If you are a new boat owner, congratulations! Owning a boat is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and spend time with your family and friends. However, there are some things you need to know to keep your boat in good condition and avoid any costly repairs. This blog post will discuss some of the most important tips for new boat owners. Read on to learn more!
Get Your Boating License
If you haven't already, get your boating license or safety and education certificate, whichever is appropriate for your state or country. Be aware that your license or certificate may not be valid in other states or countries, which may have their own requirements. Many states require a boating course to get a license or certificate. Even if they don't, it is still a good idea for an inexperienced boater to take a boating course before trying out your new boat.
Get Boating Insurance
Your state or country may not require boating insurance, but it's still a good idea to insure your boat. Financing a boat purchase or storing it at a marina usually requires proof of insurance. A boat benefits from insurance in the same way as a house or a car, but it is usually a good idea to separate your boating insurance and your homeowner's insurance, for instance. Homeowner's policies are usually limited in their marine-specific risks, so they may not cover all of the possibilities you want your vessel insured against. Operating a small boat along inland waterways may have sufficient coverage on standard homeowner's insurance, but for bigger or longer-ranging vessels, you will probably need maritime insurance.
Your car or other vehicles likely have a small store of supplies and tools in case you need them on the road, and your boat should be no different. Buy a waterproof duffel bag and fill it with essential items useful in an emergency. These include but are not limited to:
- Water bottles
- A flare gun and flares
- Energy bars
- A multipurpose tool
- A first aid kit
While you're at it, don't forget to stock your boat with other safety essentials like life jackets, dock lines, fenders, and spare parts such as fuses and fuel filters.
Learn How to Maintain Your Boat
If you own a boat, you should know how to maintain it. Not only does this save money, but it also instills the confidence you need to take your boat on longer trips without worrying about the proximity and availability of repair shops. At its most basic, maintaining your boat is primarily about keeping it clean and certain parts well-lubricated. You should also flush your engine after taking it through saltwater. Consult a boat maintenance checklist:
- The boat's canvas and upholstery
- The boat's hull and topside
- Moving parts like hinges and zippers
- Plumbing and HVAC systems, where applicable
- The engine(s)
- The boat's electrical systems
Like a car, a boat must also be brought in to professional mechanics periodically for a checkup. Make sure you don't miss these important appointments!
Learn How to Drive With A Trailer
Driving a vehicle that is hauling a boat on a trailer takes practice. You absolutely must make sure that your chosen vehicle is capable of towing a boat on a trailer. If your boat sways from side to side while you are transporting it, pull over immediately and redistribute the load. The best place to practice driving with your boat trailer is a large and empty parking lot, ideally with someone experienced in transporting boats. You will also need to practice backing your boat trailer down a ramp so you can launch your boat.
Figure Out Where to Store Your Boat
If you live in a temperate area where the winters are mild, you can simply leave your boat in the water year-round. Another popular option is dry boat storage. This option is relatively safe and inexpensive, and almost all marinas and boat yards offer this service. Either way, you should invest in a good cover for your boat if it is outside. "Shrink wrapping" the boat, parking it under a boat storage canopy, or otherwise covering it will prevent unwelcome intrusion and weathering.
Finally, there is indoor boat storage. While this is the safest option for your boat, it is also the most expensive. It can also be difficult to find. If you intend on storing your craft at home, make sure that the laws and regulations in your area permit it.
The best thing you can do as a new boat owner is to boat responsibly. This responsibility means doing all of the above and planning before each trip. Check the weather, ensure that someone not on your boat knows when you leave, when you will return, and where you go, and know your route ahead of time. This planning is part of prioritizing safety.
The other part of prioritizing safety comes in operating the boat. Always adhere to your vessel's capacity restrictions, avoid sitting at the front, and use basic hand signals under loud conditions, so you don't have to yell. Finally, create a pre-departure checklist to ensure that you have all of your safety equipment, your engine and coolant levels are correct, and your fuel is topped off. If you follow all of these guidelines, you should have a safe and fun boating experience!
Let Nextwave Marine Help You Boat the Best
Every boat needs a source of parts for maintenance, repairs, and modifications. Whether you need a high-speed engine bracket, a powder coating process to protect your brackets or a new aluminum fuel tank, you can trust the experts at Nextwave Marine. We even do custom aluminum designs to meet your needs regardless of what they are. So why wait? Make your new boat even better with Nextwave Marine!