Always dreamed of getting that shiny new boat? Can't wait to get on the water?
Be warned. Boat ownership means never ending, time consuming often expensive maintenance and lots of it. The list of to-do items seems endless and sometimes overwhelming, trailer bearing grease, fiberglass upkeep, outboard-inboard engine maintenance, electrical system worries, the ethanol scam and overpriced fuel, licensing, theft, insurance, on and on. In the end always boiling down to a huge outlay of time and money just to keep your already overpriced initial investment safely and efficiently floating and useable.
If you plan to be a saltwater boater, your burden just increased dramatically because you will find that simple salt is the mortal enemy of all things fiberglass, metal, and electrical.
Capt. George Tunison
Not to mention the frustration of anxiously waiting all week, getting up at 4 a.m. and finally getting to the ramp only to find long lines. Waiting for a clueless yahoo blocking it while emptying the truck and loading the boat with coolers, preservers, tackle, Aunt Betty, the kids and dog, completely oblivious to the precious time he is rudely stealing from those who understand proper ramp etiquette and common sense.
The old saying that the two best days in a boater's life are the day they buy the boat and the day they sell it often rings true for many that quickly tire of the ongoing expensive upkeep. Boat rental club membership continues to be a popular and growing option. The thought of simply getting onboard a thoroughly checked out and fueled boat already waiting for you in the water, enjoying the day, then returning and simply walking away at times sounds like a slice of heaven.
For diehard boat lovers, and those who depend on their boats to pay the bills, roll up your sleeves, open your wallets, grin and bear it.
A boater's worst nightmare besides sinking probably is outright theft. Whether docked, on the lift, or at home on the trailer, boat theft is a growing problem especially in Florida. I recently lost two stainless props from my two trailered boats at home and found evidence that the thieves had started to remove the outboard from one of them while I was away from home. This incident occurred in bright daylight. The week before thieves burglarized a nearby home while pretending to be a uniformed lawn maintenance service, actually cutting the grass and bushes while the others worked inside stealing everything.
If you have your boat on a lift investigate lift locks that render your lift unusable. Cutting the power to your lift from inside the home is a no-brainer. Steel cables through the eye and secured to the dock are prudent. Prop locks are smart. Motion detectors along with lights and alarms that sound as well as transmit signals to your cell phone or your home security monitoring company are worth every penny.
Steering wheel locks, leaving the keys out of the ignition and not hiding them in the boat, disabling engines, and working with your neighbors all help in stopping thieves.
A tiny, well hidden, onboard GPS system that tracks boat movement (similar to Lo-Jack car systems) is well worth the investment, whether docked, on a lift, or trailered. Motion activated paging alarms are a plus.
Trailered boats should be secured with wheel locks or if away for any length of time removing the wheels and putting the trailer on blocks is a winner. Prop locks for temporary storage and easy prop removal is a must if going away. Always mount your trolling motor on a slide mount that allows for locking and or removal.
Any trailer propped up on blocks must be secured so as to not cause injury to curious children who might decide to play pirate in your boat while you are away.