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Help finding a small boat

Old 05-19-2020, 03:42 PM
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Default Help finding a small boat

Just moved down to the Tampa area from Chicago. I've always wanted to own a boat but proximity to water, lack of storage and cost prohibited boat ownership up in Illinois. I'm close to Ellenton FL which is just at the South Tip of Tampa Bay and I'm like 10 minutes from the SKYWAY Bridge South entrance. I'm thinking I can just transport the boat the fishing pier either on the North or South side and enjoy boating throughout the bay. I read that the bay is shallow but a small 16-17 foot boat should work right? Otherwise I might have to entertain taking on the Manatee River which about 5 minutes from my house?

I have a 3 car tandem garage and for many reasons (cost, hassle with going to and from storage, lack of protection and tinkering with boat etc) do not want to entertain the thought of storing a boat other than my own home.
The tandem portion of my garage has a collector car, a couple sport bikes, a weight bench and water heater occupying the deepest (3rd car) space. So I have the 2 car space open. Wife's car will stay in the garage and I will have to park my truck (Honda Ridgeline) in the driveway but have to make sacrifices.

The boat will have to go in the spot in front of the house wall and house entry door. Space from garage door to wall/door is 19' 11". I searched high and low for over a year and it seems that even with a swing away trailer I have to look at 16 foot boats. I prefer a bowrider/sport-boat as opposed to a fishing skiff.

Finally narrowed it down to the Rinker 17QX. Boat measures 16' 10" and I believe with the included trailer it just might fit into that 19' 11" space with just enough room to get past the boat and into the house (OB engine trimmed fully down and turned all the way to the side).

Now the bad news.. I just called my local dealer (Pirates Cove Marina Dunedin) and was informed that Rinker has gone out of business this past week. They will cease production of Rinker and Larson which also had a 16-17 footer, so now I've lost 2 options in an already small boat market.

Now I'm back to square one.... Open to any advice/opinions or alternate choices for a small sporty family boat?
Old 05-19-2020, 05:14 PM
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They went out of business for a reason consider yourself lucky you didnít end up with one. What are going to be your main uses for the boat?
Old 05-20-2020, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by kwipp View Post
They went out of business for a reason consider yourself lucky you didnít end up with one. What are going to be your main uses for the boat?
Yeah I guess you're right as if I had purchased one I'd be left without a warranty.

Main use is overall sport for pleasure boating on the weekend either in the gulf or on the river. Not much into fishing but should be able to fish if I wanted to with a bowrider.

Probably never have more than 4 passengers on the boat at one time.
Old 05-20-2020, 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by PRO710 View Post
Yeah I guess you're right as if I had purchased one I'd be left without a warranty.

Main use is overall sport for pleasure boating on the weekend either in the gulf or on the river. Not much into fishing but should be able to fish if I wanted to with a bowrider.

Probably never have more than 4 passengers on the boat at one time.
Not high end but an option..and check out trailers with a removable tongue.

Models | Key Largo Boats
Old 05-20-2020, 07:22 PM
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Thanks John. I was hoping for a sporty bowrider. Don't really care for the center console type fishing rigs like the Key Largo boats. And yep I'm only looking at boats that come with "swing away" trailer as standard trailer will definitely not fit in a standard garage.

Bayliner makes an entry level 17 footer (170 bowrider) that should fit? Not sure about the brand though as I've heard Bayliners are very cheap quality wise?

Then I found the Scarab 165 G. I really like the sportiness of that small craft and it is jet powered (Rotax engine) versus traditional OB Mercury, Yamaha etc. Again not sure about Scarab's quality/dependability but it's small enough at 15' 9" and 18' 4" on trailer.

Any other 16-17" sport options like those above?

Old 06-04-2020, 03:26 PM
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Any opinions on the Scarab 165 ID jet boat?
Old 06-04-2020, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by PRO710 View Post
Any opinions on the Scarab 165 ID jet boat?
Those little jet boats get really cramped and you lose a lot of room to the engine compartment. I would much rather a small outboard powered center console. I think they are a lot more versatile, and itís nice being able to just raise your motor out of the water when at the sandbar or is you get a little too shallow on a flat, whereas the jet drive will be sucking up all that grass and mud. Robalo makes a 16 thats in a similar price range as the Scarab. Also might want to check out the Key West 1720.
Old 06-05-2020, 01:27 PM
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Thanks Yacht. It'd be just the wife and I so the little jet boat would be perfect for us. I really don't think we'll be doing any fishing. Just pleasure boating and going up and down the beach shores around Tampa with the occasional bar stop at the beach.

