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What kind of boat should I get?

Old 05-19-2020, 01:35 PM
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Default What kind of boat should I get?

I'm searching for my first boat, and not sure the best options. I'm looking at deck boats mainly.

I have a family of 6, mainly want to use the boat for fishing and tubing.

My budget is limited to 30k, so I'm going to be looking at older used boats probably from 2000-2010

I definitely want at least a small private head area to change/use bathroom.

I'm debating on whether to get a boat with a cuddy cabin or not.

I'm not really sure if we will be using the boat all night long or just for day trips. I like the idea of a cuddy cabin for kids to sleep in, however I also want to have at least 8-10 people on the top deck too, and all the cuddy cabins I have seen will allow max of 3-4 people topside at a time.

Are there any boats out there which combine a small cuddy cabin with an expanded top deck that can hold 8-10 on the top at one time? I can't find any boat like that unless you're talking about a 200k+ yacht.

Has anybody here had the same dilemma between choosing a traditional deck boat vs a boat with a cuddy cabin? Walk me through your thought process please.

Old 05-19-2020, 01:48 PM
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I've been there done that... First, where do you plan on boating? Inland Lakes/Rivers, or saltwater.

I'm going to assume Lakes. IMHO, you'd be best served with a bowrider / deck boat / dual console. With 6 or more onboard, you'll want every inch of deck space. If you do a cuddy or even a smaller cabin cruiser, the cockpit is too small and you won't and shouldn't have people down below while in motion. You have a nice budget to work with if you go with a stern drive. Of the three styles I listed, the dual console and bow rider will handle the bumps the best, but will be tippy at slow speeds. The deck style boat will ride a bit harder but will stay level while going slow and people are moving about.

As far as brands go, all I can say is stay away from the very bottom of the list like Bayliner, and go mid-tier. Four Winns, Crownline, Chaparral, and many others build solid boats for inland lake boating. As far as engine / outdrive brands, both Mercruiser and Volvo Penta are solid. Let local service availability determine one over the other. What will be more important over brand choice, since you'll be looking at used, is buying a boat with exceptional documented maintenance history.

Let us know where and how you plan on boating and then we can a bit more specific.

Good luck!
Old 05-19-2020, 01:52 PM
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I forgot to add, most bow rider / deck boat / dual console boats have a little head compartment. Most will be equipped with a Porta potty. There usually a tight space, but doable.
Old 05-19-2020, 01:58 PM
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Look at a 2000+ Sea-Ray 240 Sundeck. Tons of room and HUGE amounts of storage.
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Old 05-19-2020, 02:09 PM
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Thanks for the help!

This is definitely for inland lakes only (north Texas area). I'm not brave enough to try for ocean boating yet.

For the head/portable toilet area, I know they vary in size but would someone who is 6 feet tall/170 lb typically be able to get in there?

Old 05-19-2020, 03:47 PM
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Originally Posted by platon20 View Post
Thanks for the help!

For the head/portable toilet area, I know they vary in size but would someone who is 6 feet tall/170 lb typically be able to get in there?
Not comfortable, but yes. You won't want to hang out in there.
Old 05-19-2020, 08:04 PM
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Why are you looking at 10-20 year old boats for your first boat? They will have many issues and things constantly breaking. Your budget is too low for what you want. A cheaper used boat may look good in theory, but in reality it is a money pit. Buy something newer that fits your basic needs.
Old 05-19-2020, 08:18 PM
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Cabins end up smelling like musty wet dog and no one uses them because they are stuffy. Heads with a porta potty are gross and no one wants to clean them out so no one uses them. You can get a triple toon pontoon boat new with a 115hp engine for about 30k and it will do everything you want and should have a changing room/toilet compartment if you really want one. Get a tow bar on back as well. You will be so much happier than some used boat with a stinky ass stabin cabin and a blue hole full of turds.
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Old 05-20-2020, 03:10 PM
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Yes I know an old boat comes iwth issues, but surely a quality surveyor and sea trial will identify MAJOR problems.

Am I incorrect in that assumption? If the surveyor cant identify major problems then why the hell would I pay them hundreds of dollars?

Also since I'm new to boating I plan to hire a captain to do the sea trial. How would I go about that?

Old 05-20-2020, 03:14 PM
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Originally Posted by HOmer72 View Post
Cabins end up smelling like musty wet dog and no one uses them because they are stuffy. Heads with a porta potty are gross and no one wants to clean them out so no one uses them. You can get a triple toon pontoon boat new with a 115hp engine for about 30k and it will do everything you want and should have a changing room/toilet compartment if you really want one. Get a tow bar on back as well. You will be so much happier than some used boat with a stinky ass stabin cabin and a blue hole full of turds.
Sounds like you've been in some shitty boats that weren't cared for properly. I've been in plenty of cabins that were pristine with no smell even after 20+ years of use.
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Old 05-20-2020, 03:15 PM
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Originally Posted by PremierPOWER View Post
Look at a 2000+ Sea-Ray 240 Sundeck. Tons of room and HUGE amounts of storage.

This. My dad just got one and it's a really cool family style boat. Crazy amount of deck space..
Old 05-20-2020, 03:20 PM
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Originally Posted by platon20 View Post
Thanks for the help!

This is definitely for inland lakes only (north Texas area). I'm not brave enough to try for ocean boating yet.

