I Bought a Boat at a Boat Show: Now What?

People at Boat Show

Congratulations! You're a proud new boat owner – exciting times! But with the excitement might come some questions – what's next? Don't worry; we're here to guide you smoothly through the post-boat show process. Let's dive in!

What To Expect After Buying a Boat at a Boat Show

Before your new boat arrives, you'll need to complete some paperwork, like the sales contract and financing details. Also, it's a good idea to chat with the dealer about pre-delivery inspections. Meanwhile, as you're eagerly anticipating your customized vessel, there are a few things you can do to get ready. 

Must-Do's for Recent Boat Buyers

Fresh off buying a boat at a boat show, you're probably itching to hit the water and experience life on the waves. But hold on just a beat – there are a few essential steps to tick off your list before setting sail.

1. Secure Your Vessel With Insurance

Protecting your new boat is necessary; having dedicated boat insurance is the way to go. Unlike homeowners' insurance (which usually doesn't cover watercraft), boat insurance is your ticket to protect your investment from unforeseen events.

We all know that accidents can occur on the water, and having the right coverage is like having a safety net for your boat adventures. When checking out insurance options, ensure they fit your needs and provide sufficient coverage for the type of vessel you own.

2. Register Your Boat and Get Proper Documentation

Additionally, like a car, you need to register your boat. Before hitting the water, check with your state and local authorities to ensure your boat has the required paperwork and decals. Pro tip: Keep that paperwork protected and readily accessible in a separate waterproof pouch.

3. Stock up on Cleaning Supplies

Maintaining your boat and keeping it shipshape is a smart move for its longevity. Essentially, opt for top-notch cleaning supplies tailored for boats. And stock up on hull cleaners and brushes, so you're ready to tackle any mess that comes your way.

4. Buy Boat Accessories

As a new boat owner, you've got to gear up your vessel with the must-haves, like fire extinguishers and navigation lights. But hold tight because there's more to check off on your boating checklist:

Basically, pack everything you need for a fun day on the water, including safety supplies. And remember to get a floating keychain to keep your keys from sinking if you drop them!

5. Give Your New Vessel a Name

One of the best parts for recent boat buyers is naming their new boat  – an extension of themselves on the water! Keep the name simple and meaningful to you, whether it's a fun pun or a sentimental choice. Adding a personal touch enhances the overall experience.

Read Next: How to Name Your Boat

6. Stay Informed With Dealer Updates

After buying a boat at a boat show, staying in touch with the dealer is crucial for getting the best performance from your vessel. They've got the inside scoop on updates, maintenance tricks, and essential details about your specific model, like recalls.

7. Take a Boating Safety Course as a New Boat Owner

Believing you're a seasoned sailor doesn't automatically grant you the title of captain. Being a boat captain comes with serious responsibilities, and proper knowledge is vital. Our recommendation? Enrolling in a boating safety course!

These courses usually cover important stuff like what to do in emergencies, the rules of navigation, Coast Guard requirements, and the basics of handling a boat. Keep in mind that in some places, the law requires knowing this information, so it's a good idea to look into the specific regulations in your area.

8. Familiarize Yourself With Your New Boat

Taking the plunge into boat ownership is exciting—finally, you're in the captain's seat! However, even if you're an experienced boater, getting to know your own boat inside out is vital. That means getting the hang of its features, diving into those operation manuals, and making friends with the safety gear onboard.

Now, let's talk fueling – a crucial aspect you might not have thought much about. Check out your owner's manuals, revisit dealer walk-throughs, or look up online resources to ensure you're refueling correctly.

This is also a great time to compile all your boat's registration documents and important paperwork in one safe (waterproof) location. Toss in your maintenance log, too – a handy tool for a recent boat buyer to keep track of progress and upkeep.

Making Memories After Buying a Boat at a Boat Show

Once your new boat is delivered and you've joined the ranks of new boat owners, there's only one thing left to do – hit the water! It's time to start crafting memories that will last a lifetime.