Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Know Your Boat Transportation Company

Know Your Boat Transportation Company

There are several ways for a boat owner or boat manufacturer to minimize risk when selecting a transporter to ship a boat or yacht. Don't assume that all methods of transporting your boat will be legal and safe or that your boat will be properly insured. We want to help you to minimize the risk and problems of your boat or yacht move by providing the following information for your use. If you use a boat transporter or broker that is not legal, you could be liable for any damage that is done in the transport of your boat. If you use a boat transporter that does not have commercial cargo insurance you could lose your boat investment in case of an accident.


Interstate CommerceTrade

Traffic, or transportation involving the crossing of a State boundary. Either the vehicle, its passengers, or cargo must cross a State boundary, or there must be the intent to cross a State boundary to be considered an interstate carrier.

If the operations include interstate commerce, the carrier must comply with the applicable Federal safety regulations and Operating Authority rules, in addition to State and local requirements. An interstate carrier must be registered in the State of operation to operate in interstate commerce to ensure that the vehicle is properly registered for purposes of the International Registration Plan (IRP), and International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA). The base State will help by collecting the appropriate fees and distributing a portion of those fees to the other States in which the commercial motor vehicles are operated.

Commercial motor vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating (whichever is greater) of 10,001 lb or more operating in interstate commerce must comply with the applicable U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) safety regulations concerning: CDL: controlled substances and alcohol testing for all persons required to possess a CDL: driver qualifications (including medical exams); driving of commercial motor vehicles; parts and accessories necessary for safe operations; hours of service; and inspection, repair and maintenance.

Operating Authority and Insurance

Some boat transportation brokers and carriers are not properly licensed or insured and there are companies using pick-up trucks that are not commercially licensed or insured at all. You should be able to verify legal operating status through FMCSA. There are two types of insurance legally required by the transporter and a boat owner needs to verify both on FMCSA.website.

Types Of Boat Transporters

Common Carrier:

The definition of an "authorized for-hire " carrier is a person or company that provides transportation of cargo or passengers for compensation. A for-hire carrier, in addition to the USDOT Number, will also need to obtain Operating Authority (MC Number). Common carriers provide for-hire truck transportation to the general public. Common carriers must file both liability (BI & PD) insurance and cargo insurance. Common carriers hauling low value goods as specified at 49 CFR 387.301(b) may request exemption from cargo insurance requirements. Selecting a transporter with common authority affords you the safest option.


Contract Carrier:

Contract carriers provide for-hire truck transportation to specific, individual shippers, based on contracts. A Contract Carrier is a Transporter that does not serve the general public but only one or a limited number of shippers under a specific contract-of-carriage. Contract carriers must file only liability (BI & PD) insurance. A contract carrier cannot broker loads without first applying for and receiving a license to operate as a broker of freight. If a contract carrier is your choice, verify the carrier has valid commercial cargo insurance as standard insurance offers limited or no protection for your boat.


Private Carrier:

Private motor carrier means a person who provides transportation of property or passengers, by commercial motor vehicle, and is not a for-hire motor carrier. This type carrier would not be a legal or safe option to transport your boat. Any authority and insurance in a for-hire situation would probably not be valid and would offer no protection.


Broker:

A Broker means a person who, for compensation, arranges, or offers to arrange the transportation of property utilizing authorized for-hire carriers to provide the actual truck transportation. Brokerage or brokerage service is the arranging of transportation or the physical movement of a motor vehicle or of property. It can be performed on behalf of a motor carrier, consignor, or consignee. Brokers never take possession of the cargo. Brokers must file either a surety bond or trust fund agreement. If selecting a broker you will not only need to verify the broker is legal and bonded by verifying a valid MC number for brokerage, but that the actual transporter the broker assigns the load to is also legally authorized and insured for transporting your boat..


Freight Forwarder:

A person holding itself out to the general public (other than as an express, pipeline,, rail, sleeping car, motor, or water carrier) to provide transportation of property for compensation in interstate commerce, and in the ordinary course of its business:1. Performs or provides for assembling, consolidation, break-bulk, and distribution of shipments:2. Assumes responsibility for transportation from place of receipt to destination; and3. Uses for any part of the transportation a carrier subject to FMCSA jurisdiction.

Online Boat Transport Marketplace:

There are several OnLine marketplace websites that provide for shipping services. Most of them consider their operation to be a "Neutral Venue" and by user agreement specify that they are not a transportation service provider, freight forwarder, or broker. The claim is that the website acts as a venue where shippers and transporters can meet and enter into agreements. Most are not involved in the actual transaction between shippers and transporters. As a result, they claim no control over the quality, safety, or legal aspects of the transactions that take place on the website. They dont prequalify or validate the claims of transporters including with respect to their licensure, insurance and registration. It is a website function solely as a neutral venue and digital clearinghouse where two parties may agree on a price for a particular type of service. They are the neutral venue for this connection between you and other members. They do not provide any endorsement for any, you acknowledge and agree that they do not provide the services and are not in any way responsible for assisting you in any manner with your provision of the services. They cannot and will not guarantee the ability of members to complete payment for any of the provided services. Furthermore, due to the difficulty of individual authentication, especially on the Internet, they cannot and will not in any manner verify or confirm the identity or ability of members to pay for the provided services. Before entering into any agreement they require you to acknowledge and agree that any and all communications, correspondence, verbal or written, or any warranties or representations, made with regard to the services that are not provided by them and are specifically and solely between you and the other member. Because they are not involved in the actual transaction between shippers and transporters, they have no control over the accuracy of listings, the ability of transporters to transport items, or the ability of shippers to send items. They cannot ensure that a shipper or transporter will actually complete a shipment.

Where do I go to find out if a company has interstate Operating Authority (active MC Number)?

The information can be obtained on the FMCSA web site, Search For Company Snapshot. Enter either the USDOT Number, MC/MX Number, or Name of Company and search. If the entry is valid a "Company Snapshop" page for that company will come up containing some basic information concerning the company, but not the authority or insurance status. Go to the top right section of the page and click on "Licensing & Insurance" and the company "Carrier Search" page will be displayed, showing some of the company summary information, but again, not the authority or insurance status. To view the authority and insurance information on the company, click on the "view details" HTML report tab and a full report on the company operating authority and insurance will be displayed, along with links to other authority and insurance reports.


Why doesn't a Broker MC Number appear on the web site at "Search For Company Snapshot" ?

If a company is a broker only, and does not have carrier operating authority, they are not assigned a USDOT number, and may not show up on the "Search For Company Snapshot" page. You can verify broker legal and bond status by going to the FMCSA Search Site. Type in the correct location; either the Docket Number/MC Number, the company legal name and state, or the company DBA name and state. If the entry is valid, a "Company Snapshop" page for that company will come up containing some basic information concerning the company, but not the authority or insurance status. Go to the top right section of the page and click on "Licensing & Insurance" and the company "Carrier Search" page will be displayed, showing some of the company summary information, but again, not the authority or insurance status. To view the authority and insurance information on the company, click on the "view details" HTML report tab and a full report on the company authority, bond, and insurance status will be displayed, along with links to other authority and insurance reports.


What if I don't have internet access, have trouble with the site, or problems finding a company?
Please call FMCSA toll free number at 800-832-5660 or call FMCSA status line at 202-366-9805 between the hours of 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM eastern standard time.

7 comments:

  1. Great details about my boat Transportation company which I was looking since so for :)
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