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Published on the 18th August 2020

Costly Mistakes Boat Owners Should Avoid

Reading Time: 5 min read

Costly Mistakes Boat Owners Should Avoid

Just bought a boat? If you’re a recent boat owner, you’ve probably considered all the measures you can take to ensure the right upkeeping of your new sizeable purchase. You might have got your hands on some useful life jackets, water sports gear and other safety equipment. Nonetheless, if this is your first boat purchase, you are in for a surprise.

Owning and maintaining a boat is not something to take lightly, and making sure you’re avoiding certain errors will save not only your time but also your money. For this reason, we’re providing you with some tips and tricks that might come in handy in your boating experience. 

Failure to be aware of the cost involved in boat ownership

It’s ideal to keep reminding yourself that the cost of owning a boat doesn’t simply end with the ultimate boat purchase. Rather, that’s only the beginning. Spending money on fuel, routine maintenance, slip and storage fees, and winterising among other items and services is a must. Being prepared for both the inevitable as well as the unexpected costs that come with owning a boat is extremely important. This will mean constantly putting aside some savings to prevent any unforeseeable costs from putting you in a considerably difficult financial position. 

Not winterising 

Boat usage flourishes in summer. There’s nothing like taking your boat out at sea and making the most out of a summery swimming day with loved ones. Nevertheless, the upkeep of your vessel is still important in winter. Otherwise, you could end up with busted pipes, corrosion and water-logged engines over time. Taking precautions earlier on can save you some extra time in the warmer seasons. Here’s what you can do. 

Remove batteries and store them in a safe place, to prevent them from getting burnt. You can also go ahead and spray fogging oil on the motor so that the internal parts don’t corrode. Flush out the cooling systems. What’s more, a fuel stabiliser can be used to minimise rusting or freezing of fuel pumps, while also slowing down the decomposition of gasoline and the separation of ethanol and water. 

If you aren’t quite handy at maintenance issues, any local marina or boat repair shop can easily winterise and maintain your new purchase for you. 

Failure to let out enough line when anchoring 

In boating, the only thing worse than a boat that won’t start and go is a boat that won’t stay put. Anchoring your vessel in a popular fishing area or close to a secluded cliff is part o the fun boating experience. However, it does require a bit of thought and skill to get it right. Keep in mind that the amount of line needed to anchor a vessel should be 5 to 7 times the depth of the water in calm weather, plus the distance from the surface to where the anchor attaches at the bow. 

Everyone in Malta is aware of the very often windy climate of the island, but if you’re a recent boat owner, make sure to keep in mind that no matter what season it is, the chances of it being windy here is high. Indeed, if high winds or rough sea conditions arise, use 10 times the depth of line when anchoring. Fail to do so, and your boat may very well drift ashore or, worse, into another vessel or out at sea. 

Failure to install the boat drain plug before sailing

Many call the boat’s drawing plug ‘the root of all evil’ – and for good reason. A boat drain plug is there to control the water in your boat. When you remove the drain plug from the bottom of the boat’s transom, water drains out. When you insert it in the transom, it prevents water from coming back in. Forgetting to install the boat drain plug before taking your boat out at sea will put you in trouble. As you might expect, the result of this is a boat full of water. You should never take it for granted that the boat drain plug is always in its place. The best thing to do is to double-check before sailing.  

Not carrying out checks of the areas of travel

Before taking your boat out at sea, it is crucial to prepare yourself by being aware of the areas you wish to travel to. It is important to carry a nautical chart with you containing all the details about how deep the water under you is, where you should avoid going due to obstructions like rocks and old wrecks, etc. Eliminating the element of surprise will eliminate extra costs or, even worse, the risk of a life-threatening situation.

 Insure Your Boat 

Saftey and boating should always go hand in hand. Secure yourself and your vessel from any extra costs and damages that may arise by insuring your boat for an extensive, well-rounded boating experience. 

GasanMamo Insurance Ltd. is authorised under the Insurance Business Act and regulated by the MFSA