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Newbie questions about boating the Chesapeake

Old 11-17-2020, 06:36 AM
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Default Newbie questions about boating the Chesapeake

Guys

Am new to the forum and look forward to getting to know you all better.

So this is a newbie question and apologies if it has been asked a million times!! I am just buying a second home in the Chesapeake down near Deal Island/Crisfield. It is not directly waterfront, but I am looking to buy a family boat that we can use for days out whilst we are in the area. None of us are super competitive watersporters or fishermen, but we would like a versatile boat that will allow us to cruise around the Tangier Sound, visit some of the Islands and do some fishing and occasional watersports.

I've been reading a lot of advice on here, and it seems most people lean towards a modified V or deep V with trim tabs in the Chesapeake, with a boat length of 23 foot upwards. I think I have that level of research complete, and am leaning towards a Center Console with an outboard about 25 feet in length.

But here's my real question - for every post I read about the Chesapeake being great, I read another about the chop and rapid weather changes, and I am starting to scare myself out of getting a boat. So am I being overly paranoid? If I am cruising around Tangier Sound to and from the Islands, Fishing bay and the Nanticoke and Wicomico Rivers, am I going to get myself into serious trouble as a novice boater. I am planning on being a fair weather boater at first and sticking to Summer months and days when the wind is below 10knts.

Would really appreciate the sage advice of the Chesapeake boaters on here whether I am in over my head as a novice boater :-)

Thanks guys

Mark
Old 11-17-2020, 06:46 AM
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You'll be more than fine in that size boat. Like you said, just pick your days - with my 17' boat I also stay home when there's a small craft advisory. Just keep an eye on the weather forecast.

https://marine.weather.gov/MapClick....543&syn=anz500

I don't boat that far south but I think you'll be surprised at the size of boats (small) you'll see out and about.



Old 11-17-2020, 07:05 AM
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23'+ is ideal. You really don't need anything over 30'. There are days it gets choppy but nothing crazy like what you can get offshore. I started off with a 20' CC and recently moved up to a 24 CC'. The difference is night and day. I can cruise at much higher speeds and the ride is on orders of magnitude better. I agree a 25' is an ideal boat for the bay if you're not trailering 60+ miles a week like I am. If you can do with a single outboard I highly recommend it for economy and ease of maintenance.
Old 11-17-2020, 07:35 AM
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The Chesapeake Bay can get rough / very choppy. With that said, the great part is that there are so many areas to hide from the winds and waves for boating. There are tons of coves, rivers and protected areas when it is breezy. It is a great area to be boating.

Deep Vs are popular with the guys that like to run faster in the chop . Mod v's will give you stability, shallow draft, and better economy. 22'-28' is perfect!
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Old 11-17-2020, 10:44 AM
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I like the Chesapeake style boats...... for the Chesapeake area. Anything near 24 feet or a bit larger is money over there. My buddy has a 24 center console. It’s way better than his prior 21 footer.
Old 11-17-2020, 12:05 PM
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I spent the better part of my life boating on the Chesapeake before fancy weather apps and detailed forecast predictions and I survived. Much of that boating was done on the main stem in boats under 20'. As others have said the 21-26' range would be great for that area. Always be mindful of the weather and get familiar with your local waters. There is a ton of protected water to explore in the Crisfield area. Don't scare yourself out of boating because of the potential for hazardous conditions. Be prepared for a lot of learning experiences.
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Old 11-17-2020, 01:05 PM
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Take a boater safety course and start watching the forecast-share reports and enjoy learning from your new internet friends on THT.
Old 11-17-2020, 01:16 PM
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Originally Posted by KPHuss View Post
Take a boater safety course and start watching the forecast-share reports and enjoy learning from your new internet friends on THT.
This too^ For the love of all things holy please learn the rules of the road. Doesn't matter how old you are and whether or not it is required by law, just take the boaters safety course to learn the rules. It is best for everyone.
Old 11-17-2020, 02:01 PM
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I fish and boat quite a bit a little farther south from the VA side. Lewisetta/Kinsal on the Potomac, Point Lookout, Smith Point, Great Wicomico, NN reef, Tangier Island, and down to Windmill Point. Basically even more open water than what you are planning. I do all that from a cheap almost 22ft mod V with a single 150. No real issues, as i think the boat is seaworthy enough (with 3 of us onboard). Boat has a pretty big and pretty deep bow, and I have been out at times when I used every bit of freeboard I had. Also, tabs help a lot, as well as knowing how your boat handles.
Thing is, is gonna take a bit of time (one or two seasons) to get to know yourself, the boat, and the water you run on. Likely you're gonna go from "this is too scary ", to "well, we can do it, even if it ain't fun", to "since we're here anyway, put a few lines out and see if we can troll'em up". Also, lots of boat traffic there, get a motor you trust and a good VHF and you're gonna be ok.
There's more protected water on the area you mentioned than where I boat. Slow down if you need to and boat for fun not ego boosting. If you trailer, know where protected water boat ramps are; it's no fun to load the boat with waves breaking on the ramp (but you could do it if you had to (ask me how I know ). I honestly think I am more worried about crab pots and debris than anything else.
I do wish sometimes that I had a 23ft or so with a big V6 (that would be ideal, depending on how many people you take onboard), but the price difference makes it hard to jump up.
I would definitely jump to a 24 -25 footer with twin 150, but that's just so I can run it out on the ocean side as well (if anybody's selling, please PM ). Welcome,and good luck!
Old 11-17-2020, 06:34 PM
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Guys

