We offer boat transportation to private owners and businesses and our delivery and collection areas include:
Balearics // Belgium // France // Holland // Ireland // Portugal // Spain // UK
We are a small family-run business, specialising in boat transport and based in the South of England. We transport yachts, motor cruisers and workboats around the U.K. and all over Europe.
Being boat owners ourselves, we know exactly how much your boat means to you and how daunting a boat move can be. We have an experienced team managing all logistical arrangements including insurance, travel schedules, escorts and local authority permissions.
We work with private boat owners, manufacturers, distributors and brokers as well as marina operators.
Our coverage includes the UK, France, Spain, Portugal and Holland.
BOAT-SHIFT MARINE TRANSPORT LIMITED – IS A FAMILY-RUN BUSINESS COMMITTED TO PROVIDING HIGH STANDARDS OF CUSTOMER SERVICE.
Specialist Boat Transportation
Purpose-built trailers to suit all sizes
UK & European Boat Transportation
Over 12 years experience!
Boat Repair & Maintenance
Small repairs or dry dock maintenance
Let’s handle the whole move or part of it
Guy and Lois Wilkes
Boat-Shift was established in 2010 by Simon and Cheryl Butler. In 2022, Guy and Lois Wilkes took over the business.
Guy has been working in the Ports and Logistics industry for over 27 years and has been sailing yachts with his wife Lois for over 3 decades.
Guy & Lois along with the wider Boat-Shift team have a wealth of experience to look after your individual needs.
Planning Your Next Move?
No Move Too Big Or Too Small
Specialist Boat Transport Company
We are a specialist marine transport company based in the Southeast of England. We transport yachts, motor cruisers and workboats around the U.K and all over Europe. Located with easy access to the channel port of Dover, we are ideally suited for boat transport to and from Belgium, France, Holland and Spain by road. We have specialist trailers that have all the necessary supports to safely carry all hull shapes. Our trailers are capable of carrying most types of boat and yachts.
Your next cruising area is nearer than you think….
Our speciality is Yacht and Motorboat transport to and from Belgium, Holland, France and Spain. We have regular deliveries of yachts and motorboats to and from the Mediterranean, Various types of boat moves to and from French and UK Canals, Yacht and boat transportation within the UK.
Pride in our Work
We take great pride in what we do best. Moving boats and yachts carefully, with knowledgeable and helpful staff. Our staff are boatowners themselves and have over 35 years of experience with all sorts of Yachts and Motorboats. This ensures safe loading of your vessel onto our trailers and right through the transportation process, so we deliver your pride and joy in one piece.
Safe UK and European Boat Transport
We can supply cradles for boats being shipped that can be made via our local engineer or sourced locally to us, ensuring complete safety for your boat during transit. We are able to prepare boats ready for transport and can arrange additional items like shrink wrap to add protection during transit.
Repair and Maintenance Services
We offer boat repair and maintenance services and advice through our close working relationship with SB Marine Engineering, who have a Volvo Penta trained engineer. We can offer services to prepare boats and yachts for transport, with vast experience in electrics and electronics, and would be more than happy to discuss any requirements. We are happy to move boats and yachts once in the water to the berth.
With Boat-Shift you are guaranteed of a personal, high-quality service tailored to your exact needs.
We keep in contact with the owner and departure or arrival points as necessary throughout the trip to ensure that the process is completed smoothly, with no time delays. All our trucks are GPS tracked and monitored throughout the journey.
We have some information on boat transport in France and Spain on our Transport Information page which will be of interest to anyone thinking of taking a boat to, or returning from the Med.
ESTABLISHED FOR OVER
WE HAVE COMPLETED OVER
Our Most Recent Boat Shifts
UK & Europe Transport Information
Boat Moves within the UK
Modern road transport is governed by so much ‘red-tape’, mainly for safety reasons. We always keep within the law and have a “clean” history. This can be tedious but we have to work around problems the same as any other business.
Membership of the Road Haulage Association means we are kept up to date with all legislation as it happens. We have a good working relationship with all the various forces, and service providers to ensure your transport day goes without a hitch
A good starting point is…How big is your boat?
- Loads up to 2.9m wide are classed as a normal load.
- Loads over 2.9m wide are classified as wide-loads.
