Have questions about buying a boat?
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Thread: Have questions about buying a boat?

  1. #1
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    Default Have questions about buying a boat?

    Hoping this will become a sticky thread that will benefit those that may be in the market for a new or used boat. Ive been looking myself and have been lucky enough to speak with someone who has a lot more experience than me with buying boats. Thought Id share some of the key points with everyone, and Im hoping those with boat owning experience will share their thoughts to add to this boat buyers resource.

    Buying a boat can be a stressful proposition. Will this boat do what I want it to do? Am I getting a good deal? What did the seller mean by 'spider cracking' in the gel coat? What's a scupper? Doing some homework could save you from a bad case of buyers remorse.

    By the way, the stuff in the brackets [] are parts of conversations / emails from someone who was helping me out, Ill let them take credit if they want.

    Learn what the boat terms you keep hearing mean. Deadrise, freeboard, transom, gunwale,etc. Ill post some pictures to help you understand these terms.

    Unless youre already a boat expert, have a marine survey done for used boats, on top of having a mechanic check out the motor.

    [A marine survey generally focuses more on the hull and overall systems of the boat (wiring, hydraulics, electronics, hull integrity, etc). SOME will do a detailed inspection of the engine, sometimes you also want to have a mechanic look at it. A surveyor can often uncover situations where the hull was repaired, or if it was abused and has issues with stringers becoming delaminated. These hulls don't have wood, so you don't have to worry about rot, but if they were abused, you can get situations where stringers crack and/or separate from the hull. Rare, but it can happen.]

    Is a bigger boat better?

    [The complexity you add with a bigger boat magnifies with every foot, but there are also different "break points" where the changes are most felt.
    Lets start simple:

    A kayak, canoe, or other smallboat - the only thing you ever have to do is get it back and forth to thewater. No motor to maintain, no batteries to charge, no electronics orwiring to get corroded, and maybe even not a trailer to maintain.

    Move up a level to a Gheenoe, aluminum boat, or really any simple rig inthe <18' range: you have relatively simple small motors, very lmitedelectronics, often exposed wiring that can be inspected and fixed easily. The trailer is small and carries very small loads, so a little corrosion orweakness - no big deal. And worst case scenario, replace any component ofthe boat and you are out a thousand bucks at most. Additionally, you cankeep it at the house and work on it easily.

    Move up a level to a <20' boat that is a little more complex - full fiberglass, enclosed area between hull and deck, wiring that is both more complex and run in channels between the deck and the hull, a much bigger engine, live well pumps, bilge pumps, oil pumps, fuel filters, fuel/water separators, fuses, and now a trailer that is carrying much greater weight and needs to be maintained. Anything that goes wrong is going to be >$500to fix if you can't fix it yourself. 100 hour service on the motor is required to keep the engine in shape. You MIGHT be able to keep it at the house, but if you can't, add in the cost and aggravation of having it stored somewhere where you can't easily work on it. If you can't keep it at the house, you will find that keeping the boat useable becomes very very difficult.

    Move up to the >20' boats and now you REALLY start to feel the pain. Maintenance expense is even greater - bigger engine, more can go wrong and bigger expenses when it does. Now you have more pumps, more wiring, more complicated electronics, more wiring, more fiberglass, more systems that work with each other. Your trailer, if you have one, has two axles, sometimes (if you are smart) brakes, etc. You are carrying a TON of weight which means your tires and spare tires need to be monitored and replaced more often. Chances are, storing a boat this size on your property is not an option - or not an easy one, so add in the cost of a marina to store it, or keep this big, nice, thief attracting boat at a storage lot and watch how fast things start disappearing from it. Stress level is at a high level every time you hook it up, unhook it, run it, etc. If money isn't a problem, no problem. If it is . . .]

    Some questions I still have:

    How many batteries do I need? If more than one, how do I connect them so I dont fry myself and everything I might connect to them?

    Do I need an onboard charging system?

    Hoping this is just the start to becoming a valuable resource for thoselooking to purchase a boat.
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    Matt ~ 15' 6" Gheenoe Classic, Olive Green
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  3. #2
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    I tried to change the formatting and font size, but the site seems to be having issues. Was not able to edit original post, could not add pictures into the post, typing is all messed up, and cannot add pictures to reply normally, will try going advanced.
    lewisfishing likes this.

    Matt ~ 15' 6" Gheenoe Classic, Olive Green
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    It appears that you are mainly talking about boats for the salt. A 20+ foot bass boat/ski and fish is relatively easier to keep at your house, not nearly the stress level of hooking up, towing and unhooking nor, once familiar with the electromechanical systems, too formidable to use. I would say that is true no matter the boat. Once familiar with it, they really aren't that big a deal to use.

    For me, my 20' 4" boat is connected and on the way to the nearest ramp (or gas station first) in about 10 minutes. With no line at the ramp, I have it in the water in less than minutes, truck parked and on the way soon after.

