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It's all about 'Fishing' Let's have a look at your catch and boat!

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  #1  
Old 3 Weeks Ago
BeanCounter BeanCounter is offline
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Default Tips on buying first boat?

Hi all. As the subject says, I am after tips on buying my first boat. I have googled and come up with the following;

- aluminium is the way to go.
- fibreglass is the way to go.

On top of that most comments suggest getting the boat checked over by a qualified boat mechanic prior to purchase. My experience with qualified car mechanics is poor at best, and would assume boat mechanics are the same?

So, off to a trusted source for help - here! Couple of questions,

Engine mechanics, outside of normal engine running what should one look for on a boat motor? Just play and corrosion? Are the tilt/steering mechanism subject to failure?

The hull, if going fibreglass I have read up on dry rot and ways to check (tap with a hammer etc, look at recently repaired or painted boats). Can someone tell me, the gel coats, can they be reapplied? Secondly, how durable is the gel coat to stone chips when towing? I see some painted aluminium with stone chips.

Basically what I am after is 14-16ft forward control (probably half caddy). The purpose of to go out and fish (estuary, just out in the ocean etc, not far out and smooth waters). I am treating this like my first car, old but reliable and learning curve, thus don't want to spent $15k or anything. I'm seeing consistantly $3.5-$5k little 14-16ft savage, pleasure crafts and swift crafts, and part of me is thinking "cheap yes, and cheap can mean big problems, but would a market be flooded with cheap boats all similar with faults?"

Thoughts?
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  #2  
Old 3 Weeks Ago
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Alex86 Alex86 is offline
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Buy with your head not your heart. Don't necessarily buy the first boat you pay to get thoroughly checked- be prepared to walk away.

I got lucky, first boat I checked out is the first boat I've owned- and still own. Got lucky with finding a good mechanic too- yes they are like car ones, some better than others.

Pros and cons to glass or ali- in my opinion it's solely down to what you want your boat for and what suits your needs, and preference. I'm a glass person.
Gel coat can be repaired. Some people tow with stone guards on the car and/or trailer. I don't. I'm hard pressed to find any stone chips on mine (other than normal trips tonand from the ramp it's done Perth-Karratha-Perth, then Melbourne on the back of a truck, then behind the car again up to QLD). I haven't done off-road type trips with it. Ive gotten more scratches from beaching it on gritty stuff.

Regular service history is a good start. Check compression. Check cooling water flow. Just because it runs good on the flushers doesn't mean it's good when actually under load in the water.

Yes tilt/trim motors can crap out. I not long ago replaced mine, prematurely though, as a preventative measure. It was 16 years old and original I believe. Biggest problem was actually removing the pivot pins!

Steering can fail. Is it teleflex or hydraulic steering? Tele can seize up from corrosion inside the sheath, hydraulics can leak... Tele cheaper to replace than hyd, but overall both are relatively easy to replace. A simple steer on pre purchase inspection and a go in the water, along with thorough visual inspection will uncover most problems.

You will likely blow (or I prefer, "somewhat increase") your budget. Most people do. It's very tempting to spend just a couple more and get yourself a nicer boat. Spend as much as you can afford- to purchase and to maintain. Don't cheap out- this is when you will get problems. The difference between a 5k boat and 10k boat and then a 15k boat can be remarkable.

Don't forget safety gear. Good proper stuff. You don't want to use it but it could save you, your family or your friends lives.
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'99 NL Escape, Manual - Bullbar, roofrack, cargo barrier, D697LT, Tough Dogs, dual batts, rear draws, Narva 225 HID, UHF, led bar etc
Towing: 4.8m Savage Centurion half-cab w/75hp Mariner

'99 NL GLS SWB, Auto - Bullbar, D697LT, spotties, UHF, Koni adjustables & King springs.

Wanted: Adventure.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago
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old Jack old Jack is online now
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All great advice above from Alex.
One of the most over looked items when buying a boat is the condition of the trailer.
Is it Steel or Galvanised?
Signs of rust or repairs?
Trailer mount lights or removable light bar? Do hey work correctly?
Condition of tyres?
Condition of wheel bearings, it is worthwhile jacking the wheel clear off the ground and checking the wheel bearings and if the trailer brakes actually work.

Boats can be a real money pit, if they are not correctly maintained and used regularly, they are worse than a car because of the environment they operate in.

Many people buy a boat without putting it in the water and testing it, would you buy a car without driving it, especially a secondhand car.

OJ.
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  #4  
Old 3 Weeks Ago
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Alex86 Alex86 is offline
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Ah yes the trailer. Hadn't gotten to that part yet!

When I bought my boat I decided on new wheels and tyres as soon as I got it back to karratha (bought in Perth). They didn't look the greatest but I couldn't get them swapped after doing the deal late on a Saturday or on Sunday before I hit the highway. About 1400km into the 1500km trip home I had a blowout. The spare the owner gave me didn't fit

But it got new wheels and tyres day 1. They are still in good order now some 7 years later.

Every 12-18mths I chuck new bearings in. Cheap insurance.

Within the first year of me having it I got new springs- they are still good now.

