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Old 09-04-2016, 07:31 PM   #1
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Default New to boating in Detroit

Recently moved to Detroit from NY and have gotten the boating itch. Have a young family of 5 with a dog. Looking at getting a boat to accommodate the crew over night, likely somewhere on lake St Claire. Going to the fall boat show and have been researching a lot. Have a budget up to $50k and am assuming used will be the best way to go. Also thinking now is probably the best time of year to get a deal. Looking for suggestions on type and size of boat, marina suggestions with an active community and general things I should be thinking about. Thanks in advance!!!!
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Old 09-05-2016, 05:57 AM   #2
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Biggest newer boat you can find for your money. $50k used will buy a nice boat just don't get something too old that maintenance eats you up. Lots of boats in Michigan shouldn't be too hard to find one. Visit the Marina at Belle Isle and walk the docks. You'll find tons for sale and get to see what most people buy. You'll see the pattern after awhile. Down here center consoles with outboards rule. Up there inboards with cuddys rule.
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Old 09-05-2016, 06:33 AM   #3
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Thanks! I'm in Bloomfield so will start driving around to see different marinas before the season shuts down. Am I right in thinking this is a better time to buy or should I wait til the winter or early spring? What year would you cut it off at? What brands will be easiest to maintain and be the smoothest on the water?

Been interested by these after searching on a long car ride lol

http://www.yachtworld.com/core/listing/pl_boat_detail.jsp?&units=Feet&id=3003688&lang=en& slim=broker&&hosturl=pier33yachts&&ywo=pier33yacht s&

http://detroit.craigslist.org/mcb/boa/5723248329.html
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Old 09-05-2016, 10:02 AM   #4
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The first thing I would not do is buy a boat.

Lake St. Clair needs some research on your part to make sure you like it.

I would suggest investigating the smaller lakes around your house and getting a boat that fits those. Your kids will have more fun frogging around and you can all sleep in your beds at night.

And you can pull it "up north" on your summer excursion.
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Old 09-05-2016, 10:25 AM   #5
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After Labor Day they will start selling them. If you don't have a place to store it then wait until early spring.
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Old 09-05-2016, 12:05 PM   #6
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Do the Oakland county lakes have places you can store a boat? Can't store a trailer in my subdivision any longer than a weekend according to bylaws. Was thinking a marina might be a good way to get into a little bit more of a community. Realize the lake St Clair can be a bit overwhelming. Having said that, at the same time I think that's part of the allure.
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Old 09-05-2016, 12:49 PM   #7
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i guess I would advise that you spend this fall visiting all the marinas you can and investigate both Lake St. CLair and the inland lakes.

I know Pine Lake has some spots for storage and there are others. Lake St. Clair has every level of boat accomodation from basic to posh.

Not sure how old your kids are but when mine were 8 to 18 we spent a lot more time on the wake/ski boats than the bigger boats. I was fortunate to have both and have them in northern Michigan as well but if I was picking one boat it would have been the littler one.

I did spend many,many hours on Lake St. Clair in my younger days, mostly fishing and hunting, and mostly in Canada. That situation is different now.
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Old 09-05-2016, 10:28 PM   #8
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To answer one of your questions, is now the best time to buy. Generally yes, in the fall prices tend to drop as winter is coming on. Many sellers would rather take a bit of a hit on the selling price rather than pay for winterization and winter storage.

There are many marinas on the Michigan side of Lake St. Clair and hundreds of boats for sale. You will have more available than you could possibly look at.

If you haven't taken a safe boating course I would recommend you do so prior to launching next year. Lake St. Clair as well as the other great lakes can get interesting at times due to wind and weather.

It is still a buyers market here in Michigan so with your 50K budget you should be able to find a really nice boat.
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Old 09-06-2016, 07:54 PM   #9
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Do the Oakland county lakes have places you can store a boat? Can't store a trailer in my subdivision any longer than a weekend according to bylaws. Was thinking a marina might be a good way to get into a little bit more of a community. Realize the lake St Clair can be a bit overwhelming. Having said that, at the same time I think that's part of the allure.
The negatives to the small lakes in Oakland county are, high traffic in a small lake, you go around in a circle, I'm not sure I'd want to take my family water skiing on those thing. Dangerous.

Lake St. Clair Metro Park will have a boat show Sept 15th - 18th. Lots of manufactures and lots of brokers with boats on site. There will be marinas there as well so you can get an idea of the cost for a slip.

Lake St. Clair is great, tons to do, restaurants, shallow areas to throw anchor and have fun in the water. Lake Huron/Detroit River/Lake Erie are all close.

Two marina suggestions I'd throw out are, MacRay and Belle Mar.

