Boat Ownership

How To Launch A Boat Yourself

The best way to launch a boat yourself is to first have everything in the boat ready to go before you even attempt to back it down. Then be sure to remove the straps that hold it on the trailer. Make sure that the plug is in and that the batteries are on and the boat will have enough power to start the engines up. Back to the trailer down so that the wheel wells are just at the surface try not to put the boat so deep that it’s floating which is why you want to keep the boat connected in the first place so that it doesn’t float away from your trailer.

Once the wheel wells are flush with a surface you can then set your emergency brake. Turn your vehicle off and undo the chain/hook to the trailer with a hole in the boat on it. Climb onboard and start the boat up allowing the engines to warm. Make sure that your fenders and lines are ready to tie to the dock before you back down off the trailer.

Now you’re ready to back down off the trailer and park the boat. Secure the boat with at least two lines and the fenders out. Now you can go get your car and trailer. If you do have the opportunity to rinse your trailer off if you operated in salt water it might be a good time as the trailer will sit for several hours out in the elements with salt water on it. Otherwise, just give it a good rinse-off when you put the boat away. 

Where to keep the tow rope

For rope storage, it’s important for you to allow the rope to dry out without being in direct sunlight. Anchor lines need to be inspected after every use to prevent accidental cutting and breakage. [Source]

If used in salt water definitely rinse it out with fresh water and allow it to dry. Store the line in a dry place out of direct sunlight.

Reversing with a trailer

Pick a side and stick with it. Go slow and if you choose to look in the mirror as your main point you need to stick with that. Don’t change from mirror to shoulder because you will be confused about which way to turn the wheel.

Go slow so that if you start to make a mistake you can correct it before it gets out of hand. Always do yourself a favor and try to get the vehicle on the boat as straight as you can before backing down.

Releasing the boat from the trailer 

Never unhook your boat line or chain before you back down the ramp in order to avoid your boat from sliding off the trailer.

In order to flip the lever to back the strap down you have to take some initial tension off of it.

Attaching the boat to the dock

Launching in shallow water

Lift the engine slightly and keep the RPMs low so that you do not kick up a bunch of sediment and suck it into the engine.

Keep your speed slow just in case you hit anything. 

Be aware that the boat will handle poorly at a slower speed so avoid oversteering.

Checklist for launching a boat solo

  • Make sure you have the plug in!
  • The batteries are on and I have full power
  • Electronics are all working
  • All required safety gear is in the boat and functions correctly
  • All lines and fenders are available to use
  • The motor will start
  • Ratchet straps have been removed from the trailer to the boat
  • Trailer lights and boat lights all work
  • The motor will trim up and down
Boat Ownership

How Much Does A Boat Cost?

In general, most used boats are around $10,000-20,000 and new boats are in excess of $50K. Top-end lake and ocean boats cost about the same for say a 20-footer. For example, a Ski Nautique is in excess of $150K-200K brand new, but you can pick up used ones for around $50k. Sounds similar to that of ocean boats. You can get new lower-end versions of all these styles of boats for around $75K new such as Bayliner, and Yamaha. Skiffs/Jon Boats are much smaller and cheaper, usually under 18 feet. 

How much should I pay for a boat?

Most important thing is realizing what you’re actually going to be using for the majority of the time. That will tell you what kind of boat you’re looking for. Then ask yourself how much you can afford and count on 10% of the overall price going towards yearly maintenance.

New VS Used On Average 

Used: $10,000-20,000 for used up to $50,000 USD.

New: $75-100K+ USD

Motors inboard, outboard, diesel.

Personally, I like outboards because they limit the potential for leaking into the hull. You’ll be paying about $100 per horsepower. So 250 will cost you $25k USD and will last for 1500 hours on average but I do know people that I’ve gotten 3000 hours out of their inboards with regular use and maintenance.

Diesels will last about three times to fives longer before needing an overhaul. They are more durable than an outboard but they do cost more and are heavier.

