Frequently Asked Questions

I’d like to buy a boat, but I have no experience as a captain. How can you help me?

Modern Yachts is proud to introduce our exclusive Launch and Learn orientation process to new and experienced boaters alike. We provide you with on-water experience and practice to ensure your familiarity with not only your new boat, but with your local waters as well! With our Launch and Learn program we guarantee you will feel comfortable by the time your family boards the boat.

How difficult is it to get a boating license?

Modern Yachts offers New York State safety courses exclusively to our customers, throughout the boating season. We offer a 1 day course to be hosted in our Mattituck showroom by Safe Boating America ( Although the New York safety course is not required for adults, we encourage every customer to attend.

I have a license from another state. Do I need a license from NYS to purchase a boat here?

We do not require a NY license to purchase a boat. However either a NY state license or an out of state license accompanied with a Passport will be required to register a boat in New York State. We take care of all registration for the customer including trailers!

Can Modern Yachts help secure financing for me?

Modern Yachts offers our customers access to the best financing available.

Does Modern Yachts accept boat trade-ins?

Modern Yachts is happy to accept your previously enjoyed boats. We require a full inspection by one of our Mercruiser/Mercury certified mechanics as well as an inspection/appraisal by our sales staff.

I live on the North Fork, but I purchased from Modern Yachts in Westhampton. How can we transport my boat?

You’re in luck! Modern Yachts features THREE locations on the east end of Long Island. Our Mattituck, Westhampton and Hampton Bays locations are highlighted by ramp and water access for your convenience. We also offer a service and transport service at our locations.

I’m a weekend boater. Can Modern Yachts service my craft on Sunday?

Modern Yachts has a full service staff Monday through Saturday to provide you with on the spot mobile service wherever you keep your boat. Unique to our marina is our limited Sunday service (only 1 mechanic) all summer long!

Can Modern Yachts provide winterization and storage for my craft?

At Modern Yachts we store over 400 boats between our Westhampton, Mattituck, and Hampton Bays locations. From shrink wrap to transport, there is not a service that we can’t cover!

What manufacturers does Modern Yachts feature?

We are New York’s exclusive dealer for Edgewater, and an authorized dealer for Sea Ray, Cobia, Atlantis/Azimut, and Jupiter.


  • Personal Flotation Devices (PFDS)
    • At least one Coast Guard approved device per passenger and a minimum of two onboard. An additional throwable device is required if the vessel is more than 16 feet long. Explain the location and use of all PFDs to passengers and crew that may be new to the vessel.
    • Explain the location and use of all PFDs to passengers and crew that may be new to the vessel.
  • Sound Producing Devices (Whistle)
    • Must have a horn capable of producing a four-second blast audible for at least 1/2 mile. If a portable air horn, have a spare can of air or an alternate device.
  • Lights and Shapes
    • All navigation lights, as required, in working order. Instrumental lights working. If you intend to engage in an activity that requires a day shape, have the required shapes.
    • Flashlight onboard. Accessible flares, day signals, etc., stored in a dry location. Carry signals at all times even if not required by the Coast Guard. Inform the crew and passengers of their location and their use.
  • Distress Signals
    • Accessible flares, day signals, etc., stored in a dry location.
    • Carry signals at all times even if not required by the Coast Guard.
    • Inform the crew and passengers of their location and their use.
  • Tools and Spares
    • Basic tool box onboard and a bucket for bailing.
    • Box of spares aboard, e.g. fuel filter, light bulbs, head parts, through-hull plugs, etc.
  • Ventilation
    • On any powered vessel or auxiliary powered sailboat, or vessels using LPG for cooking or heat, check that all interior spaces are well ventilated before departure.
    • If fuel smells are detected before ventilating, check after running the blowers for several minutes before starting. If odor persists, look for the source.
  • Fire Extinguishers
    • Accessible fire extinguisher. Do you have at least those required by the U.S.C.G.?
    • Check to be sure mounts are secure and functional before departure.
  • Fuel and Oil
    • Are your tanks topped-off? If not, have enough fuel to provide a reasonable margin of safety for your return.
    • Check the engine oil and coolant level. Make sure to carry oars or paddles. In some states it is a requirement.
  • Bilges
    • Check to be sure bilges are reasonably dry and that pumps are not running excessively. Clean up any spilled oil or waste in bilges to prevent overboard discharge.
  • Battery Care
    • If you have a dual charging system, is the selector switch in the proper position? Is the power on to the entire vessel?
    • Spare batteries for accessories such as a hand-held radio, flashlight, portable navigational aid, etc.
    • If they are rechargeable, are they charged?
  • Weather Forecast
    • Did you check the weather forecast?
    • Radio onboard to receive weather updates.
  • Docking and Anchoring
    • At least one anchor set up and bent-on to your anchorline.
    • Two or three extra docklines in case of unusual conditions dockside.
    • Visually inspect the lines you use for chafe or wear. At least two fenders onboard for docking or towing if required.
  • Documentation
    • Have the ship’s papers, registration, radio license, license or boating safety course I.D., fishing permit, etc. onboard.
    • Have the chart or charts for the area you intend to
    • cruise in, regardless of your level of local knowledge.
  • Boating Offshore
    • EPIRB
    • Liferaft
  • Trailer Boating – before leaving home:
    • Is the battery charged?
    • Do you have the keys to the boat?
    • Is the plug in the boat?
  • Trailer Checks
    • Check tire pressure and grease wheel bearings.
    • Make sure hitch is secure and safety chains attached.
    • Make sure boat is tied down properly.
  • Sailing Vessels
    • Check sails, lines, sheets and rigging.
    • Don’t forget the tiller and centerboard.
    • WATCH FOR OVERHEAD POWER LINES when raising the mast.
    • Have you filed your float plan with a responsible person?


