Anyone here own a boat, or know a lot about boats?

rc51stierhoff

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I grew up on and around boats. Dad always had two at time…one smaller aluminum for small inland lakes. Then a larger fiberglass with hardtop for Lake Erie and Lake Michigan as well as some trips out off Rhode Island…anyway I’ve been around boats. I think figure out you want to fish or ski and how often…is the time you imaging spending on the boat time for your other hobbies or chores? How much you really will use? are going by yourself or with a friend? personally I love being on the water but unless I have a dock on my property I can walk right off I mOst likely won’t own one…I think unless you really plan to use a lot it’s better to give a friend some cash for gas and maintenance and go with the friend and have a great time. I’d try to go with family or friend or if just occasionally go with a reputable charter / guide. That being said if you do want a boat then sort of like a hard top open station your tractor…how will you use it? want a bikini top or hard top? Shade is nice on a sunny day and hard tops are great on a rainy day. Personally I think an inboard is most convenient (during use maybe not to service though)for space at the back end for fishing. I/O the motor cover is in the way but it does make a decent table top. The outboard gives the space but the motor can be in the way fishing. If skiing I don’t think outboard is the way to go…IMO. Anyway good luck.
 
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mcmxi

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There's a "1999 Maxum 2300 SR, 24' length, 8.4' beam, powerful 8.4 liters 350 hp Mercruiser Bravo stainless steal duel prop outdrive" for sale locally that is "rated for 10 people but carries 12 easily". It's under wrap in winter storage but for $12,900 this is the kind of boat that I'll need to consider.
 

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mcmxi

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personally I love being on the water but unless I have a dock on my property I can walk right off I mOst likely won’t own one…
This is why I didn't buy a boat six or seven years ago. A good friend basically said that very thing. Unless the boat's in the water you won't use it as much as you think you will. I'm all about convenience, and if my friend didn't have a dock and boat ramp at his place on the river I wouldn't even consider the hassle of going to many of the popular boat launches. The one in Somers at the North end of Flathead Lake has been getting increasingly crazy over the past couple of years. It's ridiculous now and I don't know how or why people put up with it.
 
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Henro

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Not everything in life needs to meet a certain margin in cost/benefit analysis, not to me anyway.
True if you have excess funds to spend wherever you want...That kind of was my point...Don't know the OP's situation.

For me, a boat would not be my first choice...but we are each different...
 

mcmxi

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True if you have excess funds to spend wherever you want...That kind of was my point...Don't know the OP's situation.

For me, a boat would not be my first choice...but we are each different...
It's all good. I'm just trying to enjoy the summers in Montana as much as possible. Hiking, floating the river, and spending time on lakes is a good summer, along with tractor work of course! :D

I don't like relying on others for anything so hoping that a friend with a boat invites me to join them on the lake isn't ideal. I'd rather be the one doing the inviting just as I'm the one that loans out tools and equipment, and cuts a friend's field etc. Although, after having a 16ft dump trailer damaged by a friend I'm less inclined to do much in the way of loaning.
 

dirtydeed

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There's a "1999 Maxum 2300 SR, 24' length, 8.4' beam, powerful 8.4 liters 350 hp Mercruiser Bravo stainless steal duel prop outdrive" for sale locally that is "rated for 10 people but carries 12 easily". It's under wrap in winter storage but for $12,900 this is the kind of boat that I'll need to consider.
Not bad. Bigger is better when it comes to boats (IMO). I've had a boat since my junior year in college. They were lake boats (runabouts). One with an outboard and the last with a mercruiser I/O.

There are so many boats on the water these days pushing out huge wakes (wake surfing/boarding, etc). They can really ruin your day on the water if you don't go big enough to smooth out their chop. It can be a back breaking/tooth chipping ride. Did I already suggest to go big?

anyway, my last one was a 21 footer. Great for up to 4 people. Beyond that, it felt a bit cramped. Awesome speed but a pretty rough ride (stingrays are known for that). It only had 80 hours on it when I sold it, despite having it for about 7 years. I bought it used with 20 hours on it.

sold this one a couple of years ago. don't think I'll ever have a boat again unless I lived on the water...

