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Advice needed -I want to buy a boat

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Joined: 09/13/2007
Posts: 14
Location: Massapequa
 posted 08/19/2013 11:33 AM  

I have been thinking about getting a boat - I have always wanted one growing up and now that i am in a position where I can actually purchase a boat and maintain it - I would love to get one. My son would get a kick out of it and I can really see us going out a few times a week if we were to get one - my buddies love fishing but we are getting sick of crowded party boats and the limited locations that we can get to after work hours.

Only problem is - I dont know what the hell I am doing! I never even driven a boat before, wouldnt know what to look for in purchasing a boat, and basically need a lot of help if I am to pursue this.

Can anyone lead me in the right direction? Place where you can get boat driving lessons, courses? safety courses? etc.. Then the questions of boat sliip rentals and stuff come up too - I have had lots of mixed input on cost..

Any help anyone can give is appreciated!!


Joined: 09/18/2002
Posts: 831
Location: EMERSON
 posted 08/19/2013 12:07 PM  

Way to many variables to offer much that will help but here is a start:

You have to have a boaters saftey certificate so go on-line and look up where and when (local to you) you can take the classes and the test. I was able to take the Power Squadron course years ago at a local library.

Next as far as what kind of boat that is totally up to what kind of fishing you want to do andhow many people you plan on taking out and of course your budget.

My brother and I bought a new (in 2011) Carolina skiff 17'8" DLV with 90 hp Etech at the AC boat show .. got a great deal with the trailer and T top thrown in.

Anyway we got this boat because it is VERY economical and VERY utilitarian. We fism mostly raritan bay, the Shrewsbury and Navisink rivers and outside the hook down to Monmouth on days that weather allows. The boat can take a lot and is very stable... BUT it is a wet uncomfortable ride in any significant chop. We don't care..... we dress for it and expect to get wet ..... but let me tell you leaving this rig on trailer at AHMM is only $1200 a season with unlimited launch's.

We burn nothing and a tank of gas (lasts a long time)

Anyway .. enough about my rig ..... you will want to determine if you want to get out in the ocean more .... if so you will need a larget boat with a deeper V to be able to get out and stay dry and be comfortable.

Do you want a head on the boat? Do you want storage? Will little kids and women be out often.....

Will you keep in a slip in the water? That raises annual costs (slip fee $X per foot) and maintenace (bottom painting, zincs etc)

Best bet if you know anybody with boats go out on them and see what you like.

If not go down to your local marina and talk to some of the boat owners ... you will get some honest opinions and get to feel out your options.....

You will get some great deals on used boats ... but depending upon how handy you are you need to take that into account in your budget decisions as well.

Good luck ....

Joined: 09/13/2007
Posts: 14
Location: Massapequa
 posted 08/19/2013 12:24 PM  

Thank you - very helpful!

Joined: 04/13/2005
Posts: 1529
Location: Hewlett, NY
 posted 08/19/2013 01:17 PM  

Look at the boat clubs like the freedom club in Freeport. They can show you how to drive and dock a boat, give tips on where to go fishing, and you get a selection of boats to use and don't have to worry about maintanance and cleaning. Do that for a few years, then you will get a feel for what type of boat you need and can handle, then you buy one.


Joined: 06/09/2003
Posts: 2193
Location: Port: Stony Brook
 posted 08/19/2013 01:38 PM  

1. Budget upfront and annually
2.Storage/ Launching
3. Size / # fishing?
4. Features
5. Fishing only, cruising, hanging out?
6. Body of water.
7. Seasons/species. I.e. Tog in december?


