Living along the coast, its only natural that boats and boating would be a large part of our daily lives. With the onset of warmer weather, boats of all shapes and sizes will cover our local waters.
Transit sails and power boats pass our waterways to destinations unknown for those watching from shore. Bright and colorful pleasure boats filled with coolers and toys will gather along sand bars and beaches. Fishing boats will jockey for position, eager to gain the advantage on a certain spot. Larger boats strain against moorings and dock cleats waiting for their owners or captains to get underway.
Meanwhile, marina employees hustle to fuel pumps as length and width is considered -- and often needed when crowded conditions involve steerage. A circus atmosphere will become normal at landings and launch ramps while veteran and novice alike lay out parking strategies and trailer angles.
The arrival of such mayhem is a welcome change. It's time to be done with the cold and back to the natural order of things.
For some, this will be the year they purchase their first boat. If this fits your plans -- welcome aboard. There are few things that provide quality time in the Lowcountry more than owning and operating a boat. However, before you lay out those hard-earned presidents and sign your name, a bit more thought may be in order.
The cost of ownership means more than just the purchase price. Not all boats are created equal, and your choice may involve a bit more than all that glitter and shine reveals. What looks like a great value on the trailer could take on a new dimension on the water.
If you are purchasing a used boat, insist on a water trial. Doing so will give you a better idea of how the boat operates and perhaps insight on launch and retrieve methods for the trailer.
When buying a boat you need to consider upkeep and how the boat will be used. Size, length, capacity and need is as important as hull configuration and horsepower. A boat designed for fishermen may not be suitable for family cruising, nor would a ski boat fit a diver. Electronics, navigation, storage and freeboard are often overlooked, as are dock fees, which have a balance all their own. Haul-outs and bottom paint, bilge pumps and battery switches, ropes and moorings all need some thought. If a trailer craft would better suit your needs, a major player in your decision will be your vehicle.
Your buying preference should be more equitable than your budget; If not, your experience as a boat owner will leave a lot to be desired.
Perhaps the biggest consideration should be personal recreation time. If you are too involved in other matters to enjoy the pleasures of boat ownership, you will never appreciate its true value.
SPRING CLEANING TIPS
When you get out your boat for the season, you might need to do a few touch-ups. Here are some tips to help the cleaning process: