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

GeoHorn

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Boating also requires the ability to learn “energy management”. Just because it has a steering wheel doesn’t mean it’s as simple as driving a car. The O/B or I/O or Inboard with a rudder….. ALL of them steer by pushing the stern (rear) around…not by the bow (front) leading the way.
There are no brakes and when you pull the engine back to idle… it’s not like you’re going to stop anytime soon. And the smallest breeze can frustrate the new or incompetent boater.

This is why you can go to any boat-ramp on a windy day and watch a young married couple launch-and-recover a boat on/off the trailer….. and pretty much know whether or not that marriage is going to last. :ROFLMAO:
 
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Hkb82

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I think the only way your gonna have 8 comfortably is on a pontoon boat. Or a 22+ foot boat. I’ve got a 18 foot StarCraft that coast guard says 7 on plate but it would be cramped to say the least unless a few were kids.
I am a big fan of outboards for the simple fact that if something happens to the motor or bottom end it’s easy to get at and fix or if it’s totally dead then I can replace the motor without needing to buy a new boat. Plus the savings in roomnot having the inboardsitting in the back of the boat.
deepV is the only way I’d go but I’m constantly in big waters so that’s my reason.
As far as people saying boats are just money pits is simply not true. They are like anything else some good some bad. Most people I know that complain about the costs of owning a boat bought someone else’s issue and wasn’t aware or they are not the best with wrenches so they have had to have a marina do the work and yup that ain’t cheap as when you break it it’s almost always when you need it the most. I can say I spend a lot more time wrenching and paying for snowmobile parts then boat parts.
Make sure it’s got a good running 4 stroke mercury and you’ll be good to go for many years with only regular maintenance and care. Ha ha a little biased
 

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mcmxi

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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.
So much good information here. I think you nailed my main concern. Heck, I bought a BX25D, then an MX6000HST before "settling" on the two tractors listed in my signature. And even then, if there were a smaller duplicate of the M6060 in MX format i.e. same layout in the cab, similar transmission etc., I'd swap the MX for that in two heartbeats. I didn't know what I needed/wanted and the only way to know is to try, and then discover what works and what doesn't. That can be expensive.

Basically I want to buy once and cry once and not get into the upgrade loop with boats, if I buy one. Used is definitely what I'm looking at.
 

mcmxi

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As far as people saying boats are just money pits is simply not true. They are like anything else some good some bad. Most people I know that complain about the costs of owning a boat bought someone else’s issue and wasn’t aware or they are not the best with wrenches so they have had to have a marina do the work and yup that ain’t cheap as when you break it it’s almost always when you need it the most.
I've never owned a boat but this makes a lot of sense. A boat in salt water takes a lot more maintenance and I've seen that first hand in my first career as a commercial diver/welder working in and around salt water. But anything can be a money pit if it starts out with problems or maintenance is lacking. Even homes fall into this category. If you let things get out of hand bad stuff happens.

I'm good about maintenance on vehicles, tractors and trailers (kind of) but not always diligent with tools such as chain saws. I think I'd be good at maintaining a boat though.
 

mcmxi

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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.
This is an excellent post so thanks very much for taking the time to write it. There's so much good information in this thread and I want to thank everyone for contributing. It's incredibly helpful.

Talking of inclement weather, there are high wind warnings all the time on Flathead Lake which is some 35 miles long and 8 miles wide in places. It's "only" 360 feet deep in the deepest spots, but it's a serious lake that will kill if not respected.
 

mcmxi

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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.
That Sea Ray SDX line is stunning, and practical. As you say, the space of a pontoon (almost) with the benefits of a deeper hull. The cheapest models are probably $150k or more! Just guessing.
 

Hkb82

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I’m addicted to fishing so it’s a no brainer for my boat style. I like em deep and V hauls. I’ve never owned a pontoon personally but have a few friends that use them in Lake Erie and Huron with no complaints. Great to have a bunch of people out and also not bad to fish from. Like a floating dock. All the newer motors will have a way of retrieving the run hours and any codes just like your car or truck these days. Might take a dealer to do it unless the owner installed it or it came with a vessel view or similar console.
if you find a nice boat in good shape used then in a year or two it should hold close to the same value provided it’s still in the same shape. I alw
 

Hkb82

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Sorry always say to new boat buyers get the nicest motor you can afford. That’s what brings ya home. If it’s a sweet boat at a great price but runs a bit rough it’s not for the first time boater unless your mechanically skilled. Something a few years old low hours can be the best bang for your buck if your wallet allows for it. Lots of folks buy then make a few years payments only to find they don’t get enough time to justify it and sell. This leaving a nice low hour motor cause they didn’t use it much. And saves ya some cash over buying new.
 

dirtydeed

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That Sea Ray SDX line is stunning, and practical. As you say, the space of a pontoon (almost) with the benefits of a deeper hull. The cheapest models are probably $150k or more! Just guessing.
The older model name was the Searay SunDeck. Lots of them available in the 20-30 foot range.

