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Old 12-11-2016, 20:30   #1
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What is the cheapest to maintain sub 30 feet powerboat?

This is my first post here, been a lurker for a month now.

We're planning to live in a boat, my wife an I and we've been considering what small compact boat to get. We're loving the compactness of sailboats but we are not interested in sailing much. It's more of a decision to live in a place that is small, and which would hopefully run us cheaper than rent after the initial investments.

We're fans of living in small areas. We've already lived in supersmall almost capsule houses in Tokyo, I've lived in a cramped living cabin in a cruise ship so we're good on that aspect, but the maintenance costs we're a bit afraid will kill us. We love living this specific way but if it costs more than rent in the city center of San Francisco in a small apartment, then we'd have to reconsider.

Fuel costs will be at minimum as engine usage will be at minimum as well. We don't plan to travel much, especially at the beginning. Once or twice a year in fact.

What we want to get is a high quality used boat, somewhere around the 20 000 usd mark. The idea is that maintenance would be much lower since it's a very small powerboat (sub 30 feet, even 23 feet would be great) but we don't know the details, what hull material is the cheapest to maintain? Anodes, monthly consumables for the boat etc.

Thanks for reading through!
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Old 12-11-2016, 21:04   #2
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Re: What is the cheapest to maintain sub 30 feet powerboat?

Anything with no wood on deck
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Old 12-11-2016, 21:21   #3
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Re: What is the cheapest to maintain sub 30 feet powerboat?

I absolutely love wood. My wife as well. But we are very aware of how much maintenance it requires. We're avoiding that for hull material too.
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Old 12-11-2016, 21:51   #4
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Re: What is the cheapest to maintain sub 30 feet powerboat?

Here is one that would fit the bill for you and annual maintance would likely be under 2k a year on the years you do a bottom job and less than 500 on the other years .
https://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/boa/5862363887.html
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Old 12-11-2016, 21:54   #5
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Re: What is the cheapest to maintain sub 30 feet powerboat?

There are many more craigslist is your friend.
https://sfbay.craigslist.org/search/...gth_overall=30
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Old 12-11-2016, 22:01   #6
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Re: What is the cheapest to maintain sub 30 feet powerboat?

Why is maintenance for the bayliner specifically lower? Any inherent structural differences to say, trawlers?

I was considering outboard engines too. Easier to replace, backup, repair. More room inside the boat for other things (or can be an even smaller boat). We won't travel too much anyway.
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Old 12-11-2016, 22:04   #7
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Re: What is the cheapest to maintain sub 30 feet powerboat?

An old Bayliner and or an old Searay will probably have decks leaks and window leaks,
It gets annoying if you sleep under the leaky parts while it is raining.
If a boat is cheap it may not have been well maintained, lots of problems coming up in your future.
If you are just looking for a "house boat", anything may work, but don't leave the dock.
Get big batteries and big pumps in case hoses and seacocks fail.
(They usually do if the boat is cheap)
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Old 12-11-2016, 22:11   #8
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Re: What is the cheapest to maintain sub 30 feet powerboat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BoxHome View Post
Why is maintenance for the bayliner specifically lower? Any inherent structural differences to say, trawlers?

I was considering outboard engines too. Easier to replace, backup, repair. More room inside the boat for other things (or can be an even smaller boat). We won't travel too much anyway.
Actually the maintance would be about that for almost all of the cheap boats that fit your pentameters the bay liner was just the first decient looking one I saw with a full galley and a head.
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Old 13-11-2016, 02:53   #9
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Re: What is the cheapest to maintain sub 30 feet powerboat?

What would be a sensible price so I don't end up with a used boat that I have to pay more to fix up than the price I purchased it at?

BTW I well intend to get a surveyor to get a good look at the boat before purchase. If there are major repairs or whatnot, he'd hopefully give me a heads up. I intend to read up as much as possible too.
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Old 13-11-2016, 03:28   #10
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Re: What is the cheapest to maintain sub 30 feet powerboat?