If your boat is wider than this, then by law, we are required to notify the Police force in each county through which the route will pass. The Police require two clear working days notice together with the exact dimensions of the vehicle and load, the collection and delivery addresses, the date(s) of the move, and the route. The Police may delay the movement times in the interest of road safety or if it may hold up other road users. Providing accurate details to the Police not only ensures that there are no issues during transit but also that adequate Insurance cover is provided.
Sometimes we need to provide an escort vehicle for the load if the police require it, and boats over 3.5m wide require an assistant to travel with the load, either in the cab or in an escort vehicle. We have our own ‘Pilot’ or Escort Vehicle service for Wide loads that require escorting.
Height limits in the UK vary depending on the route taken. There is no legal limit, but the maximum overall ‘Safe’ height is 16’6″ (5M). Most motorway bridges are at least this height. The maximum height will be measured once the boat is loaded onto the trailer. If any items that can be removed or lowered from the roof this will ensure that your traveling height is as low as possible, making routes easier to plan and keeping distance traveled lower. Depending on the type of boat, the maximum height available will vary.
Boat Moves within Europe (France and Spain)
Moving your boat by road to new cruising areas can be practical and cost effective if you like exploring faraway places but have limited time for protracted deliveries by sea. Our specialist low-loaders for transporting boats are highly sophisticated.
The Mediterranean’s reputation and beauty of its scenery make it an attractive destination for international yacht transport. It’s calm waters, extended sailing season and the wealth of things to see and to do ashore make it an attractive proposition.
In most parts of the Mediterranean, the sailing season extends from the end of March until November. It is possible to sail even in winter, but a careful eye has to be kept on the weather.
Rules for France
Normal – A ‘normal’ load is up to the standard width of a trailer (2.5mtrs wide and no more than 4mtrs high).
Convoi Exceptionnel – Anything over 2.5mtrs wide and/or more than 4mtrs high is classed as ‘Convoi Exceptionnel’.
Depending on the Category of the load being transported, one or more pilote cars may be required to accompany the vehicle in order to protect the load and warn other road users of an approaching Convoi.
A valid and up to date French pilote qualification is required by all escort drivers and the ability to speak and read French fluently. It is the Hauliers responsibility to arrange the pilote drivers to accompany the load from start to finish of the route.
Depending on the route, the permit may require additional escort assistance by the local police.
Whilst loads in Category 1 do not require a pilote vehicle, Category 2 vehicles require a pilote car if the load is over 3m wide and Category 3 vehicles require a pilote vehicle at the front and rear.
The loads are classified by size.
Length: 15 to 20 meters
Width: 2.55 to 3 meters
Gross Weight: up to 48 Tonnes
Built up areas: 50km/h
National Roads: 60km/h
Length: 20 to 25 meters
Width: 3 to 4 meters
Gross Weight: 48 to 72 Tonnes
Built up areas: 40km/h
National Roads: 60km/h
Length: Over 25 meters
Width: Over 4 meters
Gross Over 72 Tonnes
Built up areas: 30km/h
National Roads: 50km/h
Cat 1 loads require a special permit and can only use certain roads. Some motorways can be used, but only within certain times and some junctions may be prohibited due to narrow toll booths. A maximum loaded height of 4.5m if autoroutes are used.
Cat 2 loads require escort vehicles to travel with them all the time and are subject to specific routes and times. The vehicle and load cannot travel on any autoroutes, and depending on the height the route can have hundreds of miles added, to bypass bridges that are too low, etc.
For both Cat 1 and Cat 2 loads in France, certain areas will not permit driving at night, whilst there are also a whole host of different ‘bans’, meaning we cannot transit towns and villages during certain hours. This can add considerable time and mileage to journeys.
Rules for Spain
The only routes we can use are specified on our permits, and we have a whole itinerary of permits that link up allowing us to make various journeys.
The standard width for a Cat 2 permit in Spain is 4.5m wide, still requiring the full use of a pilot vehicle.
Generally in France and Spain, the bridge heights are lower. This requires the boat or yacht to sit as low as possible on the trailer, and any item that can be removed may need to be removed to allow a safe trip. (Flybridge screens, rails, etc)
When filling out the inquiry form it is important that we have as much information and as many dimensions as possible, so we can calculate the correct route, and to enable the paperwork to be filed in order that we can operate on the day without any problems.
