When you decide to leave Guam, getting your possessions to your new home will be one of your top concerns. In our experience, everyone has a few prized possessions they’re particularly worried about. If you own a motorcycle on Guam, your bike probably falls into that category.
There are good reasons to worry about moving your motorcycle off Guam. Ocean transit can subject your bike to a number of different forces, ones that can wreak havoc with delicate equipment. Additionally, if you don’t have your paperwork and preparations in order, your bike may be subject to significant delays and difficulties.
After shipping hundreds of motorcycles off Guam, we’ve put together four tips to help you ship your bike safely and efficiently. By following these guidelines, you’ll do your part to ensure that your motorcycle arrives in great condition, ready to take you on a tour around the new place you’ll call home.
It all starts with the right paperwork.
Tip #1: Gather Your Documentation ASAP
Your motorcycle will leave Guam via steamship line, and they will not accept a booking until all the paperwork is complete. In other words, you need to have everything in place to secure a spot for your bike on the next ship headed for your new home. That’s why it’s important to gather your documentation as soon as possible. Although the paperwork may vary depending on your final destination, you’ll likely need the following documents:
- Current Guam Registration – If the motorcycle has been registered on the U.S. mainland, proof of U.S. registration can be helpful to your shipper. It would also eliminate the need for the Letter of Certification / Compliance (#3 below). That being said, the U.S. registration cannot be used in place of the current Guam registration.
- Title or Release from the Lien Holder – If you own the motorcycle free and clear, the title will suffice. However, if you are still paying off a loan on your motorcycle, you’ll need a release from the financial institution that holds your loan, stating that you are allowed to ship the bike off Guam to its new destination.
- Letter of Certification / Compliance – If you’re shipping your motorcycle to the U.S., you’ll need a letter certifying that your specific motorcycle complies with or meets the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Transportation (DOT) Emission Standards. You can get this letter from the manufacturer or dealership. If the motorcycle was purchased on the mainland, your U.S. title will eliminate this requirement.
- Photo of EPA / Vehicle Emissions Sticker – Look for your vehicle emissions sticker in an easily accessible location, such as under the seat, along the frame or within your underseat storage compartment. This label will lay out the emissions regulations your motorcycle conforms to.
- Photo of DOT Sticker – You’ll likely find this sticker on your tailpipe. Look for a label with wording such as “This vehicle conforms to all applicable U.S. Federal motor vehicle safety standards in effect on the date of manufacture above.”
- Recall Letter – This letter certifies there are no outstanding recalls on your motorcycle. You should be able to get a copy from the dealership or manufacturer.
- Customs Forms & Shippers’ Passport Info – If you’re shipping your bike to the U.S., your shipper will also get you a set of U.S. Customs forms that need to be accompanied by a copy of your Passport picture page. If you’re sending your bike somewhere else, your shipper will work with you to get the right paperwork for your destination.
At the end of the day, the company you use to ship your motorcycle should facilitate this process and help you assemble the right paperwork. If you’re shipping your motorcycle as a member of the U.S. military, your paperwork requirements may differ slightly. Your shipper will help you take care of that in conjunction with the Personal Property Office. That being said, the more legwork you do upfront, the faster you’ll be able to book passage for your bike.
Once you have all your documentation in order, you’ll want to make sure your bike is ready for its ocean journey.
Tip #2: Get Your Motorcycle Crated—the Right Way
During its voyage, your motorcycle will be subject to a number of forces. Potential bumps can result from the process of loading and unloading onto the ship, as well as the pitch and roll of the boat as it crosses the Pacific. To protect your motorcycle during the journey, get it custom crated by your shipping company. When you’re examining at your options on Guam for crating your bike, here’s what to look for:
- Start with a Survey – Look for a shipping company who will send someone for an in-person survey. Taking measurements of your bike is the best way to ensure that you’ll get a crate that’s perfectly sized to protect your motorcycle during ocean transit.
- Seek a Solution with Maximum Stability – Once you have the right crate, securing the motorcycle in place is critical. Ask your shipper to walk you through their plan. We recommend a 4-point tie-down system for the body of the bike, as well as bracing and chocking the wheels. For additional security, we also suggest placing a cross-bar above the motorcycle seat.
- Ensure Your Involvement – Many carriers will photograph your motorcycle before they close the crate to show you their work. If you’re especially concerned, you may even have the option to witness the crating. By watching the process in person, you’ll be able to send your motorcycle on with absolute peace of mind. If this sounds like an option you want to pursue, ask your shipping company what’s possible.
Once you choose your shipping company, you’ll have just a little more leg work on your end to make sure your motorcycle is ready for shipping from Guam.
Tip #3: Key in on the Proper Prep Procedures
To get your motorcycle ready for its crate, you’ll need to do just three things:
- Drain all the fluids from the bike.
- Disconnect the battery and secure the wires so they don’t accidentally contact the battery terminals and cause a spark.
- Leave the handlebar unlocked so the packing crew can secure your bike within the crate.
Your shipping company will take care of the rest.
Pro Tip: Take the key with you and secure it in a safe place so you can easily find it on the other end!
Finally, to reduce your stress during the process, we have one last tip.
Tip #4: Leave Plenty of Time
You’ll probably be chomping at the bit to get your bike back up and running at your new home. However, if you leave yourself plenty of time for your transition, you’ll keep your stress levels at a minimum. You also may find it helpful to understand what impacts your bike’s delivery timeline:
- Boats sail from Guam about once a week, depending on your final destination.
- Additionally, motorcycles often get put in what are called consolidations, where several individual loads are combined into a single container.
So when will your bike arrive at your destination? Once your motorcycle is booked on a steamship line, your shipping company will give you an estimate for arrival. At that point, you’ll have a good idea of when you’ll be reunited with your bike—and back on the road again.
Moving Your Most Valuable Items in Guam
Although everyone’s possessions are personal, some matter more than others. If your motorcycle is one of these, you may be concerned about moving it safely from Guam to your new home. However, by following these four tips, you’ll create a safe and efficient solution that will give you and your bike many more rides to come.
Need help moving your motorcycle from Guam? We offer custom crating solutions for motorcycles that allow you to witness the packing of your bike. Just get in touch with us, and we’ll send out a surveyor to get a quote started.
Tell us about your move!