Regular inboards like Chevy 350 that you would find in your car also can be in your boat. These are easy to work on because if you know anything about cars it’s not much different. The difficult thing about them is that they require a outdrive stern which is another component that requires maintenance and has the potential to leak into the hull. [Source]

The type of drives. Stern inboard drive, stern inboard shaft drive, outboard, and pod drives. 

Is it expensive to have a boat?

It’s expensive to have a boat. If you own a trailer you have to maintain it, which includes the lights, bearings, and wheels – not to mention stuff is always breaking on them. 

The same goes for a boat and its accessories. Things are always breaking on the boat and sometimes routine maintenance just isn’t enough especially if you operate your boat in saltwater. you’re going to want to get a boat cover and sometimes they get torn and require replacement they cost a few hundred dollars. 

Another unseen expense is just all the cleaning supplies you need for your boat to ensure that it stays looking good as new.

Additionally, there are some things you want to buy for your boat in order to maintain it such as salt away and any additional fluids needed like girl oil motor oil.  

Every boater should have a good tool kit on board.

The Coast Guard required equipment can be expensive too when you consider life jackets first aid kits signal devices let alone just registering your boat. 

Another cost is just the fuel price. Depending on what you want to do with your boat it can be very expensive to run it for a full day out on the water. Boats get anywhere from 1 to 3 miles per gallon on average. [Source]

How much does it cost per month?

Besides the monthly boat payment, you’re gonna need to store your boat somewhere which can usually cost up to $1200 USD if you keep it in a slip or in a storage lot it can be over $200.

Add on gas and random things needing fixing and it can add up quick.

Where to buy boats

I’ll look online but if you go to any marina and walk around you’ll see boat postings everywhere. Another good place to look is to check with your friends.

If you have a friend that you know maintains his boat well, it might be a good idea to purchase his if he’s looking to upgrade or get out of boating altogether.

Popular Boat Types

Lake Boats

  • Pontoon boats
  • Ski
  • Wakeboard and wake surfing boats
  • Bass boats
  • Flat bottoms
  • Bowriders

Ocean Boats

  • Fishing
  • Yachts
  • High Bows
  • Center consoles
  • Cabins
  • Deep Vee Hull

Speed Boats

  • Jet Boats
  • Offshore Racing

Is buying a boat worth it?

In my opinion, buying a boat is only worth it if you plan to use it at least twice a month if not more. Boating is a lot of work and in order to make it worth it has to be a part of your life.

Love your taking the kids to the lake fishing or tubing or heading offshore for some big game fishing action it’s got to be something that you love to do because it is time-consuming and the costs can add up.

Boat Ownership

How To Clean A Boat

I’m sitting in the marina staring at my boat, thinking, how do I clean a boat the right way?

Cleaning a boat requires special care since it’s exposed to harsh environments. When you get back from an outing, the best time to clean a boat is right. Flush the engine with water, rinse the interior and exterior with water, and give it a final rinse.

In the rest of this article, I’ll give you more info on which products to use, how to use them, and what will keep your boat looking and operating well for years.

What Type Of Boat Are You Cleaning?

The type of boat you have matters. An aluminum boat will require different care than a fiberglass boat.

Always flush your engine with fresh water after use. If you don’t, you’ll get salt and other deposits that degrade your seals and move parts over time. Use earmuffs and a mixer (if using salt-away) and run it for 3-5 minutes or longer. I like to watch the stream pour out to ensure no blockages.

For an aluminum boat on a trailer, I like to rinse it down with water mixed with salt. I’ll use a scrub brush, but only sometimes if I have a scrub brush.

Fiberglass boats require more care. Don’t use anything that can scratch the outside, like a stainless steel scrubber or a brush with stiff bristles. Again, I like to rinse with a bit of salt off and make sure I use a towel to hand dry. Spraying some liquid wax is also advised, although not everyone does that.

Boat Cleaning Supplies

A lot of boat cleaning supplies are on the market, and here are a few they should have on hand.

