If you are thinking about joining the 18 million Americans who enjoy recreational boating, you probably have an image in your head about the kinds of activities you’ll be doing on the water. The right boat exists for every person, activity, and budget. As experts in the boating industry, we can help you narrow down the search to make sure you find the boat that best suits your needs!
Which type of boat meets my needs?
First, start with the simplest question: What will the boat be used for? Will you be fishing? Are you more into wakeboarding and other exciting water sports? Maybe you’re all about cruising with family and friends while enjoying the local waterways.
Maybe you’ll be enjoying a little bit of everything. It’s important to have in mind what you’re looking for, that way you get your money’s worth and invest in a boat that’s right for you.
Which hull design is right for me?
A hull is the main structural body of the boat. First thing’s first, there is no one perfect type of hull. All boats have different structures and vary in performance, useable space, and cost.
One of the most obvious differences that can exist in hulls is the shape. You’ll typically be choosing from five common hull shapes, which Boats.com outlines below:
- Flat Bottom Hulls: a hull that has almost no deadrise
- Deep-V Hulls: a wedge-shaped hull from bow to stern
- Modified-V Hulls: the most common hull for small boats
- Catamarans: two hulls bridged by a deck
- Chines and Strakes: molded strips run lengthwise along the hull bottom and are virtually universal on modern planing boats
For more in depth information, check out this article all about the variations of hull designs.
What type of engine should I get for my boat?
Selecting the right type of propulsion system for your boat is foundational and essential to having a safe and enjoyable boat experience. The weight and overall horsepower will impact how your boat performs. If your vessel if underpowered, its engine will continuously work too hard, use too much gas, and will perform poorly. Check out this article from Allstate to help determine just how much horsepower you’ll need.
Should I buy new or used?
This particular question is extremely popular amongst new boaters. We recommend whatever is most comfortable for you and your situation. However, shopping for a new boat first will allow you to gain insight on which boat type you like best and the market price. You can easily comparison shop for similar pre-owned models, but keep warranties in mind when comparing new and pre-owned as well.
How do I learn how to effectively and safely boat?
As recreational boating becomes more prevalent around the country and waterways become busier, there is little room for error when it comes to driving your boat. It’s important to learn how to drive your boat properly from the get-go.
Every person who is considering boating should take a boating safety course. Boating safety courses are inexpensive, easily accessible and necessary for learning the rules of the waterways. You’ll generally find classes offered at boat stores, colleges or community centers, especially in waterfront communities. Check out the availability online in your area!
Once you find the perfect boat for your needs, be sure to protect your investment with the right lift for your boat. Our lift finder tool makes it easy to get started.
Boating is a way of life, often passed down from generation to generation. If you grew up boating, you likely have countless stories on the water. You probably have fond memories sitting on your father’s or mother’s lap with the warm sunshine on your face. There is nothing quite like sharing the experience of being in the water with your family and inspiring them to keep this passion for boating alive. For that reason, we collected an age-appropriate list of helpful tasks that will give your children a glimpse of the “boat life.”
It may seem like just yesterday your little ones were learning to steadily walk on the boat for the first time. As they get older, giving them more responsibility to be an active member of your crew should be encouraged. As most boaters know, owning a boat comes with its fair share of chores. From regular tasks like basic cleaning to bigger responsibilities like docking, kids want to feel included in the process.
Start out by assigning them little jobs. This empowers them and makes them feel as if they’ve accomplished something of the utmost importance. In most cases, the tasks will require your supervision until your child is old enough or well-versed enough to handle things on their own.
All Hands on Deck: Age-Appropriate Tasks
The list below will start from simpler tasks and progress to more skilled tasks for older children.
Simply wiping down the vinyl in the cockpit or making sure the interior parts of the boat are squeaky clean with a washcloth.
Packing and Tidying Up
Carrying light weight gear on and off the boat, and packing up to go home at the end of the day can be extremely helpful.
Helping the Captain
This includes prepping for meals before heading out on the water, making sure the captain has everything he/she may need, and being an extra set of eyes for watersports or people in the water.
Tying Knots and Handling Lines
Start with learning how to tie essential knots and allowing them to tie up loose lines in the cockpit. Eventually, they can progress to bigger tasks like helping tie the boat to the dock.
Learning to Navigate
It’s never too early to learn the rules of the water by helping with navigation. Teaching your child to steer properly and keep an eye out for buoys or channel markers to help keep the boat intact is essential.
Taking the Wheel
Driving is the biggest task of them all. With the right supervision and boater education courses, of-age children are more than able to operate the boat or at least be an interactive co-caption. Giving your child this task will allow him/her to understand the responsibility of driving a boat and protecting the safety of the people on board.
Hopefully these fun tips are helpful if you are a family who loves to be on the water. These tasks can help your children learn responsibility, grow personally, and can translate into lessons they’ll carry with them throughout their lives.
For other ways Hi-Tide looks to help future generations grow, check out our non-profit program Kids on Track.
A boat is not just a boat to a true boat owner. It’s a home, a way of life, and an escape from reality. As a boater, it is a right of passage (if you will) to give your boat a name. A name so fitting that the boat will project to friends, loved ones and the world who you are every time you pass by.
Why Name Your Boat?
Boat names can reveal a lot about the personality, passion and life experiences of a boat owner. Historically, the majority of vessels were named after female figures, either historical or personal, with names often representing an important woman in a captain’s life.
You certainly wouldn’t want to invest your time and money into buying a boat and then pick a name without any thought. Most people choose a name which has a special significance to them, but be careful not to select one that is too long or obscure. Ideally, it needs to be short, memorable, and you should be able to withstand hearing it repeatedly on a VHF radio.
