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No boats out! Why?

Old 02-25-2019, 11:44 AM
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Default No boats out! Why?

My wife and I have been renting boats during the summer- trying to find the "perfect" one- pontoon, center console, dual console, etc.
for our purchase.
When we go out for the day, we notice that there are very few boats out - even in nice weather.
My wife asks if we would also fall into that trap of not using what we bought.

So as to not make the same mistake and put high on our list of concerns, is it because-
- boat has become too expensive to operate- thus stays moored
- boat has mechanical issues that need to be addressed.
- boat too big to go out by one's self.
- have other commitments (family, work) taking priority.
- boating is no longer a big part of our entertainment
- bought it for one thing (e.g.,fishing) and not doing that now.
- got burned out on boating, and boat is now for sale
- medical problems limit use
(We boat in the Navesink and Shrewsbury Rivers in NJ.)
Thanks for your thoughts-
Old 02-25-2019, 11:48 AM
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Could be a regional thing, we certainly don't have that issue here in Florida. We complain about lack of boat ramps due to everyone boating. Of course during the week will greatly minimize the amount of boats on the water.
Old 02-25-2019, 11:49 AM
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Certainly not an issue in Wilmington NC....it's strange to NOT see anyone out and about, even on the coldest days.

There aren't enough slips, docks, ramps, etc....here for all the boaters.
Old 02-25-2019, 11:51 AM
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I only dream of boating like this with no fools out there .....
Old 02-25-2019, 11:52 AM
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Their are several different types of boaters.

Type 1: Only take the boat out on major holidays. Boat is 5yrs old with 30hrs.
Type 2: Once a month boater. Usually trades in before a couple hundred hours.
Type 3: 2X+ a week. Mixed in Cruising and fishing trips. Averages 250+ hrs a year. Runs it hard, gets his money worth and sells for same amount of depreciation as the other guys.
Old 02-25-2019, 11:53 AM
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Well this will depend greatly on geographic location and boater demographics. Lots of things affect how busy the waterways are. Commercial and recreational seasons on certain fisheries, water and weather temperature, common boat types in your area (protected cabin vs open cockpit, etc.) Lots of us that live in freezing climates have our boats pulled and winterized for a few months of the year, and schedule pending service and repairs for the 'off season' so it doesn't interfere with the nice weather months. So even when you get a random nice weekend, that doesn't mean you are going to be ready or able to go through the hassle of splashing early.
Old 02-25-2019, 11:54 AM
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From my observations, boat ownership is infinitely more labor intensive than most people realize going into it. Particularly if you intend on keeping it in pristine condition. Trailering also sucks, I think the hassle outweighs the rewards for a lot of people who aren't intent on making it a lifestyle. Big reason you see so many low hour 'freshwater' type boats on the market, you can find 10 year old boats in my area with under 250 hours all day.

Unfortunately, I wish we had your problem. Our waterways get busier every year, with even bigger idiots at the helm. I would also like to make wakeboard boats illegal, because I think they're the white sunglasses of boats and attract the lowest denominator of human being. That has nothing to do with your question, but thought I'd throw it out there since this is my first post.
Old 02-25-2019, 11:55 AM
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I personally don't see how I could justify owning a boat if I did not fish. I take the boat out once a week on average to fish, often by myself, and sometimes just for a two hour trip. The average person probably uses their boat a handful of times per year because of a combo of the factors you mentioned. I feel like it's a combo of two things primarily - other obligations and then not wanting to deal with the hassle of the boat (taking it out of storage, loading it, cleaning it, fixing things, etc.) I take the boat out with my family about 6-10 times per year because of those factors. If that was all I was doing with the boat, I would not own it.
Old 02-25-2019, 12:00 PM
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We see boats out every day - weekday and weekends. It may be that we live on a heavily used waterway near a good fishing spot. As Hartwell said, it takes a lot of work to own a boat. I wanted to go out yesterday when the weather was nice but I also knew I had a honey-do list. The pain associated with not addressing that was greater than the joy associated with boating so I opted for the honey-do list. Another factor that goes into boating is the forecast and the cost. If the forecast was bad and it changed folks may have opted for another activity and chose that over boating. I will still boat and fish every chance I get but as I've gotten older, some of my priorities have shifted, too. I think you're just seeing seasonal changes in people. Boating is a great lifestyle even if others choose not to.
Old 02-25-2019, 12:59 PM
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Take the boat out to the end of Sandy Hook on any given summer weekend. Or just out to the Highlands. There won't be a shortage of boats. I promise.

You must be way back in the Navesink or Shrewsbury. There are fewer boaters back there. Consider yourself lucky that there aren't yahoos all over the place.

Where we are, if it's warm, there are boaters out and about. The season is limited here in NJ, so I use my boat every chance I get. Others put their boat in a slip and it never moves. It's totally up to you how much or how little you use the boat. If boating is a priority, you'll use the boat. Some of the boats that you see sitting at the dock all of the time are boats that were purchased on a whim, without any real understanding of what boat ownership entails. Some are just floating condos, where people stay on the weekends, without ever turning the key. Some are owned by people who are going through a life change that messes with their schedules. And on and on...

I love my boat. My girlfriend loves to be on the boat. We spend some of our best summer hours on it. I have a flexible schedule, so I can get a lot of use out of it. I don't play golf. I don't climb mountains. When I have free time, I go boating or fishing. If my priorities were different, I wouldn't use it as much. It's that simple.

