We get lots of questions from new boat owners here at boats.com, and we always do our best to answer them. Recently, this came in from Shirl:

I was so happy to come across your site and to know there’s someone out there that might steer me in the right direction, because I’m as green as they come in owning a boat. I own a Lund 16’ with a 15HP Yamaha outboard motor and trailer. I got it in CT and need to register it in MA. How do I go about doing that? Through the DMV? Or is there a special place to register boats? Can I do this online and is it legitimate? Do I have to register the trailer, too? And, it will be moored in salt water for the summer; do I need to prepare the aluminum bottom with a certain paint? On top of that, the motor hasn’t been started in over two years. What do I have to do to get this in optimal running condition? YIKES! So much to do and learn, I so appreciate any information you can lend. Thank you!

Shirl’s new Lund 16—Shirl, you’re in for an adventure!

Shirl’s new Lund 16—Shirl, you’re in for an adventure!

We're not going to sugarcoat it from the start: Getting everything ship-shape and ready to roll will require a good bit of work and diligence. But you'll get to know your boat much better in the process, and you're much more likely to have a great time aboard when you get underway.

Even before you get started, we suggest you read our Lund 16 review, Lund 1600 Fury: Updated Tradition. We don’t know the specific year and model of the boat you bought so there are likely to be some subtle differences between yours and the 1600 Fury we reviewed here, but the basic construction and performance will be the same, and reading the review should give you some good insights into your boat.

While Shirl’s boat may be a bit different than the Lund 1600 Fury we reviewed, the basics will be the same.

While Shirl’s boat may be a bit different than the Lund 1600 Fury we reviewed, the basics will be the same.

And now to answer your questions: Yes, you will have to register both the boat and the trailer in your home state. Each state has different rules and regulations, and in Massachusetts, you’ll need to register the boat through the Massachusetts Boat and Recreational Vehicle Safety Bureau and the trailer through the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles. For the boat, you’ll need documentation like the bill of sale, the title, and a registration and titling application. You can find all the information you need on their web site, at the First Time Registration of a Boat, OHV, and Snowmobile page. (And if you're reading this from another state, simply search on "how to register a boat in (add your state name)" and you'll find similar instructions.)

For the trailer, you’ll need proof of insurance, and one of several documents that provides proof of ownership. All of the details and specifics can be found on the RMV web site, and their FAQ page is particularly helpful.

In your state, adults aren’t required to get a Boating Safety Certificate (it’s only mandatory for those between 12 and 17 years of age). However, Boaterexam.com offers the state’s safety course online, for free. Since you’re new to boating—and we can’t stress this strongly enough—you really should take this course and learn the basics of boating safety before you use your boat. Then, beef up your safety knowledge even more by reading:

If you’re new to trailering you’ll also want to visit our comprehensive trailering page, Boat Towing Guide: How to Trailer a Boat.

Owning a boat is one thing, but trailering it is an entirely different story. No worries—our Trailering Guide will help you cover all the bases. Photo by Neil Rabinowitz.

Owning a boat is one thing, but trailering it is an entirely different story. No worries—our Trailering Guide will help you cover all the bases. Photo by Neil Rabinowitz.

Now, let’s talk about the issue of bottom painting. The short answer to your question is yes, if your boat will live in the water for more than a week at a time, it needs to be bottom painted. However—and this is really important—you need to use an anti-fouling paint that does NOT include cuprous oxide. This is the active ingredient found in many common bottom paints, and it will cause galvanic corrosion when applied to an aluminum hull. Galvanic corrosion occurs when two dissimilar metals (in this case copper and aluminum) are in contact with an electrolyte (saltwater). One becomes an anode, the other becomes a cathode, corrosion does its thing, and a month later you step into your boat and your foot goes right through the bottom. Ouch.

What you need to use is copper-free bottom paint, such as PetitHydrocoat, Vivid, Pontoon Pro, or Ultima Eco; Interlux, Micron Ultima, Micron 66, or Micron Extra; or epaint, which coincidentally is made right in your own home state in East Falmouth. There are a few other brands out there, too, so just be sure your paint is free of copper and is marked as safe for use on aluminum boats.

Although it focuses on painting fiberglass or wood, you may also want to check out our How to Paint a Boat video. You’ll discover some helpful tips on taping and preparation, which apply to any kind of boat.

It looks like we’ve finally arrived at the final part of your question—that beautiful little Yamaha perched on the boat’s transom. And while we hate to bear bad news, the fact of the matter is that you need to get professional help from a certified Yamaha technician. Yamaha builds excellent outboard motors, and outboards this small are fairly simple and easy to work on. But two years is much, much too long for any outboard to sit without running. All of the fuel in the system is bound to have gone bad by now, and will need to be completely drained and removed. You can start the process yourself (and cut down on the mechanic’s bill) by draining the fuel tank and fuel lines and properly disposing of the old fuel. Do not put it in your lawn mower, a car, or anything else—that fuel is well past its expiration date and is likely to cause problems in any motor you run it through. But even after removing the bad fuel you’re likely to have issues with gum and goo in the carburetor, the fuel lines should be flushed, and the fuel filter needs to be replaced. You’ll also want to have the lower unit oil changed (as well as the powerhead oil if it’s a four-stroke). And it’s quite possible the neoprene impeller in the water pump has deteriorated, and is in need of replacement.

Don’t get too worried about the bill at this point. As we said, the Yamaha 15 is a well-built and relatively simple outboard. For a certified Yamaha tech, we’re only talking about a couple-few hours of relatively simple work, the motor should run just fine afterwards, and the cost shouldn’t be overwhelming. But this is a process that should really be left to the professionals. Just tell them the engine hasn’t run in two years, and ask them to perform all the necessary chores to get it back into action.

If this sounds like a lot of work, well, it is. But the rewards you’re about to experience go way beyond worth it. In fact, we envy you for the newfound joy you’re about to experience as a first-time boat owner. And if there’s any one thing we can promise you, it’s this: Once you open up the throttle and feel that Lund skimming across the water, you won’t regret having bought that boat. Not then, and not ever—you’re in for the time of your life.