About 3 years ago I gave the whole thing a bit of an overhaul. New axle, brakes, hubs, bolts, nuts etc, and rubbed back and re-sprayed several areas. Bit over a grand DIY but it's given the trailer a long life extension.

Prevention is better than the cure!
Frequent servicing of boat/motor/trailer, although it's a few $$ (most items are easily doable yourself- heck I learnt!) it means hassle free boating, and that's the key!


Also, don't be too fussed about buying a boat with gadgets already fitted (or broken), like GPS, chart plotter, radio etc. These items and more, like rod holders, lights, switch panels etc are all easy to fit/replace yourself.
Obviously if they are fitted but don't work, negotiate the price down.
__________________
'99 NL Escape, Manual - Bullbar, roofrack, cargo barrier, D697LT, Tough Dogs, dual batts, rear draws, Narva 225 HID, UHF, led bar etc
Towing: 4.8m Savage Centurion half-cab w/75hp Mariner

'99 NL GLS SWB, Auto - Bullbar, D697LT, spotties, UHF, Koni adjustables & King springs.

Wanted: Adventure.

Last edited by Alex86; 3 Weeks Ago at 12:14 PM.
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  #5  
Old 3 Weeks Ago
erad erad is offline
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Remember the definition of the acronym BOAT.


Break Out Another Thousand
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  #6  
Old 3 Weeks Ago
greybeard greybeard is offline
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Talk your mate into buying one. Let him pay all the bills.
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  #7  
Old 3 Weeks Ago
BeanCounter BeanCounter is offline
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Thanks all, and Alex a big list of help from you. RE trailer I wasn't too fussed on getting help for, they are fairly simple units and my experience with horse floats and camper trailers I feel confident in maintaining.

The boat won't be taken on 4wd trips or anything, just towed when camping and thrown mainly in the ocean (I don't envision much fresh water usage), and getting mainly for small runaround with the family and rec fishing (get myself away from land where every bugger asks "caught anything?").

My budget doesn't include safety gear, that is above and beyond the cost of the boat which I have put away for. I don't want to spend all my money on the boat with no safety gear resulting in a boat I cant use. Same for insurance.

Part of me is leaning towards a glass boat. Bang for buck they are all seem reasonably priced (when comparing around the country), and my thinking is a good hull, the rest can be replaced worst case scenario. Only restriction is I can keep the boat under a car port, not in a garage, but that should be ok.

Thanks again guys. As much as I would like to get one by Xmas, worst case I wait until after summer and delay getting one when more come on the market before winter.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago
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Alex86 Alex86 is offline
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Choosing a preference between ali and glass will depend a lot on your individual factors:

- where do you want to launch/retrieve (some ramps don't have pontoons to tie up to, thus you've got to sit your boat on the ramp or little beachy type area to the side after taking it off the trailer. Ali is better for this.

- where do you want to boat and what do you want to do? Frequent beaching or operation in notoriously rocky areas, ali is better. I beach my glass boat occasionally. If in doubt about what's under the sand just get out (or send the deckie) and twist your feet a few inches deep into the sand to see what's below.

- weight, including tow weight. For the same size boat with the same motor and same kind of fit-out, a glass boat is heavier. This typically translates into a better ride when it chops up on the water. A lot of ride smoothness comes from the shape of the hull though and how it's driven and trimmed on the day.

- cleaning. People reckon ali is easier to clean up at the end of the day. Maybe, depends what you do! I'm a little crazy and I think I'd clean either material just as much as the other. Glass benefits from a nice wax every now and then. Don't know what to do to ali to keep the shine there?

Glass can get rot.
Ali can get corrosion (beware dropped and un-recovered fishing sinkers!)


From what I've noticed, which is limited, hulls tend to fair better than motors, unless they are mistreated. I've seen more engines fail on the water from a lack of maintenance over time than I've seen hulls fail.
Investing in a motor is a good thing. Nothing wrong with an older uglier looking hull that has a newer (especially 4 stroke) motor, provided its sound etc.


Spend less than your budget on the initial purchase, keep a grand or two spare in reserve just in case you discover things that need doing. Smaller boat maybe have less reserve, bigger boat have more.
Very roughly when asked by someone else I said "plan $1500 a year just to have your boat sitting there- rego, insurance, maintenance etc." of course this varies. Basically, plan for more and be happy with less, rather than the other way around!


A lot of the horror stories around boats come from people that haven't done their research before buying. People that don't spend the money on maintaining it. People who bite off more they can chew (be it a bigger boat that doesn't get used often because it's too hard, or financially).


Yes mates with boats is good. But your own boat is so much better!
__________________
'99 NL Escape, Manual - Bullbar, roofrack, cargo barrier, D697LT, Tough Dogs, dual batts, rear draws, Narva 225 HID, UHF, led bar etc
Towing: 4.8m Savage Centurion half-cab w/75hp Mariner

'99 NL GLS SWB, Auto - Bullbar, D697LT, spotties, UHF, Koni adjustables & King springs.

Wanted: Adventure.

Last edited by Alex86; 3 Weeks Ago at 09:51 AM.
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