I like that it's small, lightweight and most importantly it should fit in my garage at an overall length of 18' 4". This is my main constraint as it is the only option in my garage for storage. Boat backed in I should have about 13" of "wiggle" room to get past the boat and into the door to the house.

Believe it or not many of the 16' and 17' boats are close to 19' on the trailer even with a swing away tongue!

So that little boat hits a lot of my marks and it's really the only one I can verify (through the mfr specs) that will actually fit in my one bay garage.

Big Con is they are pricey for such a little boat. Anyone know of a Southeast Scarab dealer that may be able to provide a nice discount on a new one?
Old 06-05-2020, 01:58 PM
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Originally Posted by PRO710 View Post
Thanks Yacht. It'd be just the wife and I so the little jet boat would be perfect for us. I really don't think we'll be doing any fishing. Just pleasure boating and going up and down the beach shores around Tampa with the occasional bar stop at the beach.

I like that it's small, lightweight and most importantly it should fit in my garage at an overall length of 18' 4". This is my main constraint as it is the only option in my garage for storage. Boat backed in I should have about 13" of "wiggle" room to get past the boat and into the door to the house.

Believe it or not many of the 16' and 17' boats are close to 19' on the trailer even with a swing away tongue!

So that little boat hits a lot of my marks and it's really the only one I can verify (through the mfr specs) that will actually fit in my one bay garage.

Big Con is they are pricey for such a little boat. Anyone know of a Southeast Scarab dealer that may be able to provide a nice discount on a new one?

Look at Chaparral SSI 19. I think it comes with a swing away. You should be able to angle it in the door and make it fit.

Stay far away from the jet boat. Youíll thank me later. If not, Iíll be happy to say I told you so


Last edited by 37IslandHopper; 06-05-2020 at 02:03 PM.
Old 06-05-2020, 02:44 PM
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Island Hopper please tell. Why do you say that? Bombardier puts these rotax engines in jet skis. Are the engines unreliable? They run closed loop cooling systems so no salt water and they have a flush out on the back for the exhaust?

The Chaparral is NICE boat! But at 19' 4" on trailer there is no way that will fit in my 1 bay garage and still be able to squeeze behind it to get in the house?
Old 06-05-2020, 03:22 PM
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Originally Posted by PRO710 View Post
Island Hopper please tell. Why do you say that? Bombardier puts these rotax engines in jet skis. Are the engines unreliable? They run closed loop cooling systems so no salt water and they have a flush out on the back for the exhaust?
Hereís the deal. Those of us who have been boating for 25+ years know the issues these boats have. To start, jet ski engines are far from the benchmark for reliability. But your issue is beyond the engine. The jet drives themselves are problematic, especially in such a shallow area. They will suck up all kinds of crud, which can damage the drive/impeller.

Take a look around. There is a reason why virtually EVERY boat in this area is an outboard. You didnít discover some better type of boat that the rest of us werenít privy to. I would guess jet boats make up 1 out of every 500 boats in this area, and the only ones I know sit on their lift/trailer rarely used.

BUT, I think you should get the Scarab Jet. You already seem set on it. You asked a group of experienced boaters for recommendations, and your responses have basically been why you donít like those boats, and justifying why the Scarab is the boat for you. Now while I donít think you are going to find many people really in favor of a 16ft jet boat on this forum, I do think we should all be have the boat that you like best. If thatís the Scarab, then get it. Every other boat is going to give you reasons why it isnít as good as the Scarab. Hopefully it works out and you love your new boat. If you find you want something else, then just trade it in. Most of us have been through multiple boats. I am currently on my 7th.
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Old 06-05-2020, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by PRO710 View Post
Bayliner makes an entry level 17 footer (170 bowrider) that should fit? Not sure about the brand though as I've heard Bayliners are very cheap quality wise?
Run Run Run from the Crapliner. Key Largo and 17 Key West 15' & 17' are nice entry level boats.
Old 06-05-2020, 03:30 PM
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Echoing what huckleberry said above. Look at the boats in use around here, most outboard, most “fishing” style for a reason. Bow riders have their place and it’s usually on a lake.