For the head/portable toilet area, I know they vary in size but would someone who is 6 feet tall/170 lb typically be able to get in there?
Deck boat or pontoon is probably the best for your needs. I would say bow rider, but they typically don't have changing rooms or heads.

Considering your area you certainly don't want a cuddy unless you somehow get AC. The sun will quickly make it a furnace nobody will want to enter, let alone stay in for any reason.
Old 05-20-2020, 03:24 PM
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I own a small cabin cruiser and would recommend against it. My kids love spending nights on the boat and the wife tolerates it. I have been a boater my whole life and now so have my kids. It sounds good in theory but if you aren’t a boating family, it may not be something you guys want to do (stay overnight). A deck style boat with a small head would suit you better.

Owning a used boat can be great, can be Sergio. Just this week my boat decided it doesn’t want to start. After a few tests and cleaning connections, I determined starter. Took it out and began to take it apart and see if I can clean and reinstall... snapped bolt and time to buy a new one! Not the end of the world, but a set back to enjoyment.
Old 05-20-2020, 03:30 PM
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Default Crownline E215 XS vs Robalo R227

Looking for a boat that will essentially be used to go from the marina to the beach and to cruise around cape cod. I'm looking at a 2019 Crownline E215 xs and a 2015 Robalo R227. Both have great seating and weight capacity. I'm told the Crownline would be optimal in calm waters but not comfortable in 2-3' chop. Conversely I'm told the Robalo could easily handle 2-3' chop but would be less steady when the boat is idling or cruising around in calm water. Wondering if anyone has any experience with either of these boats, thank you
Old 05-20-2020, 03:31 PM
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Originally Posted by platon20 View Post
Yes I know an old boat comes iwth issues, but surely a quality surveyor and sea trial will identify MAJOR problems.

Am I incorrect in that assumption? If the surveyor cant identify major problems then why the hell would I pay them hundreds of dollars?

Also since I'm new to boating I plan to hire a captain to do the sea trial. How would I go about that?
True a good surveyor should find most major problems or potential problems. However they are not perfect and sometimes you just can't predict when something is going to fail (steering rams, exhaust manifolds, gaskets all come to mind).

With that said maintenance is critical for the condition of a boat. Would rather by a 20 year old boat that was loved, maintained, and stored well than a 8 year old boat that has not been maintained and left sitting uncared for outside for a couple years. A uncared for, poorly maintained boat of any age is the worst risk you can find.
Old 05-22-2020, 01:10 PM
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Originally Posted by CaptainSteveo View Post
True a good surveyor should find most major problems or potential problems. However they are not perfect and sometimes you just can't predict when something is going to fail (steering rams, exhaust manifolds, gaskets all come to mind).

With that said maintenance is critical for the condition of a boat. Would rather by a 20 year old boat that was loved, maintained, and stored well than a 8 year old boat that has not been maintained and left sitting uncared for outside for a couple years. A uncared for, poorly maintained boat of any age is the worst risk you can find.
What does "poorly maintained" mean exactly? Keeping the boat covered and servicing the motor at the right intervals? What else should I look for besides that in terms of maintenance?

Old 05-22-2020, 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by platon20 View Post
What does "poorly maintained" mean exactly? Keeping the boat covered and servicing the motor at the right intervals? What else should I look for besides that in terms of maintenance?
Signs of "poorly maintained":

1) Not servicing, or if needed winterizing.
2) Left uncovered all the time in sun and weather.
3) Filthy and unkept.
4) Lots wear and abuse. A couple year old boat should not have torn up upholstery, mangled rub rails, broken switches nobs and trim pieces, lots of chips or cracks in gel coat, etc..
5) Trailer that is beat up and not serviced (bearing grease, lights not working, etc.).
6) Sitting for years without being used or even started.

These are all obvious signs the owner did not give a damn about taking care of the boat. Usually if you find a couple of these signs all are likely to be present. Thus "poorly maintained". It's like looking at fairly new used car with high mileage, dents, scrapes, stained upholstery, and filthy black unchanged oil. A car like that has been "poorly maintained".

Last edited by CaptainSteveo; 05-22-2020 at 01:33 PM.
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Old 05-22-2020, 01:41 PM
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I would advice against have 8-10 on a small boat: In many cases people drink, party whatever and you as the operator are responsible
for all of them. Easy to get hurt and/or fall overboard on a crowed boat underway.
I take no more than 6 onboard unless tied to a dock.
After you get some mileage and experience you will probably agree with me. Been doing this sport since 1985.
Old 05-22-2020, 01:47 PM
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I found a boat I like in Florida (we live in Texas). If we were to get that boat and spend 2-3 days using it in Florida salt water before moving it back to Texas freshwater lakes, what kind of cleaning/prep work would we have to do to make sure the salt water doesn't cause problems? Is 2-3 days in the salt enough to cause issues or is that only if we use it consistently in saltwater?

Old 05-22-2020, 02:46 PM
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Originally Posted by platon20 View Post
I found a boat I like in Florida (we live in Texas). If we were to get that boat and spend 2-3 days using it in Florida salt water before moving it back to Texas freshwater lakes, what kind of cleaning/prep work would we have to do to make sure the salt water doesn't cause problems? Is 2-3 days in the salt enough to cause issues or is that only if we use it consistently in saltwater?
Florida boats are in the water year round and would be my last choice if I was shopping.

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