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Dreams of boating on the St. Criox river in MN/WI - advice welcome

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Dreams of boating on the St. Criox river in MN/WI - advice welcome

Old 04-08-2015, 03:57 PM
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Default Dreams of boating on the St. Criox river in MN/WI - advice welcome

Hello, everyone.

I'm turning 50 this year and more seriously pondering the pursuit of a lifestyle that involves boating. I live in the Minneapolis area and think I'd like to spend some time on the St. Croix river. Slip rentals seem to be readily available and reasonably priced.

My boating experience has been limited to smaller power boats with the largest that I've operated much being a 24' single engine cabin cruiser of 8.5' beam, which a friend had on Lake Minnetonka.

I like to fix stuff, cars, RVs, tractors, wood, fiberglass, not much experience on boats though.

Not sure where to start or what to look for, don't want to be fooled by the dealers. Advice welcome....
Old 04-08-2015, 04:16 PM
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First I would say SHH, that is one of the cleanest water sheds in the US. It is a great recreational river with lots of family areas to beach on the sand bars. So the real question is what do you want to know?
Old 04-08-2015, 04:41 PM
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Originally Posted by bikerboy View Post
First I would say SHH, that is one of the cleanest water sheds in the US. It is a great recreational river with lots of family areas to beach on the sand bars. So the real question is what do you want to know?
1) what is a realistic range of boat sizes for day trips and some occasional overnight trips, for that water? Seems like most of the craft in the marinas are around 28-35'.

2) How old of a boat is too old? Not afraid to fix stuff or deal with problems but then again there's a point where it's pointless.

3) trying to understand costs. The marina prices typically include haul-out, winter storage, and spring launch, so I get those. I know fuel is a big part of the expense. What are the other major cost drivers to consider?

4) I see some smaller used twin i/o craft that are inexpensively priced compared to single engine boats that are otherwise similar. Sure there will be some added maintenance and complexity, but is it bad enough to overcome a large initial cost difference?

5) Have heard tell that there are many boats that aren't truly seaworthy, designed more for sitting in the slip. Do I need to worry about this or is it more a problem for people on Lake Superior and other larger waters?
Old 04-08-2015, 06:35 PM
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1) Yes I would agree that is the average size that I see out there for cabin cruisers. I would say the majority of the traffic are just day cruisers, lets say 75%.

2) That is a vastly different question for the people on this site. You have the benefit of choosing from boats that are used 6 months out of the year at best and always in freshwater. I would look more to the number of owners and the receipts for service and winterization also was it stored inside or wrapped. That being said I would say late 90's with documentation.

3)Most marinas will offer a fuel program where you buy x amount in advance at a reduced price. That may not be a huge deal this year as the forecast is for stable or lower prices at the pump. Other additional expenses are winterizing, having the boat wrapped for the winter storage, Does it have a trailer so it can be moved to a new marina? I would suggest looking at slip pricing on the Mississippi versus on the Croix. There is quite a difference if say you slip in Inver Grove and have to go through the lock versus say Hastings. Then the next step in pricing would be on the Croix itself.

4)That seems odd I would thing that the twins would fetch a higher price that a similar single. Maybe there is some reason to the condition of the boat. I would not be as concerned with having twins as there is a large amount of boater ediquite on the river and I have towed several boats in the last couple of years.

5)I would say that is strictly a house boat thing or n issue on Superior.
Old 04-08-2015, 07:02 PM
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Without getting too long winded:

How many people will be sleeping on the boat? If more than a couple you'll want something with an Aft cabin. This will put you in the 25ft range for starters. Many nice boats can be had with a single engine and 8'6" beam- trailer able.

If you want more room and creature comforts like a generator and off the dock air conditioning you'll probably be in the 30ft range.

There are a lot of sand bars on the St. Croix where tent camping is very popular. If that is your thing you can probably get away with a 20ft bowrider.

It depends on your needs on the water.

Good luck.

Darren
Old 04-09-2015, 08:55 AM
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Bikerboy, Darren,

I really do appreciate the replies.

I'm in Northfield and work in Eagan so a slip in Inver Grove Heights might make sense for a number of reasons.

I understand that seasonal overwidth permits are inexpensive and easy to obtain in Minnesota, and would be comfortable towing a wider boat, especially if it was just seasonally. But I don't see many wider boats on Minnesota roads. Am I missing something, or is it just that there are so few bodies of water where such boats make sense?

Darren, I think we'd want the option of occasional overnights with two couples, but I'll contemplate the tent camping thing. I didn't realize that there were good alternatives for that. My grandparents, up through the 1960s, would make week-long tent camping trips every year to an island on Crow Lake, just over the border in Canada, using a pair of 16' open hull fishing boats. In 1970 or so the regulations changed and camping was no longer allowed. Didn't realize there was any place left that allowed that.

My idea of a day on the water includes food prepared on board so there has to be at least the idea of a galley.

I would love to be on Minnetonka but my sense is that the lake is popular enough now that the costs and regulatory hassles are too much for me. The asking price for lakeshore homes seems to run about $200,000 over comparable places that are off the lake. Staying on the edge of the metro and having a slip somewhere seems like a better deal, given our finances, anyway.
Old 04-09-2015, 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by HopelesslyMidwestern View Post
Bikerboy, Darren,
I'm in Northfield and work in Eagan so a slip in Inver Grove Heights might make sense for a number of reasons.
Reach out to Bulls I on this forum. He's a buddy of mine and has a 35' Egg Harbor he slips in Inver Grove Hieghts. He also spends a large amount of time on his boat in the summer, including multiple overnights per week. He can probably give you some advice.
Old 04-09-2015, 11:19 AM
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The river is usually clear of ice by the first and last day of summer.....that's the third weekend in August right?....

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