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Florida stern drive vs outboard

Old 02-13-2020, 01:05 PM
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Default Florida stern drive vs outboard

Hello everyone,
I'm seeking advice from all of you experienced salt water sailors. I have been boating for many years but I have never owned a boat in salt water. I just purchased a canal home in Cape Coral with a lift and am shopping for my next depreciating value purchase. I am estimating that 75% of my boating will be canal cruising or short hops to a restaurant, with the rest of the time spent on longer trips to Sanibel and beyond. I understand that a boat with an outboard, especially 4 stroke, is the preferred set up due to reliability and the ease of maintenance. My problem is most of the boats I am seeing in this category are pontoons or fishing type boats. A deck boat is a good option but I was hoping for something with more of a deep v design to handle a little bigger water. I like mini cruisers (24'-27') because of their cockpit layout, deep v hull, and the option to overnight on them. They seem to be plentiful in the Cape and reasonably priced. With my lift and fresh water flushing after each use, am I really buying a headache? I have always winterized my boats but I'm not interested in doing any major work on it, regardless of engine layout. Also, for the next 4 or so years it will only get a few outings a year. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks
Old 02-13-2020, 01:12 PM
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For a few outings a year, rent a boat or get a charter. Boats just sitting around develop a lot of problems. There is a reason boats are going towards outboards, and its not just fishing boats. Just look at all the major cruiser brands - they all offer outboard options now. Personally, I would never own a sterndrive in FL. We have a lot of skinny water, and being able to raise your motor out of the water is invaluable at the sandbar and just exploring the inland waterways.
Old 02-13-2020, 01:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Yacht Huckleberry View Post
For a few outings a year, rent a boat or get a charter. Boats just sitting around develop a lot of problems. There is a reason boats are going towards outboards, and its not just fishing boats. Just look at all the major cruiser brands - they all offer outboard options now. Personally, I would never own a sterndrive in FL. We have a lot of skinny water, and being able to raise your motor out of the water is invaluable at the sandbar and just exploring the inland waterways.
X2 on the above. First of all I would not buy a new stern drive much less a used one. Second, a boat used in salt water that sits around most of the year likely will be costly. And more annoying than the cost will be the frustration of the boat not working properly when you want to use it after sitting for a while. For the next four years just rent a boat when you want to use one. Salt water boating is a different experience.
Old 02-13-2020, 01:49 PM
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Old 02-13-2020, 02:16 PM
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outboard
25ft
easy
Old 02-13-2020, 02:53 PM
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Stern drives should be illegal in Florida.
Old 02-13-2020, 04:28 PM
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Originally Posted by capecoralboater View Post
Hello everyone,
I'm seeking advice from all of you experienced salt water sailors. I have been boating for many years but I have never owned a boat in salt water. I just purchased a canal home in Cape Coral with a lift and am shopping for my next depreciating value purchase. I am estimating that 75% of my boating will be canal cruising or short hops to a restaurant, with the rest of the time spent on longer trips to Sanibel and beyond. I understand that a boat with an outboard, especially 4 stroke, is the preferred set up due to reliability and the ease of maintenance. My problem is most of the boats I am seeing in this category are pontoons or fishing type boats. A deck boat is a good option but I was hoping for something with more of a deep v design to handle a little bigger water. I like mini cruisers (24'-27') because of their cockpit layout, deep v hull, and the option to overnight on them. They seem to be plentiful in the Cape and reasonably priced. With my lift and fresh water flushing after each use, am I really buying a headache? I have always winterized my boats but I'm not interested in doing any major work on it, regardless of engine layout. Also, for the next 4 or so years it will only get a few outings a year. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks
Regal and SeaRay have cruisers in the 24-27 range with outboards. From my experience of many years I would stay away from inboards, there are too many moving parts in the outdrive prone to failure and its just a truck engine not meant to run at high rpms. My boat had twin i/o, I sold them, installed a bracket and mounted twin outboards. more speed, 32% better fuel economy and hassle free.
Old 02-13-2020, 07:04 PM
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Thanks for the help! Consistent advice is very telling!
Old 02-14-2020, 05:23 AM
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From personal experience, outboards are it. I bought mine as an I/o and converted it. So many few moving parts + I can run shallower.
Old 02-14-2020, 08:44 AM
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When I was first looking to buy a boat, I was looking at stern drives. On paper, they sound like a good idea. Generally a GM based engine, so parts availability is good. Also, when looking at them, when you remove the cowl, it looks like there's lots of room to work on them. Then I talked to my mechanic. He advised I look at outboards.

