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Transporting Boats

by John Pinyerd
Chairman - USA Wildwater

January 18, 2006 -- Atlanta, GA

Here's what I learned the hard way about shipping boats on trucking companies, air freight forwarders, and airlines. An extra half hour of preparation can mean the difference between your boat getting crushed and arriving in perfect condition.

  • I minimize the additional weight I put in the boat and usually don't add anything except my paddle and life jacket. If you give them a heavy boat, it might not get loaded on the top.
  • I like to use a boat bag on if I have one.
  • I make sure I cardboard up the ends. Your boat WILL get dragged and having cardboard on the ends ensures that the ends of the boat bag will not wear through.
  • Alternatively (instead of cardboarding up the ends) I also recently have made a custom cardboard shell that just fits over the boat. I've reused the same shell for the past to years by taking it apart at the wing.
  • I add rope loops the grab loops on both ends of the boat.
  • SPEND THE 2 BUCKS it takes to get FRAGILE stickers. Plaster them all over the top side of the boat. I also like to right the magic words "TOP LOAD ONLY" and "OLYMPIC KAYAK" on the fragile stickers.
  • Talk to the trucker, the airline etc., and let them know what they are shipping and how much you are going to cry because you can't race for your country if the loose or crush you boat.
  • Try to minimize the number of times your boat will get handled.
  • Make sure you make your deal up front. Don't just show up and hope an airline will handle your boat. Make sure you work closely with other USA Wildwater Team Members who can help you with advice.