Stingray 210LR.JPG


Stingray 210LR 2.JPG
 
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rc51stierhoff

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This is why I didn't buy a boat six or seven years ago. A good friend basically said that very thing. Unless the boat's in the water you won't use it as much as you think you will. I'm all about convenience, and if my friend didn't have a dock and boat ramp at his place on the river I wouldn't even consider the hassle of going to many of the popular boat launches. The one in Somers at the North end of Flathead Lake has been getting increasingly crazy over the past couple of years. It's ridiculous now and I don't know how or why people put up with it.
Just like your tractor or equipment or firearms or whatever…they need maintenance, need a place to store, and depending on how many hobbies / priorities and how your free time fills up, if it is not a priority and part of your lifestyle they cost a bit for little use. Along with the boat comes the gear and whatever else…you gonna fish (rods tackle electronics etc)…ski (skis boards etc). Maybe you will use it lot. Only you know that. Like other things, especially as we age it’s good to have a friend along in case something happens…it’s ever better if the friend has the boat IMO.
 
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mcmxi

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Not bad. Bigger is better when it comes to boats (IMO). I've had a boat since my junior year in college. They were lake boats (runabouts). One with an outboard and the last with a mercruiser I/O.

There are so many boats on the water these days pushing out huge wakes (wake surfing/boarding, etc). They can really ruin your day on the water if you don't go big enough to smooth out their chop. It can be a back breaking/tooth chipping ride. Did I already suggest to go big?

anyway, my last one was a 21 footer. Great for up to 4 people. Beyond that, it felt a bit cramped. Awesome speed but a pretty rough ride (stingrays are known for that). It only had 80 hours on it when I sold it, despite having it for about 7 years. I bought it used with 20 hours on it.

sold this one a couple of years ago. don't think I'll ever have a boat again unless I lived on the water...

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Sweet Mother of God! That's all I have to say about that! :D But seriously, thanks for the input.

This forum might talk me out of a boat yet! But not with posts like this one!
 
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GeoHorn

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I’ve owned a number of boats, both outboard and I/O.

The Inboard/Outboard (also known as “stern drives”) used to be quite attractive because of the familiarity of the automotive-style engines with which we are often familiar. They also were attractive when most outboards were 2-stroke, noisy and smoky and sometimes tricky.

I never had any troubles with my outboards (one Evinrude and one Mercury) that couldn’t be fixed with carb cleaning or tune-ups or a prop-seal replacement…and I/Os all have those same issues too.

Newer outboards are most-often 4-stroke and about as reliable as autos and motorcycles.

As for value…I/Os have fallen out-of-favor because they are heavy, sometimes hard to access for repairs, and have lower re-sale values …especially with the newer 4-stroke outboards.

An outboard can be removed and taken in for service…or replaced in a couple hours completely.….and if/when it blows can be completely changed to different makes/models without major hull modifications. They are also lighter and more powerful than in times past.

My last boat was an 1984 18’ bow-rider/convertible fish & ski with Volvo I/O and that little engine and outdrive were bullet-proof. I had it almost 30 years and it’s new owner is happy with it also, sometimes still calls me to express his satisfaction. ( I keep detailed repair and service records on all my equipment and he has found them helpful.)

But I would still caution anyone who is considering an I/O that they are a bit outdated for the reasons already mentioned.

My present hole-in-the-water is a 24’ Tri-toon with a 150 HP 4-stroke Yamaha…and we’re having great fun with it pulling grandkids, camping out overnight in it, or simply floating and grilling burgers. This engine is so smooth and quiet you often cannot tell it’s running without looking to see cooling water being ejected from the small “tell-tale”. It pushes the boat almost 40 mph even with heavy loads (8-12 people.)

Hope this helps.

Here’s a video when we were out pulling the grandkids around:

 
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Poohbear

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I don’t currently own a boat, but did for years. Capacity for 8 people is a significant size craft. I was originally going to recommend a v-hull design, but you’re getting into a large craft for 8. Unless you really intend to spend a lot and buy something very large, 8 people and a dog pretty much points to a pontoon craft with outboard motor.
BOAT is short for " break out another thousand " .
I've only owned bass boats but think you are right fit for a pontoon boat.
 
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Tarmy

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Get a pontoon boat…you’ll thank me later. We have several boats….on a lake. The pontoon gets used the most…by far.
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mcmxi

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I’ve owned a number of boats, both outboard and I/O.

The Inboard/Outboard (also known as “stern drives”) used to be quite attractive because of the familiarity of the automotive-style engines with which we are often familiar. They also were attractive when most outboards were 2-stroke, noisy and smoky and sometimes tricky.

I never had any troubles with my outboards (one Evinrude and one Mercury) that couldn’t be fixed with carb cleaning or tune-ups or a prop-seal replacement…and I/Os all have those same issues too.

