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9 Tips for New Boat Owners

Posted by Steve Houle on

9 Tips for New Boat Owners

While many people think owning a boat is a life of luxury that affords you the time to live a high life on the open seas, there are actually a lot more things that go into boat owning than what first meets the eye.

To help you along the way, here are nine tips that will help you get a better feel for life on the water and maximize your boating experience 🛥️

Safety first

The first thing to do is to make sure you have all the required safety equipment on hand. The US government mandates that you have certain safety items on board at all times and failure to keep them on board at all times can result in a fine.

These items include life jackets, distress signals, a fire extinguisher, and some sort of horn, bell, or whistle. Before you head out on your local lake, double-check to make sure you have all of these readily available.

Another important thing to note is that bigger boats may need other items in addition to these ones. To be sure you’re under regulation you should check with the authorities or your local marina.

Practice makes perfect

Speaking of safety, it’s essential you actually know how to drive the boat in order to mitigate the risk of danger when on the water. Unsafe boat drivers are dangerous not only to themselves but to everyone around them.

For practice, check with your local boat club and see if there’s anyone willing to give you proper training – there usually are people willing to do so. Another option is to take a boating course to get certification. As with anything, the more you practice, the more skilled you’ll get.

Become acquainted with your boating tech

There are many devices and gadgets that come along with boats and it’s important that you know the functionalities of each of them to get the best out of your boating experience.

Some devices include things that aid you with fishing, navigation, safety, and more. These include GPS receivers, depth sounders, voyage data recorders, and pilot cards. Some of these are more advanced, but all of them will help you enjoy a much safer and more enjoyable boating experience.

Safety equipment includes waterproof torches, marine radios, and sound signals. You’ll hopefully rarely have to use them, but it’s important you know how to so if the time comes, you can react quickly.

Boat maintenance is crucial

There’s no getting around the fact that owning a boat can sometimes feel like a chore with constant cleaning needed after every trip. But this is an essential part of owning a boat: Make sure you do them often so you don’t experience rapid deterioration.

As with any chore, it helps to think of a large task as many small, easy activities. It will help make the job go quicker and give you a sense of accomplishment. 

You can drive a car, but can you drive a car with a boat attached?

It’s not just a plug and play experience to attach a trailer to the end of your vehicle and hit the open road. Hauling massive weight for long periods of time is a skill that takes time to truly learn.

You need to get used to the feeling of having a boat behind you – learn how it moves when you turn, and most importantly, learn how to back it up and park. This will take practice.

If you don’t have much room on your own property, try to find an empty lot where you can practice turning and parking.

Don’t rush, take it slow

While it may be tempting to rush headfirst into boating, taking it easy is a much better option. Slow and steady wins the race, after all.

Backing a boat to launch for the first time can be stressful, and if restless other boaters are giving you a hard time, don’t listen to them. They were all in your shoes at one point in time and should understand that it’s a process. 

The same goes for everything – driving your trailer on the road, driving your boat in the water, and everything in between. Go slow at first and ignore any naysayers out there who try to persuade you to be more reckless.

Learn from your mistakes

We’re all humans, so we all make mistakes. If you’ve followed the above steps, you’ve learned to mitigate the effects of your mistakes. 

Equally important: learn from other people’s mistakes. If someone performs a dangerous maneuver and almost hits your vessel, remember it and make sure you don’t make the same mistake.

Be like an open book and take advice when given

Just as you need to learn from your mistakes, you also should learn from others around you. There are plenty of seasoned sailors out there just waiting to help you out at first. 

Don’t ignore their advice and use it to become a better boater. You’ll thank them in the long run.

Relax and enjoy your new boat

This may seem like a cop-out, but after an entire article of rules and regulations, it’s prudent that we tell you to thoroughly enjoy every aspect of your boat life. 

Take your friends or family to that remote beach you could never get to, go hunt for barracuda, or enjoy water sports that you could never do before. Boating should be enjoyable, and if you don’t treat it that way, then you’re missing out on all the fun!

Buying a boat is a major purchase for anyone. And with any big purchase, it also comes with responsibilities that you’ll have to abide by in order to maximize your experience. But if you listen to these nine tips, you’ll be sure to make the most out of your boat ownership.

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