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Dave Lehnert
09-20-2010, 12:41 AM
Another thread about buying woodworking tools made reference to "Its like buying a boat, wish I had known"

Sooooo.... I am looking at buying a boat. A 20 ft, 50HP pontoon is on top of my list. But could be talked into a small motor boat too. Only looking at used so depends on what deal I find. New is out of the question. Family never owned a boat so want used to see if we use it often before investing in new.

So what info do you wish you had know before buying your first boat?

Van Huskey
09-20-2010, 2:18 AM
The main thing is to consider how you are going to use it... but thats hard to know if you haven't owned one. But think of it like a car, do you want a sports car (Baja, Donzi, Fountain), A luxury car (cabin cruiser), a SUV (pontoon), a econmomy/city car (open bow run about) then there are specialized water sports boats (skiing/wake boarding etc) as well as fishing. This is a great time to buy used, the market has been depressed in most areas for a while.

Most families will do well with either a pontoon or bowrider but you need to match the size of boat to the water it is going to be on. I live on a protected waterway BUT it gets bad on weekend with huge multi-engine speed boats and big cruisers so I would want a minamum 21-22ft boat for comfort, your area may vary. There are a lot of 3.0L bowriders for sale, they are price point boats that many people want to move up out of. I avoid boats that have seen much saltwater, like waxing a cast iron top if you don't maintain them properly they go downhill QUICK. Find boating forums where people have lots of info.

To me the mid-sized 21-23ft bowrider with a 5.0L is a great all rounder, does most things OK and can handle decent inland water.

One thing to take note of is the running costs, I have neighbors that have 6 figure boats that saty on the lifts all but 4-5 days a year partly because they didn't really think about how much gas a pair of big block engines suck in a weekend: 50 gallons or more an HOUR at cruise-WOT. You can get GPH and MPG info on some of the manufacturers sites or boattest.

There is as much to know about selecting a boat as buying a car so the learning curve is straight up in the beginning. In any case get a survey before you buy, costs a couple of hundred dollars on a small boat BUT boats are worse than cars about hiding big money fixes. Also a boat with VERY low hours for its age can often be worse than one with high hours.

I think the toughest thing is picking the right type of boat, after that the budget will dictate what quality/size range you will fit into.

Sorry for the train of thought post! On the engine issue I will let the outboard people argue about those but if you pick an inboard or sterndrive boat you will face the Volvo vs Mercruiser (don't get anything they don't make anymore like OMC etc), my comment on that is get what most people run in your area, better service and parts probably follow. They both have positive and negatives but service outweighs everything else in my mind.

Shawn Pixley
09-20-2010, 10:03 AM
The advice I would offer is first to be be very certain of what you want to do in the boat. There are worlds of differences between a pontoon boat and a small motor boat. Within small motor boats there are worlds of differences there.

Me, I fish in the salt water pacific ocean. Others cruise and party. Our boats end up being substantially different (more than just outfitting).

The other aspect is to know what energy you are willing to put into it's upkeep. That will inform you around the technology of the power plant and of the finishes and materials that can or should be on board.

Answer those for your self and the I could offer further advice.

Jim King
09-20-2010, 10:11 AM
As a kid I managed a couple of boat companies. I could never figure out why someone would buy one for recreational purposes as I always considered them a hole in the water to throw money into.


I would spend some time renting to see if you really want that anchor hanging on you day and night.

Cliff Rohrabacher
09-20-2010, 11:06 AM
I always considered them a hole in the water to throw money into.


I would spend some time renting to see if you really want that anchor hanging on you day and night.


Good point.

I thought I was in the market for a boat when I was in West Palm Beach.
I went to the auctions houses and the used resellers and priced out the boat I thought I could handle financially. The selections were those under 60 feet for which Iíd not have to get a pilotís license. I figured out how Iíd pay for it. That was just stage one though.
Then I went looking at maintenance costs The Mercruiser type Inboard/Outbpoard is not cheap to maintain. Ocean going engines are nothing but maintenance issues from all the salt and humidity, and the vessel itself, the superstructure, the hull, and other equipment all ends up being oodles more money the owner will never stop hemorrhaging. It was all very discouraging.
Then I went looking at slip space and costs. I looked at moorings where the rats and human trash were more abundant than the services and at others where you have to be locally connected to be sponsored for membership. I ended up at the West Palm Beach Yacht Club on the deck of a lovely 51 footer chatting up the owner, whose deck shoes cost more than I earned in a month. He was boasting about spending more than 2 thousand dollars a day on fuel just to go tooling around the coastline.