In the $50K range, look at late 90's Sea Ray 330. Good boat to accommodate your family.
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Old 09-06-2016, 08:44 PM   #10
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Do some touring around the state before you commit. If you're budget minded, there are some good slip prices at lake Huron marinas as the fishing traffic has gone down with the salmon fishery taking a hit. Also not a big selection for docking and taking the family to town. Good slip prices can be found on the lake Michigan side as well, but there are still some high money areas that keep the prices up there. Better selection for dining close to the docks though. Might get a trailerable boat and try different areas throughout the year and maybe trade up if you find a place you like best.
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Old 09-07-2016, 06:14 AM   #11
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Do some touring around the state before you commit. If you're budget minded, there are some good slip prices at lake Huron marinas as the fishing traffic has gone down with the salmon fishery taking a hit. Also not a big selection for docking and taking the family to town. Good slip prices can be found on the lake Michigan side as well, but there are still some high money areas that keep the prices up there. Better selection for dining close to the docks though. Might get a trailerable boat and try different areas throughout the year and maybe trade up if you find a place you like best.
I would think if you lived in Metro Detroit, you'd want your boat relatively close. Especially with Lake St. Clair right there. From Bloomfield it's a 30 minute drive, and you can run home if you had to. If I had to drive 2-3 hours to my boat, I wouldn't boat that often, much like if I had to trailer, I wouldn't boat. Storing a trailer or a boat costs money, especially considering most nice neighborhoods don't allow you to keep it in your driveway.
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Old 09-07-2016, 07:52 AM   #12
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I understand, but sometimes close and convenient is not only more expensive, but more crowded. Much of the population already drives a couple hours every weekend to get away. Whether to a cabin or to a boat. Many marinas and even some baitshop/outfitters also allow cheap trailer parking on their lots. Don't have to keep a slip for the season. Don't have to trailer the boat all the way home. Just pick it up at the lot and launch. Then get a transient slip for the weekend. Allows you to feel an area out before a financial commitment for a place that may or may not suit your style.
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Old 09-07-2016, 02:41 PM   #13
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Lakes in Michigan (Metro Detroit Area) all depend on what you want to do. Lakes in Oakland County are what I call day lakes. Go out for the day and go home at night. (Trailer / Day Boats) Lake St Clair (IMO) is more of a weekend get away Lake. Store the boat in the water or rack storage. No Trailer or tow vehicle really needed.

Take a drive around the lake. Start in St. Clair Shores (9 mile and Jefferson) and follow the shore line north, (Jefferson Ave) Harrison Township, Mt. Clemens (Clinton River, both South & North River roads), I-94/M-59 back to Jefferson to New Baltimore, to (M-29) Fair Haven Algonac, to Marine City.

You will find Docks for rent behind private homes, bear bones marinas, and full service marinas with pools and workout rooms etc.

It all depends on what you and your family are looking for.

We did the Oakland County lakes. It was not for us. Lake St.Clair is ok, but we like the Anchor Bay area and running the channels (north, middle, south) better then the Lake itself. (Always seams rough)

Yes fall time of the year is the time to buy, IF you know what you want. No one likes to pay for winter storage and winterizing their boats, so they are usually cheaper. (dealers not included)

If this is your first boat get a Marine and Mechanical Survey done before you buy it.
I also recommend you and your family take a US Power Squadron boat course over the winter. There is a Birmingham Chapter.
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Old 09-12-2016, 02:40 PM   #14
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There are storage yards in Waterford.

Lk. St. Clair is shallow and kicks up quickly. Cass Lake and others are fun.
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Old 09-12-2016, 05:35 PM   #15
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Wow. Absolutely great information guys and thanks so much for all of your help. We're looking at a boat in lieu of a cabin. We're fairly new to the area without much of a social network so really looking at as an opportunity to join a community. With young kids, i'd rather be pretty close to home and in a marina that caters more towards families than the partying crowd. We're going to the boat show next weekend and took a trip out to MacRay's this past weekend. Belle Mar seems to be around the same price but from what I hear most suggest Mac Ray's. Beacon Cove was another I had heard about but if you have anything bigger than a 30ft they have a waiting list for a slot. A few questions have come up in the boat search:
1. Seems a lot of people have recommended Sea Ray's. They appear to be very nice but expensive compared to other boats. Are they that much better and if so what drives it?
2. Had fallen in love with a late 90's 32ft Chris-Craft cruiser that got sold. Does anyone have experience with these? They have a center console and form a looks perspective seemed to hit the spot.
3. Looks like there is a fairly heavy premium on great lakes boats. Would any of you consider a salt water boat and if so and what price point does it make sense? I understand they're cheaper because of maintenance but at what point does it become a deal?
4. Seems like in the used market most common things from a cosmetic perspective are canvas, upholstery, interior carpet, bottom paint, striping and detailing. Does anyone have a range for what this stuff costs to address or a good reference in the area? Also from a survey perspective, who would you suggest?