You are going to need a bucket so that you can mix your soap with water. You’ll want an assortment of brushes and sponges to eliminate all the salt. And I want some towels so they can dry off the boat.

I mostly look for boat-safe or marine-safe products. I wouldn’t recommend using products made for cars or homes since the boat will enter a waterway, and the residue can hurt the environment. It’s best to look for biodegradable products.

Boat Interior

When it comes to cleaning the interior of your boat, it depends on your electronics and what you have exposed. On the boats I’ve been on, some guys like to spray down everything with a hose, and others want just to spray the deck and side walls leaving the electronics free from water.

Some boats have vinyl which will require extra care if you’re leaving your boat exposed to the Sun. It’s always recommended to use a boat cover whenever possible because UV rays will degrade fragile materials over time. You can also use a vinyl protectant spray with UV blockers if you can’t cover your boat.

The secret for Removing mildew end stains on vinyl is to use OxiClean, a little water, and a scrub brush. It’s amazing what a little elbow grease will do to those annoying stains. He might be tempted to use a chlorine-based product however I don’t recommend it because it will take a toll on the vinyl and damage it in the long-term.

 One of the things that trouble some is fish blood. If you’re using a fishing boat, it’s best to rinse the inside of your boat when you’re out on the water to remove the fish bowl before it dries. If it ends up trying, you’ll need to scrub It Off, which is a lot of work. Depending on the size of your boat it’s helpful to have a hose and spray nozzle to do this; however, just using a bucket to flush the deck also works. 

Cleaning A Boat In The Water

If you’re fortunate enough to own a slip, you won’t need to remove your boat every time you go home. However, this does because it sounds set of challenges since the bottom of your boat is a prime breeding ground for animals and plants.

 It took me a while to realize this but water is flirting with nutrients, and critters are just looking for structure to make their home. That means you’ll need to scrape these beings off your hall regularly.

 If your slip is in salt water, you will want to clean the bottom of your boat at least every month. her fresh water, you might be able to get away with a little bit longer, but it all depends on the environmental conditions.

 If you’re feeling adventurous, you can get into a wetsuit if your water is cold, grab a scraper, and scrape the stuff off your boat yourself. However, if that sounds like too much work for you, then hiring a cleaning service specializing in this is okay. Just know it’s not the cheapest service since it’s a lot of hard work but worth it. I’ve seen some neglected boats in the marina, which look like a marine Forest underneath the hull.

Is Pressure Washing OK?

Extreme pressure washing is not recommended for your boat, especially for more fragile fiberglass boats.  

I like to use a garden hose nozzle end stand three or four feet away from the boat on the most powerful setting to get the hall clean. Since my boat is aluminum, I can be slightly more abrasive. When it comes to cleaning any of the internals or if I want to ensure that everything has a good soak, I’ll turn on the shower function.

Don’t forget to wash the outside of your motor if you have an outboard. Anything that moves or has a hole that can get built up, especially when you’re in salty areas, should be cleaned thoroughly. For example, I Once forgot to wash the outside of my outboard and ended up plugging the telltale (the pisser) nearly blowing up the engine.

Common Etiquette

I shouldn’t have to say any of this, but if you’re going to be riding on somebody’s boat, the least you can do is offer and help clean it after your outing.  Far too often, I’ve seen guys spend the whole day making a mess on the boat. Then when back at the dock, they said they had a prior commitment, leaving the captain and whoever else was remaining to pick up the mess.

 That’s one way not to be invited back on the boat.

The captain’s super helpful if they have all the cleaning supplies in one common area, either in your car or back at the dock, so it’s efficient to clean the boat. Having a new guy has Johnny, for the first time, set the expectation before heading out on the water that doesn’t need to be for you for at least 30 to 40 minutes after they get back to be able to do the cleaning.

I have a trailer for your boat if you’re doing the cleaning back at home. At least get them to help make sure the boat is properly on the trailer and secure. Many new guys will need to learn what to do, but training them will make your life much easier for future trips. 

I wish you many years of safe boating!