Everything You Wanted To Know About Shipping A Kayak


For any kayaker one of the main moving forces in the sense of adventure it provides, so a day will come when you’d love to change the scenery and try out some unknown terrain, whether as a competitor, or just for fun and for the sake of adventure and recreation. Or, let’s say you’re moving to a new place, you surely won’t leave your best kayak behind, but ship it instead.

This article will lead you through the process of shipping a kayak, and try to answer all the other questions that come up when you think about how to ship a kayak.

Kayak’s Dimensional Weight

The main question most of us ask when the time to ship something comes is how much we’ll have to pay for it. For this, you’ll have to discover the dimensional weight of your kayak. Dimensional weight is a commercial cargo transport pricing technique used by most courier and postal services. It is not complicated as it sounds; you’ll need just the measuring tape, calculator, or a piece of paper and a pen.

Measure the length, the width, and the height, then multiply these values. Once you get the result, divide it by 194 and you’ll get the dimensional weight of your kayak in pounds.

Wrapping It Up

The second thing you’ll have to do before shipping a kayak is to protect it. Remember, the kayak is made for water, not for dry land, and it doesn’t take much effort to damage one, so you’ll have to pay special attention to this part. Do it by wrapping the cockpits with bubble wrap and shipping blankets. If you wonder will it affect the shipping price, yes, it will, but it is better to pay extra and be sure than to risk and damage your vessel? You could use cardboard for yak, or the packing foam, but in this case, the duct tape won’t work, you’ll need a bit more bubble wrap instead.

Ask For Advice

Some types of kayak have a specific way of transporting, so it is a good idea to contact the manufacturer and ask for advice, especially if you’re a kayaking beginner, or if you have a new brand you’re not totally familiar with, yet. If they give you their recommendation, do your best to follow it.

Choose How To Ship Your Kayak

There are a few different options on how to transport your kayak, but by far the best choices are custom crates or pallets. Both of these can easily be moved with a forklift, so the chance of breaking something by dropping it will minimal. It may take some extra time to load it and unload it, but it is worth the effort.

When it comes to choosing a vehicle used to transport your kayak, the best option is a dry van, as it will protect your vessel better than any other form of transport.

Shipping Preparation

If you’re going somewhere overseas, it is essential to leave the package open and accessible. The reason is that the customs employees or the border security would probably want to take a closer look at your vessel before they let it enter the plane or a ship, so it is a good idea to have a tape gun within a hand reach to quickly fix what needs to be fixed.

If Going Over The Sea

Shipping a kayak overseas probably means you’ll need to pay some extra taxes, fees, or customs duties, regarding the laws of the country you’re going to. This is why it is important to check the kayak importing requirements to know what to expect.

For instance, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection requires the following when importing a kayak into the States:

  • Proof of ownership, so you’ll need a bill
  • Proof that the boat meets the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Standards
  • Duty rates for recreational boats (kayaks and canoes fall into this category)

For most of the other countries, you’ll need these:

  • A commercial invoice with the details of your kayak origin country and the purchase price
  • A bill of lading
  • The arrival notice
  • Packing list with kayak details in it

Choosing A Shipping Company

Now when your kayak is safely tucked in its custom crate and your paperwork is done and ready, it is time to choose the best shipping company. This part is simple – just make sure they have the capacity to handle your boat. This shouldn’t be a problem, though.

Also, when you make a deal with your shipping company, if you own a kayak trailer, you could drop the kayak off at the shipping terminal, because it will lower the overall cost of your shipping.

Customs Broker

The customs broker’s purpose is to help you with your shipment by making sure it clears the customs. They will take care of everything. Of course, you won’t have to use the help of a licensed customs broker, but if your situation falls into one of these categories, it is better to ask for help than to get stuck or run into some unwanted surprises:

  • You want to import a kayak as fast as possible
  • If the overall value of your importing goods is bigger than $2,500. You’d also need a customs bond in this case. Customs brokers should take care of this.
  • You have to pass the CBP without problems, which is especially important if you’re in a hurry.

Sometimes there may be some additional paperwork necessary, so it is recommended to gather all the information for each country you’ll be visiting individually and on time.

Globo Surf Overview

This article on how to ship a kayak should be more than enough for the beginning and it will cover the basics, so when the time of shipping your kayak comes, you embrace it without stress and totally relaxed. As you can see, it is not complicated, just don’t wait for the last moment. Start planning early and you’ll be back in the saddle with the kayak paddles in your hands in a no-time.

More Kayak Reviews:


  1. 12 Things You Need to Know about Shipping a Kayak, usacustomsclearance.com
Globo Surf
My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!