Global Yacht Transport


Guide to Yacht Transportation in the USA

Discover the essentials of yacht transportation within the vibrant yachting landscape of the United States. From the extensive port network and robust yacht manufacturing to navigating the intricacies of shipping logistics, this guide covers everything yacht owners need to know about transporting their prized vessels across the US and beyond.

2023 BBC St Petersburg ME Med Caribbean US

History of Yacht Transportation

The United States, with its vast coastline, numerous lakes, and a culture that cherishes water-based activities, stands as a beacon for yachting enthusiasts. The yachting sector in the US is characterized by:

Extensive U.S. Port Network

Key hubs include ports on the West Coast (Los Angeles, Long Beach), East Coast (New York/New Jersey, Savannah, Fort Lauderdale), and Gulf Coast (Houston, New Orleans).

Vibrant Yachting Sector

A diverse industry dedicated to recreational boating, including sailing, powerboating, and luxury yacht ownership.

Robust Yacht Manufacturing

Home to leading manufacturers producing sailboats, motor yachts, and mega yachts.

Popular Ports & Destinations

Explore some of the most sought-after yachting destinations and what makes them special

BBC Ocean Freedom - OCT 2023 Genoa - FL

East Coast: Newport,  Miami/Ft Lauderdale

The East Coast of the United States is a beacon for yachting enthusiasts, offering a blend of historical charm and modern luxury.

  • Newport, Rhode Island, often referred to as the sailing capital of the world, boasts a rich maritime history and is home to the prestigious Newport Regatta and the Newport Charter Yacht Show.
  • Miami and Ft Lauderdale, Florida, are pivotal in the luxury yacht industry, hosting the annual Miami Yacht Show and the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, respectively. These events attract a global audience, showcasing the latest in yacht design and technology. 
BBC Ocean Freedom - OCT 2023 Genoa - FL

The Caribbean:  Antigua, St Thomas

The allure of the Caribbean islands lies in their diverse landscapes, offering everything from serene beaches to vibrant cultural experiences.

  • Antigua and St Thomas in the Caribbean are jewels in the crown of yachting destinations. Antigua, with its rich naval history, hosts the annual Antigua Sailing Week, one of the premier regatta events globally. Its harbors are well-equipped to accommodate yachts of all sizes, making it a hub for the Caribbean yachting community. St Thomas, part of the US Virgin Islands, offers stunning bays like Magens Bay and a bustling charter scene in Charlotte Amalie, making it a favorite for both private and charter yachts seeking the quintessential Caribbean experience.

Highlights and Seasons

Each of these regions offers its own unique appeal, setting the stage for unforgettable yachting experiences throughout the year.

  • The East Coast shines in the summer months, with cooler temperatures and a calendar full of maritime events, making it an ideal time for yachting enthusiasts to explore the historic ports and vibrant cultural scenes of Newport and Miami.
  • The West Coast and beyond beckon yachters year-round, but particularly from late spring through early fall, when the Pacific offers smoother sailing conditions and the Caribbean’s hurricane season is at bay. The winter months shift the focus to the warmer climates of the Bahamas and the Caribbean, where yachting becomes a preferred escape from colder weather, highlighted by regattas, cultural festivals, and the unparalleled beauty of these tropical paradises.

By understanding the unique characteristics and seasonal highlights of these popular ports and destinations, yacht owners can plan their voyages to coincide with the best each location has to offer, ensuring a rich and varied yachting experience.

For more information

What to Look Out For

Navigating yacht transportation requires awareness of:

  • Hurricanes: Seasonal considerations and planning.
  • Insurance: Ensuring comprehensive coverage for all aspects of transport.
  • Jones Act: Understanding its implications on shipping between US ports. For nearly 100 years the Jones Act has restricted water transportation of cargo between U.S. ports to ships that are U.S.-owned, U.S.-crewed, U.S.-registered, and U.S.-built. If your port of loading or final destination is Port Everglades, Peters & May are able to ship you instead to/from Freeport in the Bahamas, which is only 107 nautical miles.


Shipping / Trucking Stats

Understanding the logistics of yacht transportation is crucial. Here are some key considerations:

  • State-Specific Regulations: Including road legal height (13’6″) and width (8’6″).
  • Oversize Cargo Requirements: Permit necessities, possible escort requirements, and transport hour restrictions.
  • Regional Differences: Easier oversize shipments in the southern US, highlighting the importance of selecting the right trucking company with appropriate insurance and permits.

Trade Map and Routes

Seasonal Routes for Yacht Transport

  • Caribbean: Best from November to May, avoiding the hurricane season. This aligns with the peak sailing season, offering safer and more enjoyable conditions.
  • Mediterranean: Ideal between April to October, with May to September being the peak. These months ensure favorable weather and access to the region’s vibrant maritime culture.

Strategic Ports and the Jones Act

  • Caribbean Access: Miami and Fort Lauderdale are key for yacht transport to the Caribbean, providing necessary services and facilitating adherence to the Jones Act for seamless shipping.
  • Mediterranean Entry: Ports like Palma de Mallorca, and Genoa are vital for accessing the Mediterranean, offering direct entry points and supporting the logistics of yacht transport.

Selecting the right season and ports is crucial for a successful yacht transport, ensuring compliance with regulations and optimal sailing conditions.

Sailing Schedules USA

Yacht transportation in the US offers myriad opportunities and challenges. Whether you’re navigating the regulatory landscape or selecting the ideal time to move your vessel, understanding these key aspects ensures a smooth and efficient transport process.

USA Office

Originally located in Chicago, Peters & May’s US office relocated to Florida in 2011. Situated close to Fort Lauderdale’s Port Everglades, the team are integral to the operation of our popular Transatlantic trade, as well as shipments worldwide.