Recently Buy a Boat? What You Need to Know Before Launching

If you’ve recently purchased a boat, congratulations! Whether you love fishing, sailing or enjoying a leisurely boat ride while you relax with your loved ones, you’re about to take your leisure time to a whole new level of outdoor enjoyment. This is especially true if you live in the Portland, Connecticut, area, where beautiful boating areas abound.

Before you launch your boat for the first time, though, you need to make sure you’re completely prepared for whatever comes your way. You also need to act in ways that keep you, your family members, other boaters and the environment safe while you enjoy your boat.

Below, we’ve given you a brief checklist of tasks to take care of before you launch your boat for the first time. Once you finish reading, you’ll be one step closer to getting your beautiful new boat out on the water and entering a new world of natural beauty and family fun.

1. Get Registered

Just as every state requires you to register your car, so too do most states require you to register your boat. To register your boat, you’ll have to visit your local DMV and show them several key documents, including your bill of sale, your vessel registration application, your hull number and your final documentation papers from the Coast Guard.

You’ll also have to pay a registration fee, just as you do with a car. The government determines how much you’ll pay based on your boat’s size. You’ll pay this fee each year when you renew your registration. All brand-new boats also need to be titled, as per a new Connecticut law passed in 2016 that took effect in 2017.

2. Install and Add Necessary Safety Equipment

Boating is a delightful activity, but it also comes with its fair share of risks. Before you launch your boat for the first time, make sure you have all of the following safety equipment on hand:

  • At least one life jacket for each person riding on the boat
  • A throwable floatation device if your boat is longer than 16 feet
  • Distress signals like lights, flags and flares
  • At least one fire extinguisher approved for marine use
  • First-aid kit that includes Band-Aids, anti-inflammatory medications and sunscreen

If you’re not quite sure about what safety equipment your unique boat requires, talk to the seller you purchased your boat from. Along with selling boats, they may sell equipment you can use to stock your boat so you can stay safe in an emergency.

3. Check the Boat’s Mechanical Equipment

You don’t want to run into mechanical failure while you’re out on the water, so before you launch, make sure your hull is clean and leak-free, your lights all work (especially headlights and brake lights) and your engine has all the fuel it needs to make it out to sea and back.

Before you go, make sure you also know what to do in case you have an electrical failure. Don’t go out on the water without taking a navigation class first so you can always find your way back.

4. Look Out for Hitchhikers

Invasive species are becoming more and more of a problem as more lakes become contaminated and more hapless boaters accidentally spread pests from lake to lake. You should always thoroughly clean your boat’s exterior before you enter any body of water.

Thoroughly scrub the hull after you exit the water to clean away mud and any creatures (like zebra mussels) that can tag along. Make sure to check your trailer, too; it can pick up pests while you’re launching and reloading. Drain all water from your boat before you leave the area, and do what you can to let boating equipment (like life vests) dry for five days before you enter a new body of water.

5. Enjoy Yourself!

Now that you know how to start, you should be ready for a fun, adventure-filled and, most importantly, safe day out on the water.

Still looking for the perfect boat? Petzold’s Marine Center does new, used and brokerage boat sales in Portland, Connecticut. Visit us to find your dream boat and start enjoying life out on the water.

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