How to Ship a Kayak

••• Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

With so many different styles of kayaking growing more and more popular, paddlers can be found across the country, wherever there is suitable water. However, like many other outdoor sports, prime kayak adventure conditions may not be right at your front door and may require travel. Hauling a kayak to local water can be a chore at times, and shipping long distances may seem even more daunting. However, getting your kayak to a travel destination may not be as difficult as you might think.

Step 1

Determine the dimensional weight of your boat. The formula for this in pounds is to multiply length times width time height and divide that number by 194 ({L x W x H}/194). Be sure to measure at the widest and tallest points of your kayak. The resulting number is the pounds dimensional weight, which will be necessary to calculate the cost per pound for shipping.

Step 2

Choose a freight forwarding or cargo shipping company that will accept the size and dimensional weight of your boat. Popular shipping avenues such as UPS, Federal Express and the United States Postal Service often will not ship or cannot handle items as large as a kayak. Companies that have consistently and safely shipped kayaks include Pilot Air, Forward Air and FreightQuote. Major commercial airlines will most likely accept your kayak as cargo, depending on its size and your destination.

Step 3

Wrap and protect your kayak. A cockpit cover along with lots of bubble wrap may be your best bet. Blankets are good protection but will add further bulk and weight to your total.

Step 4

Leave the packaging open and accessible if you are using an airline to ship your kayak. Your boat will need to be searched prior to loading. It is now Transportation and Security Administration regulation that 100% of all domestic cargo (as well as passenger luggage) be screened. Bring a tape gun with you to finish sealing after inspection. For other shipping options, it is okay to seal your packaging materials.

Step 5

Call your chosen shipping company to arrange to a pickup time and location for the kayak.


  • • Always be sure to get a tracking number for your shipment. It may be wise to purchase insurance on your shipment as well, depending on your boat's value and how far it has to travel.
  • • If shipping your kayak overseas, be ready for additional taxes, customs duties and potential broker fees.


  • • You can save extra money by dropping off your kayak at a shipping terminal rather than having it picked up at your home. Likewise, you can cut costs by picking it up at a terminal rather than having it delivered to a final destination.
  • • Contact kayak manufacturers and distributors and see which carriers they trust to ship their boats.
  • • Always call ahead for a quote. Choose a company that is well versed in shipping kayaks safely as opposed to one who simply agrees to ship it but does not know how to take care of it.


About the Author

Jullie Chung writes regularly for various websites. She is a nationally certified fitness trainer and performance enhancement specialist through the National Academy of Sports Medicine and trains regularly in yoga, flatwater kayaking, boxing and mixed martial arts. An avid outdoor fan, she regularly hikes, climbs and trail runs.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images