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advice for newbie buying a boat

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  Discussion Boards > Boating Angler
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Joined: 10/27/2005
Posts: 40
 posted 10/27/2005 04:38 PM  

Hello all:

First of all I want to say that this is a great site and I find it to be very instructive and often humorous. I am hoping I can get some good advice in connection with my desire to buy a boat. I have wonderful memories of fishing with my parents as a kid on partyboats and want to create those same memories with my children. However, I would like the luxury and flexibility of my own boat to do much of the fishing.

I am looking for something, most likely used, under $50,000 and in the 25 to 30 foot range. I have no experience as a boat owner or really on boats period and would take all the coast guard courses, etc. before the purchase. I envision the primary use of the boat for inshore fishing—fluke, blues, etc. I believe a head is necessary to get my wife and kids on the boat so am probably looking at a cuddy cabin or a walkaround. Once I build up enough confidence, I would envision taking the boat a little further out, without the wife and kids, for some more serious fishing (maybe sharking, inshore tuna, mudhole trips). At some point I would like to get out to the canyons but realize that is no place for a newbie. I would like the boat to be fairly stable for drifting. Lastly, I would like the cockpit to be primarily focused around fishing but would like to provide some form of a seat or bench (possibly removable if that is possible)for just cruising.

I would appreciate any advice you guys could give.



"changes in latitude = changes in attitude."

Joined: 11/05/2000
Posts: 371
 posted 10/27/2005 09:49 PM  

take a look at seaswirl boats. great oak marina , middle county road in st. james ..

go to ( a site dedicated to seaswirl boat owners ) .start here.

Eric S

Joined: 10/23/2000
Posts: 190
 posted 10/27/2005 10:10 PM  

Sounds like you have a pretty good idea of what you're looking for, and it sounds like you've hit all the important points. A Pursuit outboard boat sounds like a good choice. They seem to make a high quality all around about that is very fishable. They have a nice model called Denali 24 I think. Might be I/O though. I would opt for a cuddy rather than walkaround, which is too much of a compromise, tiny cabin, tiny helm, tiny walkaround area. For stability will drift fishing and family, stay away from a deep vee and go for a modified vee. Good luck !

Joined: 01/17/2003
Posts: 7623
Location: bay shore
 posted 10/27/2005 10:13 PM  

25-30' i think is to big to be a first boat personally, I would suggest starting out in a 19-21' range just to get your feet wet and the feeling of how a boat handles just my opinion

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Joined: 11/01/2004
Posts: 648
Location: South Shore
 posted 10/27/2005 10:43 PM  

newbie boat

I agree with strikethree. find something smaller and less expensive for your first boat. possibly used older hull outboard powered. this way when it gets banged up a bit and you run into your first sandbars it dosent hurt as much. nice and easy to handle for you and your family to learn on. when you and your crew grow in confidence then jump up to a larger boat and the bigger trips. there should be good deals out there with people looking to unload there boats do to the fuel prices.

She's gutsy. Gracefull. A salty skiff a seaman can entrust with his life.

Joined: 06/17/2004
Posts: 219
 posted 10/27/2005 11:08 PM  

I second the "get a smaller boat" theory. If you are going to stay inshore, stick with a single outboard walkaround 23-25 ft. Seaswirl, proline, hydras, wellcraft, robalo, century, cobia, etc... there are millions, and you can't go wrong as long as you have a survey and pay the right price. This is the time to buy too.
No boat is cheap and without small problems, so don't expect it to be reliable like a honda. And don't let anyone talk you out of getting a boat. Life is too short and unpredictable.
Good luck, happy hunting.


Joined: 03/10/2004
Posts: 103
Location: Glen Head NY
 posted 10/28/2005 06:42 AM  

Hi NG622. welcome to the world of boating.
I have a seaswirl striper from great oak marina, a 24ft walkaround. it's a great boat for a great price and great oak is a first class outfit. i would definitely look at them. they make a 26 footer with an enclosed head and can be outfitted with twin outboards. it may be out of your price range, but a used one may go for about 60k, as a matter of fact i think great oak has a used one in stock now. i know a guy who has one and uses it for inshore and sharking.
this is my fifth boat, and currently have a larger flybridge. as far as size you'll hear different opinions for a first boat. my first boat was a 30 ft express. i found no problems as far as handling and driving it, it's a matter of doing your homework, learning as much as you can before taking the wheel-like the power squadron course and reading chapman's piloting book(available at west marine and boatersworld). maybe getting a boating buddy or a local captain for a small fee to give a couple lessons once the boat is in the water. our buddy is right, life is too short and unpredictable and with all this water around us having a boat is a wonderful thing. it's a big purchase so be thorough before you buy. best of luck to you.

Joined: 08/13/2002
Posts: 7953
Location: West Hampton
 posted 10/28/2005 08:02 AM  

I read a great book a few years ago called " First you need to row a little boat" It was a mans reflection on his life but the title says it all. You need to learn the basics of boat handling, seamenship, how weather affect the water and your boat, safety, etc, before stepping onto something that may be too big or overwhelming to handle. I would go smaller,21-23 a good size for the bays yet big enough to handle some chop. I would then take it out with experienced friends w/o the wife and kids, til I knew thew area and the boat enough to safely bring them.
Make sure you are commited to the time it takes to learn how to handle a boat. How it turns. How dock it in the wind etc. Once you feel confident and have used the boat, then if you desire a bigger boat, trade up.

The last 2 boats I bought were both from guys who wanted a boat, had $,and had little experience. After a few outings, they became frustrated and ended up selling AT A BIG DISCOUNT!. Good for me, bad for them. Take your time, ask as many questions on this site as you want. You will find the wealth of knowledge unbelieveable and the advice pricelss. and its FREE!.