Buying a new Boat or just wanting new cruising grounds?
There are many good reasons why when buying a new boat not to restrict the search to merely your local area. A wider search area will open up a larger variety of yachts, while fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates may make prices in some other countries more favourable than those for vessels available locally.
Equally, you may want to move a boat you already own to a different area, either to explore new cruising areas, or sometimes we get requests as the result of a house or job relocation.
Boat transport can be a daunting process, but we can provide a hassle-free solution to moving your yacht by road. In some cases, the departure and end points of the route will point towards a particular solution. For example: a recent request to move a yacht from Spain back to the UK which in normal circumstances would involve a long voyage by sea, resulted in the owners (who felt this was beyond them due to their advancing years) taking the boat out in a port in Spain and then letting us cover the distance back to the UK by road (a weeks trip) on the back of our specialist trailer. A lot easier, and a lot quicker – allowing the owners quality time in Spain ashore at the end of their extended sailing holiday and the boat being back in the water on their return to the UK.
Often, yacht delivery by road can give an efficient alternative where time is limited or where there is not enough holiday time or crew to position the yacht to or from a particular cruising area.
Let’s Move Something Together
Follow our 3 STEP process below to get moving!
Start with our FREE Quotation Service
Step 1 - Things to Consider & FREE Quotation Form
- Please read the “Things to Consider”.
- Fill out our online quotation request (link below)
- We will get back to you with a price.
- Once you have agreed to this, we will book the dates.
- All of the information collected will enable us to carry out all of the necessary paperwork
- Please view our Conditions of Carriage HERE
Things to Consider
Cranes / Lifts
We normally leave the arrangement and payment of any cranes or Marina lifts to the owner. This arrangement service can be provided for a small fee, as getting both ends and all of the transport to tie up can sometimes be the most frustrating part of arranging transport! The whole package of lifting and transport will then be arranged and paid for by us, and payment for all services can be made to us, making easy work of arranging the day.
We have a specialist goods in transit policy that covers our service on an ‘all risks’ basis. This is the most comprehensive cover that can be applied. The standard value that we cover is £300,000. If your boat is over this value, a very small additional premium will be required to ensure full cover. It is still advisable to have full comprehensive insurance on your craft whilst in transit.
Boats traveling to Spain will require their policy document to be translated into Spanish. This will be provided by your insurer. The policy will be required to be shown to the ‘capitanerie’ or harbour master before the boat will be launched into the water.
For all boat moves, we will issue a Pro-forma invoice and require payment before the day. Payment should be made by a cheque or internet banking transfer (Funds must be cleared before the day). If arranged, we may accept cash when we arrive at the collection point. Invoices / Receipts will be sent to you if paid prior or on the receipt of cash on the day. We do not have card facilities at the moment.
On the day
You are more than welcome to be there on the day but it is not a necessity. We will ensure that your boat is signed for on our delivery note and any keys are collected and again signed for at the destination. We also check over the boat to ensure that it is safe to travel and that all fenders and warps are secured inside.
Note: Due to the fact that some marinas are located down small roads, many of these are lined with trees and bushes. We have had occasions where the hull (especially dark blue hulls) get marked by overhanging bush or tree branches. We would like to note that although this cannot be avoided in some cases, we make every effort to avoid such things. The branch markings do just rub off however and do not damage the hull in any way. We must, however, point out that we cannot accept liability for these marks.
Shrink wrapping will eliminate this if you are worried about it.
Step 2 - Boat Preparation
Before transport, we advise that you prepare to ensure a trouble-free trip. We advise that you carry out the following list below(If you prefer to book our services we can complete the list on your behalf)
- Disconnect/Isolate batteries.
- Check and turn off all water and fuel tank valves.
- Remove any flammable substances – paints, thinners etc…
- Close and secure all windows and hatches.
- Close drawers and cupboards.
- Store and/or secure all loose items. (Internal/External)
- Remove and store ropes, fenders, life-rings etc.
- Remove canopies.
- Lower or remove any antennas or radar arches.
- Tilt up outdrive units for loading.
