Congratulations, Captain! You have purchased a used boat that is cost effective and in reasonable working condition. The previous owner had hopefully taken proper care of your new vessel, but there are several important factors to address before embarking on your first big journey on the water. Follow these tips to be motor-ready (or sail-ready) in no time.
1. Replace Parts, Equipment, and Hardware as Needed
You have likely performed surveying and mechanical checks during a pre-purchase inspection, but if not, now is the time to take a critical look at all of the important components of your engine and your boat in its entirety. Purchase and update replacement marine parts if you notice sub-par elements, leaky hoses, and/or disintegrating hardware. Be sure to assess the electrical and fuel systems, bilge pump, ventilation, lighting, and structural elements to guarantee your floating cruiser is prepared for the next voyage.
2. Evaluate Safety Gear
Before you take your first voyage on the water, you need to ensure your vessel has the necessary safety equipment on board. Anticipate how many life jackets you need to accommodate all of your future passengers, and make sure to check functionality and expiration dates on fire extinguishers and distress signals. Check and adjust your dock lines, and test your radio and navigation system to address any “bugs” before leaving the dock.
3. Arrange Registration and Insurance
Coordinate and confirm that your boat registration and documentation are in order, based on your state’s requirements. You may also consider an insurance policy, whether your state mandates this or not, as this coverage helps protect your finances, your new asset, and future liability if any incidents should occur. A towing service membership is also a beneficial, widely used amenity (and may be included in your insurance policy).
4. Update Aesthetics
Now that your important marine documentation is updated and your replacement marine parts are fully functional, you can focus on boat beautification! Does your upholstery need some TLC? Perhaps your deck needs some minor painting, polishing, or gel coat repairs? Add any finishing touches, décor, and enhancements that help bring your boat’s character and beauty to the surface.
Your new, used boat finally meets your specifications, so now you can set sail! With freshly functioning equipment and systems, double-checked safety features, updated documentation, and a few aesthetic touches, you are ready to enjoy your boat for many nautical miles ahead.