The Boating Forum - Downsizing, whats the best 15-17 foot boat?

THE HULL TRUTH is the world's largest FREE network for the discussion of Boating & Fishing. Whether you're researching a new boat, or are a seasoned Captain, you'll find The Hull Truth Boating & Fishing Message Forum contains a wealth of information from Boaters and Sportfishermen around the world.

09-08-2005, 10:08 PM
I have a 19 foot trophy CC and am tired of dealing with brakes and the other issues related to a heavy boat(3500-4000 lbs). I never go offshore but occasionally fish the surf. I mostly fish inshore canals and oyster reefs. My Trophy is great in a chop but I really don't like fishing in it anyway. It is time to repower and I don't want to spend $8000-10000 on a boat that is really too big and uses too much gas. I am looking at the 15 foot Whaler Sport and the 16 Mckee Classic because they are close to lifetime boats. The only thing I don't like about the Whaler is there appears to be no trolling motor option, but someone must know how to mount one. I am also looking at the assorted 17 foot aluminum boats. Finally, what can I expect to spend on the Whaler or the Mckee?

09-08-2005, 10:28 PM
If you're looking for a high end boat with a lifetime transferable warranty, check out Edgewater's new 17' cc. Nice layout for its size.

09-08-2005, 10:32 PM
The 15 Whaler is too small and sides too low. I'd go with the 17. You will regret the 15 and want to immediately get a 17 and the price difference is not really that bad depending on what power you get. They make two models, the original 17 Montauk (the classic 17) or the 17 Outrage. However the Outrage is much more expensive.

The McKee is ok but it's flatter on the bottom and neither ride that great but the Whaler will ride better and keep it's value better.

You should be able to get a new Whaler 17 Montauk for 17-20k depending on power. A 90hp 4 stroke is more than enough but you could go with a 115.

I'm not sure of the price on the McKee as there are no dealers around here in central Virginia.

I'd stay away from the aluminum boats. They are a great utilitarian boat but in salt water they are very dangerous due to the lack of sufficient flotation and one wave over the bow can send you to the bottom quickly. Of course the whaler and mckee are unsinkable.

You can mount a trolling motor on either by manufacturing a plate to fit along the bow corner and securing along the bow rail if you don't want to drill holes in the hull. I've done it for a prior whaler I had and it worked fine.

There are plenty of other nice 15-17' v hulls out there. I've got a Jones Brothers 17 cape fisherman and it has level flooring, center console and a very sharp entry. The boat will slice through 2 foot chop at 25mph like it isn't even there. It is a very dry hull as well. Better yet it will run mid 30's with a 50 4 stroke and I can run it all day on 3-5 gallons of fuel. Has a self bailing cockpit so any water that may get in goes right out the back. In all the years I've owned it I've never taken a wave over the bow and my bilge pump has never come on. It only weighs about 1000lbs fully loaded and I've got 3 batteries in it due to having a 24volt minn kota riptide on the bow..

Good luck.

09-08-2005, 10:36 PM
CBP - 9/8/2005 9:28 PM

If you're looking for a high end boat with a lifetime transferable warranty, check out Edgewater's new 17' cc. Nice layout for its size.

Nice boat but I want something that I can bolt a trolling motor on the front. Honestly if I probably save the money and just repower what I have instead of getting something so close to what I have now. By the time you figure the motor, trailer and fuel the tow weight would be close to 3000 lbs. I am trying to stay in the 2000-2500 lb range.

09-08-2005, 10:47 PM
i had a 15 whaler center console for a few years. had the boat every where. oregon inlet fishing a few miles off shore. man o man was it sketchy coming in through that where there were breakers on either side of you. it was a tank non the less. never had a problem that wasn;t an easy fix. i miss that boat and if i found one for the right price id buy one in a heart beat. if your looking for an older boat makos and seacrafts can't be beat. also the robalos are a good choice.

09-08-2005, 10:50 PM
I'm not a big fan of the boats but the Key Largo,Palm Beach, Cape Craft line (all the same manufacturer) builds a pretty solid and inexpensive non liner boat. The 18' boat is supposedly from the old sea craft mold. They are easy to trailer and modify. Trailer Boats Magazine took a bare 18' Palm Beach with 90 hp 4 stroke, trailer and added a heavy duty saltwater bow trolling motor, gps, fish finder and dual battery setup. Total cost for boat and upgrades was I believe 18k. I still have the article if you want it.

