Tips for First-Time Boat Owners

Tips for First-Time Boat OwnersIf you’ve been daydreaming about owning your own boat instead of riding along on your friend’s boat, maybe it’s finally time to start looking into it. Why not make that dream into a reality? No matter what stage of life you’re in, there’s a style of boating that fits your interests and your budget. As a first-time boat owner, make sure you do your research to ensure you are making the right decision. Below, we have compiled a few tips that’ll help you on your journey to find the perfect boat for your lifestyle and budget.

1.  What Type of Boat?

The first step when looking to become a first-time boat owner is choosing what kind of boat you want. There are several types of boats to choose from, including: bass boats, cuddy cabin boats, and central console boats. The size of the boat you want is usually based off of what you’re going to be using your boat for. The sizes of the boats are as follows:

  • Small: Boats that are less than 20 feet long. Small boats include kayaks, canoes, personal watercraft, fishing boats and some water sports boats.
  • Medium: Boats that are 20-32 feet long, the most common length for a boat. Some of these boats include cruising and yachts, water sports boats, and walkaround boats.
  • Large: Boats that are more than 32 feet long. These are your offshore fishing boats some sailboats, and yachts.

2.  New or Used Boat?

After you have decided what size boat you want, now you need to determine if you want to buy a used or brand new one. Newer boats will usually have less upkeep and mechanical problems since all the parts are new. Whereas, a used one could have lots of troubles, hidden or in plain sight.

The biggest difference between the two is the price. If you are price conscious, then getting a used boat would be ideal. One thing to remember—you don’t have to be rich to own a boat. Newer boats are still affordable for people with an income of less than $80,000.

3.  Where Will You Store the Boat?

There are many options on how you can store your boat. During the summer, common ways to store your boat include trailers, dry racks, and boat lifts. In the winter, the main method is using a canvas to cover your boat or storing it in a boat yard. For more tips on winter storage, view our blog, Winter Boat Storage.

4.  Insurance for Your Boat

Now that you have your dream boat, it’s time to ensure that you protect your investment, as well as the passengers. When you are looking to purchase a boat insurance policy, make sure the coverage covers the following areas. To see a comprehensive list of boating coverage, see our previous blog about Boat and Personal Watercraft Insurance:

  • Physical Damage: If your boat receives damage from another boat, a fire, or a storm, your insurance will cover part of the costs if you need to purchase a part that was broken or damaged.
  • Guest Passenger Liability: If you are planning on taking others for a cruise, it’s important to have this coverage in case something happens to your passenger. This covers any potential hospital bills and rehabilitation that might occur.
  • Theft: Boat theft is something that happens more often than you would think. Making sure you cover yourself from potential theft is important when choosing your policy. Policies will replace the boat if it is stolen, however it may not cover any personal possessions on the boat.

We at TJ Woods hope you learned more about buying a boat for the first time and will become a first-time boat owner yourself. If you have any other questions about insuring your newly purchased boat, do not hesitate to contact us.