Dockwise Yacht Transport: A Practical Choice for Cruisers
Dockwise charges about $35,000 to ship a 40-foot boat from Newport to the Mediterranean. One family I met (they asked not to be named) had used the service to transport their Hylas 49 Insieme from the East Coast to Palma Mallorca, where they spent two years cruising, and then used it again for the return trip across the Atlantic. They were anxious to float off of Yacht Express and on to the continuation of their journey, two more years of cruising along the East Coast. "When you factor in the costs of hiring a crew and food and fuel and wear and tear on the boat, it just makes more sense to do this," said the owner.
On deck, Yacht Express felt like your average marina on a Tuesday morning-- people working on their boats, preparing for big races, setting out on cruises. The real action happens below the surface of the dock bay. To start the unloading and loading process, the ship takes on water until its cargo bay becomes a 27-foot-deep boat basin, the front of the ship open to surrounding water. Departing boats simply untie and sail off; oncoming boats move into their predetermined positions. As the ship rises and water drains from the dock bay, divers position supports beneath the boats. Before the ship departs, the crew welds seafastenings to the deck and straps down its precious cargo.
Not long after our tour concluded, Yacht Express departed Newport for Port Everglades, Florida. Currently, these are the only U.S. ports Dockwise services, but the company has plans to add Long Beach, California, to its list of more than 20 ports worldwide.