09-08-2005, 10:55 PM
Look at the 17' Dusky. Megabyte had the deep V version of the boat and was more than tickled with it before moving up to a 25' Parker.

09-08-2005, 11:08 PM
take a look at the 185 bay classic by McKee. Slightly larger than what you mentioned, but the weight is right in line. Hull weight of 1560lbs, 35 gallon fuel tank (210 lb fuel load). Add a motor @ about 415 (suzuki 115 4 stroke), and you are at a total of 2185lbs, and you have a lot of boat for that weight.

here is a link for the boat

Granted, I am partial to the McKee line. I've been on several whalers and other CC's in the same size range, and spend a ton of time on a 2002 Montauk that belongs to my uncle, it doesn't even compare to my McKee when it comes to price value. The build quality of the McKee & Whaler are close, whaler may have a slight edge on stuff like preriging, but overall I would take another McKee any day of the week.

The Dude
09-08-2005, 11:11 PM
Find an old 17' Whaler that's been repowered (or buy an old one and repower yourself). Remove the bow rail and add a trolling motor and you're in business. I owned one for 10 yrs and you really can't find a more low maintenance, idiot-proof, simple, durable, and economical rig to own. It's small enough that it's a breeze to tow and is plenty fast with a 90 hp engine. The ride isn't as bad as everyone says, and I think it's one of the most seaworthy small hulls around - I used to run mine up to 35 miles offshore on nice days and felt safer doing it in the Whaler than I would in most 20' boats (note I said safer and not morw comfortable). It was a breeze to handle at the ramp alone and could fish all but the skinniest flats. I sold mine a little over a year ago to jump up to a 24' boat for offshore, and I love having a bigger boat, but I sure do miss the Whaler. Best part is that if you ever decide to sell it, nothing holds its value like a 17' Whaler. I bought my 1988 Whaler in 1994 for $7000, spent $6500 on a repower and new trailer after 5 years, and then sold it for $9500 in 2004. That's 10 yrs of boat ownership for $4000 - you can't find a better value in boating.

09-08-2005, 11:40 PM

09-08-2005, 11:42 PM
When I bought my current boat about 5 years ago, I knew it was too big but the deal was too good to pass up. Now someone is offering me a thousand less than I paid for it. The person wants to repower anyway so he doesnt care about the 10 year old Force 120. The motor has never given me any trouble but people don't like them and the boat is underpowered. I do know that I am at the end of the reliable life of the 1995 Force and do not want to invest in a boat that isn't a perfect fit. I look at the kind of fishing I do and I never hit the beaches unless it is dead calm so I don't really need the rough water capability. My fishing trips on windy days are not productive anyway so I usually stay in unless the weather is perfect. The biggest reasons for going lighter and smaller is I am tired of dealing with brakes in saltwater and the fact that my wife wants a minivan. We have a camp on the coast so I would like a boat that I could atleast launch with a minivan. When I say 2000-2500 lbs max I am talking about total trailer weight. My parents had a 16 foot Mckee when I was a kid 25 years ago that would seem to be ideal for the fishing I do now. My experience with the Mckee was that it was as close to the older whalers that you could get for less money. I should have taken a friend's advice 5 years ago when I bought my 19 footer when he told me "the bigger the boat you get, the less you will fish."

09-09-2005, 12:11 AM
I agree, 17 Whaler Montauk. Have had mine for years, fish it hard, trailer it all over and it has been a great boat. Low maintenence, quality, unsinkable, seaworthy, fun. I have a 115 Yamaha on mine and it is like a sportscar, great acceleration and handling. I plan on keeping it forever, even as I upsize, this one is staying in my garage. Easy deal on mounting a trolling motor, just remove the bow rail and put batteries in the console. The nice thing about the Whaler, as stated above, is that you can always get your money back if you can bear to part with it.

09-09-2005, 12:24 AM
15 to 17 is very small, really.

I would look at a Cape Horn 17, Seacat 18, or Twin Vee 19 as a minimim. All are light, sturdy, inexpensive, cheap to operate, and will give you mosre deck space than most.