If you prefer the bow rider style over center consoles I think you should be trying to find a dual console boat that fits.

Scouts aren’t necessarily the most popular boat on THT because they’re not “hardcore” fishing boats, but this 175 dual console fits a lot of your parameters, and it has reliable outboard power.
https://www.scoutboats.com/model/175-sport-dorado/
Old 06-05-2020, 06:58 PM
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The small jet boat is typically not a smooth running ride if there's any chop at all.
Old 06-05-2020, 08:03 PM
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Originally Posted by pathfinder11 View Post
The small jet boat is typically not a smooth running ride if there's any chop at all.
Yeah, I'm guessing with the low front and all it will ride similar to a jet ski which is bumpy? Another con, although it's usually easy to find a calm side off the fishing piers on the Skyway bridge. This is where I see a lot of jet skiers and wind surfers.

I'm thinking if I watch the weather and go out on calm days it won't be so bad? Also was thinking of spending a large amount of time in the Manatee River just cruising around and stopping at the Marina Bars as opposed to cruising off the beach shores in the open gulf water? We originally considered getting 2 jet skis which would definitely fit in my 19' bay but you can't experience a jet ski with 3 or 4 people. It's 1 person driving and 1 possibly directly behind. The Scarab looks like a large jet ski but has the benefit of being able to enjoy it with your family. So in a way I see it as a longer wider jet ski that allows me and my family to enjoy at the same time. Also wanted to bring my 2 senior dachshunds out with us to enjoy the day.

I don't know. I've never owned a boat before that's why I'm asking for help and opinions which I greatly appreciate. It's always been a life long dream. I'm trying to make the dream come true.
Old 06-05-2020, 08:28 PM
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I’m getting claustrophobic just looking at the scarab. I think you should consider a dual console. More saltwater/bay friendly and I think you’d be happier with this type of boat in the long run. Tampa bay chop is no joke, a 15’ jet boat designed for lakes isn’t going to handle it well.





Old 06-05-2020, 08:43 PM
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Yeah I see your point and I do get it. I realize that about 1/3 of the room off the back of the boat is lost to the engine. But there are 2 rear facing seats that can be used when hanging out (not running) and chilling when anchored or fishing. Again I can't see any more that 3 or 4 people max on that craft. Probably mostly 2 passengers tops; my wife and I. It is pretty small but then again I'm not looking to spend the night on it.

The Scarab does have a V hull though and from what I've read that is better for chop and cutting through waves versus a flatter "M" type hull like some of the deckboat and bowriders (Bayliner Element or Tahoe T16) have right ?

Also I highly doubt that Scout above would fit in my 19' 11" deep bay with room to spare so I can get in the house behind the boat? That's really my biggest constraint which is why I'm concentrating on a small, short, lightweight craft.
Old 06-05-2020, 10:20 PM
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I would never buy a jet drive boat!! Buy something with the standard for small boats. An outboard.
Old 06-05-2020, 11:23 PM
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You might take a look at the Bayliner Element line. Appear to have the features of a typical jet boat but with a outboard.
Old 06-06-2020, 05:34 AM
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Originally Posted by PRO710 View Post
Island Hopper please tell. Why do you say that? Bombardier puts these rotax engines in jet skis. Are the engines unreliable? They run closed loop cooling systems so no salt water and they have a flush out on the back for the exhaust?

The Chaparral is NICE boat! But at 19' 4" on trailer there is no way that will fit in my 1 bay garage and still be able to squeeze behind it to get in the house?
First the Rotax is junk. If youíre dead set on a jet get a Yamaha.

Second all jet boats lack trim and therefore ride flat, much like a skipping rock, pancake etc.

Third they lose value worse than your 401k did in 2008.

Fourth, the jet pumps easily get clogged with debris and youíll need to clean it out. The Yamaha jet boat has a better solution for doing this.

Fifth, just buy the Chaparral(best quality+price in class) if youíre set on a bow rider. If youíve got the garage length you say, it should fit. If not, put it in a dry stack and forget about the trailer.

Hope that helps.

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