You never forget your first boat.

Your First Time Boat Ownership Guide

In 2021 for the second year in a row, first-time boat owners surpassed 415,000. This means that over the last two years nearly a MILLION first-time boat owners hit the waters,  accounting for 34 percent of all boat sales. Are you one of them?  Congratulations! You did the thing.  You made the dream happen. 

The first year of boat-ownership can come with some ups, downs, confusion, and of course, unexpected expenses.  But you don't have to go it alone. We've brought together all our best resources on first-time boat ownership in one place to help keep you company in your first year.  Having second thoughts? Stop that right now, and visit our "no-regrets hotline" page for a reminder on how awesome your choice was. 

First Time Guides    |  First Boat Stories    |  No Regrets Hotline


What you need to know


Download Dockwa

Unlike new boats, it's free. 

The free Dockwa App is the largest directory of marinas, boat yards, and yacht clubs anywhere.  Use it to find and book boat storage, services, fuel and more at any time of day or night.  Once you're underway, you can leave your wallet behind and use Dockwa to pay for dockage, fuel and other onsite purchases.  Communicate with marinas directly through the app and store all your insurance and registration information so you don't have to keep resending it. 


Download for Apple IOS

Download for Android



Dockwa App Make a Reservation View

"You Never Forget Your First"

Stories from long-standing captains about their first loves, er boats.

retired boat on grass filled with beers

My first boat was a Boston Whaler Squall that was abandoned and sank. My now husband and I salvaged and refinished her. It’s honestly amazing we are still together after that project. She was our beach chariot for years, but we sadly outgrew her. She now lives a life of luxury as a very fancy drink holder who is very popular at local parties  and was the guest of honor at our wedding.

Amy Cohan, Cape Cod 

Two young boys in a rowboat

Mine was a plywood pram my grandfather built for me, with my “help”, when I was 8. For my 9th birthday I got a 2HP outboard. Pure freedom and joy. Boat love is hard to beat.

Jeff Johnston, Washington
Stuart as a child on his boat

My family got a 13' whaler right before I turned 12. You can get your boaters license at 12 so I took the exam the summer before and went to the Cape for the weekend with my friends for my birthday so I could take us all out in it for the first time alone.  It was in September, absolutely freezing, and took us an hour to start to boat because we didn’t know how to use the choke. But it was amazing.

Stuart Yamartino, Boston

No Regrets Hotline

There will come a day when you get that first big bill, or something breaks and you may think, "maybe this was a bad idea."  When that moment comes, we're here to tell you, "Absolutely not, captain."  You nailed this life choice. Click below to hear some affirmations about why boat-ownership was the best thing you ever did.