Hauling a Oversized Boat

Information for Individuals Hauling Oversize Loads

It’s summertime and here at Mercury Permits we’ve been getting a lot of phone calls from individuals wanting to haul their boat from one part of the country to another.  During the harvest season we’ve had individuals calling asking about hauling farm equipment as well.  This article is for those people and anyone else who wants to find out about how they can haul something that is over legal dimensions and they are not a regular trucking company.

There are some things you’ll need for just the purpose of purchasing the oversize permits and nothing else.  We can help you with everything you’ll need, from understanding the various insurance requirements to applying for the right account numbers you’ll need.  I’m going to explain most of it here, but if you have any questions please call us and one of our knowledgeable and helpful staff will help you with anything you need.

The first thing you’ll need to know is how much weight your vehicle is registered for and how much you’re allowed to haul with your truck and trailer.  If your registered weight is more than 10,000 lbs, you’ll need a US DOT (United States Department of Transportation) number.  You’ll only need to apply as a “registrant,” not a commercial carrier, if you’re an individual.  You can go online to the US DOT website or you can call us and we can help you through it.  The DOT number is free, and only needed to purchase some states’ permits, so depending on your route, you may not need to get a DOT number.  This is something that we can help you to determine.

If your GVW (Gross Vehicle Weight) after being loaded is more than 26,000 lbs (this is the total weight after you have the boat/equipment/etc. on the trailer), then you will probably also need to get trip and fuel permits.  These are temporary registration and fuel tax permits that take the place of applying for the annual IFTA (International Fuel Tax Agreement) certificate and IRP (International Registration Plan) registration. Every state charges a different amount for the temporary trip and fuel permits, so it’s important to know which states you’ll be traveling through and the routes you’ll be taking in order to determine the cost.  There are also some states that don’t require one or the other - we can help you with this as well.

Insurance is another factor that will need to be taken care of before ordering permits.  In most states, your regular insurance for your vehicle will be sufficient; however, there are some states that have more specific requirements.  You can find a listing of those states and their requirements here.  You only need to be concerned with the requirements of the states you’ll be traveling through.  Indiana and Ohio have specific forms that need to be filled out and faxed back to the states directly. The Indiana form can also be submitted online.  Texas does not require insurance from an individual but they do require a $10,000 surety bond.  You can find out more about the surety bond here, and get the form for the bond here.   Each state must approve the application form prior to being able to purchase a permit from them.

Once you have your DOT number and insurance requirements taken care of, we can then help you with determining what permits you’ll need and for which states.  Most individuals that are hauling their personal boat will not need trip and fuel permits, only permits for the oversize load.  The dimensions of a legal size load are as follows:  13ft 6in tall, 8ft 6in wide, 65ft long (some states this is 60ft and others it is 75ft) and 80,000 lbs gross vehicle weight.  If any of your loaded dimensions are greater than those listed, you will need an oversize load permit for each state you travel in or through.

Once we know which dimension(s) are extralegal, we can then help you determine the best possible route for your trip.  This can include avoiding toll roads and/or states or routes where you might need a pilot car (discussed below).  Every state has different regulations on where and when an oversize load can travel.  Depending on your preferences and needs, we can help you find a way to get to your destination with as little delays and interruptions as possible.

If your boat or load is very large some states may require you to have a Pilot Car accompany you through the state.  Pilot cars, also known as escorts, are certified vehicles that lead or follow an oversize load during a trip.  Each state requires pilot cars for different oversize dimensions; you can find a list of the states and the requirements here.  Sometimes that route that you will be traveling will require a pilot car for only a short distance, due to specific restrictions on the road or on the oversize dimension.  Mercury Permits staff can help you determine if you’ll need a pilot car, and where along the route you’ll need them. We can also help you find the right pilot car company for your needs.  You can find out what the various state requirements are for Pilot Cars here.

The information we’ll need to purchase your permits are listed below.

Load information:

  • Description of load (boat, excavator, harvester, etc.)
  • Dimensions of the load by itself including weight, make & model, and in some cases a serial/VIN number

Truck/Tractor Information:

  • Year & make of truck/tractor
  • License plate & state of registration
  • Full VIN number
  • Number of axles
  • Length (measured from bumper to bumper)
  • Axle spacing (measured from center of one axle to the center of the next axle)
  • Registered weight

Trailer Information:

  • Same information as the truck/tractor

Loaded Dimensions:

  • Height
  • Width
  • Overall length
  • Overhang in the front and/or rear
  • Weight



  • Full Address if possible – some states will accept a junction or intersection, however some will only accept a full address. Please be prepared.


  • Full Address if possible – see above

Requested Route:

  • You can request a specific route or leave it up to us, we can work with either.  However, some states will not allow you to travel on certain routes. Please be aware that any requested route will be applied for and we will try to get a route that is as close as possible to it.  There are occasions when a requested route is completely closed to an oversize load and there are no similar alternatives or acceptable detours, we will notify you immediately and give you our recommended alternative routes.

Once your permit has been issued by the state and we have received it, we will fax or e-mail it to your specified location or e-mail address, along with any conditions or attachments that are required by the state.  Although we are only open between 5am and 5pm Pacific time, you can reach us for emergencies, including refaxes of permits, 24 hrs a day.

We know that hauling an oversize load isn’t easy for an individual and that there are a lot of rules and regulations that you will be unfamiliar with.  At Mercury Permits we want to make this as easy as possible for you.  We are here to help you figure out the best way to get your oversize load where you need it to go.  Contact us today for more help.

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