Less than 16ft/4.9m
16 to less than 26 ft/7.9m
26 to less than 40 ft/12.2m
40 to not more than 65 ft/19.8m
Devices (PFDs)*
One approved Type I, II, III or V(must be worn) PFD for each person on board or being towed on water skis, tubes, etc. One approved Type I, II or III PFD for each person on board or being towed on water skis, etc.; and one throwable Type IV device. ( A type V PFD may be used in lieu of any wearable PFD, if approved for the activity in which it is being used. A TYPE V HYBRID MUST be worn to be legal.)
*Check state laws for PFD requirements for children and certain water craft & sports.
Bell, Whistle Every vessel less than 39.4 ft (12 meters) in length must carry an efficient sound producing device. Every vessel 39.4 ft (12 meters) or larger in length must carry a whistle and a bell. The whistle must be audible for 1/2 nautical mile. The mouth of the bell must be at least 7.87 inches (200mm) in diameter.
Visual Distress
(Coastal Waters, the Great Lakes &
US owned boats on the high seas)
Required to carry approved visual distress signals for night-time use. Must carry approved visual distress signals for both daytime and night-time use.
(Must be Coast
Guard approved)
One B-I type approved hand portable fire extinguisher. (Not required on outboard motorboats less than 26 ft in length if the construction of the motorboat is such that it does not permit the entrapment of explosive or flammable gases or vapors and if fuel tanks are not permanently installed.) Two B-I type OR one B-II type approved portable fire extinguishers. Three B-I type OR one B-I type PLUS one B-II type approved portable fire extinguishers.
**When a fixed fire extinguishing system is installed in machinery spaces it will replace one B-I portable fire extinguisher.
(Boats built on or after 8/1/80)
At least two ventilation ducts capable of efficiently ventilating every closed compartment that contains a gasoline engine and/or tank, except those having permanently installed tanks which vent outside of the boat and which contain no unprotected electrical devices. Engine compartments containing a gasoline engine with a cranking motor are additionally required to contain power operated exhaust blowers which can be controlled from the instrument panel.
(Boats built before 8/1/80)
At least two ventilation ducts fitted with cowls (or their equivalent) for the purpose of efficiently and properly ventilating the bilges of every closed engine and fuel tank compartment using gasoline as fuel or other fuels having a flashpoint of 110 degrees or less. Applies to boats constructed or decked over after April 25, 1940.
Flame Arrestor
One approved device on each carburetor of all gasoline engines installed after April 25, 1940, except outboard motors.
Note: Some states have requirements in addition to the federal requirements. Check your state’s boating laws.

Boat Buying Tips

When preparing to purchase a boat, review the following points to best assess the type, size and style boat that’s best for you:

  • Who will use the boat? Will it be just family or will you invite guests? This factor may help you determine the size craft you’ll need.
  • How will you use the boat? Will you be fishing, water skiing, cruising, taking day trips, weekend trips or week long excursions?
  • When, and how often, will the boat be used? Do you boat year-round or only seasonally?
  • Where will you operate the boat? In lakes, rivers or on the ocean?
  • How much can you afford to spend? Don’t forget the initial cost of purchase is just the beginning. There will be maintenance, insurance, registration fees, perhaps even instruction and safety course fees.
  • What type of boat suits your personality and temperament? Do you imagine getting from place to place quickly, or are you more apt to enjoy a leisurely pace before arriving at your destination?

