Shipping A Boat


Dockwise SS3

Dockwise’s “SS 3” transport ship

When we sailed our Morgan 46, Liberty, across the pond in 2005 from Beaufort, NC, to Bermuda, the Azores, and Europe, winding up in the Med for a couple of years, we fully expected to sail her back via Madeira, the Canaries, and the Caribbean. But due to a family tragedy, and the decision to go back to work for a year, we decided to haul Liberty, store her on the hard in Turkey for a year, and ship her home to the US in 2007. We could have hired a delivery crew to sail her across, but that would have cost almost as much as the shipping, and we didn’t want to entrust our pride and joy to an unknown crew.

We looked at several options for shipping, but primarily based on recommendations from friends who had used them, we decided on using Dockwise Yacht Transport, a Dutch company with offices in France and the US. While not inexpensive, Dockwise offered a 20% discount if you paid 5 months in advance. We made all shipping and customs arrangements via email and fax, and the Dockwise agents could not have been more helpful and professional.

 Because Liberty was on the hard in Marmaris, Turkey, we were happy to find that one of their ships was departing that port at the end of August, prior to stopping in Palma de Majorca to complete their loadout, then sailing to Port Everglades (Fort Lauderdale). Ty made his flight arrangements to be there a week prior to paint the bottom, change the cutless bearing, remove the dinghy davits (to keep LOA to a minimum), and perform other maintenance prior to her voyage. Then came a surprise – just a week before the loading, Dockwise emailed and said that because of a port services strike in Palma, the loading in Marmaris would be delayed by a week to September 3, or Labor Day… this was a problem, because Ty couldn’t change his tickets at the last minute on a major holiday. He went ahead and flew to Turkey and got all the work done, but had to fly back to the US five days prior to the loading. A hired captain took her from the marina the few miles to the ship.

 Dockwise kept us well informed about the loading, even emailing a jpeg image of her in the well deck of Super Servant 3, the Ukrainian-flagged ship bringing her home. The ship arrived in Port Everglades on schedule, and we went aboard to conduct a hull inspection the day prior to offload. Liberty was in fine shape – the crew had done an excellent job securing her in her jackstands and strapping her down with heavy nylon webbing for the transit. She looked small in the well deck, next to a huge 120 foot megayacht. There was only one other sailboat aboard, but we hadn’t walked aft to see her name. After the hull inspection, we went to the officers’ wardroom for a briefing on customs and offload procedures. Imagine our surprise when we looked around and saw our good friend Doug Decker of Limerance, a Beneteau 375, standing a few feet away. He and Judy had made the same decision, to ship their boat home – we adjourned to a local restaurant for drinks and dinner, swapping stories about our Mediterranean cruising and friends back in Europe.

 Offload the next morning went smoothly, except for a battery problem. We knew our golf cart batteries were on their last legs, but waiting until return to the US allowed us to replace them for $100 apiece, rather than the $500 apiece quoted in Turkey. One piece of advice: if leaving your boat ashore or transporting her aboard ship, install a solar panel to keep the batteries charged. SS3’s electrician had an electrical hookup available for overnight charging, but the megayachts had already used up all the normal connections, and we had to cut our electrical cable’s end fitting to connect up the 3 wires directly to AC. During the offload, Dockwise crewmen

in the well

Liberty in the ship’s well deck

walked Liberty back down the well deck, making sure there was no contact with the ship’s hull or the megayacht inboard of us. A short trip to a nearby marina allowed us to onload new batteries and food for our trip north.

top view

 All in all, we were very happy with our Dockwise experience, and Liberty arrived back in the US with no damage and only minor amounts of dirt and grease on her decks and topsides, to be expected during a 5,000 mile voyage. There was a lot of Sahara dust to be cleaned up, but that was a relatively minor inconvenience.


See below for more photos of the ship and the offload.


Our 46-footer looks mighty small next to this megayacht

They know how to pack in the boats.

parking lot
starting to flood

We arrived just before sunrise on the day of the off-load. If you peer through the darkness, you can see that the well deck is just starting to flood...

Now with the well fully flooded and the other boats gone from astern of us, Liberty is floated off.

floating off
Ship view02

We leave the partially submerged Dockwise ship behind and say goodbye to Port Everglades.

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