Lady Jayne
09-09-2005, 08:15 AM
Bullshipper, if he feels like the 19 he has is too big for him, then a 15-17 footer will be the right fit. NeilC, I admire you for knowing exactly what you want. Have you considerd a Carolina Skiff type boat? How about a Scout? Both of these will last and can be purchased in that size range. First problem is solved- you know what your use REALLY is.

09-09-2005, 08:24 AM
Maritime Skiff 1890 w/70hp four stroke 32" console & leaning post on a Venture trailer. Can't go wrong!!

09-09-2005, 09:04 AM
Most of these boats that are mentioned above are fine bay boats but the thing you mentioned was going out into the surf. That being the case you will need something with a deeper vee. My choice wood be the Cape Horn 16 or 17. Both of these boats allow trolling motors due to the split bow rail option. Also they only draft about 10 inches. They are unsinkable and most come with the four strokes. Another good thing is that compaired to a Whaler they are much more affordable and much roomier.
They are made in Milton, FL and web site is

09-09-2005, 09:05 AM
Take a look at the Carolina Skiff Sea Chaser rolled gunnel 17.

Themis Sal
09-09-2005, 09:06 AM
I think Whaler will have a winner with this boat... the new 150 Montauk:

Actually much closer to the older 17 Montauks.

09-09-2005, 09:16 AM
If you want an inexpensive boat with a fine, dry ride take a look at the Kenner rollled edge boats. They make an 18 that is very utilitarian and has a decent ride. The Caolina Skiff is a well built boat, but not known for their soft ride. Jones Brothers "Bateau" series are very well built. Consider a Mako 171. Yea, yea, yea....we all have heard of Mako's trials and tribulations......but, the 171 is a darned good boat in that size catagory. One last suggestion is the Edgewater 175, it is one fine boat.

09-09-2005, 09:19 AM
I started out with a 1990 Montauk Guardian series - nearly 10 years and 5 boats later. I would do anything to get that boat back. As you implied - bigger is not always better. That Montauk was a fantastic fishing platform, a perfect ski boat and great for those booze cruises. I most definitely agree "The Dude" - find an older Montauk and repower. This will ensure many, many years of trouble free boating. My Montauk was virtually maintenance free for the 3 years I owned her. They also maintain their resale value better than most other similar sized boats.
... God I miss that boat...

Just my .02cents...

Good Luck

09-09-2005, 09:33 AM
steveyacht - 9/9/2005 8:16 AM

If you want an inexpensive boat with a fine, dry ride take a look at the Kenner rollled edge boats. They make an 18 that is very utilitarian and has a decent ride.

This is another one that is a very good value- 2 styles to fit your budjet also.

But, when you get this small, ride and dryness really suffers, and this is where a small cat or tunnel boat shines in comparision.

bait crasher
09-09-2005, 10:13 AM
I'm just throwing one out there - Sea Hunt Triton 172. I don't have one, but I sho like 'um.

09-09-2005, 10:50 AM
How about an older Aquasport 17 Osprey with a nice 50 4-stroke on the back. By buddy has one and there is tons-o-room on it and easily trailered. The 50 works well on the back.

09-09-2005, 11:57 AM
Not sure what year your Trophy is but maybe you should look at a new Trophy 1903CC................2339 lbs.


09-09-2005, 12:15 PM
Sometimes I wander if people even read posts like yours before they post. A 17 foot welded alum. from a good manufactor will weigh less than 2000 lbs. trailer, 4 stroke 100 hp. included. Get it with a full walkthru windshield, most come that way. I have over 500 saltwater hours off of northern Ca. with no problems, over the last 4 years. Go with a smaller motor if you want to save some money and dont need the speed.

Magothy Boy
09-09-2005, 12:34 PM
BW Montauk for sure...

09-09-2005, 01:36 PM
Having owned a 150 Sport for 3 seasons, yes, a fantastic 15 foot boat. But...for a bit more scratch...I would go with the 170 Montauk. I moved up, but feel it was about the perfect boat for it's size, and have owned larger and smaller. I got ~4mpg with the 2-smoke 60.

09-09-2005, 02:00 PM
McKee is the only way to go! :thumbsup:

09-09-2005, 02:06 PM
1971 17' mako Angler...has done me right for 15 years.

Alec Thigpen
09-09-2005, 02:16 PM
originalsin - 9/9/2005 12:00 PM

McKee is the only way to go! :thumbsup:

There is no such thing as "the only way to go" as far as boats are concerned!

