Yacht Transport via Freighter: Florida to Mexico

This is information which may interest people considering yacht transport by freighter. In our case, we are shipping our 40′ sailboat via United Yacht Transport (UYT) out of Port Everglades, Florida to La Paz, Mexico.

Published 5 years ago, updated 4 years ago

From Brian Anderson, S/V Red Shoes, Hallberg-Rassy 40, Canadian registry, Vancouver home port.

The original timing estimate for loading our boat in Florida was March 20 to 30th; we loaded the boat yesterday, April 10th. This delay (which should be considered ‘normal’, I understand, when it comes to ocean freight) meant that we had to moor in Fort Lauderdale for about a month. UYT charters various freighters for their trips and UYT does not supply reliable information on the ETA of the freighter. In our case, the arrival/loading changed six times, each estimate a few days later than the last. Extremely frustrating and the delay added considerably to the cost of the transport overall.

Also, because UYT charter ships which also carry general cargo, you may find a crew more accustomed to hauling containers, steel pipe and auto parts than yachts. We found that the ship’s crew were not prepared, in ways we expected they would be. They had no lines dropped over the side to secure our boat prior to attaching the loading straps; there were no ship’s fenders available and we had to use our own; the backstay had to be removed (with the promise from the crew that it would be re-attached after the boat was hauled aboard). I was not given any prior notice that any of these measures would be needed. None of the crew came aboard the boat when we were alongside, and we were not allowed to stay with the boat for loading and not allowed aboard the ship to inspect any aspect of its final preparation aboard. All fenders and lines we had used could not be stored or secured (I have asked specifically that this is done by the ship’s crew but I have no assurance), and the backstay re-attachment will have to be done by the crew to whatever standard they can manage. These things add considerably to the stress and uncertainty of this means of transport, and customers have no knowledge of, or control over, how their boats are handled aboard the ship.

We are hopeful, and perhaps naive, thinking that the boat will arrive in La Paz without damage. Even if it does, the repeated delays in loading, the lack of input on securing the boat aboard the ship, and the fact that the boat will be treated as general cargo convince us that will not be using United Yacht Transport in the future, and would not recommend the company to others.

Thank you for the opportunity to provide this information to other boaters.

Footnote: The boat arrived in about the same condition as when loaded….except for the widespread orange stains from ship’s diesel soot mixed with salt water. Advise to shippers: get your boat as far from the engine exhaust stack as possible.

The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of noonsite.com or the World Cruising Club

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