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Old 09-07-2017, 06:44 PM   #1
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Default advice on kind of boat for Lake Michigan

I would like to purchase a boat that I can take out on Lake Michigan for trips between harbors such as Chicago and Michigan City, Indiana or other harbors along the southern tip of the lake.
There will be times where I might anchor offshore and spend the weekend on the water. Just leave the harbor go out for the weekend and come back. We might bring some family members along for the trip or it may just be the wife and I where she lounges in the sun and I take a jet ski that I've towed out and run around on that some.
After getting better acquainted with the boat I may take it out and do some fishing but it will be mostly for hanging out on the water.
I've been to several sites and looked at cruisers and such. Will definitely need a galley, and space for 4-6 people to sleep. I've seen some nice boats for around $10k and they were older but looked well cared for.
Is a cruiser what I'm looking for based on the above? There are so many types on these sites I'm not sure what type is best. What length? Would I definitely need 2 motors? What would be some features on a newer boat that I would want to put on an older boat if it did not have them? Example, a new car now has cruise control, heated seats, power windows as standard on features that old cars didn't. What would I want to make sure I had? Note: looks like it's not a good idea to anchor offshore overnight so I have to amend that part. Would still need the sleeping quarters when using a transient slip.

Last edited by Lincolnland; 09-07-2017 at 07:30 PM. Reason: Additional information
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Old 09-11-2017, 08:23 PM   #2
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If you make long distance trips you should have two engines and preferably two gas tanks/fuel pumps. I am partial to catamarans and there are some that would fit your needs but finding them around here will be tough.
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Old 09-11-2017, 11:50 PM   #3
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If it's large enough to sleep 6 people, then you probably want twin engines. Much easier to maneuver too. For sleeping 4-6, I think you're in a 28-32 foot range.

If you're going to be spending days on the boat, you might consider having heat and A/C. Older boats don't usually have this, so it might be an upgrade. Heat is nice early and late season (like now), especially for a wife, gf or kids. A/C can pay off for a few weeks in the middle of August.

A depth sounder/fishfinder, chartplotter and good VHF radio is all you really need and those can be added for not a lot of money if the boat doesn't already have them.

An open express cruiser would do fine on the lake
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Old 09-12-2017, 08:55 AM   #4
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If this is a "first boat" you might want to go shorter and simpler. Like 22-26 feet and easy to trailer. There's a ton of boats in that range, but 10,000 is going to put some of the better ones out of reach. Open the budget to 20,000 and you'll have a reliable and fun boat to get used to running around on.

Don't start out taking the boat from Chicago to Mich City, it's only a 30 mile run, but you will be subject to a change in the weather. Stay coastal until you get used to the way the winds change throughout the day.
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Old 09-12-2017, 10:39 AM   #5
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I would recommend something that can take a wave over the bow.

or take a look at what all the charter fishing guys are using
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Old 09-12-2017, 04:43 PM   #6
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Thanks everyone. I got some good advice from all of you on all the subjects I asked about. I really appreciate all the feedback. I was beginning to wonder if I was going to get some answers. Yes, this will be our first boat and as my wife and I look for things to do together now that we are empty-nesters she finally got interested in boating after a trip to the Indiana Dunes/Michigan City. She said it's probably the closest she'll get to having a house on the beach.. I'm just happy she's interested now so I need to strike while the iron is hot. If you have any more feedback let me know. Life on the water looks really possible and inviting now.
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Old 09-12-2017, 05:12 PM   #7
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10k isn't going to get you much of a boat on Lake Michigan.
In any event, please take some Power Squadron classes, learn the rules of the road and some seamanship, along with a strong understanding of weather.

You do not want to be caught on the lake when a sever t-storm front rolls across your bow.
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Old 09-12-2017, 05:29 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by waybomb View Post
10k isn't going to get you much of a boat on Lake Michigan.
In any event, please take some Power Squadron classes, learn the rules of the road and some seamanship, along with a strong understanding of weather.

You do not want to be caught on the lake when a sever t-storm front rolls across your bow.
Since I'm a newbie how do I take Power Squadron classes? I've never heard of that?
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Old 09-12-2017, 05:50 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lincolnland View Post
since i'm a newbie how do i take power squadron classes? I've never heard of that?
usps.org
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Old 09-13-2017, 02:35 PM   #10
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I would look into some older Tiara's. They are built in Holland, MI so there are quite a few around the Lake Michigan area. You wont be able to get in the 10k price range, but you could get a nice used 28-32' for the 20-30k price range. Definitely a quality boat, twin engine, and quite roomy.
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Old 09-13-2017, 04:46 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by THE_FISH View Post
I would look into some older Tiara's. They are built in Holland, MI so there are quite a few around the Lake Michigan area. You wont be able to get in the 10k price range, but you could get a nice used 28-32' for the 20-30k price range. Definitely a quality boat, twin engine, and quite roomy.
Thank you for the suggestion. I'll look into them.
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Old 09-13-2017, 06:06 PM   #12
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You need to consider all the costs.

Insurance, and enough of it.

Winter storage and preparation.

Repairs, expect at least a thousand each time.
Break
Out
Another
Thousand.

The name fits.

Radio and other safety devices.

Fuel.

And improvements.
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Old 09-13-2017, 06:26 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by waybomb View Post
Break
Out
Another
Thousand.
This.

When we purchased my boat, I had to redo the entire electrical system, and then immediately had a mechanic do >$1000 in work on it. (about $1300?) Just a bunch of things, but they all had to be done. Some things (like replacing the I/O rubber things) are a bit difficult to do oneself, and failure to do = sink.

Any boat you buy will have its own kettle of fish. There is no "clean" boats.
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Old 09-18-2017, 08:28 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by THE_FISH View Post
I would look into some older Tiara's. They are built in Holland, MI so there are quite a few around the Lake Michigan area. You wont be able to get in the 10k price range, but you could get a nice used 28-32' for the 20-30k price range. Definitely a quality boat, twin engine, and quite roomy.
I have an 89 2700 Open.............great boat and can accomodate 6 or so adults (provided a couple of boat chair are included in the aft open area) comforatably for a day trip.

The forward cabin is tight and only includes a V bunk (for 2 adults), a small kitchenette and a really small head/sink/shower compartment.

The boat suits our needs (wife and I with occasional guest/family day trips for swimming or fishing [no more than 2 guests/family]}) but it may not fit your needs.

Pascoe did a nice review of the boat some years back:

http://www.yachtsurvey.com/boatreviews/tiara_2700.htm

Tiara also offter fantastic customer service even on older boats like mines.

I think you may want to rethink your budget.
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Old 09-27-2017, 09:39 AM   #15
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Figure 10~15% of purchase price for yearly expenses.. and that’s probably on the low side.
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