One of the several Boston Whaler models in the 17' range is certainly one of the best in small boats as is McKee, Edgewater, Scout, and a few others that often come up as "best in size". You have to do the fun part and go look them over, get in them, verify space requirements as well as specs for the type of use you want. Then, do a sea trial in realistic conditions with the load and number of people you will typically have on board.

Make sure you have a good repoire with the dealer or service center you will be using for the brand even if you are buying used.

09-09-2005, 02:39 PM
I also go with the 17 Montauk, Ive owned 3 of them in the last 20 years and currently have two at the dock.
On the 1986 17 I took off the front railing and installed a fold down trolling motor, it worked great.

On the 1977 I had a 115 2sk. yammi on it ,50 mph + :o I now have a 90 johnson on it.

5 months ago while driving I saw a guy putting a for sale sign on a 1997 Montauk, 9000$ , I boughtit on the spot, it has a F100 yammi FS.

They are great bay boats and Ill go ten miles off shore in the Keys if the conditions are good ;cool;


09-09-2005, 03:08 PM
Key West 17 Sportsman offers alot for the money

09-09-2005, 03:32 PM
I'll second that vote for the KW 1720. I have owned mine for a little over 2.5 years. Floats shallow (I sight fish for redfish in one foot of water on a regular basis). You can mount a trolling motor on the bow. Handles 2' chop reasonably well and the ride is dry. The ride can be a little rough in a snotty chop. Holds 30 gals. of fuel. My rig has a 90 Yam 2 stroke and will hit 40 with two people and less than half a tank of fuel.

Good luck in your search.

09-09-2005, 04:29 PM
I down sized from a Grady WA (and still miss the Grady) but not the gas consumption. I wanted a 18 foot Grady but very few used one around so found a 18 BW Dauntless and wife fell in love with it.
I now have to agree the resale myth of whalers is actually real, at least in the smaller ones. I just mentioned wanting to go back up to a WA Cabin and I had several people offering to buy my boat, at my asking price, when I got ready to sell.
There are a lot of good boats out there to meet your needs and only you know what they are in your price range. I like top shelf boats, like Whaler(Name recognition) and Grady for the resale value or better yet life time durability. for especially cared for Whalers. Good luck

Capt. Dan
09-09-2005, 05:19 PM
Ireally loved my Scout 175. Rides great for that size boat (much better than the Whalers), it's fast and it weighd in under 2,000 for boat/motor/trailer (hull was just under 1,000 lbs.). I used to tow it easily behind my Jeep Wrangler and launched and retreived it solo all the time. They are definitely worth a look.

09-09-2005, 07:27 PM
When I looked at 17' boats a couple years ago it came down to a Sea Hunt 172 and a Scout 175. Both boats are nice. The Scout was set up for fishing a bit better, has better fit & finish, and storage. Plus the Sea HUnt dealer wouldn't deal... So I went with the Scout. No regrets but I'm sure I would have been happy wih the Sea Hunt as well.

The Key West 172 is a small 17' boat. Low gunnel, very narrow, and not much room inside. The boats are very well made and have nice finish. I wish the 172 had been a bit larger. The 18 footers are designed better...

09-09-2005, 11:50 PM
I am considering everything that is less than 1200 lb dry hull weight because loaded with motor trailer and fuel I want to be close to 2000 lb trailer weight. I will look at the Carolina Skiff but they seem pricey for the lack of fit and finish. The idea is good but the kit boat idea seem like it should be cheaper. An aluminum boat is really a last case scenerio. My heart says Whaler but my wallet might say Mckee. The new 17' Whaler has a hull weight of 1400 lbs which is quite a bit more than the old 17. A 1400 lb hull with 300-400 lb motor a hundred or so lbs of batteries and a 600-700 lb trailer put me at 2400-2500 lbs w/o fuel, ice, gear, and trolling motor. The 15 ft whaler hull is 900 lbs should end up with a tow weight of close 2000 lbs fully loaded. The 16' Mckee hull is 990 lbs so it would be close to my goal.

09-10-2005, 12:37 AM
Got to say that from the web site Scouts impress me. Hows the quality compare?

