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My wife and myself have been talking about possibly getting a boat next year. It would be used in fresh river, brackish and a little salt water, around the edges of the Chesapeake bay, but not off shore. Had a friend run across a hell of a deal on a used one. Anyone have any good or bad stories or input. Been around friends boats before but never bought or owned one myself. Thanks.
 

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A boat is a hole in the water you throw money into.
Much like owning a horse, in order for a boat to pay off it has to b comparable to renting one for the same investment.
Some people buy a boat for prestige and some dream of fishing but the extra over itme it takes to pay for it there is no time left to fish or do any thing else unellss youve got a lot of etra cash to play with.
I worked marinas in the mountains on both new and used, customer boats and rentals.
It is not possible to flush out all the salt from an engine once run in salt water.
Accept that fact and the corrosion that goes with it. Zinc anodes help but only help not totally prevent.
You are on the ocean and the engine quits, do you know what to do?
Outboards have their place and inboards are more familiar to most folk however not everything is interchangeable with automotive. the starter an alternator are particular to boats due to flash guards that MUST be in them .
Big boats have blown up stem to stern from having the wrong alternator and a slight gasoline leak in the engine compartment. the screen built in the marine alternator/starter prevents this from happening.
There are people that will look at your prospective boat and survey it (for a price) they do it for value and safety and to keep you apprised of any future problems with a particular boat. they are worth the money.
As a note if you are primarily fishing and light wave action a tri hull is very nice but louzy in chop. a V hull is better in chop but tend to list more when a few people are one side fishing.
Swapping an out board motor is simpler than Inboard Outboard I/O . And a transom designed for a I/O will not accomodate an outboard motor. A boat with an inboard motor is strictly inboard.
Much as I like the jet boats they have several draw backs,
Trash in the water gets in the pump,
they suck up rocks near shore,
they burn fuel like it's free.

Boats over heat easy because people throw trash in the water , and weeds get sucked in the water inlets engines depend on.
A boat that gets overheated will burn the impeller and though you remove what may have caused the problem the impeller remains burnt.
Merely going in reverse does not remove the trash as the engine running is still trying to suck water , holding what ever trash is the problem.
There is much more to learn but you are still determined Best of luck.
I have been away from the industry for over 10 years so I don't know anything about the newer motors.
Again, a surveyor is a good investment.
 

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AimSmallMissSmall
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My wife and myself have been talking about possibly getting a boat next year. It would be used in fresh river, brackish and a little salt water, around the edges of the Chesapeake bay, but not off shore. Had a friend run across a hell of a deal on a used one. Anyone have any good or bad stories or input. Been around friends boats before but never bought or owned one myself. Thanks.

What kind of boat..??...power....or sail...??
 

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Wile E Coyote, Genius.
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You haven't provided info on what you want it for. Fishing? crabbing? purely fun? going fast? Trailering only? keep at a marina? budget? How much fuel budget? 2 stroke? 4 stroke? advanced 2 stroke? How old a motor will you live with? Will you need a head? women don't tend to pee over the side. How many hours planned on the water per trip?
Tow vehicle ? Will you bottom paint? Did you take a boating safety course (Power squadrons or ?) Any night time boating plans?

What are the draft limits where you want to boat? Did you buy a chart of the area you will boat? will you be anchoring overnight? Need a cabin? Do you need planing speeds or is more of a displacement speed OK? Will you need a bow anchor holder to keep the disgusting mud out of or off of, the boat? life vests, meteor and handheld flares are required, horn or voice horn is required. Battery for lights and VHF radio. Will you need a chartplotter? Compass, Fish finder? are there through hulls? If used is the hull fiberglass or what? is there osmotic blistering?

Look online, get reviews of the boat and motor you are considering. there are often user groups for each, where you can ask questions. I would start with iboats.com

SImilar to kelly blue book or edmunds there is a used pricing tool for boats. Forget what it is called. boat bucs or something.
In that area, there is a free paper weekly called the salty dog I think it is. Should have some good reading for you.


I would drive to the marina closest to where you want to "boat" and see what they are using and talk to a few owners and get their suggestions.

2 main ways to boat. Keep the boat at a marina and just drive to the boat and hop on, gas up, get some ice and snacks a and go. or

trailering. where you spend a good part of the day trailering, waiting for a spot at the ramp, walking back and forth to the truck and boat, and then reversing the procedure at the end of the day when you are whipped.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for the advice. A friend had the fuel pump go on his the first time out. Very expensive tow back in.
 

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statists' be statin'
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Bought my first "real" boat a year and a half ago. Before that we've owned a couple of 12' jon boats with trolling motors, canoes, kayaks, etc. Most wouldn't consider it a "real" boat but I love my 17' aluminum modified V with 40hp outboard and side console. I bought it as a fixer-upper. Stripped everything off the hull, removed old floor, painted hull, rewired from scratch, reinstalled side console, new steering wheel, new chart plotter/sonar unit, new water pump on outboard. Boat and motor are older. Motor is a early 90's 2 stroke and ran great several times in my back yard in a 55gal drum of water.

