Having your own watercraft can be an exciting prospect. Assuming you’re close to navigable waters, you can enjoy some quality time out in your boat as part of a full vacation or just for a few hours of adventure or leisure. Owning a boat might also be considered a status symbol in certain social circles. As with other types of vehicles, they require regular care and maintenance. If you’re considering getting one, here are some things you should know.
Insuring Your Boat
Responsible ownership includes insurance protection. Your homeowners’ policy may cover boats up to a certain size and power, but it is recommended that you get separate coverage for your watercraft. Typical homeowners’ coverages don’t include risks that are specific to marine environments. If you operate your boat outside of rivers, lakes and other inland bodies of water, seek out an insurer that specializes in marine coverages. Look for an insurance policy that covers your particular type of boat and details specific to your ownership, such as where you store it and if you live in a hurricane zone.
Retaining a Maritime Lawyer
While you hope to never be involved in an accident with your boat, you should be prepared. Operating craft in open waters makes you subject to maritime laws, so you should hire an attorney that specializes in this practice area. From accidents to injuries and pollution, this legal expert is best suited to handle your case. If you’re asking, “Are allision and collision the same?”, a maritime lawyer can answer that question and many more. They will represent your best interests in and out of a courtroom.
Considering Boat Storage
As an owner, you’ll have to consider where you keep your boat, both in and out of season. If you live in an area with temperate weather year-round, you can usually keep it docked in the water. In areas that experience freezing, you’ll need to winterize your craft for water storage. Consider dry outdoor storage. Marinas, boatyards and some commercial storage facilities offer this, and it can be relatively inexpensive. Indoor storage tends to be the most expensive option, but it also offers the most benefits. This type of storage is usually more difficult to find.
Taking Care of Your Craft
As with anything worth owning, regular maintenance leads to long-term enjoyment. Boat maintenance is quite similar to car upkeep. There are things that you can take care of as an owner as well as items that require routine service from mechanics. Basic maintenance items include the engine, hull and topsides, electrical systems, plumbing and HVAC (if included), moving parts and upholstery. Fiberglass and aluminum craft are a lot more affordable to maintain than wooden models.
Whether you’re hoping to be the proud owner of a fancy yacht or a speedboat for one, there’s a lot to know about taking care of watercraft. It requires insurance, proper storage and regular maintenance as part of a responsible approach to ownership. You may not have the luxury of storing your boat in the same place during colder months as the warmer months, so you need to consider storage options when factoring ownership costs.