1. Find a boat transportation specialist: It's best to use a shipper that specializes in boat transport. Request copies of DOT or state license documents and cargo insurance - reluctance to provide this information is reason enough to look elsewhere. You can also check a company's history of inspections, crashes and the status of commercial carriers' licenses at http://safer.fmcsa.dot.gov/companysnapshot.aspx. Had Schmidt checked here, he would have found his shipper had high percentage of failed truck inspections - a red flag. All transportation agreements should be in writing, with complete information about costs, taxes, tariffs, scheduling, security, and pickup and delivery locations, as well as rules about refunds for cancellations or delays. Make sure you read and understand the shipper's contract.