Joined: 09/13/2007
Posts: 14
Location: Massapequa
 posted 08/19/2013 02:02 PM  

1. Budget upfront and annually - I can go up to 10k initially for a boat -preferably less since I am inexperienced and would worry about breaking it... annually not sure how much to budget. maintenace etc..
2.Storage/ Launching - not sure...
3. Size / # fishing? - plan on fishing in bays with maybe 4-5 people MAX
4. Features - not sure what is available
5. Fishing only, cruising, hanging out? = fishing only.
6. Body of water. - fishing in bays
7. Seasons/species. I.e. Tog in december? would like to start in spring and fish through september/october - I pretty much hibernate in the winter and dont plan on doing any fishing

Joined: 09/13/2007
Posts: 14
Location: Massapequa
 posted 08/19/2013 02:08 PM  

I just called the boat club - Pricey for something you do not own... While it would be good for a learning experience, the cost are a little crazy.... at least if I purchase a boat - it is something I can sell if times are tough, or if I just dont like boating...


Joined: 10/06/2005
Posts: 3030
Location: Brooklyn
 posted 08/19/2013 02:11 PM  

Boats and experiance

With most hobbies I'm a huge fan of buy the biggest
And best that you budget will allow
Ski equipment
Fishing pole and tackle
You name it that's the rule for me

Boats are the Exception

Buy small get your feet wet in protected waters
Or semi protected waters on nice days
Learn , learn , learn

Until you feel comfortable enough to move up

You will know when your comfortable

Buy something small with no protection
That way your forced to only fish nice days
Small skiff or 17 ft center console makes a nice starter platform
And you kids will love it no matter what it is

This may not be what some others will tell you
But as you move forward with this you will understand

No one can teach you everyhing you will need to
Boat handling
Emergency procedure
Heavy weather
Not in a day week month or a year
It takes time and exp
Trial and error

A safe boating course is a good step
And maybe even a few lessons from a friend or pro
On docking and basic navigation
After that its all just time and experiance

I started in a rental skiff
Then a 23 foot center
Then a 25 pilot house
Then a 36 down east

In this hobby there is no substitute for experiance
It's the difference between a fun day out
And a disaster

Good luck

Take a kid fishing they are the future of our sport and our world

Joined: 07/25/2002
Posts: 2038
Location: 40 26.09/73.32.07
 posted 08/19/2013 02:28 PM  

Capt Tony's post is 1000% right on and with his permission I'm going to copy and paste it into a word doc and give it to everybody who askes me for advice on what boat to buy and how to get into boating.

One of the great things about our hobby is that you eventually learn so much, you literally learn an entirely new skill set and one that you can be proud of.

10K is a good budget to start out with. I recommend a 23 foot walkaround type boat. Although you seem convinced you won't be doing anything other than fishing, that might change and a cabin is nice in case you need to get out of the sun, use the head, etc, etc.

Honestly I'd budget 8K for a boat and the rest for dockage, boat stuff (maintenance items) etc.

"A true patriot supports his country always and his government when it deserves it." -Mark Twain

Joined: 07/25/2002
Posts: 2038
Location: 40 26.09/73.32.07
 posted 08/19/2013 02:41 PM  

I have no affiliation with the seller, I was surfing around and came across this: I might recommend my g/f's father looks at it as I know he's looking for a boat right now too. Seems like a good deal, especially with the newer engine.

Look at Proline, Mako, Grady While in the 22-24 foot range.

I had a 25 Grady for years (hence the handle) now I have a Fortier 26, which I love....but the Grady served me well.

"A true patriot supports his country always and his government when it deserves it." -Mark Twain

This post edited by GradySailfish 02:44 PM 08/19/2013

Joined: 04/09/2010
Posts: 28
Location: Sayville, NY
 posted 08/19/2013 02:54 PM  

Couple of things:

First, read, read, read some more. There are tons of books and websites out there talking about the considerations for your first boat, there are books in your local library, there are pamphlets galore at the boat shows that will start in a month or so.

Second, go to boat shows and climb all over the various styles. Don't worry so much about price tag as style while you are there. For a lot of the sportfish boats (Grady's, Whaler's, etc.) the design hasn't changed much since 1985 so you can climb all over a new one and get a sense for the space on the old one.

Finally, regarding Capt. Tony's advice: I will add a caveat to his caveat, and that is to make sure the boat you get is big enough for your spouse to be happy when she is on it, and for her to feel her (your) kids are safe when she is not. Do not underestimate this. If you want her to come along, you better start looking at small walk arounds or cuddy cabins with a basic head.

