Hello everyone! Greetings!!
Recently I've got bitten by the "Boat Bug".... I need some help on deciding what to get for my first boat.
I know my first boat may/maynot be my last boat, and I'm open for any suggestions from experienced people.
Here's my introduction
(i.e., what I have). I hope these can give experience boaters little more idea on where I'm coming from.
- I live in central Indiana, 13 Hours from FL Pan handle, 10 Hours from Chesapeke bay, 3 hours from Lake Michigan. (Well, I'm 30 minutes from fairly large local lakes such as Geist & Eagle Creek reservoirs)
- I am far from being rich, and I am cheap
& frugal. I'm extremely avid Ebayer/Craiglist junkie. I don't have a hard "ceiling" in terms of money
, but can probably dispense ~$2K per year for the boat ownership
"Experience" - i.e., if I buy a boat for $15k, use it for 2-3 years and sell it for $12k, (plus storage
, reg. insurance
etc) then I can justify the spending.
- Faimily of 4, with two growing children
and a dog.
- I am a mechanical engineer
, working in Automotive industry. I'm good with auto repairs
- I can DIY a lot more than oil
& filter changes.
- I am capable of machining - Mills and Lathe - and welding, and have access to a well-equipped machine shop.
- I have a hitch-equipped GMC Savana 1500 conversion van, which can tow 7000 pounds.
- I've rented pontoon boats numerous times, and sailed little hobie cat
And here's what I'm looking to do with my boat.
- Go on a day trip excursions to local waters (Must be trailerable)
- Trailer the boat to DC, Chicago, Cleveland / Lake Michigan and play *nautical life*
- Camping in the boat (1 or 2 nights max - Don't need Galley
but need toilet & berth)
- Occasionally pull wakeboard & tubes (not a Must, but it'd be nice)
- Swim/snorkle from the boat (lake/seashore - something about jumping into water
from the boat)
- Occasionally take another family
out to the water
(Need to be able to take 8 passengers, most likely 4 adults @150-200 lbs and 4 kids
- Trailer the boat to Miami
, then cross the gulfstream to Bahamas
(This would be my ultimate dream, with this boat or not. If I can achieve this, I'll have no more nautical desires for rest of my life)
I've done quite a bit of reading, and looked into a lot of boats - from 20' Bayliner bowriders & 24' cuddy cabins, to 25' swing keel
Catalinas to MacGregor
(I'm talking all used boats here) There are plenty of ~20' cuddy cabins for under $10k. There are also few MacGregor
26 for around $15k. Plenty of <20' bowriders and Catalina
22' for $5k.
I like sailing, but I also want to take another family
out, and occasionally pull wakeboards. I have no desire for 30MPH+ speed, but like to be fuel
efficient. At first, MacGregor 26X/M seemd a good fit, but they are more expensive than smaller cuddy cabins boats.
I tried to look for boat rentals. Most affordable rentals are slow pontoons (I've done plenty of that, and that's not what I want), and charters cost hundreds of $$$ per hour.
I like to hear some thoughts from people who's been in my shoes.
Thank you for reading such a long-winded post. God bless everyone.