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Newbie! Trying to learn and have some questions

Old 10-16-2020, 12:23 PM
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Default Newbie! Trying to learn and have some questions

Hey guys. I have always been fascinated by boats but only recently decided to really dig into research to see if I could actually afford to get one. (I have concluded that, honestly, I probably can't, but I am going to do it anyway.)

I am a 50-year-old man who is probably going to be divorced in the next 6-12 months (Mid life crisis?). I live in Orange County, pretty much halfway between LA and SD, and I can see Catalina when I take the dog for a walk by the coast.

Sometime by the end of 2021, I'd like to get a boat. I want something big enough for 5-6 people but not so big that I couldn't handle it by myself. I want to be able to take it out in the ocean and at least get to Catalina and back (30-45 nautical miles each way, depending where I start), and maybe even someday I'd like to take a multiday trip up or down the coast.

I think I want a cuddy cruiser in the 24-28 foot range, but I'd also be open to a bowrider (if that's not too small for the Catalina idea).

So here are my first few questions (of many)...

*What kind of training/education should I get? I have driven motor boats around Lake Tahoe and Coronado Bay in San Diego, but nothing in the ocean. Basically I want to learn to maneuver the boat, dock it, tie it up to a dock or a mooring ball, etc. Just the basics.

*I can only afford a used boat, so what sort of cut off should I consider as "too used" either in terms of the hours on the engine or the age of the boat? I understand there's a lot of maintenance required on even the best boats, so I want the most trouble-free thing I can get, relatively speaking, of course.

*How much of the list price should I expect to pay? If I see a boat listed at $40K, does that mean I can really buy it for $33K? $35K?

*Is it true that the interest is tax deductible (like a house) if you get a boat with a bed and a toilet? That would seem to make a pretty significant difference in terms of the overall cost, if I can really do that.

I have a ton more questions, but we'll start with those.

Thanks in advance for helping a newbie!


Old 10-16-2020, 05:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Jeff in SoCal View Post
Sometime by the end of 2021, I'd like to get a boat. I want something big enough for 5-6 people but not so big that I couldn't handle it by myself. I want to be able to take it out in the ocean and at least get to Catalina and back (30-45 nautical miles each way, depending where I start), and maybe even someday I'd like to take a multiday trip up or down the coast.
Clarifying the Catalina thing. Obviously that's not a beginner trip, so I would't be planning that anytime soon. But I would like the boat to be capable of it once I have enough experience to do it.

Initially I'd probably just want to take it out a mile or two into the ocean, cruise around, look at whales, stop and have lunch/dinner, watch the sunset, etc.
Old 10-16-2020, 06:07 PM
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First thing to consider is ownership costs. In SoCal you are going to pay a fortune for a slip or space at a marina unless you trailer the boat. Then you need a truck and a decent ‘home ramp’ to use, that might be a marina with a fee.
then insurance, fuel, cool boat stuff


i would start out smaller with a relatively new (5-10 yo and under 500 hours) Outboard. You can probably get a trailerable 18-22’ CC or bow rider in that price range.
Old 10-16-2020, 06:28 PM
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Join power squadron take their classes
Old 10-16-2020, 06:28 PM
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Originally Posted by tommyjones View Post
First thing to consider is ownership costs. In SoCal you are going to pay a fortune for a slip or space at a marina unless you trailer the boat. Then you need a truck and a decent Ďhome rampí to use, that might be a marina with a fee.
then insurance, fuel, cool boat stuff


i would start out smaller with a relatively new (5-10 yo and under 500 hours) Outboard. You can probably get a trailerable 18-22í CC or bow rider in that price range.
The trailer thing is a non-starter for me. I don't have a pickup or SUV and I am certainly not going to buy one and add to the cost of this whole thing, and I'd still need to pay for a place to store the boat, so the cost of the truck and all the gas for it plus the cost of the dry boat storage makes it not much cheaper, if at all, than a marina. I also just don't want to deal with the hassle of the whole trailer thing, plus having to go to a third location between home and the marina each time I want to use the boat. That just seems like it would make it less likely to use it.

If I had a place at home to put it, that would make things a lot easier.

The cheapest marina near me is about $300-400 a month, depending on the size of the slip. There is also once place that has rack storage at the water. That seems like a good alternative to me because my boat is always there, and they'll splash it whenever I want. (They'll also gas it up before I get there and hose it down when I'm done.) Plus, correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't it easier to maintain a boat that's kept dry when not in use?
Old 10-16-2020, 06:45 PM
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How much dough do you have? I'd wait till after the divorce to even think about it as she'd probably get your boat.
Old 10-16-2020, 06:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Lifeislarge View Post
How much dough do you have? I'd wait till after the divorce to even think about it as she'd probably get your boat.
Yeah, thats why I said sometime by the end of 21. I am just shopping around now.