I always had boats growing up, but got my wife exposed to it with a 20' Grady White walkaround. She loved it, felt safe in it, and felt like my little guy (now 4) wasn't going to bounce out of it. I love(d) that boat. Good news is she loved boating, so I got green light to step it up last year!

My two cents. Good luck.

1984 Mainship Mark III 34'
2015 Crusader 350

1990 Grady White Overnighter 204-C
2005 Mercury Saltwater 150 HP

Joined: 04/09/2010
Posts: 28
Location: Sayville, NY
 posted 08/19/2013 03:13 PM  

Going to add a few more things:

The "Boater's Reference" app (for iThings and probably Android) is a couple of bucks and is like a mini-Chapmans on all things boating. I consult it regularly.

A ton depends on where you are and what you are using it for. I grew up on the south shore of LI, and for that most Whaler's and flat bottoms were perfectly fine for buzzing around the State Boat Channel, salt flats, etc. In fact, they were awesome because you could skim across 12' of water with the engine up. I now boat on the LI Sound, and it kicks up enough where I personally wouldn't feel all that safe out there in an open flat bottom in anything but a calm day.

Sun can be the most insidious and dangerous thing out there for a fisherman. Personally, I wouldn't get a boat where there wasn't at least some option to get out of the sun and stay there for a while - small cabin, canvas, or best, a hard top. Not only for you, but your kids and other passengers. I never ran my Grady without the canvas top up. Sometimes women squawk about that, thinking they want to maximize tanning time, until they spend a day out on the water . . .

Every poster here has some great wisdom to share, so take what they say to heart. Reality is no perfect way to find the boat for you - you can land on it first try, or trade in each year till you find it - so go with the process that makes sense to you. My concern with starting too small is that you need spousal buy-in, small boats can be real close to roughing it, and some spouses do not like roughing it. If I told my wife she had to go over the side or hold it till we got to shore, that would be the last time we were out on the boat, so I was quickly able to narrow my search to those with a basic enclosed head. I am not mechanically inclined, and wanted the boat to run as efficiently as I could (which is relative - most planing boats drink gas), so I focused on single engines over twins. I grew up with I/O's as a kid, and therefore grew to absolutely HATE I/O's, so that was another way I limited my search. I actually didn't fish much until recently, so I came to look at traditional "fishing" boats because I wanted something that was easy to maintain - hose off and walk away - with a lot of open space so I could do what I wanted. From there I just started looking around, and eventually found my 20' Grady.

Anyway, back to work for me. Good luck.

1984 Mainship Mark III 34'
2015 Crusader 350

1990 Grady White Overnighter 204-C
2005 Mercury Saltwater 150 HP

Joined: 06/09/2003
Posts: 2193
Location: Port: Stony Brook
 posted 08/19/2013 03:35 PM  

$10K is a good price point. I purchased my first boat used from a dealer for about that, ran it for 9 years, put more repairs into the trailer than the boat, and sold it fast at a very reasonable price last spring. The motor wass till pushing over 100 PSI evenly. You may want to hold back a few dollars for "new boat" stuff like dock lines, electronics, fenders, and the inevitable first breakage....

Some random thoughts:
Size: 20' class. Its a great size to learn on and will serve you for years as you gain experience. Something smaller you may outgrow too soon and something laqrger might be too big to learn on.

You are going to do some dumb things (we all have) and you are going to have some dock rash. Better that you have a "solid" boat than a "pretty" one.

Walk-around: Great if you want to store lots of stuff or nap but cabin takes up alot of space.
Center Console: More fishing room all around but not generally behind the leaning post. I find that to be cramped. Kind of a one person moves everybody moves boat in the 20' class.
Dual Console: What I have now and a decent compromise between the above. Some are more suited for fishing, some for cruising. Don't mistake them for bowriders. In my book, bow riders are generally "sitting down" boats without much freeboard (height of side walls...important for standing while fishing) and more the thing you would use for skiing, kneeboarding, etc.
Pilothouse: All around good fishing boats with good cockpit space. Enclosed cabin.

