In 2018, around 276,000 boats were purchased. That was a four percent increase over the previous year and the highest number of sales in over a decade. Needless to say, boating is an extremely popular hobby that seems to capture new enthusiasts with each passing year.
And thanks to the proliferation of the internet, it’s never been easy to find the right boat or even learn how to use one. When it comes to owning a boat, there are certain things that one has to do and also check for.
For example, you need to insure your boat, store and maintain it properly, and also practice proper safety. Interested in learning more? Then continue reading for our guide to owning a boat!
Table of Contents
1. Insuring Your Boat
When it comes to insuring your vessel, it’s usually best to separate your boat insurance from your homeowner’s insurance policy. That’s because many homeowners’ policies won’t cover or will limit marine-specific risks. This can include pollution, salvage work, environmental damage, and wreck removal.
There are many factors that insurers take into consideration when they’re deciding what policy to offer, if any. Practically any boat can be insured for a price. Some of the most important factors that will affect the cost of your insurance policy will include:
- age of the boat
- houseboats with no motor
- where will it operate
- primary residence
- how many owners
The main kinds of boat insurance are “actual cash value” and “agreed value.” The difference between these two types of insurance has to do with how the depreciation is handled.
For an “agreed value” policy, the boat will be covered based on its value at the time that the policy is written. While it can cost more upfront, there’s no depreciation for a total loss of the boat.
An “actual cash value” policy, on the other hand, will cost you less upfront but it will also factor in depreciation. In other words, this kind of policy is only going to pay up to the actual cash value of the boat at the time it’s declared a partial or total loss.
As your boat gets older, the insurer will likely suggest that you take the actual cash value policy. This usually gives you significant savings.
There is also inland marine insurance. This is a kind of business insurance that will help cover equipment while it’s transported on land.
2. Storing Your Boat
Some people like to keep their ships in the water throughout the year. This is best in temperate areas with mild winters. If you don’t have this luxury, you’ll likely have to choose between dry boat storage and indoor storage.
The more popular option is dry outdoor boat storage. It’s fairly protective and safe for your boat, and relatively inexpensive. Wherever you can find boats, you can probably find some affordable outdoor boat storage.
Practically all boatyards and marinas offer this kind of storage. Many commercial storage facilities also offer it.
In areas where boating is popular, there are usually a bunch of fenced lots that are used for storing boats in the off-season.
You can also go with the more expensive option, indoor boat storage. If you have your own garage that can fit your boat, then this would be your best bet. If you don’t, it could be hard to find indoor storage near you.
3. Maintaining Your Boat
Boat maintenance is actually not that different from car maintenance. There are a few basic components that demand constant attention. There are also a few things that need to undergo maintenance at certain time intervals.
Your boat maintenance checklist should include:
- hull and topsides
- electrical systems
- moving parts
- HVAC systems and plumbing
- upholstery and canvass
Thankfully, maintaining modern fiberglass boats is fairly easy, especially when compared to the wooden boats of years past.
Personal flotation devices (PFDs) are a must for any boat. Their job is to keep the wearer afloat and alive should the sailor unexpectedly end up in the water.
In order to select the right life jacket, you should choose the proper type based on your boating and activity needs. Then, check for a proper fit and go over the weight requirements and outlined size.
You want to make sure that the life jacket is in good condition with no tears or holes.
Bulky life jackets tend to offer the most protection and can even keep an unconscious person upright in the water. However, these big life jackets also limit flexibility and movement.
You should also bring sunscreen, eyewear, and sun-protective clothing. It can get hot and bright out on the water, so it’s important that you stay safe and protected.
Polarized sunglasses are a good option for eyewear because they can greatly reduce the glare that comes off of the water.
Using This Guide to Owning a Boat
Owning your own boat can be an exciting and satisfying experience. Whether you plan on spending a few months or a few decades on your boat, it’s important that you understand this guide to owning a boat. By keeping your boat insured, observing proper boat storage and maintenance, and by being safe, you can greatly extend the life of your boat and your enjoyment on it.
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