Boats Fishing

Quick tips to ensure your shuttle goes right

There’s plenty of ways to shuttle boats and vehicles, and I’ve probably done about 90 percent of them. My guess is that you have, too. The regular old car-truck run, a state trooper’s back seat, municipal bus, Uber, a moped, dirt bike, electric bike, regular bike, horse, donkey. I’m kidding about the donkey.

Of all the shuttle types out there, the driver for hire is probably the easiest, but most expensive way. Over the years I’ve learned a few tricks that can either make or completely wreck your day. Some of the tips below are super obvious. Some … maybe not. All of them have helped me over the years in one way or another.

Here goes …

  • Pre-tip. I know there’s huge disagreement on this, but seriously why not ensure your driver is happy right when they get in your vehicle? This is a person you’ve never met. Driving your car, sometimes great distances.
  • Be clear and let the shuttle driver know if your vehicle is a standard or automatic. It’s crazy, but more and more I’m finding shuttle services that claim they don’t have anyone who can drive a stick. This has burned me once or twice.
  • Always always bring an extra set of keys and keep them on your person. You never know what they shuttle driver is going to do with your other set. I’ve had to break a few windows to get back in and without a spare key you’re kind of dead in the water.
  • Occasionally I like to leave a pack of gum or bag of candy for the shuttle drive with a little note in addition to my tip. It’s a nice gesture that goes a long way.
  • Triple check if you’ve left any lights on in the cab or anywhere else in the car especially if you’re doing an overnight trip or where the take-out is super remote. Last summer I did a three day float with my family on the Yampa River and the take out was very remote and desolate. When we got there my truck was dead. Luckily there was one other party taking out and they jumped us, but if they weren’t there we would have been in trouble. Also consider getting a gizmo like Uncharted Supply Co.’s Athena. It’s a very compact portable energy system that can jump start a car multiple times on one charge.
  • Get your gas tank as full as possible before dropping off your car. You just never know what could happen before, during, or after your float.
  • Last, but not least, get recommendations on your shuttle service. All are not created equal.