How To Get Into Boating - Part 2 : Owning & Running A Boat
Motor Boat & Yachting|June 2021
You’ve bought a boat - now what? The second part of our series on getting into boating focuses on running and maintaining your boat
Jack Haines

Having delved into how to buy a new boat last month, this time we’re going to look at what you need to think about when it comes to running and maintaining one. Buying the boat is only half the job, where it will be kept and how to look after it are equally important and it’s good to have an idea of the costs incurred so there are no surprises. Some planning will make the transition into boat ownership much smoother and ensure you’re ready to hit the water and have fun on your new pride and joy. Let’s jump in.

Where do I keep it?

There are a few options available depending on the boat’s length and how you intend to use it. If the boat is relatively small and you have the space at home you can keep it on a trailer. This is the most cost-effective way to store a boat but you need to be certain that you will be able to launch it easily when you want to use it and that there will be adequate parking for your car and trailer while you’re out on the water. Having the boat at home on the drive or in the garage is very useful for security, care and maintenance but it will take up lots of space and you will need to ensure your vehicle is certified to tow the weight of the boat and trailer. Being able to trail your boat to locations around the UK and Europe is a definite perk but it’s worth ensuring launch, recovery and storage of the trailer will be easy when you get to your destination.

Another relatively affordable option is a swing mooring. This is where the boat is tethered to a mooring buoy and has to be accessed either by a shuttle service or your own dinghy. Depending on the location these moorings may only cost a few hundred pounds annually but there are compromises to consider. If there isn’t a shuttle service available from a marina or yacht club you may have to take a small dinghy out to the boat every time you want to use it so you will need to find somewhere to store that, and cleaning and maintenance can be tricky as there isn’t access to freshwater. Bigger boats with domestic equipment like fridges will require shore power to stop the batteries being drained, which is something you won’t have access to on a swing mooring. Many of these types of moorings are aligned to marinas or yacht clubs, though, who will help you with the logistics and make the process as smooth as possible.

For more convenience, a dry stack or marina berth is the best way to go. The bigger the boat the more care and attention they need so it’s helpful to be able to access them easily. A dry-stack involves storing the boat in a shore-based rack and hoisting it in and out of the water with a forklift truck. Most operators require the owner to call ahead when they want to use the boat so they can put it in the water for them.

Dry stack has many benefits, the main ones being the security of having the boat safely out of the water and how easy it is to wash the boat down and do regular checks of the hull and running gear. You may not even need to antifoul the boat, a subject which we will come on to later. The drawbacks are that there are size and weight limits on what can be dry-stacked (approximately 9m or 13 tonnes) and, during busy periods, you may have to wait to have your boat launched.

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