Really appreciate the warm welcome and so many helpful replies in a single day. You've definitely all taken me from "should I" to "I will", and I will definitely heed all advice on weather and the boater's safety courses. Thanks for the tips.

Earlier in life I used to race cars as a hobby (before kids took up all my free time!!) and safety is always number 1,2 and 3 on the list. Pointless having a great boat/car if you're not healthy enough to enjoy it!

Looking forward to getting to know the local gang on here

Mark
Old 11-17-2020, 08:13 PM
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Originally Posted by KPHuss View Post
Take a boater safety course and start watching the forecast-share reports and enjoy learning from your new internet friends on THT.
Do yourself a favor and take an actual class from either the Coast Guard Aux or the US Power Squadron as opposed to an online class. You will get more out of it. After the safety class, follow up with the Seamanship class either organization offers. Well worth the time and effort.
Old 11-17-2020, 08:17 PM
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Pick your days well. Ask me how I know.



Old 11-17-2020, 08:26 PM
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Don’t let the stories scare you. Start close to home in fair weather and gradually expand your range and weather. Your experience and confidence will build as you go. You’re smart and a planner so you’ll be fine. The truth is the boat (any boat) can handle a whole lot more pounding from weather than the captain wants to endure. As for a boat, I’ve been from small to large and back again. There is nothing perfect. Many times you’ll wish for a battleship to go where you want to go and a canoe when you get there. IMO, a 23 foot single engine center console is the most versatile, lowest maintenance boat for the bay... at least for the days you’re going to want to be out there with your interests. You can still shove a boat that size around at the dock and get it in shallow water. When you get to 26+ foot boat of decent quality weighing 7k+ pounds, you can’t exactly manhandle it. Its steering and controls with that kind of weight and mass. Big boat, big problems. Little boat, little problems. Go for it. Just sucks that the price of boats right now is white-hot. Good luck!
Old 11-17-2020, 08:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Lorne Greene View Post
Pick your days well. Ask me how I know.


Plz splain??
Old 11-17-2020, 09:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Maranvin View Post
Plz splain??
Simple, rough water can play havoc with anything not firmly anchored down in a yacht. Even some things that are anchored are at risk.

Last edited by chuck34; 11-17-2020 at 09:47 PM.
Old 11-18-2020, 06:14 AM
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There is no better boating than the Chesapeake bay. Buy the biggest boat you can or want-same with engine. Enjoy. We miss the bay big time.
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Old 11-18-2020, 06:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Mobjackdog View Post
Many times you’ll wish for a battleship to go where you want to go and a canoe when you get there.
Well put. This couldn't be more correct.
Old 11-18-2020, 07:51 AM
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Don't be afeerd, but always have a plan B. Peruse multiple weather apps. Don't go out if its questionable. Keep a good weather eye and know where you can scoot in quickly if you have to. In the worst case scenario if you get caught in the open, it's best to drop the hook with a lot of scope and ride it out. Life jackets for everyone and get on the floor.
Old 11-18-2020, 08:01 AM
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The fact that you’re asking means you are probably going to do a lot of research and take boater safety course, wear life vests, etc. You’ll be fine if you exercise some prudence, watch the weather and don’t get out over your skis
Old 11-18-2020, 08:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Maranvin View Post
Plz splain??

We got our asses kicked going from cape Charles to Portsmouth.

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