Have you just become a new boat owner? There’s so much to know and learn before you hit the water. It’s easy to slip up when you are first starting out as the owner of a new boat, but even experienced owners can make mistakes. Most boating blunders are due to someone being in a hurry or not paying enough attention. Luckily, these mistakes won’t cause you too much of a headache and may just make you red in the face and it won’t be from too much sun. (Pro tip: don’t forget the SPF!)
The good thing about these types of mistakes is that they are easy to learn from and very fixable. Make sure to pay attention to avoid the bigger issues and always have a checklist on your boat to help you remember. Here are some tips to help you avoid the most common mistakes new boat owners can make and how you can steer clear of them and head into clearer waters:
Mistake #1: Forgetting To Use Your Drain Plug
A drain plug is the plug located at the bottom of your boat’s transom (a transom is the vertical section at the back of your boat). Make sure to install your drain plug so water doesn’t get in the boat when you are out on the water. If you are in a marina, no worries about taking it out. If you use a trailer with your boat, make sure to take it out then, and reinstall before going out boating again. Always double check your drain plug is in the boat!
Mistake #2: Overloading Your Boat
This is one of the most common mistakes and can lead to swamping, capsizing and even sinking if you aren’t careful. Your boat, even empty, may have little freeboard (freeboarding refers to the height of a ship’s side between the waterline and the deck), so imagine it fully loaded with people, food, drinks and other supplies. It’s very easy to overload small boats if you aren’t careful. Just make sure to know your recommended max load weight and remember: the maximum safe weight should account for all of your gear PLUS occupants.
Mistake #3: Getting Lost
With all the navigation apps and devices one can have on a boat, you would think getting lost was a thing of the past, but it is still something that does happen to boat owners all the time. It’s easily avoided by mapping out your course prior to going out on the water and allowing yourself plenty of time to get back to the dock before nightfall. You can also install a VHF-FM radio to get help from the coast guard or local marina in case of an emergency as well. Having an emergency radio is vital to your safety on the water and no boat should leave port without one.
Mistake #4: Running a Dry Engine
A good amount of marine engines (excluding electric and air-cooled) need a supply of water for cooling purposes, as well as lubrication for the water pump impeller that is found on many marine propulsion systems. Running a boat’s motor when it’s on dry land without any water can cause it to overheat, potentially damaging the impeller as well. Make sure to have a supply of water or avoid it all together by docking your boat at a marina.
Mistake #5: Running Out of Gas
Just like with cars, running out of gas on a boat is one of the most common mistakes boat owners make, new and old. It’s always good to remember that your gas usage can differ depending on a few factors, like how heavy a load you are carrying and the conditions of the water.
Because you are in the water, moving constantly, your gas gauge can be inaccurate due to gas splashing around in your tank, giving you a false reading.
The best thing to do is use a very common and helpful formula: ⅓ of the gas is for getting to your destination, ⅓ is used for getting back and ⅓ is saved for reserve for the day. Remember that and you won’t ever run out of gas!
We all make mistakes, so don’t beat yourself up if they happen. With these on your radar, you should be all set for a great time boating without the hassle of running out of gas, overheating your engine or getting lost. Now you can enjoy the open water worry-free!
Mistake #6: Not Bringing Your Boat in for Maintenance
The best way to keep your boat running smoothly is with regular service at the marina.
Corleone Marinas offers premium harbour experiences across Sydney, including locations in Sydney’s most prestigious sites including Elizabeth Bay, Long Island, Balmain and Drummoyne. Each site offers a variety of options including berths, moorings, on-site slipways and shipwrights.
If you need maintenance or repairs for your vessel due to corrosion, we can help! Contact us today to learn about our full range of marina services.