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So, you have a new boat!

iStock 000018868219 SmallWe are excited about your new boat and we want to ensure that the time you spend on the water with your family and friends is as relaxing and pleasurable as possible. Over the years we have discovered eight things that every boater should do.

Discover New Places. Florida has over 11,000 miles of rivers, streams, and waterways. As a boater you will quickly discover the natural beauty that our state has to offer. A few local places to put on your trip list are Fort George Island, Silver Glenn Springs, Black Creek, St Augustine, and Fernandina. Please visit http://floridabywater.com for more information on destinations.

Create a Boat Bag. A boat bag contains essential items you will always need while boating. This will ensure sure you have the items you need every time you take your boat out. Things you will want to include are sunscreen, a flashlight, bug spray, spare sunglasses, extra drain plug, extra bottle of water, aspirin, wet wipes, a towel, and ponchos. Other items can be included to fit your personal needs.

Purchase a Boat US or Sea Tow Membership. There is nothing worse than being stranded on the water. Almost all boats have had a break down or run aground at least once. Without a membership you can expect to pay around $700.00 for a tow back to shore. However, a towing membership is less than a $150.00 a year. This is money well spent. Neither your dealership nor the boat manufacturer’s warranty provides towing service.  

Keep Your Boat Clean. You have invested a lot of money in your new boat and can expect it to give you years of enjoyment, if you protect it from the Florida environment.  We recommend the following:

  • Rinse your boat down after each use.
  • Polish or wax your boat at least twice a year.
  • Allow your boat to dry out after each use. This may mean opening the hatches or compartments until it dries out. Mold and mildew can be brutal in our climate. The best prevention is to not to let it start.
  • Wipe your vinyl seats and cushions down with a conditioner after each outing. We recommend “303 Aerospace Protectant.”  This will keep your seats clean and the vinyl soft.
  • Flush your motor with fresh water. If you’re not sure how to do this please give us a call and we will be more than happy to walk you through it.

Maintenance Matters. Follow your engine manufacturer’s recommendations for maintenance. Remember your first maintenance should occur around 20 hours. We have also included a book by Yamaha “Maintenance Matters” that is filled with great information for all outboards.

Safety First. Your boat will need safety equipment, as required by Florida Law. The size and horsepower of the vessel will determine what is required. For a complete list go to http://myfwc.com/boating/safety-education/equipment/vessels-16-to-259-feet/. At a minimum you will need the following:

  • A Life jacket for every person on board (Type I, II, III). Children under 6 must where a life jacket while the vessel is underway.  
  • A throwable device (Type IV).
  • A fire extinguisher (Type B-1).
  • A visual distress signal (Coastal Waters Only). Coastal waters means the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and all bays, sounds, harbors, rivers, inlets, etc. where any entrance is over two miles wide to the first point where the distance between shorelines narrows two miles.
  • A sound-producing device (Horn, Bell, or Whistle).

Know the Rules. If you were born on or after January 1, 1988 you are required to take a safe boating course, however we recommend that everyone take this course. The course is offered by the Coast Guard Auxiliary or the US Power Squadron. You can also take it online for free at  http://www.boatus.org/florida/

t’s a Life Style. Now that you’re a boater, it’s more than just owning a boat; it’s a life style. Look for boating events, raft ups, blogs, forums, and such. You will quickly discover a new set of friends that have the same passion for boating as you.

 

Happy Boating

Rusty