Last edited by morassra; 02-25-2019 at 01:13 PM.
Old 02-25-2019, 01:24 PM
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Most boat owners don't use their boats much. Your observations are correct. Even in areas where guys are saying the waters are crowded, it's mostly a summer weekend crowd. I keep my boat in Key Biscayne now from November to May and up in the Northeast (now Montauk starting this year from June to November). I've been boating my whole life. The average powerboater puts on 40 hours on his engines per year. In contrast, I put on 500 hours on my engines since I bought my boat last February. At Rickenbacker Marina in Key Biscayne, one of the Miami area's largest, most of the slipped boats never move. The rack storage is much more active. In South Florida, most boaters hardly go out in the winter because the 75 degree water is too cold for them, lol. It's true! Up north, where I've kept a power boat since 1994 on the Western Long Island Sound, I was the only boater at my major marina to use my boat all the time. Most of the boaters used their boats a couple of times for the season. Many didn't go out until Memorial Day and were done by Labor Day. It's a joke. Many were happiest when they sold their boats. A lot of the men who fantasized about boating thought their wives and kids would love it. Most were disappointed. Then, of course, the costs are so high -- slip space, maintenance, and operational costs. It makes no economic sense for most people to own a boat and they get out.
Old 02-25-2019, 01:39 PM
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Hell, I live in the NE and put a couple hundred hours per season. I tell my friends and family don't make plans that may involve me during boating season. If you intend to get married, do it in the winter else you won't see me at the reception. The only thing that stops me, is weather and even with that it needs to be nasty.
Old 02-25-2019, 02:30 PM
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X2
Old 02-25-2019, 02:41 PM
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Go to the right spots and there are tons of boats out.

Sandy Hook, Manasquan, etc.
Old 02-25-2019, 02:57 PM
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I ran into a guy who lives in a condo within sight of my boat. He apparently spends a lot of time out on his deck, looking at the marina. He said to me, "Man, you use your boat ALOT!" I said, "Really? I didn't think I used it more than a bunch of other guys at the marina." Then I thought about it. Most of the boats at my marina are big Sea Rays, sportfishers, and big cabin cruisers. People show up on Friday, party on the boats all weekend, and leave on Sunday. There are a few sailboats there, too. Those never leave their slips.

I put an average of 150 hours on my boats every season. Granted, I do a lot of drift fishing, with the engines turned off. But, it's not like I'm on the boat every day (except in August... then I'm on it almost every day). Seeing someone use their boat 3-4 days a week was truly surprising to this guy. And he's not the only one. For most people, boating is a weekend activity. Weather, family obligations, financial issues, etc., all work to further reduce that time on the water. I swear to God, there is a guy in my marina who put his 25' Parker in for the past 2 seasons, and used it ONCE (that I know of). In 2 seasons. At first blush, that is CRAZY to me. But the more that I think about it, that's actually closer to the norm for most boaters.
Old 02-25-2019, 07:31 PM
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Originally Posted by jillybird View Post
A lot of the men who fantasized about boating thought their wives and kids would love it.
This is my current problem. Like many other boat purchases mine began with a dream of cruising or hanging out with family and friends. We've had many good times but the reality is I work a ton of hours M-F and with everyone around me so busy and involved with other stuff it's hard to get weekend schedules to mesh so my boat sits unused for months at a time. At 51 years old I'd rather dump the boat and direct the $800/month of slip fees and insurance costs to my IRA if it's just going to sit unused.
Old 02-25-2019, 07:46 PM
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I'm not at all familiar with your river but I know a lot of folks around here are scared of "the river". Something about whirlpools and extreme current that can suck you under. Also, trot lines and other miscelanous hooks that can grab you and take you to the bottom where you'll never be found. And fish, don't forget the huge dangerous, monstrous fish that feed on human flesh. I tell them I'm not scared but they go to the lake anyway and I get the river to myself.
Old 02-25-2019, 08:38 PM
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It's quite true that a great majority of slipped boats are dock queens. But most of them still enjoy just hanging out on their boat even if they never leave! It's just peaceful being on a boat, even if you don't go out.

I've averaged about 100 hours of engine time each year over the past 5 years. Most of that was on the weekends. I try to get out at least once a week during the season.

OP: It's good that you're analyzing your future purchase but don't get "analysis paralysis". If you enjoy boating, then buy a boat! You'll love it. I'm sure renting a boat must get "old".
Old 02-25-2019, 09:58 PM
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Originally Posted by tpoto View Post
My wife and I have been renting boats during the summer- trying to find the "perfect" one- pontoon, center console, dual console, etc.
for our purchase.
When we go out for the day, we notice that there are very few boats out - even in nice weather.
My wife asks if we would also fall into that trap of not using what we bought.

So as to not make the same mistake and put high on our list of concerns, is it because-
- boat has become too expensive to operate- thus stays moored
- boat has mechanical issues that need to be addressed.
- boat too big to go out by one's self.
- have other commitments (family, work) taking priority.
- boating is no longer a big part of our entertainment
- bought it for one thing (e.g.,fishing) and not doing that now.
- got burned out on boating, and boat is now for sale
- medical problems limit use
(We boat in the Navesink and Shrewsbury Rivers in NJ.)
Thanks for your thoughts-

Get a boat with comfortable seating and possibly a table option? Maybe a nice windlass that you can just drop and bust out the wine and snacks and promise to do it every Saturday?

Don't forget a pump out head for the lady!

The sunsets on the water are always beautiful. Up here where I'm from anyway!
​​​​​
Old 02-26-2019, 05:51 AM
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Everyone has forgotten the number one reason people get rid off their boats! SHARKS
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