- Mast rigging and cabling must be removed or securely attached to the mast. Any wind instruments/Nav lights must be removed. Bottle screws should all be removed and stored safely on board
If you require to book our services to carry out this list, please advise us at the time of booking, this will ensure we have the necessary equipment to do so. Failure to carry out this list may mean that boat transport is delayed. Masts and rigging must be fully prepared for transport. This is usually carried out when the mast is removed. We will ensure the mast is secure on the boat or if placed on the trailer, but any ancillary parts, spreaders, and rigging will need to be secured. Removal of Navigation lamps, wind indicators or VHF antennas is also recommended.
For boats traveling to or from France/Spain, we will require the original documents for the vessel, which we will also photocopy (for customs purposes). These documents are; Registration papers or SSR certificate. For boats traveling to or from France/Spain, we will require the original documents for the vessel, which we will also photocopy (for customs purposes).
These documents are; Registration papers or SSR certificate. Insurance (also translated into Spanish if the boat is going to Spain, your insurance provider will source this for you). VAT status (i.e. bill of sale or original purchase receipt showing that vat has been paid on the purchase of the boat).
We will also fill out an ‘International consignment note, or CMR note upon collection, this is a legal requirement for all European journeys.
Our driver will check over the boat to ensure safety whilst being transported, and will visually inspect the hull, topsides and drive gear for condition, and produce a report before the boat is loaded, which is to be signed by the customer or customers representative. The same check will be carried out at the arrival point, where again, the report will be signed by the driver and the customer. This ensures maximum safety for both you, the customer and for us, in the unlikely event of any damage occurring. We are fully Insured and are members of the Road Haulage Association, ensuring quality and safety.
Step 3 - UK & European Boat Transportation
You can rest assured that the safe transportation of your boat will be our top priority
We have designed and built our own trailer that combines state of the art equipment together with a design specific for boat hulls.
This trailer features the latest electronic braking system available and giving the best safety guarantee a new system called RSP – Roll Stability Programming. If the electronic unit senses that the trailer starts to roll, the brakes of the trailer are automatically activated to prevent a trailer rollover. The build of this trailer meets and exceeds all the latest build specifications, ensuring the very best conditions to transport boats.
3 Axles on air suspension and an increase in weight carrying capacity. Larger boat size capacity with extending rear bumper and lit wide load side markers.
Together with our Renault Premium tractor units, this will give the smoothest ride for all boats. The trucks are equipped with 420hp or 440hp engine, a 16-speed gearbox, electronically controlled air suspension, an electronic anti-lock braking system (linked to the trailer) and an extra exhaust braking system, all allowing very smooth control and braking.
We really value your feedback. This will enable us to keep our services tailored to your needs. We would appreciate comments for the website too, so if we carry out transport for you, we would like to hear from you. We can then post photos of your boat or yacht being transported and it will give other people information on the service that we provide. Send us a note by clicking here.
“ Thank you so much for the care you took in delivering my boat to Cambrils. I really appreciated the time you took to ensure proper loading, inspection, and scrutiny before setting off. Would recommend you without hesitation.”
“Thank you so much for a first-class job well done! the boat is now safely on its new berth and looks great. Can’t wait for the weekend to get out to sea!
Many thanks once again.”
“Absolutely brilliant job! No hassle at loading and unloading.
Very professional and on time! The boat could not have been in better hands. Would recommend Simon to anyone.”
“Thank you for conducting a very professional service. I am glad that I came across your information on the internet and that you were able to take care of my boat.
I will have no hesitation in recommending your services to any prospective boat movers and who knows, may have the opportunity to use your services again, myself.
Will be happy to send you a photo of her when she has arrived and in her new home.
With best wishes and many thanks.”
“The service from Boat-Shift was excellent. Simon and his team were very flexible and able to adapt at short notice to the arrangements of the marinas at both ends of the trip. Melody is an old boat and I was a little anxious about the wear and tear of the journey, however, Simon delivered her safely and securely. The service from Boat-Shift is friendly and very professional and I would wholeheartedly recommend them – they are also very reasonably priced and so offer very good value.
Naturally, I will be happy to recommend you to others and would certainly contact you again”
“Highly professional service with everything planned to the last detail.
This made the delivery of our boat to Beaucaire, South of France and also the safe return of a second boat to Canvey Island, Essex excellent.
We would not hesitate to recommend boat shift to everyone, both in England and France and wish Simon all the best.
Thank you very very much”