Buying a boat is an exciting process. Not only will you fulfill a major component of the American dream, but you’ll also set yourself up for lots of fun with friends and family. It’s important to remember, however, that buying and owning a boat is not simple. There’s much more to it than simply signing on the dotted line and plopping your new toy into the water. Here are five things you’ll need to get along with your new boat.
A boat is hardly useful if it stays in your garage. In order to really enjoy your new toy, you’ll need a trailer to transport it. Trailers can be a bit expensive, but they’re worth every bit of the price. Once you’ve got your boat on a trailer, you can bring it anywhere in the country. This flexibility will allow you to get much more out of your new investment. Don’t forget that you need additional accessories to go along with the trailer. You’ll want to buy a trailer hitch for your vehicle and the cables to set up the brake light system. If the trailers lights aren’t connected to your vehicle, you’ll quickly find yourself pulled over.
Unless you’ve purchased a small rowboat, a canoe, or a dingy, you’re going to need some sort of motor. Even sailboats need a motor to provide backup in case of windless days or emergencies. The size and type of motor will depend on the specifications of your boat. You could operate a smaller boat in freshwater with an electric motor. This option gives you access to certain bodies of water where gas motors aren’t allowed. If you have a larger boat or if speed is a concern, then you’re going to need a gas motor.
Most states require boaters to have life preservers on board. Governmental regulations aside, floats and life vests are also necessary to make sure you and your passengers stay safe. Even if you and your companions are capable swimmers, you never know what kind of accident could happen. When something as simple as a life preserver could keep you alive, you’d be foolish not to bring one on board. Before making your purchase, make sure you buy floats that satisfy state regulations. Some states are okay with simple floats, while others require wearable vests.
A Boating License/ Education Certificate
Most states require boaters to get some sort of license or certificate in order to operate. These certifications are simple to get, but make sure you do your due diligence before heading out on the water. Not all states require courses and certificates, so you might be able to check this item off your “to do” list without even having to do it. Just make sure you double check ahead of time. The last thing you want is to get fined or sent home by an environmental police officer on your very first excursion.
Boat Registration and Insurance
Most states require boaters to register their larger vessels. If you’re planning on using a motor, then you’ll probably need to check in with the state. These laws are carefully enforced, so resist the temptation to launch your boat without registration. It might seem like a major pain, but it’s worth remembering that boats are essentially vehicles, just like cars and buses. The state wants to ensure that they have a handle on all the vehicles cruising their waterways. It is also crucial to get boat insurance. This helps ensure you can cover all liabilities in the event of an accident. Once you’ve got your registration and insurance in hand and your registration number on the hull of your boat, you’ll be ready to hit the lake, river, or ocean.
Buying and owning a boat is a big responsibility. If you fail to do it properly, you could put yourself in danger or fall foul of the law. That’s why these five tasks are so important.