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Old 22-12-2019, 13:16   #1
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Any advice?

I hope that I am asking in the right place? I have been looking at a new Sea Ray 400 Flybridge. I really have no clue about boating. I want something small enough that I can operate by myself or with just one other person but large enough that I can live on it for a week or so?


I am really interested in the costs of owning a boat like this? I like buying things new as I am anal about maintenance and care and don't want to buy someone elses problem. I am also trying to get a grasp on fuel costs?

I have had a 40' RV and notice that many things on that are relevant to boats. One thing that I don't understand is that by around 2008 just about every RV 40' or over went to a hot water on demand system that is either run off of propane or diesel. Why are most of the boats that size still using a piddly little approx. 11 gallon hot water tank?

Andrew
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Old 23-12-2019, 04:56   #2
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Re: Any advice?

You are essentially asking "tell me how the universe works, in 25 words or less" so expect a long-ish learning curve.

The SeaRay could be on OK choice for you, but... it'd be better if you start with a list of features yoU NEED, features you'd LIKE TO HAVE, and features you DON'T WANT.... and another list of activities you expect to do on a boat (long trips? short hops? hang out in your marina? etc.)... then go find boats that match your lists. If the SeaRay still shows up, it'd also be good if you could than also compare that to other similar boats... see which really bubbles to the top.

Once you've got a viable short list of boats, it helps to go aboard and imagine yourself doing chores and other expected activities, If you intend to cook, imagine cooking a typical meal. If you intend to do your own maintenance, imagine changing oil, filters, impellers, zinc anodes... and imagine winterizing if you're in a cold area. Imagine showering, or washing dishes. And so forth...

Fuel is not usually the highest cost factor; more likely dockage, maybe insurance after that, fuel or maintenance next (latter especially if you hire all your fix-it/service-it work, at $100/hour for example). Then fuel depends on how far you travel, and how you do it. If you run a diesel SeaRay 400 on plane, figure .75 NMPG... so trip distance dictates. If you run at trawler speeds, figure as high as maybe 2 NMPG in that SeaRay if it's diesel... and trip time dictates.

Note also there's a choice to be made between gas and diesel; valid arguments for each, but the short version is usually that gas is good for short distances or dock queens, diesel better for longer distances. This is a "pay over time" (gas) versus "pay upfront" (diesel) comparison. Note also there are some additional safety-related activities you need to do with gas, not onerous but also really important.

It is normal to make a powerboat purchase subject to a marine survey (hull and so forth) and a mechanical survey (engines)... to try to eliminate buying someone else's problem... but you should know these are also not infallible.

Typical production powerboats like SeaRay and similar are these days usually fitted out with electric appliances, including water heaters. Propane is less common, except for some of the trawlers and heavy long range cruisers, and diesel heaters/cookers even less common -- with exceptions, especially for custom-built (or modified) northern boats. Then again, boats like that SeaRay are designed with the idea of marina-hopping being most likely, and many shower ashore. And boat people often do "Navy showers" -- get something wet, turn the water off, soap up, water on to rinse... repeat..

Still, unless your showering habits call for 30-minute showers, you will never run out of hot water with an 11-gallon heater; the re-heat rate is very good. (We have an 11-gallon water heater, two showers sequentially, never have run out of hot water.)

There's some reading you could do and some courses you could take. Chapman's Piloting is a good start. The USCG Aux Boating Safety Course, and the US Power Squadron equivalent, are both very good, you'll likely find important.

More folks on trawlerforum.com (sister site) who can speak better to powerboats, so you might stick your nose in over there, too...

-Chris
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Old 23-12-2019, 05:07   #3
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Re: Any advice?

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Andrew.
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Old 23-12-2019, 07:47   #4
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Re: Any advice?

Really good and extensive answer, Ranger, but maybe one question got skipped. Small boats have 11 gallon water heaters rather than on-demand heaters because they often have available spare heat to apply to the water, in the form of engine coolant.
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Old 23-12-2019, 08:02   #5
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Re: Any advice?

Maybe. OTOH, I've not seen as many water heaters hooked up that way in powerboats as I have like our setup, no coolant loop from a genset or engine. And I suspect at anchor, for powerboats, the re-heat rate is possibly more at play, anyway...

Another thought: 11 gals of HOT is maybe closer to 30-40 gals of shower temp...

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Old 24-12-2019, 21:58   #6
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Re: Any advice?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Not a clue View Post
I hope that I am asking in the right place? I have been looking at a new Sea Ray 400 Flybridge. I really have no clue about boating. I want something small enough that I can operate by myself or with just one other person but large enough that I can live on it for a week or so?


I am really interested in the costs of owning a boat like this? I like buying things new as I am anal about maintenance and care and don't want to buy someone elses problem. I am also trying to get a grasp on fuel costs?

I have had a 40' RV and notice that many things on that are relevant to boats. One thing that I don't understand is that by around 2008 just about every RV 40' or over went to a hot water on demand system that is either run off of propane or diesel. Why are most of the boats that size still using a piddly little approx. 11 gallon hot water tank?

Andrew
Second the "Explain the universe in 25 words" comment. The boating world is a LOT more involved than the Moho world.

I SERIOUSLY suggest you do some renting First with a captain to get you safe enough to go play. Then go play. Talk to other owners in marinas, go to boat shows. Only YOU can gather the data and make the decision. Much like RV's the depreciation on new is substantial. Buying a boat and finding out later it's not what you want is expensive.

Fuel cost depends on how much boat and how fast you want to go. 7-8-9 knots.... mile to the gallon, less if efficient design. More, a LOT more if you want to go faster.

Maintenance cost is comparable to a diesel pusher.....

As far as the water heater..... Propane is heavier than air and settles in the bilge where it creates a potential explosion hazard. Yes you get your sniffers and solenoids but it's more of a challenge than on an RV. You don't see boats with LARGE propane tanks, just a little one for the cook top and like the DP's they're going away and being replaced by induction cook tops. Also, propane or diesel combustion requires and exhaust system to bring the fumes outside of a boat. On an RV again, no big deal, on a boat a different story as there's a lot more water trying to get IN. So, space, expense, maintenance are increased issues. That said, an Aquahot or similar system with engine tie-in would be a pretty cool setup for a boat being used in extended season as it would be a perfect solution for providing heat to the interior.
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Old 24-12-2019, 22:10   #7
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Re: Any advice?

Quote:
Originally Posted by oscar View Post

As far as the water heater..... Propane is heavier than air and settles in the bilge where it creates a potential explosion hazard. Yes you get your sniffers and solenoids but it's more of a challenge than on an RV. You don't see boats with LARGE propane tanks, just a little one for the cook top and like the DP's they're going away and being replaced by induction cook tops.
Depends where you are I guess
In Australia working trawlers often have large 45kg/99lb gas bottles
We have 4 x 9kg/19lb aboard

Bottles stored outside, burners have solenoids, all inspected and certified, easy as.
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