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Choosing a Boat

Choosing a Boat Choosing a Boat
By Richie Lott

A boat's more fun when you choose the right one. If you're buying a boat, ask yourself the following questions. If you can't answer all of them, seek assistance before you take the plunge and buy a boat that doesn't suit your needs.

1. What will you use the boat for? Recreation, skiing, fishing, cruising, sailing, commercial use? Different boats are designed to suit different activities in terms of safety and performance.

2. Where do you plan to go boating? Inland, coastal areas, offshore? Boats designed for inland water may not be suited to coastal waters.

3. What size boat do you need? What carrying capacity? The right size will depend on the number of passengers, load capacity and the boating conditions.

4. Are you equipped to move the boat? Can your vehicle launch, retrieve, and tow it? Always ensure the car and trailer you use is capable of transporting your boat, and check the number of people needed to launch the boat.

5. Is the boat properly equipped for your needs? Consider both safety and amenities. The required safety equipment is essential for safe and worry free boating.

6. What type of engine does the boat need? Outboard, inboard, jet? Different types of engines are more suitable for certain uses and conditions than others.

7. What engine power is right for the boat? Boats have both minimum power needs and maximum power limitations.

8. What should the boat be made of? Fiberglass, aluminum, wood, inflatable? The hull composition you need depends on how and where you use, maintain and store your boat.

9. Do you know how to operate the boat safely? Training, skill level, knowledge of rules and regulations are all necessary. It's important that you can handle the boat you want to buy.

Buyers' Checklist
Decide on the following before taking the plunge...

_________________ 1. Boat Usage
_________________ 2. Boating Locations
_________________ 3. Boat Size
_________________ 4. Boat Transport
_________________ 5. Boat Features & Equipment
_________________ 6. Engine Type
_________________ 7. Engine Size
_________________ 8. Boat Material
_________________ 9. Knowledge & Skill Requirements
_________________ 10. Adequate Information

These are just a few of the principals to go by when making the big decision on your boat purchase. Think of anything else? (Above is compliments of Georgia Boating Online )

OK, so you’ve answered the above questions. Here are some points to ponder on style of boat.

A Center Console Millennium? Maybe so!

This type of boat has grown tremendously in popularity since 1990. Many families have decided that their cabin is too small for anything but some food and a few fishing rods and life vests. Cabin boats are great for the family and the weekend fisherman, but if you are thinking of buying a cabin boat under 30 feet, you will be surprised how small that cabin becomes after you rig the boat out and store all your gear on board. Take a look at what new center console boats offer these days in your size range. You will be surprised at the accommodations and layouts boat builders now offer for the family center console boat.

I have included some tips below for anyone interested in purchasing a center console boat for fishing, cruising, or skiing.

Many 25-foot and larger center console boats have a sub-console storage area. Virtually every large center console on the market has some sort of console head compartment these days, but many of them are cramped, inviting a sudden onset of claustrophobia. This is a big issue to consider when purchasing a center console boat. Look for a head compartment with lots of room for a port-a-potty, and an optional manual or electric marine head if you plan to actually use it.

Many center console boats have a cabin forward which works equally as well as a cuddy cabin and still offers a wide open deck space for lounging or fishing. Stern seats are an option on many center console fishing boats these days. They add great looks and are extremely comfortable to ride in while underway or just lounging.

Boat speed is another point worth consideration. With the new line up of D.F.I. outboard engines on the market, twin engines are affordable to run on your boat, offering speeds up to 55 MPH on boats up to 30 feet long!

A spacious cockpit makes fishing easy and if you are considering a brand new boat, the equipment listed here is a must.

- Two insulated fish boxes in the deck that drain overboard via a macerator pump

- A padded cockpit with coaming bolsters to protect your knees

- Rod racks beneath each gunwale that will hold at least two rods per side

- A sink with a cutting board and a hand-held shower head in the transom area for rinsing your reels, diving gear or other equipment.

- A 35-gallon live well in the cockpit floor or transom station.

Spray curtains are another option to consider if you don't like feeling bad weather and salt spray. They can be custom made to fit any boat in the industry, and believe me, they are priceless after you run through a good thunderstorm 40 miles offshore and you hardly get wet.

We all know the benefit of fishing on a center console: 360-degree fishability for maneuvering a fish around the boat with ease. I fished a 32-foot cabin boat for years only to find it dangerous to climb around the cabin to the bow with a big fish on. You will be lucky to make it to the bow in anything over 2-foot seas!

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dan forkhamer | Posted: October 12, 2002

Greatly. I thought I knew some of the questions, but you gave me more to think about. thanks again