Sailing the seas has been part of the human experience since the dawn of history, and yet it is seen as somewhat of a luxury today. The truth is that owning a boat is still fairly accessible, though it isn’t as simple as it once was. There are regulations that you’ll need to follow and things you’ll have to be prepared for. Some things could surprise you about boat ownership, in both a good and bad way.
Let’s look at some of the myths and misconceptions people have about owning a boat and some of the truth being them.
1. Anyone Can Ride a Boat
This isn’t true. In most states, you will be required to get certain certifications before you start sailing. One of these is an approved boater safety course. You have to get this from a recognized provider for it to be valid. The good news is that it’s fairly easy to get.
You could use a service like ilearntoboat, for instance, and finish your course in under a day. Everything can be completed online, and you can take the course in small portions if you want to. This will give you the fundamentals to deal with accidents and know how to avoid them.
2. It is Tough if You Don’t Have Space
A lot of people living in urban centers think that having a boat is simply inaccessible to them because they don’t have space. But there are other options available if you don’t have storage space in your property. You could find garage space for your boat when you’re not using it, or look for a marina close to where you are.
Be careful when choosing a spot, however. You want to take your time and shop around until you find a good deal. Some marinas in hot spots will tend to overcharge because of location, but you could easily find another one up or down the shore that will get you something cheaper and less crowded.
3. There Will Be Lots of Hidden Costs
Well, this will largely depend on which manufacturer you get your boat from. Some will be very transparent. This is often the case with services that allow you to build your boat. Good ones will allow you to see how much each addition will add to the total price of the boat with no hidden costs.
One thing you will have to be prepared for, however, is repairs. This is true if you were thinking of doing something like riding a sailboat around the world or to exotic destinations. They often say that “the two best days in a boat owner’s life are when they buy a boat and when they sell it,” and while that might be a bit of an overstatement, it’s easy to understand.
A sailboat is never truly finished, and chances are there will always be something to fix. So, make sure that you have some technical skills before you leave as you might not be able to find people to service your boat wherever you are.
4. Living on a Boat is Like Living in a Floating Apartment
Some people have an idyllic idea of what it’s like to live on a boat, but it can often feel much more like living camping than living in an actual apartment. This is, again, especially true for people on sailboats. Don’t expect to get close to the same level of comfort as you would in a home.
If you get a sailboat with the bare minimum, chances are there will be no amenities whatsoever. You may have to make do with no running or hot water, no stove, no heater, or even a toilet. You might have to use your marina’s bathroom, gym facilities, or even be prepared to use a bucket from time to time. This is not something people are prepared for or what people talk about when talking about sailboat living. So, make sure that you know the ugly part of the life before you take your first steps.
5. Ethanol Works for My Car, so It Must Work for My Boat
A lot of people are under the impression that because fuel and ethanol are interchangeable in most vehicles that it will also be the case with their boat. But ethanol has a fundamental flaw that makes it unsuitable for that purpose.
Ethanol is very hygroscopic, meaning that it tends to absorb water very quickly. Since fuel systems on cars are closed, and under pressure, there is very little water that can come in, and the small amount that does, ends up getting vaporized by the motor. Boat fuel tanks aren’t built that way and are open to the atmosphere.
The vent that is located on the hull is there to allow air to replace any fuel that is burned but also allows moisture to get in. All it would take is for your deck fill to have a slight leak for your gas tank to be flooded by water. Once there is enough, the ethanol and water will mix and separate at the bottom of the tank where the fuel pickup is located. This will then result in your engine stalling or suffering serious damage.
6. Drinking Alcohol on the Boat is Okay
Alcohol is one of the common causes of accidents and fatalities on boats. However, this is not only limited to drunk drivers. There are tons of incidents that are caused by inebriated passengers. This can result in someone falling and injuring themself on the ballot or worse, falling overboard. So, if you can, forget the drinks altogether and wait until you get to shore.
These are all common myths that are floating around about boat ownership in general. We hope we were able to shed some light on the reality of being a boat owner and encourage you to learn as much as you can about it before you start looking at your options.