That was the last time I looked at a boat.

Lee Schierer
09-20-2010, 11:07 AM
Since you've never owned a boat, be sure to invest in a safe boating course with your local Coast Guard Aux or Power Squadron. There is lots to know once you leave the dock in addition to dock courtesy.

Get any used boat checked by a competent boat mechanic before you buy it. I would also get a test drive with the previous owner on the water.

Remember there are at least two days of joy for a boat owner. The day he buys his boat and the day he sells it.:D

Ben Franz
09-20-2010, 11:14 AM
What Jim said x3! Until you own one, you have no idea of the expense and work involved. My ex and I decided to buy a used 18' V-hull for water skiing when all the kids were smaller. We had several friends with boats and always enjoyed the day/weekend trips. I don't deny that we had a lot of fun but it seemed like every time out something would fail or some other problem would appear. I was pretty thorough in doing maintenance and inspections but it was still a used boat. When the ex said she wanted the boat and tow van during property settlement negotiations, I had to excuse myself to go out in the hallway to dance a little jig. Later, I've been able to enjoy boating with friends in THEIR boats. Ahhh.... YMMV.

Peter Luch
09-20-2010, 11:54 AM
I owned a first time boat here in Kona and used it to fish. It was new and we had a blast fishing for about 5 years but it was a lot of work each time I took it out.
Had to take good care of it and still many little things would go wrong just from the salt water.
Sold it about a year ago because I was using it less and less, so much work to take it out for a day, it was not a relaxing day fishing it was another day of work!!!
Even if I did not use it I had to take care of it on an ongoing basis or it would have gone downhill quickly.

It was such a relief when I sold it! Never realized just how much time I spent on it.

Aloha, Pete

John alder
09-20-2010, 12:47 PM
Another thread about buying woodworking tools made reference to "Its like buying a boat, wish I had known"

Sooooo.... I am looking at buying a boat. A 20 ft, 50HP pontoon is on top of my list. But could be talked into a small motor boat too. Only looking at used so depends on what deal I find. New is out of the question. Family never owned a boat so want used to see if we use it often before investing in new.

So what info do you wish you had know before buying your first boat?
If your buying an aluminum hull leaks are hard to fix unless you can weld and if used in salt water tiny corroded pin holes and loose rivets can be a prob.I had a Grumman bass boat that the Mgr. ran the copper wiring
in the bilge and electrolysis ate thru the aluminum hull when the insulation on the wires frayed.
If buying fibreglass older ones can have stress cracks in the transom if overpowered its common.Double hulls can leak without you knowing it till you notice it goes a lot slower.A 20 ft boat is a large unit that can have these probs. so I would stick with a known brand.
If you go with wood buy lots of scrapers,sand paper,brushes,& paint and have a lot of spare time to do the work.
Have the motor checked by a good Mechanic (called Technician now a days) Todays ethanol fuel can give much trouble on older hoses and some gas tanks.I could go on and on but I gotta go cut the lawn.
I have had many 14 to 22 ft boats over the years and just sold my final and very last one,however I had lots of good times and fishing over the years.Good luck and calm seas to Ya. John

Van Huskey
09-20-2010, 3:11 PM
I want to make sure this didn't get lost in my cluttered post:

Get a marine survey... period.

Bryan Morgan
09-20-2010, 4:22 PM
Bust Out Another Thousand :D

A number of years ago we had a 20ft semi-V speed boat. It really wasn't that expensive. Just keep up with regular maintenence and check the hull for damage every time you use it and its not too bad. If its a jet don't let water stay in the engine/jet. I miss having a boat. :(

Dave Lehnert
09-20-2010, 4:36 PM
Thanks for all the advice.

I want used for the very reasons listed above. If I only drop $5k or so on a used and don't use it as we thought I won't be out that much. I'm not looking for a high priced powerful unit. Just something to putt around in on the lake with the family.
I guess you have to live and learn. I realize everything has a cost but can't see a boat costing any more to enjoy than anything else. Woodworking equipment, Lawn Mowers, Cars, Vacation home etc...
Like I said, Live and learn.

