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Everything You Need to Know About Owning a Boat (Part 7)

Congratulations!  You made it through your first season with a boat but now the weather is changing and the high temperatures are in the 60s on a regular basis.  You've extended the season as long as you can but it's just getting too chilly to be out cruising around, and definitely too chilly for a swim.  It's time to put your boat into hibernation for the winter.  So, where do you start?

We live aboard Cygnet all year so winterizing is very different for us.  But we had Two Wrights for years and took her out of the water every fall and put her back every spring.  Our winterizing routine wasn't much different than most.  What you'll read below is a general winterizing program.  You may have a different requirement based on your boat and that should be found in the manufacturer's manual or online.  Don't take our word for it, find out from your boat builder what you should be doing.  It's a good idea to make a check list and use it every year.  This can…

Everything You Need to Know About Owning a Boat (Part 6)

What is all this crap? When you purchase a car you get the car and a set of keys.  You probably don't need anything else to use the car.  Put fuel in it, get insurance, turn the key and drive it.  You might want to get a toll pass and have a pair of gloves and a jump start pack but you don't really need anything to use the car.
Boats are different.  Unless you are looking at an inflatable or something made of rubber you are going to want fenders.  If you saw a previous post there is a difference between fenders and bumpers, just like on a car.  Bumpers are built into a dock and fenders are movable balls or cylinders that you place between the boat and the dock to protect your very fragile fiberglass, steel, aluminum, or whatever your boat is made of.  You definitely need them and you need the right size and type for your specific boat and docking situation.  Cygnet came with four large cylinder style fenders and they work great most of the time but in our specific slip we nee…

Everything You Need to Know About Owning a Boat (Part 5)

Well, you gave it your best shot.  You thought owning a boat would be as fun as everyone says it is but decided that boat ownership isn't for you.  Now you have this thing and you don't really know what to do to sell it, at least in a way that you retain your sanity and a bit of its value.  Selling a boat can be like selling a car, but it can also be like selling a house depending on the type of craft you own.  Selling a boat also costs money, something a lot of people wouldn't really expect.  The bigger the boat the more it will cost you.

If you have a small boat, maybe one with a trailer, you could probably put it in your driveway with a For Sale sign and you might find a buyer pretty easily.  Maybe a free ad on Craigslist is an option or an ad in the local BoatTrader magazine, or online site.  These things may work but you need to know how much your boat is worth in order to place the ad.  You can look at comparables on Craigslist, BoatTrader, eBay, and the others to f…

Everything You Need to Know About Owning a Boat (Part 4)

We've seen far too many new boaters make mistakes simply because of ignorance.  Not knowing what to do with a boat can have serious ramifications to the boat and your wallet.  If you're a car owner you probably know you need to change your oil regularly, keep your tires properly inflated and replace them when the tread is worn, and your brakes need to be replaced when they start squealing.  Well, boats also have their share of maintenance items but if you are new to the life they may not be as apparent.
The regular stuff, yes there is a lot. If you have an engine (or two or three) you need to take care of it.  That starts with oil changes regularly, usually once or twice per year.  Boat engines aren't as easy to maintain as car engines since they are less portable and it's often hard to get into small engine rooms.  Unlike a car that you just drive up to a quick-lube place and can be out in a few minutes, with a boat you need special tools to change the oil.  Outboar…

Everything You Need to Know About Owning a Boat (Part 3)

"Bro, I just got this sick new bowrider, bring your girl down on Saturday and let's party"

This is a very common thing to want to do, show off your new toy.  After all you probably paid a lot of money for your new boat and you want your friends and family to see and enjoy it with you.  Boating is very often a social lifestyle and it's fun to spend time with people on the water.  But if you're new to boating you need to take it slow.  Just because your boat says it can handle ten people doesn't mean you should take ten people out on your first trip.  Cygnet legally holds 42 people but we've never had that many.  We usually cap it at 30 and prefer under 20.  Our 22 foot SeaRay was rated for ten people and five was comfortable, six was crowded.
Now that you've spent a few days practicing with someone it's time to take a group out.  If this is a sailboat it will actually make things easier on you as you can delegate people to specific tasks.  People …

Everything You Need to Know About Owning a Boat (Part 2)

Owning a boat is hard work and expensive.  If you start out with a great boat it can be easier and less costly.  If you saw our last post about what boat you should buy you hopefully have some insight into what boat you want and how to make sure it's the right boat for you.  So now you've made up your mind on what boat you want, you have the model, size, and year picked out, or maybe you have the exact boat picked out.  Now what?  Take a Coast Guard Auxiliary boater safety course.  There are lots of options at different times of the year and the cost is negligible.

1.  I want it, how do I get it? You found the boat, and you had a survey and sea trial and everything looks great.  If you don't have the outright cash to pay for the boat you'll need a loan.  Your local credit union or bank may finance you but there are specialty banks that deal in boat loans like boatbanker.com or Google others.  Depending on the size of the loan it may take some time to do this.  Certai…

Everything You Need to Know About Owning a Boat (Part 1)

Let's face it, boats are not easy things to live with.  There are many people out there who have been around boating their entire lives and are still learning.  Every boat is different and every boat owner has a different skillset of what they can and can't do.  We know a few people who've been boating for years or even decades and don't know how to drive a boat.  We know people who take to it immediately and can dock a large boat without any help.  If you have never been a boater or you are thinking about moving from a small boat to something much bigger (like we did) there are a myriad of things you need to know.  We're going to start with the most basic stuff and let you know all the things you need to know about owning a boat before you make a bad and costly decision by buying a boat that isn't for you.
Feel free to post questions in the comments but we'll make this a multi-part series since there is a LOT to cover.  Hopefully one of the later posts wi…