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Buying a boat on a shoestring budget

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Buying a boat on a shoestring budget

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Old 11-08-2018, 08:42 AM
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sorry i have only read a few pages of this thread ,but will give my 2 cents anyway:
your not a mechanic , ? are you mechanically inclined , answers YES /NO
if answer is yes , here is my solution to your boating needs that will get you out on the water with a great low cost reliable boat.
get a project , nothing too flash or expensive, but all what you want there , assess what you are buying before you buy , no point getting in over your head ,grab a mate that knows boats to go look with you .
dont expect too much , but keep in your price range , boats that have sat a while unloved are a good place to start , most will need some if not a lot of mechanical work and a good clean and scrub , assess this before you buy , if you think you can handle it ,make an offer , even if you find you are over your head mechanically , you can always scrub it up and flip it for what was outlaid and search for a better prospect..
buying projects has got me some real nice boat and exactly what i wanted , so what i have posted above is worth some thought .
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Old 11-08-2018, 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by ericpn View Post
If you have a good workshop and some skills, it may be possible to build one.



The kit for this is a little under 4k dollars. There will certainly be added expenses in consumables, you are buying the pre-cut wood as a kit.
https://www.woodenboat.com/boat-plan...skiff-widebody

I have no idea how you will find a reliable motor to power it, you're on your own for that.
This is exactly what I did when I was on a "shoestring" budget. 20 years later I have the same boat - it would be perfect for what the OP is looking to do. When I built my rig in 2000 I ended up with $10K in it - boat, motor, trailer, T-top, and rigging.
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Old 11-08-2018, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by IronBay View Post

And to everyone else who has posted--thanks. Lots of good advice, even those who seem a little pretentious. A heavy dose of reality has been received and is appreciated. A few people have said to plan to spend as much or more fixing and upgrading as the original purchase price--which is super helpful as a benchmark.

I'll continue looking at as many boats as I can and learning as much as I can before rushing into a bad decision.
Kudos to you Iron. After having posted to THT a similar question, most have gotten very agitated, confrontational and/or leave after the kind of responses they receive. Glad you're hanging in there, rolling with the punches, and learning from what you can.

Originally Posted by Lookinup76 View Post
^^^^^If that checks out, is solid, and runs at that price, you've found a unicorn.
I agree. Hopefully those goofy decals aren't hiding anything. Wish there was better and closer images of the systems and interior.
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Old 11-08-2018, 11:06 AM
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It's a better option than buying an airplane on a shoestring budget!
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Old 11-08-2018, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by NC_Native View Post

Very nice job on the Tolman sir

When I get the little skiff out of my hair and the bay boat sold I'm going to either build a Tolman or Bateau Panga. 5+MPG is ever so much more cooler than 600hp on the transom and a 3/4 ton truck.
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Old 11-08-2018, 12:10 PM
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Default Action craft!!

There is an 18í action craft with 4 stroke 115 yam on THT in Davie FL for $9500. 9k walks with a rock star boat....
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Old 11-08-2018, 12:30 PM
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Try a boat club first. Least amount of money invested and if you like it, then get your own.
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Old 11-08-2018, 12:31 PM
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join a boat club
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Old 11-08-2018, 01:39 PM
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Not to sound like a total DOUCHE, but my boat would be perfect for you, a Shamrock 246WA. I suggest that because you mentioned you are handy, and there is nothing easier than working on a GM 350 inboard, and mine has been very reliable for an old girl. I suspect you can find one for less than $20K that will require minimal work. When I sell mine, it will be a turn key budget boat that cruises, tows kids on tubes, hydroslides and wake boards, then can head off to the wrecks to fish. The cabin is huge for a WA, we've overnighted on it many times when my son was younger. There is a plumbed head with holding tank and a sink.

If you every need to re-power, doing so will set you back anywhere from $3k - $10K depending on if you do a short block, work on it yourself, or drop in an entire new fuel injected, fresh water cooled engine and hire a mechanic. In comparison, what does a new re-power cost on an outboard powered 24' boat with a 300hp engine? Probably about $20-25K?

These are niche boats that seem to fit your needs perfectly. Good luck and let me know if I can answer any questions.
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Old 11-08-2018, 01:51 PM
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To the guys recommending a boat club....have you ever seen the numbers on that? I saw some once and don't recall it being overly friendly terms.
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Old 11-08-2018, 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by CheddarMan View Post
Try a boat club first. Least amount of money invested and if you like it, then get your own.
The way I understand a boat club, it is a total loss on investment for the initiation which is most of the money. The way I understand the OP, his goal is to reduce the risk of loss not guarantee a total loss on his money. I think the best way to do that is a decent quality boat mostly depreciated which he could likely sell close to purchase price if the market doesn't change. He would be out whatever deferred maintenance he has to sink into the boat which will be much less than a $5k boat that likely had $10 of deferred maintenance (10k is just throwing out a number)
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Old 11-08-2018, 01:59 PM
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boat clubs are good when A) its a new club and B) there are not too many members...


once the members grow but the number of boats dont grow in ratio, its tough getting summer weekends without planning way in advance...