When looking for a boat you will want to consider it in terms of:

  • Safety
  • Physical Condition
  • Options and accessories
  • Looks
  • Performance
  • Cost

New vs. Pre-Owned

Buying either a new or pre-owned boat can provide a safe, fun experience. You may want to consider your requirements (both functional and budgetary), as well as the available inventory of crafts within a given region. It’s also most important that you purchase your boat from a reputable, experienced retailer who offers support beyond the sale. That’s key for something as paramount as service issues, or as simple as providing an understanding of boating basics.

If you decide to purchase a used boat, please read our suggestions for becoming a “boat detective”.

Become A Boat Detective

Whether you employ a surveyor or not, you should know some of the things to look for if you have decided to buy a pre-owned boat. A keen eye, a good ear and a checklist will lead you to potential problems. Some of the things to look for are:

  1. Mismatched paint. This could indicate that the boat has been in an accident and had repairs made. Although this in and of itself may not disqualify the boat, if you were not told of the repairs what else might you not have been told about?
  2. Does the keel run true in a straight line fore and aft? Is it straight horizontally?
  3. Do you see any apparent water lines inside the boat or on the engine? Look for a line that separates a rust free area on the engine and a lower area with a lot of rust. This could indicate that the boat took on water.
  4. On an inboard, does the shaft turn true or does it wobble? What about the prop – any nicks or cracks?
  5. Take hold of the prop and try to move it up and down and sideways. You should not be able to move it much. If you can, you have a worn cutlass bearing.
  6. Take a small rubber or phenol hammer and lightly tap the hull moving around the boat. If you hear voids in the fiberglass, that could be a problem of repairs, blisters, or delamination.
  7. Walk around the decks, the floors inside and on the bow. If there are soft spots, it’s probably best to disqualify this craft.
  8. Is the steering free and easy to move?
  9. Is the upholstery in good shape?
  10. Check around hatches and windows – do you see water stains inside? If so, these will have to be rebedded to keep the rain and spray out.
  11. Is there any musty/moldy smell inside? This could indicate leakage, prior water damage or simply neglect.
  12. Make sure it is legal, with all required equipment.
  13. Are the handrails bolted through and not just screwed to the surface? Are they secure?
  14. Look at the transom and check the hull identification number. Does it look like it has been modified? Does it match the number on the registration and or title.
  15. When you start the engine do you have good water flow?
  16. Check belts and hoses for cracks or wear. Even with low hours on an engine(s), rubber deteriorates just sitting.
  17. Check the oil and instead of wiping the stick with a cloth use your fingers, do you feel any grit? What is the color? How does it smell? Does it smell burned. You might want to send a sample of it and the transmission fluid to a lab for testing.
  18. Check the transmission fluid with the same process as the oil.
  19. Check the strainer(s) for debris and clean if necessary.
  20. Test the seacocks to make sure they open and close.
  21. Does the transmission shift easily or does it “clunk?”
  22. See if you can get the maintenance records and review how the boat has been maintained in the past. Also look for reccurring problems.
  23. See if you can find the previous owner(s) and ask about the boat.
  24. Check both the BUC and NADA books to determine value range for this model and year. You can get these books at any boat dealer or a bank that offers boat loans.
  25. If you are looking at an inboard/outboard make sure the tilt motor works properly.

Buyers who fail to inspect boats in the manner may end up with a lemon. Even competent checks, however, can miss details, so it’s a good idea to ask a marine surveyor for his professional opinion.

No matter what, skippers are responsible for having the required safety equipment determined by the class of a boat. It’s poor planning to assume that pre-owned crafts automatically have the proper navigation lights, horn, flotation devices, or other safety items.

Boating Budget

The purchase of a boat involves much more than a simple down payment and a monthly installation. Use this worksheet to help you determine what costs will be involved when you purchase your dream boat.

Don’t Forget The Most Important Part!

The previous information outlines crucial tips about boat purchase and ownership. But as boat owners ourselves, the staff at Modern Yachts wants to offer the most critical piece of advice yet: boat ownership is fun!

Owning a boat opens new worlds and invites fresh experiences. There are hundreds of Modern Yachts boat owners who enjoy a boating lifestyle on Long Island’s east end, and each season we host several events to help boaters get together and enjoy activities on the water.

If you prefer a quiet sail of solitude, that’s great too. We encourage boaters to enjoy the waters in whatever way suits their lifestyle.

Whatever you do, just remember: It’s Better On The Water!