Buying a family boat can mean enjoying yourselves out on the water anytime the weather is good. It’s a great excuse for your clan to get together. Owning a boat however, has a few responsibilities that your should be aware of. Here are a list of just five things you should know before buying a family boat in order to help you balance the enjoyment with the responsibility of owning one.

5 Things You Should Know Before Buying a Family Boat

The market for low-budget family boats is growing in popularity. This shouldn’t be a surprise. They’re a healthy way for a family to have a bonding experience and adventure. Still, before you rush out and buy one, you need to know some things about buying a family boat:

1. Boat Size: Your starting point needs to be the size of your family. Small boats can work for a family of four. However, bigger boats do give you more space. The quantity of seats is important. If you plan on going fishing, though, you’ll need more space for rods and equipment.

2. Cost: Small boats can be very affordable, including the equipment you need for a trip on the river, canal, or lake. Like with automobiles, you can buy extras. A music system, different aesthetic looks, and adjustable furniture are all good options. Extra safety handles never hurt.

3. Maintenance: Boats need upkeep, just like cars. However, boats are mostly stainless steel and plastic, so they won’ need a lot of professional upkeep unless you damage them. That’s not easy to do. Larger motorboats usually need about 10% of their total value in annual maintenance, but smaller boats are far cheaper.

4. License/Registration: This varies based on where you intend to operate the boat. State regulations are often the norm, but you might have to deal with municipal regulations or even rules in national parks. Look up each place you plan on hitting the water.

5. Storage/Transportation: Your own backyard might do if you have the space and can tow it and cover it. Then again, you might also want an enclosed shelter for the winter or even space at a marina. Since boats are designed to float, they are usually pretty light to tow once you get them on the hitched wheels.

Things You Should Know About Boat Insurance

Boat insurance isn’t the exact same in every state, but there are similarities across most major states. Here are some things you should know about boat insurance in Arizona if you live there or plan on doing your boating there.

● The average yearly boat insurance is $400, but this can vary higher or lower based on the value of your boat.
● Regardless of what anyone told you, a motorized watercraft is unlikely to be covered by your homeowner’s insurance.
● Seasonal coverage is possible if you aren't going to use your boat all year long.
● Years and models of boat matter in the rates, just like with cars.
● General boat insurance might be where you start, but depending on what you have, you might branch off into yacht insurance, sailboat insurance, or the like.
● Boats 27 feet or longer are often required to get yacht insurance even if they’re not actually a yacht.

Boating Safety Basics

The National Safety Council has good pointers you can use about basic boating safety when you first hit the water. They claim that there are more than 11 million registered recreational water vehicles in the country, so you won’t be alone on the water.

Life jackets are a must. You need these whether your vessel is motorized or not. The United States Coast Guard says that over 75% of all boating deaths are because of drowning. Only 16% of those victims had a life jacket on.

Know the state laws regarding boating. This isn’t just crucial where you live but also where you intend to go boating.

Before you leave, create a float plan, and leave it with someone you know and trust. Also, take extra clothes, water, sunscreen, a tool kit, and first-aid supplies.

Know when to get out of the water. Sudden drops in temperature, increasing wind speed, and storm clouds are all signals to get into port or dock.

Watch out for people on the water who aren’t boating. They might be wakeboarding, tubing, or skiing.

Fun Things You Can Do With Boats

Boating is one of the most popular recreational activities your family can do outside. However, just being out on the water with the wind in your hair might lose its novelty after a while.

Fortunately, boats are the perfect platform for many other water activities:

● Fishing: Saltwater of fresh, you don’t have to head far offshore to start catching fish. Any technique can work off of your boat depending on your preference.
● Camping: Catch fresh fish and then cook it over a shoreside campfire before sleeping in tents under the stars.
● Riding Tow-Toys: Inflatables are available in all sorts of sizes and shapes, including options for multiple people.
● Wakeboarding: Most boats can handle this. You really just need a good tow rope, wakeboard, and life jacket.
● Water Skiing: Despite all the rage about wakeboarding, water skiing has a place in the hearts of many. They’re certainly cheaper and last longer than wakeboards.

● Dinner to Go: Getting drive-thru or takeout might be something you’re used to doing with your car, but you might also be able to grab some great grub dockside and then eat on the water with an immaculate view of the sun going down.

Sail Away

You don’t have to know everything about buying a boat before you actually do it, but hopefully knowing these things makes it much easier to accomplish. In fact, the one thing you can’t know about buying a family boat is how much fun it is! That, you can’t discover until you’re actually out on the water.

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