Best of luck and look foward to hearing from you.

Ps. Bought my first power boat at 14,have owned over 15 differnt boats and earned my captains license when I turned 18. When my wife asked me what would have happened if she didn't like boating? I told her we wouldn't have gotten married. Once its in your blood, it never leaves.

Skatemaster,time to apologize to Tevlin's parents

Joined: 07/11/2003
Posts: 34945
Location: ....knee deep in the water somewhere
 posted 10/28/2005 08:31 AM  

Welcome to Noreast and the wonderful world of boating. I have to agree with Striker and the others. For a first time boater you should be looking for a used boat in the 19 to 23 ft range. As you stated, you have no experience as a boater. A boat in the 25 to 30 ft range is alot to handle. I'm not saying you can't do it, just that, as seygrunt said, it will hurt less when you run into your first sandbar or bounce of a couple rocks in the shallows. I, like most of the people here, have been on the water for a long time and could tell horror stories of what we have seen out there.
My intent is not to scare you from a big boat, but anyone who is just learning should do so with a boat that is more easily handled. Learn the waters and how a boat handles and reacts in different conditions and get the experience needed before stepping up.

Check out this link. It gives you an idea of what you can expect to run into now and then on the water. Try to avoid becomeing another post in this list. Smile

the stupidist things you've seen people do on the water

.......R.I.P. I miss U Bro

Joined: 10/03/2002
Posts: 2057
Location: Sayville
 posted 10/28/2005 08:35 AM  


25-30' i think is to big to be a first boat personally, I would suggest starting out in a 19-21' range just to get your feet wet and the feeling of how a boat handles just my opinion

Um, yeah, I would have to agree with this 100%. Handling a boat is not like driving a car. There are no brakes, and they do not maneuver as well. Better to start on a smaller boat and work your way up after a year or two.

Reading a navigation book and taking a coast guard class are B.S. Good things to do, but there is no substitute for experience. Hire a captain to take you out a few times, and teach you how to handle the boat. If you dont, please call me when you put the boat in the water, and attempt to dock it for the first time. Ill be there laughing at you. For an hour.

There are a lot of captains right here on Noreast, and I am sure a few of them would be willing to sell themselves to you (like a cheap hooker) for a couple of days to get you on your way.

Most important thing, is make sure that you have all of the necessary safety gear. You might even want your wife to go along and take these classes and go out with the captain and you. God forbid something happens when you are out there with your family, someone else should know how to drive the boat, at least the basics.


Joined: 06/17/2004
Posts: 219
 posted 10/28/2005 08:41 AM  

another thing that is rarely discussed is how well the people on your boat swim.

If you boat from June-Sept, cold water is usually not a life-threatening issue (Great south bay). But, if your wife or kid can't swim, then they can die in 2 minutes if they fall over from a wave rocking the boat. Life preservers on all kids all the time. Swimming lessons for kids (and you and the wife if needed) every year if you are a boater in my opinion.

Get the smallest boat you can that still offers high gunnels with enought freeboard. Usually 21-24'.

Joined: 06/17/2002
Posts: 173
Location: Mamaroneck/ Patterson, NY
 posted 10/28/2005 09:20 AM  


Please take a look at the attached link. I just put this up for sale, and it is a safew solid family fishing boat.



Joined: 10/27/2005
Posts: 40
 posted 10/28/2005 09:25 AM  

Thank you all for the great advice. In response to most, safety gear is without question a must have and the recommendation for "renting" a captain ("cheap hooker") for a couple of days is a great idea. Are happy endings included??

I will be sure to post when I get something for some more tips and advice.

I saw that post as well. I may have had other experiences that would have put me on some list somewhere, but this is one I definitely do not want to appear on.

As with many of you, I also want to vent my frustration over the crappy weather. I was part of a tuna charter out of Shinnecock that was postponed several times and now we will have to wait until next year. Something I've always wanted to do but never done.

Thanks again

"changes in latitude = changes in attitude."

Joined: 10/27/2005
Posts: 40
 posted 10/28/2005 09:35 AM  


Thanks for the response. I don't think I am ready to buy just yet. We just had a baby and I don't think bringing up buying a boat right now would be well received. Unless it has a cabin where I can stay for a while!! I also want to do more research. Thanks for the info though.


"changes in latitude = changes in attitude."

Joined: 06/09/2003
Posts: 2193
Location: Port: Stony Brook
 posted 10/28/2005 10:48 AM  


I am a relatively new 1st time boat owner (3 years) and can relate to your questions. Without a doubt, something in the 21' class is the way to go for so many reasons. One thing that a new owner can't possibly conceive of are the costs involved vs. time aboard, and the bigger the boat, the more $$ you spend. Starting a bit smaller will help you get a better feel for the whole experience.

I would also recommend something used and not in 100% pristine condition cosmetically because there is the likelihood that you will be scuffing it up til you get the hang of docking. Remember, its pretty easy to dock under calm conditions, but pulling in and out of a slip or dock with a stiff breeze and good current can be challenging...especially if you have an audience.

As far as the type, I would say that is up to you, but any walkaround in the 21' class is going to have a tight cabin and be of little use for other than storage. I thought the porti-potti was a good idea until you realize you have to lift it out of that tight cabin to empty it. So you might want to find something that has more of a pilot house or close to stand up cabin.

A plus to getting a used boat is the re-sale/depreciation. From what I have seen, a decent used boat more than 5 years old will retain much of its value so you really won't lose all that much when selling it to upgrade once you get the hang of it.

PS: An acquaintance purchase a 34' as a 1st boat with no experience and does little more than sit on it because its simply too much boat. This person later expressed regret at getting the 34' because it kept them from boating as often as they wished.
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