs
  • Use a boat transportation company that moves loads by road to save money on fuel, engine servicing, skipper or crew hiring.
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Peter has been operating his boat transportation company for many years, moving boats by road locally or interstate. He can provide a free quotation to calculate your costs with cost-effective pricing dealing directly with the owner.