Mike Henderson
09-20-2010, 4:37 PM
As a kid I managed a couple of boat companies. I could never figure out why someone would buy one for recreational purposes as I always considered them a hole in the water to throw money into.


I would spend some time renting to see if you really want that anchor hanging on you day and night.
Amen! - a boat *really* is a hole in the water you throw money into.

There's only two happy days in the life of a boat owner: The day you buy it and the day you sell it.

Rent! Rent! Rent! and let someone else worry about maintenance, repairs, dock fees, etc. You'll come out far ahead money wise.

Mike

[A boat is like a pool at your house. The first year you use it a lot. The second year, not so much. The third year you get it in once. After that all you do is clean it.]

Scott Shepherd
09-20-2010, 6:24 PM
I guess you have to live and learn. I realize everything has a cost but can't see a boat costing any more to enjoy than anything else. Woodworking equipment, Lawn Mowers, Cars, Vacation home etc...
Like I said, Live and learn.

You will live and learn then :) As someone that's owned a couple of boats, I'd like to say good luck. Enjoy it when you first get it, because the next season you go to use it, you'll find out how boats work :) New interior, gauge doesn't work. Throttle doesn't work right for some reason, how come the steering isn't working right? How come the engine won't start now? The carpet is coming up.... the fire extinguisher lost charge.... the batteries won't hold the charge... the decals are peeling off.... the cover ripped... the trailer needs new tires at $150 a tire..... the trailer lights don't work, replace the bulbs.... trailer lights still don't work..... get new trailer lights...... new trailer lights don't work either....... get new connector coming out the truck for the lights.... now the left side works......right side only comes on when foot is off the brake.....


You get the point :)

Oh, and don't forget, once you fix all that at the beginning of season #2 for you, get good at it because you'll have to repeat it the next season :)

I say this all in good fun. Boats are a ton of fun, but man, I didn't think anything could require as much attention and money as a boat.

Mark Stutz
09-20-2010, 6:39 PM
[QUOTE=Mike Henderson;1517722]Amen! - a boat *really* is a hole in the water you throw money into.

There's only two happy days in the life of a boat owner: The day you buy it and the day you sell it.

.

Mike

+1 BTDT :eek:

Mark

Mike Henderson
09-20-2010, 7:18 PM
...but man, I didn't think anything could require as much attention and money as a boat.
You must not be married:)

Mike

Scott Shepherd
09-20-2010, 8:32 PM
You must not be married:)

Mike

Best 2 things I ever got rid of, the boat, and the anchor :D

Bill Cunningham
09-21-2010, 9:37 PM
Time is the big problem with mine.. No time to use it anymore.. My wife and I usually head off for a week or so every summer, and we did this summer as well, but I'm pulling it out of the water early this year. Just no time to use it.. I have put it up for sale but it probably won't go anywhere until next year.. I LOVE the boat, but it's one of those mixed emotion things.. I don't want to sell it, but I'm just not using it..

Bill Huber
09-21-2010, 10:34 PM
I don't understand the money pit problems people have with boats.

I bought a 17' bass boat in 1980, I just sold it 5 years ago when I down sized and really didn't have room for it at the new house and had not been using it much for the last few years.

Over the 25 years I had it I put one water pump in the motor, spark plugs and a few batteries here and there, some tires on the trailer and that is about it.

I did take care of it and always kept it under a cover. It did get used a lot for the first 15 or 20 years, did a lot of fishing and a lot of skiing.

You do have to have the numbers on the boat and a tag on the trailer but you have to do that with a car or motorcycle. Yes an insurance but that is not that much for a year.

Rick Davidson
09-21-2010, 10:44 PM
I agree granted I bought mine new, but I have had it for 6 years now. All I had to replace unexpected was a water pump impeller but was my fault. Other then that just regular maint. and tags/insurance..

Chuck Saunders
09-22-2010, 8:52 AM
As with most luxury hobbies, bitchin about how much it is costing you is half of the enjoyment. I like boats but they are an excellent example of entropy.

Mike Cruz
09-23-2010, 7:22 PM
I wish I had know that the $2500 purchase price was the tip of the #$&%ing iceberg! Besides pimping my ride, the boat has been in the shop because of motor work more than Redskins disappoint their fans! (Yes, I'm a fan.)

Turners call lathe work a vortex.....

HA!