Whether you’ve had a boat for years or are thinking you might want to make boating a part of your Austin experience, it’s important to consider where your vessel will be when you’re not out on the water enjoying the fresh air and sunshine.
Austin’s laws are fairly relaxed, allowing up to two boats per house as long as the vessels are screened by a 6-foot wood or masonry fence. But many neighborhood associations have restrictions against onsite watercraft storage, which could leave a boat owner searching for a storage facility.
5 Things Boat Owners Should Consider When Buying a New Home
1.) Check Insurance Policy:
Most homeowner’s policies don’t cover boats, particularly those over 20 feet. If you already have watercraft insurance, check with your provider to see what changes would be needed if you’re moving.
2.) Home Storage:
With measurements of your boat handy, check the backyard of your prospective property and be sure there’s ample level ground for storage. Some large lots may have space for boat storage in a front or side yard. But most homeowners will have to consider ingress and egress options for towing the boat in and out of the backyard. A second driveway and curb improvements may be necessary, but it may make boating more convenient and eliminate the need to pay for boat storage.
For many boat owners who have quality boat covers, a flat area covered in gravel may work just fine. But a concrete apron may make cleaning and maintenance work easier. Consider whether a boat garage or small boathouse building might work best to store life vests, inflatables, fishing gear and other recreational equipment. It could also serve as a guest house or workshop. Conversely, in some neighborhoods, a boathouse may be an over-improvement that only holds strong resale value for other boat owners, limiting resale appeal.
Consider a locking gate and motion detecting light to deter theft. You don’t want to have to use that insurance policy you just checked on.
5.) Proximity to the water:
If you have a boat, convenience to the lake is important. Austin has a lot of boating options, lakefront property and boat storage facilities. When looking at listings of homes for sale, consider the convenience of getting your boat on the water. Are the roads between your prospective home and a boat launching area or marina paved and smooth or rough and bumpy? Can your vehicle safely tow your watercraft to area lakes? How simple will it be for you and your friends to cruise out to the lake and enjoy a leisurely afternoon?
Austin has dozens of boat ramps, and they occasionally close when lake levels fall too low. Here’s a list of ramps controlled by the Lower Colorado River Authority: http://www.lcra.org/parks/pages/boat-ramp-information.aspx