Tips and Tricks To Name Your Boat
- Think Unique. A boat’s name should always be an excerpt of your imagination.
- Keep It Simple. The name of your boat should never be too long to where it doesn’t fit comfortably in the area of your choosing. If the name is short, memorable, and catchy, it won’t be puzzling to friends, family members and other boat owners.
- Keep It Clean. Or in other words, “Keep it classy.” Using a name that includes profanity could give off the wrong impression, especially if children are involved.
- Have Fun With Puns. Short puns, clichés or other play on words can add a lot of character to the boat.
- Find Your Inspiration. Family, friends, hobbies, a favorite song or movie serve as excellent sources of inspiration.
- Location Is Key. In addition to choosing a name, you’ll also need to take into consideration the best place to put it. When it comes to designing your boat name or choosing the right color scheme and font to accentuate your boat well, you can go the DIY route or hire professionals to help you visualize your ideal boat name layout.
Make It Official
In addition to the location of your name, you can either have the lettering done by professionals or order the vinyl letters and apply them yourself. Below are tips to keep in mind when placing the letters on the desired spot of the boat.
- Choose a large, open area on the boat. Leave inches of boat space above, below, and around the name to make easier to apply and stand out.
- Do not wax the boat prior to putting on your new lettering. The adhesive will not stick to the wax.
- Last, but surely not least, make sure to apply the letters when the boat is out of the water.
Looking for more inspiration? Check out this list of the most clever boat names from A to Z.
Already found the perfect name and now looking for the perfect lift? Our Lift Finder can help!
Boating is often linked to an appreciation for the great outdoors. Many boaters and anglers happen to also be avid outdoorsmen and women who understand just how important our environment is to protecting our pastime. Though it’s morally right to protect the plants and animals we share the waterways with, it also helps ensure that our kids and grandkids can enjoy the water just as much as we have. That’s where eco-friendly boating techniques come in.
Though some of the more pessimistic out there may scoff and turn their noses up to anything with the “eco-friendly” label as just some kind of crunchy hippie buzzword without much substance, eco-friendly boating is something everyone can (and should) incorporate as responsible boaters. Here are a few easy ways you can start to protect our waterways for years to come.
Eco-Friendly Boating Tips Worth Remembering
- Motor Maintenance: Not only will a well-running motor save you money on gas, but it can also help keep you from spilling pollutants into our waterways. Oil and gasoline can be extremely harmful to the ecosystem, so ensuring your motor is tip-top and leak-free before hitting the water is a great idea.
- No Littering: One of the most frustrating and completely preventable environmental dangers boaters cause is littering. Tossing cans, plastic and other non-biodegradable materials into the water can harm or kill creatures along the entire food chain. Simply keep a garbage bag onboard and dispose of your trash responsibly, and have a zero-tolerance policy for litterbug boaters and passengers.
- Heed the Signs: Do your best to follow cautionary signs posted on your waterway, including low-wake zones and wildlife warnings. Ignoring these signs could destroy important seagrasses, oyster beds or even result in you injuring protected sea life.
- Ditch Diesel: Though diesel motors are still the standard for many boat companies, emerging electric or hybrid options could both reduce or eliminate your gas costs while also reducing the risks of pollution.
By keeping your motor tip-top, refusing to litter, watching for cautionary signs and finding an alternative to diesel-powered motors, you could safeguard our waterways for generations of boaters to come. Together, we can protect the plant and animal life that make our waterways so beautiful in the first place, all while still having fun on the water with these eco-friendly boating tips.
When heading out to your favorite spot to get in some high-quality fishing, many of us like to take a handy checklist. From making sure you pack the right lures and bait to checking the weather and latest fishing reports, this list can grow to something near novel length. We’re sorry, but we have to add to that list. But we promise — it’s worth it.
Fishing Tips to Add to Your Checklist
- See the Signs: Most any major waterway will have signs that caution boaters and fishers of regulations or dangers. Heed signs that mark off no-fishing zones, private property and otherwise protected areas. Some common off-limits areas include protected seagrass beds and oyster reefs.
- Safety First: Your checklist needs to include the likes of a first aid kit, waterproof baggies or protectors for your cell phone, life vests fitted to each person onboard, flashlights, sunscreen and bug spray if you’re in an area prone to mosquitos.
- Stay Hydrated on the Water: Though you’re surrounded by the stuff, don’t forget to bring plenty of water or sports drinks in order to stay hydrated. It’s especially easy in the summer months to not realize just how dehydrated you’re getting in the blazing sun. Also, coffee, soda and alcohol can act as diuretics, so avoid them when trying to rehydrate.
- Watch the Weather: Summer brings with it some predictably unpredictable weather patterns, namely, the dreaded afternoon thunderstorms. Though we’d all like to kick back for a full day of fishing and fun, it’s important to keep tabs on worsening weather. The last thing you want is to be caught with your rods up when the lightning starts.
- Read the Regulations: The most fun part of fishing? The regulations, of course. OK, we know rules and regulations can be a bit of a downer when you’re just trying to hit the water and have some fun. However, understanding catch-and-release rules, bag and length standards and other regulations (for both freshwater and saltwater fishing) can help keep you out of trouble with local authorities.
By looking out for posted signs, bringing safety equipment, staying hydrated, watching for approaching storms and reading your local fishing regulations, you can have a trouble-free time on the water. So grab your bait, pack a lunch and complete your checklist — you have a summer full of fishing to do. We’ll see you on the water.