Newer outboards are most-often 4-stroke and about as reliable as autos and motorcycles.

As for value…I/Os have fallen out-of-favor because they are heavy, sometimes hard to access for repairs, and have lower re-sale values …especially with the newer 4-stroke outboards.

An outboard can be removed and taken in for service…or replaced in a couple hours completely.….and if/when it blows can be completely changed to different makes/models without major hull modifications. They are also lighter and more powerful than in times past.

My last boat was an 1984 18’ bow-rider/convertible fish & ski with Volvo I/O and that little engine and outdrive were bullet-proof. I had it almost 30 years and it’s new owner is happy with it also, sometimes still calls me to express his satisfaction. ( I keep detailed repair and service records on all my equipment and he has found them helpful.)

But I would still caution anyone who is considering an I/O that they are a bit outdated for the reasons already mentioned.

My present hole-in-the-water is a 24’ Tri-toon with a 150 HP 4-stroke Yamaha…and we’re having great fun with it pulling grandkids, camping out overnight in it, or simply floating and grilling burgers. This engine is so smooth and quiet you often cannot tell it’s running without looking to see cooling water being ejected from the small “tell-tale”. It pushes the boat almost 40 mph even with heavy loads (8-12 people.)

Hope this helps.

Here’s a video when we were out pulling the grandkids around:

Your pontoon is very similar to the one that my friend has access to. It's very fast, very smooth and has a single outboard engine with hp well north of 100. I'm under no pressure to do anything so will take the time to think, research, imagine etc.
 

RCW

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With no experience, I have nothing to help your quest. Often thought a boat would be a cool thing to have.

The rookie in me thinks a pontoon would be good for your purposes. A friend with a lake house had a very nice one.

I had another buddy with several over time. Said the two best days of owning a boat are the day you buy it, and the day you sell it.
 
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Biker1mike

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A close friend solved the 'what boat' question by having three. He has his inexpensive fishing boat, a wave runner for the young adults and a large pontoon as a party barge. Then again he is rather well off as far as cash goes.
We switched from a 16 foot run-about to an rv decades ago. Both are money pits.
 
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dirtydeed

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Sweet Mother of God! That's all I have to say about that! :D But seriously, thanks for the input.

This forum might talk me out of a boat yet! But not with posts like this one!
For what you intend on doing and capacity, I'd have to agree with others that a "toon" would likely be the best fit.

To carry 8 people and a pooch, you'd need a rather large lake boat to be comfortable. It's been a few years since I've looked, but at that time the Searay Sundeck was a great boat with loads of room. Sort of a hybrid... Deep V with a rather large bow and open concept "feel". Looks like they are called "deck boats" now.


Propulsion- I'd prefer a new 4 stroke O/B. lots of HP and very quiet. This coming from a guy that had a mercruiser with thru-hull exhaust. It was fun at the time, but I may have been the only one that enjoyed the thru-hull exhaust. It did turn heads, but, some of them were frowning. :rolleyes:

Edited: the model I was referring to was the Searay SunDeck. They ran between 20 - 30 ft available in both I/O and outboard.
 
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mcfarmall

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The two happiest days in a boat owners life are the day he buys it and the day he sells it.
 
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jimh406

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Most people don't buy right the first time. That is, you can expect to trade or upgrade as you are more familiar with your use cases.

My advice as someone who's owned boats for along time, buy used, buy a less expensive solid boat. Insist on a test drive/ride. Be flexible with what you are looking for because you'll likely trade it or sell it. Probably, you'll get a better price in Winter.

Aluminum boats can be hot. That is, sometimes people use the hull as a ground. It's horrible in Saltwater and just bad in Freshwater. It's not so much a safety issue as a poor fishing and cause of corrosion/dissolving issue.

If you buy aluminum, it's worth your time to evaluate every wiring path.
 
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lugbolt

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yup your description of planned usage screams pontoon. Or as I call them party barge.

I was born on a boat and lived my entire childhood on a boat from age birth to age 11, when dad sold the last one and we moved permanently to land. I liked it at first but missed the water. Right about 2 years later we had to move, had our choices where to move TO, but we moved SOUTH. Thank goodness. Hated it at first but realized as I grew older that what we have here trumps what they had up there. There is a body of water within 2 miles in any direction of my place, and while I don't use all of them, the 3 that I do use are no more than 30 min-at the most. 2 of them are world-reknown, actually they're both one in the same but in 1969 a dam was finished and created an awesome reservoir behind, and a tailwater that had perfect conditions for a totally different species-TROUT. Trout can't live here without cold water and cold water does not naturally exist here save for one or two deep caves that have springs coming out of them. They're small.

