Did you know that 71 per cent of the Earth’s surface is covered by water? So basically, if you don’t own a boat you’re missing out on being able to explore the vast majority of what Mother Nature has to offer. And because Australia is an island, we’re literally surrounded by an adventure waiting to happen (not to mention all the lakes, rivers and other waterways inland).
If you’re in the market for your very first boat (get in it quicker and easier with us - call 1300 787 288) or you’ve already bought and it’s sitting in your garage, staring at you every time you walk past just begging to be launched, you’ll need to be aware of a few things prior to your first trip out on the water.
5 top tips for new boat owners
Tip 1. Know the laws
Although you already have your boat license which means you covered some of the laws in the course, you may not be aware of all of them. Or perhaps you’ve simply forgotten one or two of them. Read up on all of your state’s laws regarding boating, because giving the coppers the excuse of ‘I didn’t know’ isn’t going to go over well. Here are links to each state’s boating rules and regulations:
Tip 2. Understand the hidden costs
In addition to buying the boat itself, a trailer and things like rego and insurance, there are a few other costs you need to take into consideration:
- On-board gear: life jackets, Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB), oars, ropes/mooring gear, GPS, flares. The list goes on, and some of it is actually a legal requirement depending on your passengers’ ages and where (and how far) you’re heading out.
- Storage: if it’s a tinnie or small(ish) speed or fishing boat you might be able to find some space to store it at your home. Bigger vessels including houseboats mean permanent mooring or marina berthing, of which costs can be quite high depending on the location.
- Maintenance: it’s not a lot of fun when your boat craps out and you’re a few k’s from help. Avoid this by keeping strictly to the boat’s maintenance schedule. If you take it out in salt water, regularly giving it a freshwater wash-down can help keep it in good condition (and may save you money when it’s serviced).
Tip 3. Launch and retrieval practice
It’s impossible to do this at home, of course (unless your home backs onto a body of water). When it comes to launching and retrieval back onto the trailer, the more times you do it the more confident and better you get. So on a quiet day at the boat ramp, have a few goes launching and retrieving, launching and retrieving.
Tip 4. Get comfortable towing (and reversing)
If you’ve never towed a boat before, we recommend practicing in order to get a better idea of how it feels and the different driving style to be employed while doing so.
Also, laughing at the drongo who takes 35 attempts to back their boat in correctly is part and parcel of being a fellow boat owner. But you don’t want to then follow in their footsteps straight afterwards now, do you? Hitch your boat and trailer to your vehicle and take it to an empty (and maybe secluded) carpark, chalk out a “boat ramp” (4 or so metres wide, around 20-30 metres long) and learn how it’s done. Remember to also get some side towing mirrors fitted, too, so you can actually see what you’re doing!
Tip 5. Create a checklist to tick off before you go
You can actually make two; one that covers what you need before leaving your home, and the other for pre-launch. Better still, laminate them and grab a whiteboard marker so you can re-use them over and over.
If you store your boat at home, the before-leaving-home list should include:
- Checking that the bungs are in properly
- Making sure all plugs, chains, etc. are all securely connected and screwed on properly
- Confirming the trailer lights are all working
- Checking boat (and car) fuel and oil levels
- Making sure tie-down straps are nice and tight
- Essentials are packed in the boat/car (life jackets, boat keys, etc.)
Your pre-launch checklist might include things like:
- Double-checking bungs (drain plugs) are screwed in tightly
- Loosening and removing tie-down straps
- Putting all essential items into boat if not already
Get boat finance from the best in the business
Stratton Finance is here to assist you in securing the best boat finance deal out there that matches your needs. Fill a few details into our handy online quote tool to discover what you could be paying each month to be enjoying your brand new boat.
Got a question for us? Call our friendly team on 1300 787 288 or use our online enquiry form and we’ll be in touch soon.