As others posted, slightly used is the way to go. With this economy, I think you're more than likely to find some boats that people got in over their heads. I realize that most will say that they are money pits. However, I sold mine for the same price that I paid for it (minus all the accoutrements) after owning it for 7 years.

One comment that I would make is to pay attention to the trailer. Don't skimp there. My last boat had a very nice semi-custom trailer that was a pleasurer to use and pull. That makes for a much easier (read stress free) time at the ramp.
 

skeets

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Boat a common noun: Definition : "A hole in the water into which one throws money " Yes I sold my boat because it was a PIA, to by the Harley,, and now it is time to get rid of the Harley because Im to old and cant ride any more, and buy another boat,,, why do I do these things to myself
 

mcmxi

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Lots of folks buy then make a few years payments only to find they don’t get enough time to justify it and sell. This leaving a nice low hour motor cause they didn’t use it much. And saves ya some cash over buying new.
Yes. Making monthly payments all year long on something that can only be used up here four months a year, and for many might mean three or four lake trips a year, would be hard to justify for sure. I can and do use my tractors all year round so not so much of a problem justifying monthly payments for those.

I definitely don't want to be making monthly payments on any boat that I buy, if I buy. I'm really starting to lean towards a pontoon with an outboard and am starting to narrow my search for a used one.
 

Freeheeler

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My backyard is a lake, I have boats, actually have one for sale that is right up your alley, but it's in TN and would be insane $ to transport to you. 30 ft party hut with outboard 135hp and a hard top roof. Has seats for 15 people, roof top for lounging and for the kids to jump off of.
Boats have gotten crazy expensive so I would suggest getting used for your price range. Think about how you will store it. I'm having a hard time selling because a 30ft pontoon on a trailer doesn't fit in most folks driveways/carports. Consider a 2 stroke outboard to get a lot more bang for your buck. A good several year old 4 stroke outboard will eat up most if not all of your budget. If you decide on a pontoon boat, look for ones with aluminum or composite floors. Wooden flooring can rot and it gets expensive to replace. If you are going to trailer it to and from the water, be prepared to budget for the trailer and it's maintenance.
Good luck in your search and take your time. Look/test ride lots before you decide. Take that safety course and have fun. Expect friends to show up often , but rarely with gas $$ in hand ;)
 
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GeoHorn

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Yes. Making monthly payments all year long on something that can only be used up here four months a year, and for many might mean three or four lake trips a year, would be hard to justify for sure. I can and do use my tractors all year round so not so much of a problem justifying monthly payments for those.

I definitely don't want to be making monthly payments on any boat that I buy, if I buy. I'm really starting to lean towards a pontoon with an outboard and am starting to narrow my search for a used one.
3 years ago I was attracted to a “pontoon” and saw a brand-new one at a dealer while driving down the road…so I stopped and looked at it. The dealer came out and began a sales-pitch on this 22’ “TRI-toon” he called it…. it had a 90 hp outboard on it and was on “special sale for only $54K”. :oops:

I was a bit shocked at what I thought was maybe a $25K boat…but apparently these TRI-toons are “special”.

I later in the week went by a marina I’d done business with before (when I needed a water pump for my older boat)… and saw they had a number of ”Tri-toons” sitting out in the used-yard and a few new ones on the showroom floor.
The salesman came out and offered to show me around and I remarked to him how surprised I was at how expensive these things had become…and he replied all the virtues of a TRI-toon over an ordinary PONtoon. He also said he had a few used ones if I was interested.

Sure, i said,…show me.

He showed me one 24-ft with a 150 hp 4-cycle Yamaha that appeared almost spanking new…but was actually 3 years old…having only 34 hours total time on it. He had sold it to an older gentleman who used it very lightly and kept it at the marina in dry-storage. “The trailer that it’s now sitting on has never been licensed or ever left this dealership…. we always launched and recovered it for him….and since he’s not used it …I think he’s tired of the monthly storage costs…which are up for renewal this month.”

The owner wanted $50K for it. (I later found out he‘d paid $64K for it in 2015.) It had dual bimini’s, a “pop-up private ‘changing-room/toilet”, and two towable rafts along with all sorts of accessories, anchors, and included the never-used trailer. It had also Just Been given a complete service, oil change, cooling-pump, etc. by the selling dealership and included the Warranty paperwork.)

I told the salesman I’d offer $30K cash and he replied “The owner has already turned down several offers like that.”

I told him I’d pay $35K cash…but that would have to include all Title fees etc, taxes, out-the-door.”
He said he’d call the owner.

Next day the salesman called and said “OK…it’s yours… bring your checkbook tomorrow.”

When we took delivery, (which included a “test drive” Before Payment! ) I found the original paperwork showing what he’d paid ($64K) and that he’d been paying $140/month for almost 3 years to store it….and had only used it 34 hours. No Wonder he was ready to sell it. I suspect the grandkids never really visited much or some other …but it certainly became what I consider a great deal for MY family… We really enjoy it and the lake boat-ramp is only a mile or so away.