There are lots of other styles but those are going to be the big 3.

Propulsion: Hands down, outboard. Less potential for problems, easier to maintain, simple. No inboard plumbing to replace. Still not maintenance free of course. You probably wont find a 4 stroke in that range but 2 stroke motors are fine.

For the 20' class a 150HP motor is probably the minimum.

Steering: This may seem a non-issue to some, but having had both mechanical and hydraulic there is no comparison. I replaced the mechanical system 3 times... Hydraulic is just so effortless and especially easy for dockside maneuvering.

Although nice, the creature comforts of wash down, live well, sinks, windlass, etc are all mechanical systems that can be a headache, especially on an older boat. Your $ is better spent on quality basics and you'll have less mechanical issues. Get that stuff on your next boat.

A bimini top is a must in my book and a full enclosure is nice for the late fall.

Sea-Tow or Boat US is a MUST.

After having both a bunk and a roller trailer, I prefer the bunk. A lot less to maintain and, for me, alot faster at the ramp. Replacement rollers go for about $10-$15 each, so that 32 roller trailer can be costly to refit...
Surge brakes are a good idea.
Trailers take a beating. For a simple thing, I cannot explain how much work my galvanized trailer was. Aluminum is a nice way to go.
Trailer condition is important and pretty darn important if you don't want to drop your boat on the road.

I'm sure there is some stuff I've missed but annually, if you trailer the boat and keep it in your driveway you can probably expect about $500-$1000/ year in maintenance, repairs, upkeep on average.
Standard annual 2 stroke replacements:
Fuel Filters, Spark Plugs, Gear Oil, Impeller (3-5 years). I typically had maybe one significant repair annually...carbs, steering, trim/tilt, bimini.

Seasonal dockage is at a premium but sometimes you can find a deal on a private dock on a canal. Most places have set dates for when the docks go in and come out.

Look closely at wiring. Boat wiring is just generally bad, especially after the previous owners fiddle with it. It was my biggest headache until I replaced 90% of the original. With the right tools and materials, its fairly easy to replace.

Som nice looking boats on a popular internet auction site...stratos, cobia

This post edited by trafik 05:43 PM 08/19/2013

Joined: 10/06/2005
Posts: 3030
Location: Brooklyn
 posted 08/19/2013 05:45 PM  

Many of you are giving sound advice

Some not so much

Why would you recommend to a man with 0 experiance
A boat well outside his level of proficiency

A mid 20 foot cuddly cabin
Is several steps beyond where a rank armature
Should be

1st off
I wouldn't let my wife and kids in a boat of Any size with his skill
2 nd I wouldn't recommend he take his

3 your missing the point
You don't want a boat large enough to get in trouble
You want something that will teach you some
Respect of the ocean while remaining in the bay

Forget recommending boats and boat shows

Try row boats and oars
Small open skiffs for a season or two
An investment of a thousand or 5 should more than
Get you the exp you will need

Just because some one is older and more financially
Able doesn't mean they should skip the basics

You guys really can't be serious on both side of
One side talking about mid 20 foot skiffs being
Canyon capable boats
And on the other side saying that a mid 20s skiff
Is. Good place to start for a dead azz novice

start at the begining not in the middle
Avoid tragedy before it strikes

Take a kid fishing they are the future of our sport and our world

Joined: 08/27/2001
Posts: 1346
Location: Moriches Bay
 posted 08/19/2013 07:27 PM  

My first boat was a 17 ft bayliner(I caught alot of fish on this non fishing boat). When I first started out I was very nervous. I would take the boat out and just cruise around near the ramp. Then one day I follower the ferry across the bay to Davis park. The more I used the boat the more comfortable I became. I always went out with someone else. Then there were beautiful days that I couldn't find anyone to come along so I would stay home . Then one day I decided to go out by my self and I never missed a nice day again.I think if you found an experienced boater and took them along the first few times it would be very helpful. You will learn how to dock in no time and they can give you pointers along the way. You might even find some one from here. I would start out with something 18 foot and under, before you know it you will have two foot itis and get something bigger.
Good Luck
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