Purchasing a boat is a major financial and time investment. Planning the logistics of storing a boat, getting trained in safety practices, and maintaining a new boat are just some of the points to consider beforehand.

1. The Right Boat for a Lifestyle

What does a future boat-owner plan to do with a watercraft? Will a boat be used to fish, to use on family outings on the bay, for scuba diving, water sports, for racing, or even as a residence?  The boat should fit the lifestyle, and engines, boat builds, and accoutrements will vary wildly depending on the use a boat will be put to. Jet skiers will need to invest time to research motors that will fit their needs. Fishing boats should come equipped with quiet motors and livewells to store bait and the day’s catch. Dinghies, inflatables, and personal watercraft are smaller choices for those wanting to explore and cruise around a body of water. Take a look at Discover Boating’s guide to finding the right boat.

2. Transportation

Moving a new boat to a new adventure destination is key. Whether it is stored at home or in a commercial unit, an electric trailer jack can help boat-owners maneuver a watercraft easily to a personal vehicle for transit. Tools like the Trailer Valet also have safety brake mechanisms to prevent boats from rolling down inclines.

3. Storage

Explore local marinas and commercial boat storage units to find the ideal place for a new boat. One should keep an eye out for security features such as cameras, guards, and locks on commercial units. Examine the lease terms before committing to a commercial space. Indoor units can provide further protection against the elements and accidental damage. Watercraft trailers are also useful for boats that need to be moved on the road frequently.

4. Upkeep

Protect your investment and make sure to maintain and clean a new boat. This can increase resell value significantly, in case the owner wants to trade a watercraft in for a newer, larger vessel. Boating clubs and sporting groups can often guide new boat owners in the best practices of upkeep. Understanding the needs of a boat motor, checking oil and coolant, maintaining any vessel plumbing and strainers, replacing batteries, cleaning and repairing the exterior are just a few of the concerns a boat owner has. Check out the Bellingham Yacht Club’s checklists and schedules for maintaining a vessel.

5. Safety

Whether a person has a lot of boating experience or is a novice, it is important to keep up-to-date on boating safety procedures. While the leader of a group may have experience, friends and family members on a boating expedition may not know what to do in an emergency. Make sure to display the boat’s registration number, have all registration and documents on hand, and drill passengers on personal floatation devices, distress signal, fire extinguisher, and sanitation procedures. Passengers, vessel operators, and owners can review safety measures at the US Coast Guard website.

Review

Before jumping onto the purchase of a boat, ensure that it fits an individual or family lifestyle. Check into indoor and outdoor storage, budget ahead of time, invest in upkeep, and dedicate time to safety measures and training. Good luck, sailor!