Lots of additional complications with a stern-drive that negate the benefits above. The outdrive adds additional bends and complications compared to an outboard. Oh, and remember where I said that it looks like there is room to work on them? Looks can be deceiving. Access to changing spark plugs is generally good, but that's about it. Everything else is pretty much a pain and needs to be done by feel.

My dad has a twin inboard. Again, looking at it, the engine compartment has plenty of room. But getting to actually work on it you realize that there isn't nearly as much room, and the way the engines are placed in there, you realize they didn't put nearly as much thought into maintenance.

With a single sterndrive, you'd think it would be simpler, but in practice there generally is not enough room. A co-worker had a boat that took that to extremes. When he first took it in for maintenance, his mechanic advised him that it was going to involve cutting fiberglass for some routine maintenance (like something that would need to be done every two years or so. Apparently, they designed the boat around one engine, but offered an option for a larger engine that had to be squeezed in there.

Get an outboard.
Old 02-14-2020, 08:38 PM
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I have owned 3 stern drives, starting with a 1964 Volvo 110 HP on a 16 foot Deep Vee boat that my dad bought in 1966. I have had a lot of fun with I/Os in salt water.

These days I would consider going with an outboard for the many reasons given here. But you can have fun with an I/O.
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Old 02-15-2020, 05:50 AM
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As others have suggested, rent a boat or join a boat club. Cheaper, fewer headaches. There are several clubs in this area.
Old 02-15-2020, 07:40 AM
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Outboards. I would avoid boat clubs. Cripes you have a lift. Nothing better than a last minute boat ride.
Old 02-15-2020, 09:01 AM
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Years ago, went that route with a used SeaRay I/O. NEVER EVER AGAIN. The problem wasn't it was a SeaRay ( well maybe it was), the problem was it was an I/O. Religious flushing and maintenance and keeping it on a lift made no difference. New starter every year, constant distributor issues, oil pan rusting, oil pan leaking, seals through out, u joints, billows, gimbal bearing --- it never ended Outboards all the way, thank you.
Old 02-15-2020, 10:15 AM
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outboard it is! Thanks to all for saving me the headache I was about to talk myself into!
Old 02-15-2020, 10:28 AM
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Cool Lack of I/O improvements over the years.

Originally Posted by satbeachbill View Post
Years ago, went that route with a used SeaRay I/O. NEVER EVER AGAIN. The problem wasn't it was a SeaRay ( well maybe it was), the problem was it was an I/O. Religious flushing and maintenance and keeping it on a lift made no difference. New starter every year, constant distributor issues, oil pan rusting, oil pan leaking, seals through out, u joints, billows, gimbal bearing --- it never ended Outboards all the way, thank you.
Add Exhaust Elbow's maintenance/replacements to the above list, .....
What I liked best was the quiet running from them (compared to the outboards of the day) and that when they became totally silient, dealing with distributor or other issues was easier (especially out on the water) than an outboard. It's much easier keeping your 1969 Chevy II in good running order than your Mercruiser 120 (exact same motor) because you use a non-corrosive coolant in your Chevy, but raw seawater to cool your Mercruiser. If we'd had 'lifts' in those days, they would have worked better.

There have been such quantum leaps in automotive engines since 1969 in maintenance required (and every other aspect), so you would think there would be similar advancements in IO Power.

We've certainly seen the advancements (except in weight) in outboard power, and this is likely one main reason for I/O's lack of advancement.
Art

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