Boat Ownership 101: Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
So, you’ve just bought a brand new, or new to you, boat. You’ve stocked it with life jackets, flares, safety equipment and water sports gear. All of the obvious boating rules, regulations and logistics have been carefully thought out and put into action, but there are some issues concerning boat ownership that often get overlooked.
Boat Ownership 101
While owning a boat is a dream for many, there are a variety of things related to boat ownership to consider before as well as after you’ve made that dream come true. Following are a few common mistakes that first time boat owners make as well as some ways to avoid those mistakes.
Not winterizing the boat
Once the boating season has come to an end, the boat needs to be winterized. Otherwise, you could end up with busted pipes, corrosion and water-logged engines in the spring. This is not a happy thing to deal with when all you want to do is get back out on the water. Winterizing a boat isn’t a hard task, but it is a very important one.
Some of the basics of boat winterizing include:
- Running antifreeze through the water systems
- Removing batteries and storing in a safe place
- Spraying fogging oil into the motor so that internal parts don’t corrode
- Flushing out the cooling systems
Additionally, since gasoline decomposes over time and forms a gummy buildup, a fuel stabilizer should be used to minimize rusting and freezing of fuel pumps. This slows the decomposition of gasoline and the separation of ethanol and water. If you aren’t handy at maintenance issues, any local marina or boat repair shop can winterize a boat for you. If you have a “boat handy” buddy, you might be able to call in a favor.
Not realizing the cost involved with owning a boat
The cost of owning a boat doesn’t end with the initial purchase price of the vessel. In fact, that’s only the beginning. Slip and storage fees, routine maintenance, insurance, winterizing and fuel costs are all a constant presence when you own a boat. One way a boat owner can offset some of these costs is by renting the boat out to private boat renters. Yes, just as concepts like RideFinders and Airbnb have changed the way people travel and commute, boat sharing/renting sites like Boatsetter connect boat owners with pre-screened boat renters.
Too much or not enough horsepower
You would think that choosing the boat with the most horsepower is the best way to go. That is not necessarily true. If you want to hang out on the lake and do a little fishing, swimming and sightseeing, then all of that extra horsepower is a waste of money. On the other hand, if you are into waterskiing, wakeboarding and offshore fishing, you want something that will get up and go. It’s always a good idea to experience different boat types so that you have the knowledge to tailor your purchase to your needs and interests.
Buying a boat is a dream of many boaters and ownership (although costly) does not have to be over draining on your finances or a stressful undertaking. Keeping up with routine maintenance, researching in advance of purchase to make sure you get the correct boat for your needs and exploring boat sharing as a way to offset the ongoing costs of ownership are all ways to get more out of your boat ownership experience.