Are you planning to buy a new boat for the first time, or have you just bought your first boat? Now what?
Buying your first boat is exciting, but there’s a lot of information you need to know to take care of your new investment. Before you get behind the helm of your vessel, grab a pencil and paper, and let’s dive into what you need to know as a first-time boat owner. For convenience, we have created a first-time boat owner checklist, let’s check it out.
First-Time Boat Owner Checklist
1. Have the Correct Insurance
Even though boats are a boatload of fun, they can come with their fair share of mishaps. Having the right insurance will protect you from significant expenses and will give you the peace of mind you need to enjoy your time on the water. Our tip? Take the headache out of boat insurance by working with an insurance agent.
2. Learn to Trailer Your Boat
There are many trials and tribulations that come along with trailering your boat. But don’t worry—you’ll become a pro in no time.
Make sure your vehicle is rated to tow the boat you’re buying and familiarize yourself with its weight capacity (Gross Combined Vehicle Rating). The last thing you want to find out is that your vehicle won’t be able to tow the boat you just purchased.
3. Learn to Launch & Retrieve Your Boat
Yes, there’s such a thing as boat ramp etiquette. Launching and retrieving your boat can be stressful for first-time boat owners, especially on busy weekends—but just remember practice makes perfect. Try practicing backing up your boat in an empty lot before heading out to launch.
4. Understand the Basic Maintenance Required
A boat has an engine with a lot of moving parts, just like your vehicle. So, with any watercraft, it’s important to keep up with annual maintenance. Pencil in regular oil and filter changes on your calendar, including propeller inspections.
For colder climates, you’ll want to winterize your vessel.
5. Get Proper Equipment
Sometimes, things happen on the water. Whether it be an overboard emergency or troubles with your motor, you’ll need basic proper equipment onboard your boat at all times. This includes:
- Life Vests
- Throwable flotation devices
- A fire extinguisher
- Visual and audible signaling devices
- A VHF radio to call for help
- A safety kit
- A toolbox
6. Master Your Operating Skills
Safe boating makes boating fun for everyone. Opt to take a boating safety course or courses offered by the US Coast Guard to hone your boating skill and make the boating experience safe and enjoyable for everyone onboard.