Owning A Boat
Owning a ski or wakeboard boat is an incredible experience. Hitting the lake with friends and family on warm summer days, teaching your kids to get up on skis or a wakeboard for the first time, getting in good slalom runs and landing your first wake to wake jump are all incredible experiences that you can share with others by owning a wakeboard or ski boat.
However, before you decide to buy a ski boat or buy a wakeboard boat, there are a few things you should consider. You might have heard the sayings that boats are "holes in the water, into which you throw money" or "the happiest day of a boat owner's life is the day they buy the boat and the day they sell it." These sayings certainly are on the negative side of boat ownership, but what you should realize from these quotes is that boat ownership can be expensive.
There are many expenses that you will need to consider before purchasing your boat such as depreciation, maintenance, storage, gas, insurance, towing, registration, taxes, launch fees and accessories. All of these can certainly add up and take a big hit out of your wallet.
The good news is, it's all worth it! As the owner of two inboard boats, I can honestly say that owning a wakeboard or ski boat is a blast and an enjoyable day on the lake makes all of the other things seem miniscule. But, again... before buying, you need to understand what is involved.
Maintenance - Maintaining a ski boat is not as difficult as say maintaining a sailboat. Proper maintenance of your inboard boat should not be overlooked. In fact, one good fundamental of owning a ski boat or owning a wakeboard boat is to do whatever you can to reduce the amount of depreciation of your boat, you should maintain your boat in pristine condition. A boat in great overall condition (interior and exterior) will always command a much higher price on the used boat market and it meticulous care of your boat will always show to any potential buyer helping to put them at ease when making an offer for your boat. That being said, there are a few important elements to proper maintenance.
Engine Maintenance - it's pretty simple really. Always make sure your motor has plenty of oil and have the oil and filter changed every 50 hours or 120 days of use, whichever comes first. If you don't use your boat for 50 hours a season, I'd recommend making sure you have the oil changed every year at least. You also need to make sure that all of your other fluids are always full. Pulling up skiers and wakeboarders means consistent stopping and starting which can be tough on the engine. That is why making sure you properly maintain your engine is very critical to ski and wakeboard boat ownership.
Winterizing - You will also need to make sure that your boat is properly winterized at the end of each season. Not properly winterizing your boat can be very damaging, especially if it is stored in temperatures that reach freezing. Below is a checklist on how to properly winterize your boat.
This information is designed to provide a basic summary of what needs to be done in order to properly winterize an inboard engine. If you don't understand any of these instructions, it is recommended that you contact your local dealer for clarification or let them service your boat.
-Add stabil to your gasoline
-Run engine up to operating temperature and make sure all gauges are functioning properly while attached to a garden hose or fake-a-lake
-Shut engine down after it reaches operating temp (140-160)
-Drain manifolds, the block, trans cooler, v-drive (if applicable) and any other areas that receive cooling water
-Reinstall plugs and run the engine to add non toxic antifreeze and fogging oil
-Check all plugs for antifreeze
-Tighten plugs and reattach any unattached hoses
-Spray fogging oil on any moving parts (shift cable, throttle cable, etc) and on the battery terminals after the battery is disconnected
-Remove water from Speedo lines and drain ballast tanks (if applicable)
These instructions are only for winterizing the engine and don't include heaters and showers. As stated before, if you are unsure of what you are doing, contact your dealer for further assistance.
Interior Maintenance - replacing the interior of a ski or wakeboard boat can be very expensive. Small tears and split seams can easily turn into bigger issues if left unchecked. This is why it's always best to maintain proper care of your boat's interior. There are a few ways you can do this. The first, and generally most important is to keep it out of the sun! Obviously when the boat is in use, it will be getting a lot of sun. But when you are storing it, you want to make sure that the boat is covered, and preferably, stored indoors. If you are unable to store indoors, try to store it under a carport or similar structure.
You should also clean the interior of your wakeboard or ski boat regularly and use UV protectant. This will help minimize the fading caused by UV rays when you are in the sun. After each use, make sure to wipe down the boat completely and don't cover the boat up until the carpet is dry, otherwise you will get mildew and an unpleasant smell.
Exterior Maintenance - At the beginning, halfway, and end of your season, we recommend waxing your boat. A good application of boat wax will help protect the gelcoat on your wakeboard boat or ski boat for many years. If Wiping down the exterior of your boat after each use is also highly recommended. Proper exterior maintenance can keep your ski boat or wakeboard boat looking new for many many years.
Storage - You need to consider storage space when buying a boat. Where will you keep it in the off season? Where will you keep it between uses? If you are considering buying a lift, that is another added expense. There are several types of off season boat storage options available for your ski boat or wakeboard boat. If you have room, you can store it in your own garage or yard. There are storage units available in most areas, or warehouses for boat and RV storage. Many marinas offer winter storage as well in boat racks or in their boat yard. Whatever you do for the winter, make sure that 1) your boat is properly winterized and 2) that it is protected from the elements. This means that if you are storing it outside, the boat is shrink wrapped. We strongly discourage storing any inboard wake or ski boat outside during the winter months at all, but if it must be done, make sure that it is at least shrink wrapped for protection. All of these things can add up in cost. A typical indoor non climate controlled (the most typical) storage will run about $1.50 per foot per month (at least in our area). Shrink wrapping can cost as much as $400. So make sure you understand these costs when your purchase your boat and have a plan ready.
Other costs of owning a boat - As soon as you buy your new wakeboard boat or ski boat, you are going to be hit up with some immediate expenses like boat insurance, taxes and registration fees. Not only that, but you are going to need a vehicle to tow the boat. Other costs will include gas, not only for your boat but for your tow vehicle as well. Boat accessories will be a factor. Many new wakeboard boats come with accessories such as wakeboard towers, wakeboard racks, ballast, perfect pass, etc. But on some older models, you might be forced to purchase these products yourself, thus adding additional expense. Not only that, but wakeboarding equipment such as wakeboards, wakeskates, wake surf boards, wakeboard bindings, wakeboard ropes, water skis, water ski ropes, fat sacks... all of these cost money... and generally they aren't cheap!
We're not trying to scare you away from buying a used wakeboard boat, new wakeboard boat, used ski boat or new ski boat. Quite the contrary! We know that owning an inboard boat can be an incredible experience and for those of us that are lucky enough to have the financial ability to own a boat, I would highly recommend it! Just be ready for what lays ahead so you aren't hit with surprises!