Buying a boat is just step one along the wonderful journey of enjoying the entire boating experience and waterborne lifestyle. If you’re among the legions of first-time boat owners who joined this water-loving community in 2020, you’re in good company.
Sales of boats, both new and used, have made 2020 one for the record books. The COVID-19 pandemic revealed how boating is not only good for your health and mind, but also among the most enjoyable activities around.
We know that with new experiences, comes new questions—and that's why here at Discover Boating, we're happy to help. Why? Because those of us who’ve been boating for decades want to see you remain a loyal boater for a long, long time.
That being said, here’s a few simple tips on how to make the most of your new boat and, equally important, your new experience.
First-Time Boat Owners Checklist: How to Get Started
1. Establish a Great Relationship with Your Boat Dealer
We can't understate the importance of a solid, after-sales service experience for you and your boat. Sadly, some statistics show that some first-time boat buyers unfortunately are “one and done,” leaving the lifestyle not long after getting into it. And that’s partly due to feeling a lack of support after driving away from the dealer’s dock.
Don't let that happen to you—instead, make the most of your experience by keeping in touch with your local dealer, especially if you have questions or issues. They'll be more than happy to help address your concerns; besides, they want you to be a repeat customer for years to come.
Advantages of Working with a Boat Dealer
2. Connect with Fellow Boat Owners—including Other Brand Owners
Lots of boating brands have owners’ groups and clubs, either formally run by the brand itself or informally via social media channels, like Facebook Groups. Fellow brand enthusiasts provide a wealth of helpful advice and inspiration. Check your boat builder’s website and social media channels for group or club info.
You can also tap into the power of Internet search engines, plus the brainpower of marinas you may visit. Your slip mates at your local marina may remember their first ownership days quite well. Even better, they know the local area, and can provide inside info on the local waters, including where to go and what to do.
Downloading a boating app that features crowd-sourced information is also a great way to connect with other boaters in your local community.
Best Boating Apps: Navigation, Fishing, Weather & More
3. Take Advantage of Online Resources & How-To Guides
This one may seem like a no-brainer, but in today's technology driven world, you have a wealth of information available right in the palm of your hand (literally)—so don't forget to use it whenever you're feeling lost.
Right here at Discover Boating, for example, we do our best to answer your questions before you even ask them. We've created how-to guides on everything from How to Register Your New Boat, to Step-by-Step Docking Guides, Top Boating Destinations lists, Winterization and Maintenance Checklists, and so much more.
Here's a few of our most popular resources you might find useful:
- Boat Loan Calculator Tool
- 23 Most Affordable Entry-Level Boat Models
- Boating During COVID-19: Tips for Safe Social Distancing
- Understanding the Costs of Boat Ownership
- How to Get a Boating License
- Boat Safety Checklist & Safety Equipment List
- Boat Storage: What Are My Options?
Can't seem to find what you're looking for? Reach out to us on social media—you can find us @DiscoverBoating on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter. Also, be sure to use our site's Search Feature (in the upper right hand corner of our navigation bar).
The Ultimate Boat Owner's Guide
4. Discover What Boating Really Means to You
Speaking of what to do, making the most of your new boat and the boating experience means doing what you enjoy. Just because your waters are ripe for fishing doesn’t mean you should run out and buy rods and reels.
Go tubing, waterskiing, wakesurfing, wakeboarding, diving… or whatever you want. That includes simply dropping the anchor in a quiet cove and enjoying the peace.
5. Smile! You're Boating!
Remember the excitement you felt when you first started boat shopping? You probably felt similarly when you bought your boat.
Making the most of the experience means enjoying yourself, so seek activities, either solo or with passengers, to make yourself happy. Remember, too, that boaters are friendly folks, so smile and do the "boater wave" as you pass your fellow owners on the water.
Read Next: 10 First-Time Boating Tips for New Boaters
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