If you’ve recently become a first-time boat owner, congratulations! There’s a lot to consider and learn when you buy your first boat. We’re here to help you out with a few tips. In brief, here’s a checklist from DiscoverBoating.com:
- Secure boat insurance.
- Learn how to trailer your boat.
- Learn how to launch and retrieve your boat.
- Determine where you will store your boat.
- Understand basic maintenance requirements.
- Stock your boat with the proper equipment.
- Follow a pre-departure checklist.
- Master basic on-the-water operating skills.
- Always practice safe and responsible boating.
- Enjoy your new boat!
Now, a bit more about these helpful tips:
Secure Boat Insurance
You need to insure your boat, both for liability and for damage to the boat, and in that regard boat insurance is similar to a policy that covers your automobile. But there are some types of coverage that are specific to boats. For example, a policy with specific fuel-spill liability protects you from clean-up claims or third-party damage caused by the accidental discharge of oil or fuel, if you boat were to sink in a marina. If you have an accident while towing, your boat policy pays to repair or replace the trailer. If your trailer causes injuries to people or damage to property your auto policy should cover the liability. Check both policies to make sure you are covered. Other factors to consider are special requirements for boats in hurricane zones, and boats leaving U.S. waters.
Learn How to Trailer Your Boat
Trailering you boat makes it possible to visit new bodies of water, but for many new boat owners towing safely requires another new skill set that is part of boat ownership. The first item to check is that your tow vehicle is rated to tow the boat you will buy. Check the vehicle owner’s manual carefully to find the maximum tow rating, and the Gross Combined Vehicle Rating (GCVR), which is the weight of the tow vehicle and the boat and trailer; and that weight should include the weight of boat fuel, water and gear. Don’t buy a boat only to discover you’ll need a new truck to tow it.
Learn How to Launch and Retrieve Your Boat
The boat launch ramp has its own etiquette, developed to keep things moving smoothly even on the busiest weekend morning. Knowing the drill will help you keep your stress level down and get your day on the water off to a great start.
Determine Where You Will Store Your Boat
You might store your new boat on its trailer, but where will you park it? Not all communities permit boats to be parked-long-term in a residential driveway. Will your boat trailer fit in your garage? Maybe you need a trailer with a swing-away tongue. There are many other boat-storage options, from a dry stack valet service to mooring in a marina.
Understand Basic Maintenance Requirements
Powerboats and personal watercrafts (PWCs) will require at least annual basic engine maintenance, usually an oil and filter change and a fuel filter change, a change of gearcase lubricant, and perhaps propeller inspection. If you live in a cold climate the boat will need to be “winterized” for off-season storage.
Stock Your Boat with the Proper Equipment
Of course, you’ll need a life jacket (also called a personal flotation device, or PFD) for every person onboard, but what other items are you required to keep on the vessel? Check out our Boat Safety Checklist & Safety Equipment. There are other items that often are not part of a new-boat purchase, including dock lines, and fenders to protect the side of the boat when it’s docked.
Follow a Pre-Departure Checklist
A pilot always files a flight plan before takeoff. You should file a “float plan” with family or friends ashore before heading out for the day, just so someone knows where you are headed and when you expect to return. Check out our Pre-Departure Checklist for more “pre-float” ideas designed to help make your day on the water safe and enjoyable.
Gas gauge getting low? It’s time to re-fuel your boat, which presents two areas of concern. The first is putting the correct fuel in your boat. Consult your owner’s manual for any fuel octane requirements, and note especially that marine engines may not use motor fuel with more than 10 percent ethanol (E10).
Master Basic On-the-Water Operating Skills
If you buy a new boat, a good dealer should give you a thorough walk-through of the boat to show you how all the systems work. Some dealers will even take you out on the water for a demonstration run. But there’s more to operating a boat than knowing how to start the engine and steer the wheel.
Always Practice Safe and Responsible Boating
Safe boating is always fun boating for everyone. Consider taking a boating safety and education course such as those offered by the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary or by your state or local authorities.
Enjoy Your New Boat!
You’ve got your boat, and all of your gear. You’ve launched and are head away from shore…now what? There are dozens of ways to make the most of your time on the water—fishing, tubing, skiing and boarding, diving, cruising and camping. Or just drop the anchor in a secluded cove and hang out. The trick is to fit boating to your lifestyle, whether you’re a single with friends, a family, or just looking for a little peace and quiet. A boat a great way to get there.
Greenville Marine & Sport Center
For over 49 years, Greenville Marine & Sport Center has been serving Pitt and Beaufort counties and Eastern North Carolina. We are your local boat, motor, and trailer dealer. We offer many brands of boats and engines, and our experienced sales and service staff is excited to help you buy a new or used boat. If you’re looking to buy a new or used boat, look no further! Check out our boat inventory and let us know what catches your eye.
If you haven’t bought your first boat yet because you’re waiting to find the perfect boat, let us help! To contact our boat shop, please call (252) 758-5938. To contact our outdoor shop, please call (252) 758-5945. Come by and see us!