3 Things New Boat Owners Should Be Prepared For

3 Things New Boat Owners Should Be Prepared For
  • Opening Intro -

    Buying a boat is like purchasing your own floating vacation.

    Whether you opt for a small sailboat or a large yacht, boating is one of the ultimate ways to enjoy being out on the water.


However, buying a boat is not a one-time transaction. There are ongoing obligations, such as insurance, apparel, licensing and maintenance. In particular, you will need to obtain the right gear, make arrangements for off-season storage and have emergency funds on hand for those unexpected expenses and repairs that inevitably come up.

Here are three things to keep in mind before you set sail.

Pre-Launch Preparations

With the exception of the very smallest vessels, boats require registration, and boat operators require licenses to operate them. Specific requirements vary by jurisdiction. You should determine which documents you need before your first trip on the water.

Likewise, you’ll need to fit out your boat with the proper gear. Some items, such as life preservers, rope, anchors and buoys are a natural fit. However, jumper cables, cable ties and toilet paper are less obvious, but just as valuable.

Off-Season Storage

Even if you live in a sunny, warm climate, there are times when your boat won’t be out on the water. And if you live in a temperate or a colder climate, boating season may be limited to just a few months in the spring, summer and fall.

For the times when you’re not actually boating, you will need a place to store your boat. If you have a large enough garage, you can store your boat at home.

If not, there are other options, each with advantages and disadvantages.

  • Indoor Boat Storage:

    One indoor storage option is a dry stack with dozens of other boats, sometimes called a “boatel.” A large storage unit is another option. Indoor storage provides more protection for your boat, but it’s also more expensive than storing your boat outdoors.

  • Dry Boat Storage:

    Most marinas and boat yards offer secured outdoor boat storage. Dry boat storage is inexpensive, but unprotected from the elements. Putting a tarp over the boat provides a measure of protection for a vessel in dry boat storage.

  • Slip Storage:

    Slip holders may opt to keep their boats in their slips year-round. That’s an inexpensive option for warm climates, but risky in colder climates where the boat may freeze in place, causing damage to the hull. Storing the boat on a lift in the slip keeps the boat out of the water.

look for: garage boat hoistlook for: boat shelter

Regular Maintenance and Emergency Funds

Just like a car or a bicycle, a boat requires regular maintenance to stay afloat. Putting off needed repairs for a boat’s hull and topsides — workings like the engine, plumbing, HVAC and electrical systems — is a recipe for disaster. Likewise, hinges, tracks, zippers and upholstery also require regular upkeep. Setting aside funds for regular maintenance is a smart strategy.

However, there are also those unexpected but inevitable emergencies that come up. In many instances, urgent repairs are needed when money is tight. A USAA credit card, for example, can provide much-needed emergency funds for boat repairs. In addition, it provides low interest rates and rewards points and cash back on all purchases.

other valuable tips:

Anchors Aweigh!

Boating is one of the most enjoyable ways to spend time on the water; however, boat owners should make the proper preparations before setting sail. Getting paperwork and gear in order, arranging storage for your boat and setting aside savings for regular maintenance keeps your boat afloat. And a credit card can provide much-needed funds for unexpected emergencies.

Image credit: boat owners by Pixabay

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