Thanks again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 09-13-2016, 07:10 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by NYorkerinDetroit View Post
Wow. Absolutely great information guys and thanks so much for all of your help. We're looking at a boat in lieu of a cabin. We're fairly new to the area without much of a social network so really looking at as an opportunity to join a community. With young kids, i'd rather be pretty close to home and in a marina that caters more towards families than the partying crowd. We're going to the boat show next weekend and took a trip out to MacRay's this past weekend. Belle Mar seems to be around the same price but from what I hear most suggest Mac Ray's. Beacon Cove was another I had heard about but if you have anything bigger than a 30ft they have a waiting list for a slot. A few questions have come up in the boat search:
1. Seems a lot of people have recommended Sea Ray's. They appear to be very nice but expensive compared to other boats. Are they that much better and if so what drives it?
2. Had fallen in love with a late 90's 32ft Chris-Craft cruiser that got sold. Does anyone have experience with these? They have a center console and form a looks perspective seemed to hit the spot.
3. Looks like there is a fairly heavy premium on great lakes boats. Would any of you consider a salt water boat and if so and what price point does it make sense? I understand they're cheaper because of maintenance but at what point does it become a deal?
4. Seems like in the used market most common things from a cosmetic perspective are canvas, upholstery, interior carpet, bottom paint, striping and detailing. Does anyone have a range for what this stuff costs to address or a good reference in the area? Also from a survey perspective, who would you suggest?

Thanks again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Sea Ray makes a nice boat for the Great Lakes, decently priced and a 30+ footer can accommodate a family of 5. There are a lot of them, so you have a good selection. There are plenty of other good boats, they are just popular.

I'm not a huge fan of the 90's Chris Craft cruisers, they have awful swim platforms. Don't know much other then that.

Here is a list of surveyors: http://www.marinesurvey.org/us-regions/michigan.html I've heard very good things about the guy at the top of the list.

My sister and brother in law keep their boat at MacRay, good place, we even kept our there until we bought some property on the water. Lots of kids, good friendly community. I have friends at Belle Mar, it's nice, but I've always been partial to MacRay. Belle Mar is set up a little different with the outside being dock rental and the inside being owned docks. Beacon Cove isn't as nice as either, but I believe they are cheaper.

If you do ever end up at MacRay or Belle Mar shoot me a PM, I'm in the area.
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Old 09-13-2016, 07:24 AM   #17
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silverton and carver might be boats to look at
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Old 09-13-2016, 10:39 AM   #18
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Must go to jobbie nooner at least once no kids!!
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Old 09-13-2016, 02:00 PM   #19
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Welcome to Midwest and the Detroit area.

I grew up in Detroit moving in and out of the area a total of six (6) times. First four (4) times the family lived on the westside, Birmingham and Bloomfield Hills and twice I lived in Grosse Pointe.. I, presently live in upstate western New York, Rochester region..

Too bad you did not choose one of the Grosse Points to move to as each town has a park with slips available for residents. So much for water over the dam.

I have read the previous posts and agree with some and disagree with others. Agree that if this is going to be your first boating experience take a boating safety course as it will be of assistance as you operate a boat and you might make contacts which will assist you later or in finding the right vessel.

I agree with the post that states start looking at the Nautical Mile (Nine Mile and Jefferson) and working north for a slip and marina to your liking. I would not suggest anything in the City along Jefferson. That area is much improved but does not hold a logistics advantage for you as you are coming from the northwest. The dog depending on size may present you biggest concern with a marina.

Sea Rays and Chris Crafts are very popular in the region as both manufacturers and their founders were natives of the area. Both are good boats and will serve you well, but as another post stated look at other brands and have the boat surveyed.

Also I strongly suggest you include a good chart plotter/fish finder unit and VHF radio with a quality antenna. Should you ever have a problem on the water they will be of great benefit and may help you avoid trouble.

Lake St. Claire is very shallow average depth, with the exception of the shipping channel, is ten feet deep. I can develop a very uncomfortable chop and commercial shipping have NO ability to avoid you. You have to avoid the freighters. (Not as many as in the past.) The point I am attempting to make and others have made is that caution on the Lake is required. Do not be afraid of the water but definitely respect the Lake and the Rivers, they are components of the Inland Seas.

Have a great time and enjoy! But most of all GO BLUE!

Bison
Sea Hunt Ultra 234 with Yamaha F200xb
Garmin 7610xsv and Garmin VHF 200 with Shakespeare 5225xt antenna
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Old 09-13-2016, 02:58 PM   #20
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You might want to also check out Markley Marine on the Clinton River. (Almost across the street from Mac Rays)

Boats. Formula, Regal too.
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