I have been contemplating a boat for my family to venue on during the summer months. Being that I've never owned a boat, I want to know what I should consider in terms of seasonal maintenance, storage, licensing, transporting, etc. What do I have to know to care for my boat?
1: seasonal maintenance: if you live in a cold weather climate, then you have to winterize your boat. Basically, have the freshwater drinking lines blown out and put antifreeze in there. Same with the head (toilet) if you have one. Also, figure on an oil change a year. Price depends if you have an outboard or an I/O engine (inboard/outboard). Budget about $500/year for this. Sometimes you knick a prop, need some new lines, etc.
Storage - Most places charge you by the foot. You'll have to call around on that, as prices vary, but if you are talking a ski boat, figure about $150/ month.
Licensing: You have to get tags for your boat, just like you do for a car. Except they are good for a few years. Each state has different prices for this and it really depends where you live. Call you local Department of motor vehicles - they can give you a price (just pick a boat make/model/year that you are thinking about)
Insurance - again this depends where you live and the size/year/type of boat. Figure about $500 - $1200 a year for this, too. The larger the boat, the more expensive it is. Plus it depends where you live.
Gas: ski boats burn about 8 - 10 gallons an hour . It depends on how fast you run them. That's just an average. So figure that if you run it for four hours, you'll burn about 40 gallons of gas, which will cost you about $100 - $125 bucks.
Trailer - Don't skimp on the trailer! Get one with good brakes and an electric winch (depending on the size of your boat) you will be happy at the end of a long day when you are tired out and want to go home that you can easily transport your boat back.
Boat care - Like a car, keep your boat clean, do the regularly scheduled maintenace, make sure that battery (ies) are good.
The best thing to do is to take a boating class. the US Power Squadron in your area teaches these, along with the Coast Guard Auxilliary. These people live for this!
Boating is alot of fun, but there are some things that you need to learn first - how to read charts, rules of the road, etc. A boating class will introduce you to other new boaters, too. Plus if your kids are a bit older, they can also take the class and be part of the process.
Go to a few boat shows in the area. Make a list of features that you want on your boat. You may want to consider a head (toilet) if you have kids, or you'll be taking them back to shore frequently. That gets old quick! Look for a boat with adequate storage, and if buying used, a well maintained boat. You can have a boat surveyed (much like a house inspection) before you buy it. You can save much money if you get a boat that is well taken care of and only a few years old.
Best of luck, I hope this points you in the right direction. I highly recommend the power squadron or coast guard auxilliary as a resource, they can give you some great direction. These are volunteer organizations and are a great resource!
Depending on what the main use for your boat will be
( skiing,fishing,touring.) How big is your family? Do you want to trailer it or car-top it?
I have 3 boats. (only 'cause Im a fishing nut)
1 is a 10 ft aluminum (cartopper)with 7.5 horsepower aircooled motor used mostly for day trips to the local creeks and rivers.(shallow running)
1 is 17 ft aluminum with 25 horsepower for larger rivers and lakes.
1 is 22 ft. fibreglass with 140 hp inboard/outboard for skiing,fishing in the great lakes and touring.
The smaller ones are easy to maintain and store (winterize). The motors come off in a jiffy to be stored in the basement but the fibreglass is heavy and needs to be winterized properly even if it is stored in a heated garage.
Hope this helps.
Ron White said it best, " A BOSTON WHALER AIN'T GONNA SINK, THAT'S A MIGHTY GOOD PIECE OF INFORMATION YA GOT THERE" !
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