This is not merely me telling what a good deal I found… but I wanted to point out that not EVERY good deal is found only in a private purchase. Go check out original selling dealers for sales of previously sold product…..and maybe even a transferrable Warranty.

Hope this helps.
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torch

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The idea of an aluminum hull appeals to me since as a welder I can fix it more easily than I can a fiberglass hull.
Nope. Well, not in a smaller riveted hull typically found in readily trailerable boats. Bigger, heavier boats may have welded aluminium hulls and pontoon boats typically have welded pontoons, but the lightweight hulls are riveted for a reason. The metal is too thin and the alloy chosen (for strength reasons) doesn't weld well.

The definition of a boat is "a hole in the water into which you throw money". The bigger the boat, the more money is required. Older boats cost less initially but have bigger appetites. Props and skegs attract rocks and logs. Covers and upholstery attract rodents and raccoons. Everything leaks at some point -- water gets into hulls and gearboxes. Fuel tanks attract condensation like a sponge. I/O drives have seals that need regular changing. Mold and mildew spring up overnight and spiders -- big honking dock spiders -- just love to hide in boats.

Don't get me wrong, I love boats, I have several*, they are a lot of fun. But they are a commitment. If you think you can buy a cheap boat, play with it for the cost of fuel for a while and then recoup your "investment" you are woefully misinformed. I would recommend you spend some time on boating forums rather than a tractor forum for your research.

Have fun!

*current flock includes: Mohogany launch "Dirkje Westerduin" with 50th anniversary Evinrude Lark, 16' Bermuda rigged sloop "Daisy Mabel", 15' aluminium runabout "Polly II" with twin 1961 Scott Atwaters, 12' aluminium car-topper (test bed for various small outboard motors), 14' FG canoe, paddle boat, and 3 plastic kayaks.
 

mcmxi

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Nope. Well, not in a smaller riveted hull typically found in readily trailerable boats. Bigger, heavier boats may have welded aluminium hulls and pontoon boats typically have welded pontoons, but the lightweight hulls are riveted for a reason. The metal is too thin and the alloy chosen (for strength reasons) doesn't weld well.
The Mon Ark boat I showed earlier has a fully welded hull.

If you think you can buy a cheap boat, play with it for the cost of fuel for a while and then recoup your "investment" you are woefully misinformed. I would recommend you spend some time on boating forums rather than a tractor forum for your research.
At this stage I don't think anything. I'm in the fact finding phase and spent a few hours at a local boat dealer getting familiar with various aspects of pontoon boats. Members here seem to be very familiar with boats so I think I'll continue learning here for the moment.
 

mcmxi

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This is not merely me telling what a good deal I found… but I wanted to point out that not EVERY good deal is found only in a private purchase. Go check out original selling dealers for sales of previously sold product…..and maybe even a transferrable Warranty.

Hope this helps.
Thanks, and sounds like you got an amazing deal. I spent a few hours at a boat dealer this afternoon looking at a used 2019 Starcraft pontoon boat (20ft, 115hp) and a 2022 Premier model (23ft, 150hp). Not cheap by any standards but good to get an idea of the features and cost.

Up here 50 hours/year is considered to be fairly high use on a boat. That's according to the salesman I met with today. He had just sold a new pontoon boat for $250k to an older woman who has a summer home on Whitefish Lake. I can't imagine what that thing looks like! :oops:
 

Hkb82

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StarCraft for the win if you ask me.
Have a look at my 1999 fishmaster. No typo I said 1999. Still looks like new inside and out. Riveted to boot. The motor is obviously not a 99. In 2019 I put a new 115 merc pro xs with the command thrust on the back. Wasn’t cheap but a lot cheaper then a new boat. 15000 Canadian installed kinda thing. New 18 foot StarCraft at that time to replace was around the 60k. If you could find one And that was with a 90hp plain ol mercury.
If you take care of it it will last. I usually put a heavy coat of wax in the spring and fall and maybe one mid summer if I’m getting out a lot.
Don’t get me wrong nothing wrong with leaving them tied up to a dock all summer but just don’t be surprised if they get bings and dents. Mine is a trailer queen only cause I don’t live on the water. If I did I’m sure it would have dock rashes and a few more dings.
Like I said if You buy used at a fair price and don’t overpay after a year or two you decide to sell you won’t loos much if any depending on supply and demand. Lots of people have made good profit from recreational toys in the last couple years.
 

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dlsmith

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Back in 2001, I bought a Beechcraft Debonair after I sold my Cessna 172. A friend commented that I must be rolling in dough if I can afford an airplane. I told him He must be doing much better than I was, as I knew he had almost double what I paid for the plane in his F250 Super Duty, 20' Sylvan boat with twin Evinrudes and fancy trailer to haul it on.
 
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