So you have decided to purchase a boat and are now researching the things you need before taking the plunge. Congratulations! Boating is an incredibly rewarding activity, but it can also be expensive and time-consuming if you’re not prepared for what’s ahead. Before making your purchase, several items should be on your checklist for buying a boat. From budgeting to insurance policies, here is everything you need to know about preparing for your new watercraft. Read on to find out 7 essential things you’ll need before buying a boat so that when the time comes, you’re ready to hit the open waters!
1. The Cost
Before you even begin to shop for a boat, it’s important to take the time to sit down and figure out your budget. Not only do boats come with large up-front costs, but there are also long-term expenses like loan payments, maintenance, fuel, and storage that need to be taken into consideration. You should also factor in additional items like lifejackets and navigational equipment. When determining a budget, it’s best to give yourself some wiggle room so that you can cover unexpected extras. Make sure to consult with a reputable boat financing provider to get an idea of the total cost. And, of course, don’t forget to factor in the cost of insuring your boat.
2. The Right Insurance Plan
Insurance is an important part of owning a boat, and you will want to make sure that you are prepared with the right coverage for your watercraft. Different states have different requirements, so it’s best to speak to an insurance agent who can help you decide which type of policy fits your needs best. Generally speaking, most boating policies cover property damage, liability claims, and physical injury related to accidents on the water. You may also be able to find additional coverage specifically tailored toward recreational activities like fishing or skiing. Additionally, certain marinas might require that you have certain coverage to use their docks, so make sure to check with your local marina before purchasing a policy.
3. Adequate Storage
Where are you going to keep the boat when it’s not in use? This is an important consideration for any prospective boat owner – especially those who may not have access to a dock or private mooring. If you plan on keeping your new vessel in a garage or shed, make sure that there is enough room and adequate ventilation for proper storage. You will also want to consider the cost of renting or leasing space at a local marina if you do not own the land adjacent to your lake or pond. It’s best to get an idea of the cost and availability of storage before making a purchase.
4. A Reliable Transport Vehicle
Getting your boat to and from the water can be tricky, so you’ll need a reliable vehicle that can tow it safely. If you don’t own one already, consider researching different types of towing vehicles like pickup trucks or SUVs to see which best suits your needs. You will also want to look into getting specialized trailer hitches and lights to ensure that your boat is transported safely. Make sure to test out the setup beforehand with a smaller load so that you know everything is working properly before taking on a larger load. For example, you can practice towing a small trailer with sandbags in it before investing in your boat trailer. Additionally, if you plan on traveling far distances with your boat, consider investing in a tow package that includes items like extra fuel tanks and brake controllers to ensure that you get the most out of your vehicle’s towing ability.
5. Boat Safety Gear
Safety should always come first when boating, so make sure that you are prepared with all the necessary gear. This includes lifejackets, flares, whistles, oars, and a first-aid kit. It’s also important to have navigational equipment like charts and GPS systems on board in case of emergencies. Make sure to thoroughly review your state laws before taking off so that you know what kind of safety gear is required for the area where you will be boating. For example, some states require boats to have a fire extinguisher on board. Additionally, it may be helpful to carry an emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) in case of an emergency or if you need to alert authorities. Finally, make sure that everyone on your boat knows how to use the safety gear so that they know what to do in an emergency.
6. Mechanical Maintenance
Before hitting the open waters, it’s essential to ensure that your boat has been properly serviced and maintained by a qualified mechanic or technician. Boats require regular inspection and maintenance to operate safely and efficiently on the water – especially in the long term. Have a professional inspect your new vessel for any mechanical issues and make sure to keep up with recommended maintenance like oil changes, fuel filter changes, and engine tune-ups.
7. Pre-Departure Checklist
Finally, it’s important to have a pre-departure checklist in place so that you can be confident that everything is in order before setting off. This should include items like checking the weather forecast, making sure all safety gear is on board and working properly, verifying that navigation systems are functioning correctly, confirming that all necessary documents are onboard (like registration and insurance cards), packing food and snacks for the day, ensuring adequate fuel levels, filling up water tanks or containers if needed, and stowing away any loose items. Of course, this is just a general list – you can create your own that best suits your boating needs.
Overall, purchasing a boat comes with many considerations and it’s important to do your research and make sure you have the proper equipment and knowledge before venturing out onto the water. With the right preparation, you can feel confident that you and your passengers will have a safe and enjoyable trip. And, don’t forget to have fun! Boating is a great way to relax and take in the scenery.