To OP) get a good 4 stroke and make boating easy.... i wish i bought a 4 stroke from my 1st boat. I had a shoestring, and man it made many bad trips... always something going wrong and cant truly enjoy fishing.
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Old 11-08-2018, 04:36 PM
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Thanks, all. I did look long and hard a a few different boat clubs. The math doesnít work for me. $3,500 to join, which you never get back. $250 a month with limited access to a boat. So Iím at $5k within 6 months already. At least if I buy a cheap boat for $5k, I surely wouldnít lose the whole $5k if I needed to sell in 6 months.

someone mentioned a Shamrockóthose are cool boats. A couple of cheap mod-80ís options for sale down here. Iíve shied away from them because they run on inboards, which makes me nervous in Tampa Bayó way too shallow in a lot of places. And me being a rookie boater? Chances of me busting a prop are pretty high. Iíd like to think Iím careful, but would also like to limit my risks as much as possible. Thatís why Iím leaning toward outboard power.
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Old 11-08-2018, 04:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Paul Barnard View Post
It's a better option than buying an airplane on a shoestring budget!
Ooh, that sounds like fun. Anybody know where I can get a plane for $5k?
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Old 11-08-2018, 06:27 PM
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Originally Posted by IronBay View Post


Ooh, that sounds like fun. Anybody know where I can get a plane for $5k?
Make sure it glides well
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Old 11-08-2018, 08:47 PM
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OP if you were to scale back your aspirations to an 18' - 19' bay boat and bump the budget to 9 -10K you could get into something pretty decent. Actually a few G's less would do it but it will mean living with a 2 stroke and an older hull. I love 2 strokes and cling to them but I've 40 years of learning to embrace their quirky personality.

I am the original Jedi master of making cheap and old into offshore ready but I am at least a little weird - I enjoy wrenching as much as boating and fishing.
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Old 11-08-2018, 09:09 PM
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+1 on boat club.

1) it may be in range of your budget
2) withing your budget you are not going to get a reliable boat that meets all your stated needs/wants. A boat club will allow you get the boat you want for the purpose that day as well as launch from a location that worls for that activity.

Donít over reach and either get something that isnít in the bugdet or that is a constant issues. Either way you wonít enjoy it.

Please also recognize that while the avg depth of Tampa is nominal, it still can get dicey in a small poorly maintained boat, albeit help is seldom far away...

Good luck whatever direction you choose.
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Old 11-09-2018, 07:03 AM
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Originally Posted by IronBay View Post
Thanks, all. I did look long and hard a a few different boat clubs. The math doesnít work for me. $3,500 to join, which you never get back. $250 a month with limited access to a boat. So Iím at $5k within 6 months already. At least if I buy a cheap boat for $5k, I surely wouldnít lose the whole $5k if I needed to sell in 6 months.

someone mentioned a Shamrockóthose are cool boats. A couple of cheap mod-80ís options for sale down here. Iíve shied away from them because they run on inboards, which makes me nervous in Tampa Bayó way too shallow in a lot of places. And me being a rookie boater? Chances of me busting a prop are pretty high. Iíd like to think Iím careful, but would also like to limit my risks as much as possible. Thatís why Iím leaning toward outboard power.
If you are worried about bumping the bottom, that shouldn't be a concern for most of the Shamrock fleet which have a full keel which protects the running gear. My Shamrock however has a prop pocket and draws 2'. If a keel is what you need, stay away from any of the 219, 246 or 270 models which were built from the later 90's onward. Any of the old 26's, 22's and 20's have keels.
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Old 11-09-2018, 07:04 AM
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Originally Posted by IronBay View Post
Thanks, all. I did look long and hard a a few different boat clubs. The math doesnít work for me. $3,500 to join, which you never get back. $250 a month with limited access to a boat. So Iím at $5k within 6 months already. At least if I buy a cheap boat for $5k, I surely wouldnít lose the whole $5k if I needed to sell in 6 months.
You have to look into alot of other variables. A $5K boat is gonna need work. How much is that work going to cost? If you don't live on the water, add transportation of the boat along with marina fees. God forbid you take that $5K boat out and it breaks down with out seatow or boatUS coverage. Its gonna hurt. Actually, as I type this. Forget the boat club. Just rent a boat a few times. I rented a boat a few times in Islamorada. $650 gets you a full day. Learn about it and enjoy that day. If you like it, ask some ppl to come along next time and split the rental. I think you can go out a few times and figure it all out before you even spend $2K.
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Old 11-09-2018, 07:19 AM
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Update: having a compression test done on the boat I listed above (22.5 Larsen). Pending those results, I may pull the trigger and go for it this weekend.

Help me out with acceptable compression numbers. It's a 200hp 2-stroke Yamaha. Based on what I've read, all cylinders should read at least 90 PSI, and all should be within 10% (about 10 PSI) of one another. Anything else to look out for? A super high reading can hint at carbon buildup, yeah? Is there an upper range I should be concerned about?

I guess the most important thing is that they're all within that 10% range, but want to make sure I'm prepared.
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