G'day from Sydney Australia. Friends I am a 70 y/o ex motor mechanic and when I stopped work in 1989 was a Mercedes Benz (car) service manager.
Something jumped out at me in reading your posts. Now this is terribly important.
Many of the boats you mentioned MAY have stern drives. STAY AWAY FROM STERN DRIVE.
Inboards obviously have only a shaft and prop immersed in water and both bieng stainless steel and bronze are relatively immune to corrosion.
But a sterndrive is made of aluminium and eventually many stern drives are beyond repair for numerous reasons but esp corrosion.
An outboard powered vessel is different p r o v i d i n g the leg can be tilted
t o t a l l y out of the water. If the lower section of the motor is in the water it w i l l corrode to death. I could white a couple of books of advice for you but I would prefer to talk to you.
I fear for you because there is so much which you need to know but which I susped you do not.
If you send me a private message with a couple of details incl your US phone number I'll call you at my cost (happily) and we can chat. Ball now in your court.
Cheers Brian (at anchor in Sydney preparing to leave for Tasmania)
(There no ulterior motives or strings attached....it's altruism.
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Old 13-11-2016, 05:14   #11
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Re: What is the cheapest to maintain sub 30 feet powerboat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BoxHome View Post
What we want to get is a high quality used boat, somewhere around the 20 000 usd mark. The idea is that maintenance would be much lower since it's a very small powerboat (sub 30 feet, even 23 feet would be great) but we don't know the details, what hull material is the cheapest to maintain? Anodes, monthly consumables for the boat etc.

High quality and $20K will be tough. Old... and therefore maintenence history will be key.

Anyway, I suggest you google a Bayliner 3488 Avanti, not as a recommendation (and it's longer than your target anyway), but just so you can have a look at the basic concept... and because I'm looking at a live one as I speak (type). Note the saloon with windows all round. Then compare that to a SeaRay Sundancer (just another example), where most of the interior living area is below decks, like many sailboats.

The reason I bring this up is to focus you on a feature you may or may not find important: natural light. Living in a cave, versus more of an open view. You pick, but then that can guide much of your future shopping.

A conceptual comparison can also be made about overall space: ranch house versus two-story. On land, for example, you can often get more space without increasing the required real estate by building up instead of out. Boats, sorta ditto. FWIW, we find having several different relaxing/working/congregation spaces helps.

Note Brian's point about inboard/outboard (outdrive) boats. If you're not going to move the boat often, and if it's not going to live on a lift or in dry storage, either inboard or outboard is better than IO for corrosion protection.

And then that might also impact whatever your decision is about a raised saloon versus express boat.

-Chris
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Old 13-11-2016, 05:27   #12
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Re: What is the cheapest to maintain sub 30 feet powerboat?

My tip: go to YouTube. Search for "smacksman1" channel.
Watch his video of cruising the ICW on an Albin motor cruiser he bought for low cost. The segment went from Charleston to New Orleans. There are also CF members who go own the same type boat.

My Point? So you can see how it can be done with a low cost older motor cruiser that fits your budget and size etc.

I also enjoyed his other previous videos which show how he bought a small sailboat on eBay and cruised from Connecticut to Miami.

Here is a link to that video where he shows his boat and trip.
He bought the 1983 Albin 27 boat on eBay.

https://youtu.be/GthaDtl7eMc
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Old 13-11-2016, 05:31   #13
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Re: What is the cheapest to maintain sub 30 feet powerboat?

You plan sounds a bit problematic to me, unless you have the skills and enjoy doing boat work. Boats, especially old boats, require lots of maintenance in order to remain comfortable, seaworthy, and safe. You can live in an old trailer and skimp on maintenance all you want and you won't sink, but this is not true on a boat. I think you will be disappointed if you think you can just use the boat once or twice a year, unless you are diligent with the maintenance. I don't think you would expect to be able to leave a car sitting all year, then hop in and drive away with no issues, and boats are in a harsh environment. So, if you enjoy working on boats go for it!

A word on surveys... It has been my experience that surveyors are good for getting an understanding of the general condition of the boat, however you should also have a mechanic inspect and sea trial the motor(s). If you decide to buy a sailboat have a rigger go over the rig. I suppose if you are buying a really cheap boat it is less important because you can assume there are problems. However you don't want to pay for a boat that is worth less than zero.
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Old 13-11-2016, 05:38   #14
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What is the cheapest to maintain sub 30 feet powerboat?

Where do you plan to keep this boat?
You'll probably get a better quality boat and be cheaper to use and maintain with a sailboat and just use the motor.
However any boat you get, you need to motor around for an hour of so every two weeks at least. With a little diesel is a sailboat that would be about 1 gl a month of fuel.
Surveyor will I'm afraid be out of your price range, just doesn't make sense in my opinion to spend that much on an inexpensive boat.
You need to be a jack of all trades and have tools to pull this off inexpensively, you need to be a good mechanic, plumber and electrician
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Old 13-11-2016, 05:44   #15
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Re: What is the cheapest to maintain sub 30 feet powerboat?

Oh, look up someone here named Sailor Chic, she is and has been doing what you want to try for years, actual experience trumps theory and opinions
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