Our maiden voyage we were 100' from the ramp when the motor died. This is in a remote salt marsh creek. No Towboat US available here. We were drifting down river toward the bay 11 miles away watching the ramp get smaller and smaller. I could get the motor to run but not to idle low enough to shift into gear.

I finally got lucky one time. Got it into gear and headed for the ramp. Since it wouldn't run at idle it was a reckless docking but we made it. Replaced both carburetors, fuel pump, fuel tank, fuel filter, water separator, and all new fuel lines. Runs great now.

6 months later was taking 3 kids fishing. Boat won't run at ramp but ran great in back yard 1 hour earlier. Tow boat home and find crack in fuel line sucking air. Replace fuel line again.

1 week ago getting boat ready to take out to go clamming. I'm running the outboard in a 55gal drum just to make sure everything works before I drive the 50 miles to the back bays. All is good. I shift into gear and oh no!. I had jacked up the front of the trailer to get water to drain out the back. This lowered the motor and my prop hit the bottom of the barrel. New propeller showed up yesterday and I put it on the boat this morning.

I love my boat but they are a lot of work.
 

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Was driving home from the lake and saw an suv pulled over which had a boat behind it. They said that had just bought the boat/trailer used and had taken it out for the first time and were driving home. It appeared that the boat trailer had at some point been welded back together and the welding came apart. They had said the people they bought it from hadn't used it in years.

Buying anything used is a risk and unless you are knowledgeable in all regards towards boat/repairs, motor/working parts, trailer/joints/hitch/lighting you are putting your trust in the seller.

Every spring before I head out for the first time I fill up a garbage can with water (the prop in it) and start the motor. Switch it from forward/neutral/reverse and let it run at all speeds for a good 15 minutes.
 

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Wile E Coyote, Genius.
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Most of the value of a boat that size will be in the engine.
Outboards are expensive. A corroded lower unit means the engine is junk. The lower unit alone will cost almost as much as a new engine.

lower unit can get corroded quickly if the anodes have been consumed and not replaced.

Water pump needs to be replaced about every other year. Thermostat about every 6 years.

Does the engine look like it has been overheated? The water passages in the engine will collect carbonates and get plugged up. Is the engine Pee stream strong and healthy? If not, pass on it. Look to make sure the engine overheat warning is still connected. If they disconnected it, it has been overheating.

Salt water is murder on outboards. Did they flush the engine cooling system with fresh water at the end of each day? Probably not. if the boat was only used in fresh water, then not an issue.

You need to love working on outboards, or be able to hire someone to do it. Finding someone honest and good to work on a boat is difficult. I was spoiled in NJ, since I had my boat at a family run marina (Goodluck Point). They were good and their prices reasonable for any work and it would be done right.

Find a good Marina, run by good people. Keep your boat in the water with them, and establish a relationship. Then you will reduce financial risks.

Get tow boat insurance.

End of season means you need to winterize the engine. (and boat).
Oil fog the engine, clean out the carbs, probably replace the primer bulbs,
Fuel tank fittings and quick connectors degrade. There is an O ring that falls apart, letting air get sucked into the fuel and killing your idle capability, which kills your ability to dock.
if kept in the water, you need to annually scrape and sand and bottom paint.

Have a good marine radio with a tall antenna.

Take the Power Squadrons boating course before you buy anything. (also, it will lower your insurance costs)
You can ask the people running the course all your questions about boats, types, get advice.

if you are in a major bay, watch out for the cigarette boaters. Insane drug blasted brains driving thousand HP boats 120 knots and can't see small boats in front of them. They will try to kill you. Also insane and incompetent boaters in general.
 