I am mostly looking at stuff that's $20K to $35K, although it's possible I'd go up to 50K if I decide to just finance it all or if I feel like getting a newer boat is going to save money in the long run (resale, maintenance, etc.)
Old 10-16-2020, 07:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Jeff in SoCal View Post
Yeah, thats why I said sometime by the end of 21. I am just shopping around now.

I am mostly looking at stuff that's $20K to $35K, although it's possible I'd go up to 50K if I decide to just finance it all or if I feel like getting a newer boat is going to save money in the long run (resale, maintenance, etc.)
Most people on the west coast want a pilot house or cuddy. Your budget would get you a much used Grady White that would make it to Catalina but might need some work or updating. Do you want to fish or just cruise?
Old 10-16-2020, 07:24 PM
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Then you have plenty of time to take a boating course. The Coast Guard Auxiliary and the Power Squadron both offer courses in your area.
Welcome to the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary Official Web portal
https://www.usps.org/index.php/sss-boating-courses
Both will satisfy California's requirements https://www.dmv.com/ca/california/boating-license

As for a bow rider, I would not advise trying to go to Catalina in a boat with an open bow. Look for something a little larger that has a closed bow especially if you're planning on carrying 5-6 people.
https://newboatbuilders.com/boating/index.html

Last edited by PeterDE; 10-16-2020 at 11:15 PM.
Old 10-16-2020, 11:11 PM
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Buy the nicest boat you can afford, because youíll end up there anyway, most times the most expensive boat is the cheapest. Cut out the lost time and heartache and buy the nicest, size you want the first time. It will actually save you money and time, which you can never get back. Welcome to the forum.
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Old 10-16-2020, 11:51 PM
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You are in your 50s and going through a divorce. Talk to your lawyer about when to buy the boat and once you are clear, go large and enjoy it. As they say, you only go around once.

Power squadrons is a good start at training. Start reading this forum regularly, join Boat/US, and read local boat mags if they still exist.

Look for ways to get on the water before buying a boat. Meet people who have boats. Join a yacht club. Rent a boat. Charter a boat. Do whatever, it is still cheaper than buying and selling a boat. I love boating, but many who get involved ultimately do not and you don't want to buy a boat and find out that you hate it.

Hopefully you are mechanically inclined. Boats always need maintenance and if you need to hire someone to do it, your budget will grow a lot.

Re taxes: I believe the rule is bead, head, and a galley for tax deductibility. Talk to an accountant . It is always complicated.

AFTER you buy a boat, hiring a captain is a good thing if you need training. The captain will teach you how to work your boat.

Good luck!



Last edited by mattnyc; 10-16-2020 at 11:59 PM.
Old 10-17-2020, 10:56 AM
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You will have maintenance. You will need to pull the boat every few weeks during the summer to clean growth off the bottom, even with bottom paint, or hire a diver. If you have outboards, you’ll need her out of the water every 100 hours of motor use, or at least yearly, to change the lower unit gear fluid. If you don’t have her in a place with a lift, you’ll have to drive her to one or have a trailer (or access to one).

Socal doesn’t really have islands/sandbars where you can run to, beach the boat, and hang out. You’re limited to floating around, anchoring up, or hitting various marinas. You can cruise the various bays and show your friends the cool boats and houses, but how much cash to you want to tie up in a boat to do that, before you get tired of seeing the same crap?

You’ll also want to learn up on offshore weather forecasting and seasonal/daily weather patterns. You don’t want to depart for Catalina on a nice morning not realizing that you’ll be coming home the next afternoon into 20 knot winds from the east with 4’ southerly swells.

Some of the best learning you can get before buying your own boat is to go do what you think you’ll enjoy on other people’s boats. See what type of boat you actually like and what features you need. It’s very typical for someone to want to “upgrade” their first boat in a year or two...2-ft-itis is a thing. But it’s not just about size.
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Old 10-17-2020, 04:29 PM
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Thanks guys for all the great info.

To answer a few questions, no I am not going to fish. I just want to cruise around, see whales, have a ďpicnic at sea,Ē watch the sunset, etc.

Would I get bored of that? I still donít get bored of just looking at the ocean from the beach, so I think actually getting in the water and operating a boat would be pretty fun.