    My grandfather took a little more time with his when I was growing up, but it was still a series of consistent mini operations that made the entire process go smooth...and he was pretty much salt only.

    Don't let owning and operating a boat scare you. If you purchase a good boat and do or have regular maintenance on it, the rest of the stuff will fall in place and you won't even think about it in time.


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    Default Chines

    A chine in boating refers to a sharp change in angle in the cross section of a hull. A hull without chines has a gradually curving cross section.
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    Matt ~ 15' 6" Gheenoe Classic, Olive Green
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    Good illustrations, though!


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    Red X Angler // Many men go fishing all their lives without knowing that is not fish they are after - Thoreau

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    The transom is the flat vertical section on the back of the boat that connects the port (left) and starboard (right) sides. For many smaller boats, this is where outboard motor(s) would be mounted.

    The gunwale is the top edge of the side of a boat.
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    Default Have questions about buying a boat?

    This will be a great reference point. Excellent thread. I made it a sticky.
    quest4reds likes this.




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    The term "self bailing" is generally loosely used to point out a design feature of a boat. The holes through the side walls and some times the transom above the water line, called scuppers, allow water on the deck to escape.
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    What Are Bulkheads & Stringers on Boats?
    A mnemonic for remembering shipboard terminology goes: "You lean onthe bulkhead and stroll on the stringers." Bulkheads and stringers areboat parts that have on-shore equivalents. In spite of their odd names, theyserve the same function as their counterparts ashore, as well as add to aboat's structural stability. Knowing that subtle differences marks you as aseafarer when you casually and correctly sprinkle these words in aconversation.
    You Lean On the Bulkhead
    A bulkhead is a wall. The American Merchant Seaman's Manual says that thebulkhead "provides privacy and encloses spaces within a ship." Whatthe manual leaves unsaid is that the bulkhead is attached to lateral hullstiffeners in the same way that wall studs support a wall in a home. Althoughmost bulkheads are thin, some -- like the collision bulkhead at the front ofthe ship -- are heavily made to withstand the pressure of the water in theevent of a front-end collision.
    You Stroll on the Stringer
    The stringers are much like floor joists: they support the main deck anddecks below the main deck. The stringers also provide room for concealed wiringthat might run the length of the vessel. Stringers are concealed by theflooring on the decks below your feet and by the compartment"overheads," the ceilings of the cabins and compartments formed bybulkheads. The stringers provide a convenient attachment point for the overheadof a compartment.
    The Bulkhead as a Structural Member
    The bulkhead is loosely arranged as a shore-side home's wall, complete witha stud. Unlike a load-bearing wall of a home, the bulkhead doesn't providestructural strength. Instead, the frames that support the bulkhead, calledbulkhead stiffeners, add the structure that surrounds a bulkhead. Somebulkheads, though, stand in the way of an invading ocean: should your boatbecome involved in a collision that breaches the forward end of the hull, thecollision bulkhead stops water from entering the boat through the breach.
    The Stringer as a Structural Member
    Stringers run from the front to the rear of the boat's hull on all sides.One stringer is called the "keel." It runs from the bow of the boat-- the boat's front -- to the rear of the boat in the center of the bottom andacts as the backbone of the ship. Stringers placed between the frames aroundwhich a boat's hull is built provide longitudinal stiffness; they also keep thehull from bending in the middle like a rubber raft when the boat rides over awave.
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    Matt ~ 15' 6" Gheenoe Classic, Olive Green
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    Quote Originally Posted by wademaster View Post
    This will be a great reference point. Excellent thread. I made it a sticky.
    Awesome, thanks!

    Ok NCAnglers, I know some of you have owned more boats than you may care to mention and I know you must have some insight and knowledge that will benefit those of us with "less" experience, please share it here.
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    Also, keep in mind to buy the boat that best fits what you want to do with it, not necessarily what you dream of doing with it. If you are the type to get up every weekend at 0500hrs and go fish by yourself, and everyone else finds that too early, then you will want to buy a smaller boat that is easy for you to handle alone. Don't buy a boat that will carry 10 people, you will struggle with loading and unloading that much larger boat every weekend when you go out alone (not to mention additional maintenance, costs, etc.), and all that extra difficulty isn't worth the 4 or 5 times a year that you actually get 10 people on your boat. You may actually start to resent all the work it takes to go out fishing on your "new" boat and stop going all together, or go back to shore fishing.
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    Schematic for using trolling motor batteries for crank backup.
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    I have a question regarding trolling motors. Do many people take two batteries when their boat is only operated via battery-powered trolling motor? It seems this would help in case the battery died. If not, what's the best option? That happened to me once - it was a tough day.



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    Use (2) 12v batteries in parallel. This will double you run time but still be only 12v.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Venom17 View Post
    Use (2) 12v batteries in parallel. This will double you run time but still be only 12v.
    Great information! Thanks. Found some diagrams.
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    Matt ~ 15' 6" Gheenoe Classic, Olive Green
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