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My Hero Was Derion Albert
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buy a new one, don't inherit some one elses headaches.
Buying a used one is a challenging endeavor and one not to be taken lightly, there are terrible moneypits out there to be wary of in ANY price/size range
If this does not convince you, and your sold on a used one
do the research on the hulls, get ones without any wood in the transoms, or if there is there are no holes drilled by previous owners. Research research research.
The Hull Truth website is really good for information
Look for No bottom paint as this indicates the boat did not sit in the water for months in some marina. Look for indications its been soda blasted to remove the bottom paint.
get quality brands Grady white , Boston whaler, Scout, Parker,
Get no wood brands like Maycraft, Mako, Robalo, Steiger, NorthCoast
Get a survey done, seriously.
a few hundred bucks is nothing when buying 10 + thousand dollar boat, or learn how to do it your self
Research the motor, Yamaha big 100+hp 4 strokes had a bad corrosion issue in the 2000-2008 years, some say its been resolved some do not, theres a TON of good hulls with these yamarot OBs on the market looking for some sucker to buy them. Theyre asking top dollar for something you'll need to replace the motor in 2 years. Some reports say even with the exhaust replaced they continue to corrode, even to the engine blocks. There was a class action lawsuit that reported yamahas failing after 300 hrs, that is unacceptable in something your paying $15K for, and thats less than a season usage for some guys.
Merc has some stinkers, replace starter solenoids 20 miles out aint fun. Newer Mercs have some good reports on reliability
Evinruude had some bad FICHT gen 1 that would have you replacing computers every year, and now theres none left.
If you get a 2 stroke, look for a yamaha OX66 saltwater models, these are supposed to be iron clad, and the residual 2 stroke oil protects the dry side exhaust from corrosion, some of these OBs are still running strong and good compression after 20+ years
Some of the old 2 strokes are still chugging along
Suzuki has a decent reputation and Honda outboards are expensive, but hold value really well because they're bullet proof
I personally would stay away from I/Os like mercruiser because theyre always in harsh environments ( I own one)
Im willing to slide down on the hull brand if the OB is a good make and model provided the hulls not bottom painted and no holes drilled into the transom.
 

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Let the Debate begin
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The important thing (in my opinion) if you buy a used
fiberglass boat (without an engine) is the Transom.

Some or most Transoms, have wood in them. You buy a used
boat thats cheap because the motor is worn out, your Transom
needs to be solid.

This is important because your new motor will probably be
heavier than the old one. Why?

Old motors tend to be two stroke, and pollute far more than
a new motor that follows newer laws.

If you know how to weld and are good at it, I would consider
buying an Aluminum boat.

I like four stroke motors. They are far heavier than two stroke for
the same amount of power.


Edit; Big Andy is right.
 

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I would suggest a 19.5 foot Tracker with a 150HP Merc - only because i had one for 6 years and except for maintenance (check by a mechanic every 2 years, it was bullet proof. Aluminum with a modified V hull, with the 150HP it did 50 mph full tilt, or 35 mph pulled back to low gas consumption. Fully loaded with two folks, it got out the hole and on plane in 2.5 seconds. Big motor on a low weight boat

Take it to a qualified mechanic for a pre-buy inspection. He can hook up the computers and tell you hours on the engine and if it had been thrashed or run easy. If the boat had dirt robbers in the drains and water intakes, at is all normal stuff and can be remedied in an afternoon with soap and a hose. Single axle trailer and can be towed with a small vehicle.

Yes, you can spend lots of money on a boat, but go about it correctly and have fun. If you're really going into salt water, remember the fresh water rinse, for both motor and boat and RUN the motor with Mickey Mouse ears and a water hose attached and running- regardless of how late it is and how tired you are when you get home. Also, have 2 GPS units and a radio in case you need the Coasties. Lawrence has inexpensive ones with both depth finders and sonar.

Today's 2 strokes are stupid simple to run because you don't have to pre-mix. Just fill the gas tank and the oil reservoir under the engine cover and the electronics will do the rest. They get far better fuel numbers, also and don't pollute like the old days. A gallon of oil will last a LONG time.

Ya'll shoot straight and stay safe out there.

WW

WE ALL WANT TO BE FREE, BUT VERY FEW OF US WANT TO BE BRAVE. FOR ALL OF US TO BE FREE, A FEW MORE OF US, ESPECIALLY NOW, MUST BE BRAVE, AND THAT'S THE HISTORY OF AMERICA

K. R. Carleson - Navigator B-24J
 

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Finding a buddy with a boat first is good advice. A friend of mine seems to enjoy taking others out more than going alone. Wife was into it a few times then it became too much work for her.

If you contribute money for gas and help with maintenance you'll always be invited.
 

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Beware of the dog!
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For all the horror stories about used boats there are plenty of good stories. YOU do need to look it over well, and you may want to seriously consider taking it to a (good and reputable) marine mechanic to have the engine/lower unit checked out. Usually on older outboard boats the price is for the outboard and the boat and trailer are bonuses, meaning if the outboard pukes a decent used or new replacement will tend to cost as much or more that what you paid for the package.
 

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As a boat owner myself I offer you the following.

1. The less you use a boat the more is breaks....if you are not going to use it frequently it is better to rent in many cases.

2. Choose a brand name boat.....Boston Whalers have great resale value so if you do decide it was a bad idea to buy a boat in the first place.....you wont take a total bath while reselling it.

3. Boats are made of fiberglass for the most part and will last years with average maintenance. The motors, electronics and cables are the things that break and wear the most. If you understand nothing about boat motors......buy one that still has engine warranty.

That being said there are stupid deals on boats right now....do your research and buy low.

HK
 
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