Anyway Dad had a repair business. Him and I did a LOT of I/O repair. The allure of I/O is that the engine itself is buried down in the hull which makes the boat run quieter across the water than the old 2 stroke outboards. Well, now that 4 stroke outboards have really taken off, that advantage of the I/O over the outboard is gone. The outboards with 4 stroke engines are often quieter and considerably lighter and more fuel efficient than I/O. Most I/O are automotive-style engines or derivatives of them, the same basic engines that came in cars. The only downside to that is that they are specifically designed for usage in cars and trucks, that have little load on them at all times, and run low(er) engine speeds. In a boat, they can and often do run full throttle for hours on end without ever letting it rest, and at 4500-5000 RPM to boot. So they wear out faster. Secondly because of the way they're designed and where they're often placed way down in the hull, they are much harder to work on especially when it comes to winterizing. You have to get ALL the water out of the engine and that means taking the plugs out of the block, then reinstalling them and adding a special antifreeze/corrosion inhibitor. if you don't get the water out, it'll freeze and break the block every time. Then you get to pay someone to pull the engine out and replace it-not cheap. There are two types of I/O cooling systems, raw water and closed. Raw water systems pull water out of the lake/river and circulate it through the engine to cool it, and return it back to the lake. Closed systems are like cars where they have a radiator, but the radiator is encased and has lake water circulated around it (heat exchanger). Closed systems are a little better in keeping the engine from getting corroded and as long as it's got antifrieeze in it, it won't usually bust--but you have more complexity. Raw water systems are less complex less expensive but also more susceptible to freezing conditions and corrosion. With an outboard, you tilt it down once out of the water and it drains itself. Winterizing is much simpler and therefore much cheaper. And being 4 stroke, they are often really quiet running-the bigger inline 4 cylinder engines (usually 150hp+) and V6 engines are silent at idle and low speeds.

safety is a big thing here and if you have little to no experience you will be wise to run around on the water with someone who does. Case in point, the bigger lake about a half hour from here that I am on when the weather allows, the lake is currently about 7 feet below normal. At that level, even that deep lake has a lot (thousands) of trees that are barely submerged below the surface. A little chop on the water, and you cannot see them. They disappear. All it takes is one to throw you or someone else out of the boat and yes I found a few last weekend. Luckily at low speed (idle) so no harm done. It's very very easy to get complacent. The water is no place for complacency. It is to be respected, and it will kill you. But it can also be very rewarding in that it is a relaxing place to be, at least for me. I have been through both. When I was 8 I was in a raft floating around behind dad's boat at the marina while he was doing some maintenance on the boat. It was running at idle. Next thing I know I wake up with doctors around me. I don't remember a lot of it but mom always tells me that the doctors said I could not be revived and that they should plan on arrangements. Carbon monoxide poisoning. That's a rare deal but it goes to show you that the water, is unforgiving. You have to KNOW the weather, the conditions, know how to use your sense of direction, err on the cautious side and be mindful of your surroundings. If the birds are all sitting around doing normal bird stuff and you see them all take flight at once, something's up. Is there a storm brewing? You gotta pay attention to 'things' like that. The weather alone can and often does change in minutes, and in my lil boat and where I am at on the lake, I'm a good 20-25 minutes run from the ramp, and often in that part of the lake in my little boat, there is no sight of land in any direction. I have a spot picked out where I demolish the crappie population, but it's way on out there. And even when I'm in differnet areas where I can see land, I still keep the GPS handy--I always 100% of the time record my route TO where I'm going and then if it's needed going back, I can use it as needed. There's been times I've been out there, perfectly clear conditions and when I head back, run into a fog bank so thick that londoners would be jealous. Cant even see the front of the boat sometimes--hence why GPS is a nice thing to have. Always have a plan B and C. Doing so, you will enjoy your time on the water safely. And to me, there is nothing quite like being on the water. You'd think I'd be used to it by now but every time I go, it always a great experience.

I highly recommend taking some sort of class. I have a six pack license and that's probably not necessary for you, and was not really for me either but was worth every penny in learning the things that a boater ought to know. And it's also a "plan B" should the financial need arise to do something else.


Just a quick pic I took before the leaves started turning, back in October, just to wet the whistle.
 

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