It’s been said that the best day of your life is when you buy a boat…
Although boat ownership comes with some challenges, the positive experiences you can have on the water with a vessel far outweigh anything you face.
When you’re adequately stocked with boat gear, you’ll have the tools you need to enjoy a beautiful day at whatever pace you prefer.
Do You Need Boat Insurance?
Most states don’t require boat owners to purchase insurance for their vessels. Marinas are a different story. If you plan to use a slip or mooring, you’ll typically be required to carry some sort of policy.
An emphasis on boat safety should always be part of the conversation.
Even if you keep the boat and home and only use it occasionally, it might be helpful to have a comprehensive policy on it while in storage to mitigate damage and theft risks.
If you took out financing to purchase the boat, your lender likely requires a full insurance policy that includes liability, collision, and comprehensive policies.
In Florida, boat insurance isn’t required. You do need a boating safety identification card, specific safety equipment, and the registration and title.
6 Things Every Boat Owner Should Have on Their Boat
When you take your panga boat on the water, you’ll want a few things to be on board to ensure compliance with local, state, and federal regulations. These are the must-have items.
1. Life Vests
The US Coast Guard requires this item. Having them around can save your life if something unexpected happens on the water. There should be enough for everyone on the craft.
2. Handheld Horn
A handheld backup can help you communicate with other vessels should the horn on your boat break. Several options are available, so look for a design that delivers at least 120 decibels to ensure people pay attention.
3. Safety Kits
A marine safety kit should contain all the tools needed to deal with maintenance issues and emergencies during operations. Whistles, flares, and a first-aid box are all part of this investment.
Your first aid kit should have bandages, antibiotic creams, and other tools to help you deal with a medical emergency. If you take a panga boat to deeper water, it might be worth considering putting an AED on board.
4. Jump Pack
Marine electronics are reliable, but they can encounter shorts with a damaging event. Something could also happen to your battery, causing it to drain unexpectedly. This resource ensures you can keep going or have enough portable power to use your phone.
5. Dock Lines
You’ll need these to tie your boat to a marina, dock, or dockside destination. Try to keep extra lines on your boat if something happens to your primary set. The best options are flexible and durable, reducing the risks you face when it’s time to step off the vessel.
Every boat should have an anchor. It ensures the vessel won’t go anywhere when you’re not using it or have the engine off. Different options are available, so research what would work the best for your panga boat.
Boat Departure Checklist to Follow
Before taking your panga boat or another vessel out for a spin, you’ll want to ensure you have the following items available. If you create a pre-departure checklist as part of your preparation routine, it’ll be easier to remember everything in case you need it. Every boat owner should ahve, and it should include:
Distress Signals. Pack your day signals and flares in a dry location, then inform all passengers where they can be accessed and how to use them.
Lights and Shapes. Have all the required navigation lights for your boat. Review the instrumentation to ensure everything is working. Some recreational activities require day shapes, so have the necessary items. A flashlight is also helpful.
Fuel and Oil. Top off your fuel tanks before departing. If that isn’t possible, have enough gas available with a reasonable safety margin to ensure your return. Check the coolant and oil levels.
Tools and Spares. A basic toolbox with tools appropriate for your vessel is an essential investment. Carry a spare fuel filter, head parts, through-hull plugs, lights, and anything else you use. Review your first aid kit to ensure it is stocked.
Fire Extinguishers. Take at least one extinguisher and ensure it is accessible. Have the correct number according to the current rules.
When you take the time to prepare your panga boat for an upcoming day on the water, you’ll have fewer stressors to manage. That means you can focus on having fun!
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