Capt. Dan
09-12-2005, 09:18 AM
I went through the same process as you a few years ago when I bought the Scout. I had my heart set on a BW Montauk until I really started looking. The Scouts really are beautiful boats, they are light and easy to tow and I always got compliments on it at the ramp. Even had a guy flag me down on the road once to ask me about it. I test rode the Montauk and then the Scout, talk aboput night and day difference. The Montauk would beat you up in a slight chop while the Scout really rode nicely for a 17 foot boat. I used to fish with a buddy with an 18' Edgewater and when it kicked up a little he was always slowing down while the Scout ran better kind of skipping accross the chop. Give the Scout some serious consideration, you won't be sorry!

09-12-2005, 09:24 AM
Look at the Twinvee 17' rides like a lot bigger boat.

09-12-2005, 06:17 PM
For rough water, I suggest the Edgewater 175 or Scout 175 . If its primarily for bay or inshore usage the aquasport 175 is a great little boat.

09-14-2005, 03:17 PM
If you go the Whaler route, look around for a late 90s 17 Outrage II, small size, but big boat features and ride. My dad just bought one and its great. 10x better ride than Montauk.

Can't beat an older 15 Super Sport for a fun ride though! They are just tought to find these days.

09-14-2005, 08:26 PM
Sea Hunt 172, an extremely seaworthy boat for its size and a lot of boat for its price.

chris V
09-15-2005, 10:28 PM
scout and whaler both good boats

I had a scout 155 with a honda 50 for about 4 years great little boat
we had a 1981 17 montauk with a 90 omc when I was a teenager. also a great boat. I hhave a 13 whaler currently, but I lean more toward the scout, it has a better ride, costs less, and actually has storage, the whalers have almost no storage.

09-15-2005, 10:33 PM
SEA TRAIL them and then decide!

There are a few really good 17's out there -
I have a Scout (love it), have owned BW Newport, riden for years in a 17 Mako (friends) all very good,
Keywest and Edge water I personally have not ridden in, but wouldn't mind trying. Each boat has a feature or two i HATE and a bunch I love. After testing each you'll know pretty fast which works best for you.

09-15-2005, 10:59 PM
Slam dunk - whaler montauk. I've had 2, sold each one for what I paid for it after 7 - 10 years of use. Basically indestructable.

09-15-2005, 11:43 PM
Main thing-DON'T get a ballbuster-Not fun for you or anyone in the boat.
Some boats mentioned have a bad ride in even a small chop. I used to fish the bays in an 18" semi-v Alumnacraft Fish Hunter. Just got sick of the beating heading into a 2' chop on a 15-20 mph day. Other than that an awesome little machine w/ a Honda 90 and hyd. plate. Next boat was a Twin Vee 19'. Did someone say AWESOME RIDE? But then I got four-foot-itis... :grin:

09-16-2005, 01:24 AM
first things first -- what in the heck is your budget? the current model whaler (170 MONATUK) is $21K+ and would be a dscent choice but it might be over your budget.

btw - whaler only makes one 17 cc boat in its consumer lineup - its called the 170 MONTAUK

09-16-2005, 01:33 AM
Can't say enough good things about my 17' cc Mckee...haven't riden on any of the whalers so I can't help you out too much with them. My friend has the 16' McKee you're looking at with a 75 4-stoke. Runs great, but pounds a little in a chop. My boat handles chop better IMO, so don't overlook the 17' cc if you can offord to. Either way, both boats are great on re-sale...just test ride the boats you're debating before you make you decision! :thumbsup:

FYI: the 16' McKee w/ a 75 (4-stroke) probably sells for around 14-15k new
the 17' cc Mckee w/ a 90 (4-stoke) sells for around 16.5-17.5k new

high life
09-16-2005, 02:09 AM
pioneer 175

09-16-2005, 04:46 PM
Love my KeyWest 1720cc, rides like a dream, shallow draft, solid...just plain nice boat.

09-16-2005, 05:17 PM
I'm a fan of the scout, but I'm biased.

09-16-2005, 09:42 PM
I have a HS 33 and a Whaler 18 Dauntless which is an awesome boat ! Very expensive, but the build qualtiy in this size boat is extraordinary. It is an amazingly big boat for 18' with a big beam. You can haul a ton of people comfortably and does very well in chop. with a 135 hp will easily do 40-45 mph and has a 60 gallon tank (no need to lug 6 or twelve gallon tanks around). Very safe - high gunnels and will not sink. Great fishing boat for casting, drifting and not bad for trolling.

Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.2.0