As for finding a ďcaptain,Ē to help me out, I would definitely want to do that. Or even just find a more experienced boater to befriend and have him show me a bunch of tricks about running the boat and maintenance and stuff.

On the maintenance issue, it seems to me the best storage is the rack storage at the water, so the boat is kept dry when not in use. Thatís my preference, although here thatís actually more expensive than the marina. (The marina rates Iíve seen go from $400-$900 for the same size boat. The rack storage is about $650.)

Keep the advice coming! Thanks guys.
Old 10-17-2020, 10:26 PM
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We just did something similar, bought an older boat, 1998 30' express cruiser in your budget range with cabin and head, Sleeps 5-6 for trips to Catalina and we can still fish off it with just a couple guys. Ours is in a slip, we pay for regular bottom cleaning and outdrive cleaning. Even with a family member using it too, it can often sit unused so consider you might have conflicts or weather keeping you from using it. A good primer to try before going to Catalina is to travel from Huntington Harbor down to Newport Harbor and even overnight in a guest slip, or NB to Dana Point, it is a similar distance./time We have twin 5.0L VP engines and it takes about an hour to get over the Catalina. To practice mooring you can either rent a guest one in a harbor, or try Belmont Moorings up in Belmont Shores behind "Island White" and near the pier.

Where did you price dry storage? If they load it for you that might be a good option, although if you get a good wet slip location it can be nice to just hangout in the slip from time to time.
Old 10-17-2020, 10:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Tim71 View Post
Where did you price dry storage? If they load it for you that might be a good option, although if you get a good wet slip location it can be nice to just hangout in the slip from time to time.
Lido Yacht Anchorage in Newport Beach claims to be the only rack storage location at the water in So Cal. They let me go on the waiting list without paying anything or even having a boat, which I liked.
Old 10-17-2020, 11:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Jeff in SoCal View Post
Lido Yacht Anchorage in Newport Beach claims to be the only rack storage location at the water in So Cal. They let me go on the waiting list without paying anything or even having a boat, which I liked.
Ok that's what I thought. The other option if you're doing something small enough for a tandem axle trailer is to do lot storage at the dunes. Or for what you want to spend and how you want to use the boat, maybe consider joining a boat club. One advantage of the boat club or your own wet slip is that it is ready to go, although Lido is probable fast too with enough notice.
Old 10-17-2020, 11:07 PM
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You have the bug big time Jeff....good for you. $650/month for a high dry marina in Socal is dirt cheap.I had a boat when I lived in Fl and sold it when I moved to LA in 2000. Sounds like you have the correct plan (wait until the divorce is final), Then start having fun again! Whatever boat you get, start out with short one hour trips to let crap break....because it will on a used boat. During that time you can practice your docking/boating skills. Once the boat is up to snuff, check the weather and shoot over to Avlon. Get towing, insurance and take a boaters safety course. By the time you are ready to buy, the Covid boat buying spree will be over and good deals to be had. Ive found good deals out here in FL compared to SoCal so dont be afraid to look nation wide for the perfect boat for you.
Old 10-17-2020, 11:42 PM
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https://pacificboatclub.com/

here ya go.
boating any time you want, without the hassle of ownership.
Old 10-17-2020, 11:47 PM
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Originally Posted by wdlfbio View Post

Socal doesnít really have islands/sandbars where you can run to, beach the boat, and hang out. Youíre limited to floating around, anchoring up, or hitting various marinas.
we have a bunch of islands here in So Cal
Old 10-18-2020, 12:15 AM
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Jeff you should really look into Freedom boat club in HB or something similar. Iíve never used it before. Just going off the ads Iíve seen. They have a few different styles of boats to choose from. Rent a boat a few times and see how you like it before you commit $35-50k on a boat and $1k a month in cost.
I live in OC and have gone through 4 boats so far in 15 years and looking for my 5th. Iím lucky enough to be able to keep it at my house and Iím only 20 minutes from a ramp.
Keeping it at Lido would be nice but $650 a month, thatís a nice truck payment. Then you could take it anywhere. Did they give you an idea of the wait list? Most are 1 1/2-2 years especially if you want a wet slip from what Iíve been told.
Sunset aquatics marina in HB is a little more reasonable. Dana point is under construction but they will have a lot more new stack storage. Maybe check there.
Everyone given you some sound advice here and this is a great forum to learn a lot. Read about different boats and maintenance on here.
Boating here is a lot different than boating in Florida or back East in general. Itís boat heaven there here not so much. Here you will pay about a 1.5% property tax on the boat as well. So add that to your overhead.



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