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#574828 - 01/13/21 01:00 AM Re: Advice for buying the first boat [Re: Justaddwater]  
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,097
Jack T Offline
Admiral
Jack T  Offline
Admiral

Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,097
Southern California
How about looking for one of these. Join Jay Leno.

https://www.watercar.com/index.php


Have a great day of boating
2012 Monterey 224 FS,
300 HP Volvo Penta with catalytic converters

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#574829 - 01/13/21 01:08 AM Re: Advice for buying the first boat [Re: Justaddwater]  
Joined: Jan 2003
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Jack T Offline
Admiral
Jack T  Offline
Admiral

Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,097
Southern California
Here's one for sale.
http://watercarforsale.com/


Have a great day of boating
2012 Monterey 224 FS,
300 HP Volvo Penta with catalytic converters

#574831 - 01/13/21 09:00 AM Re: Advice for buying the first boat [Re: Justaddwater]  
Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 8,072
captkevin Online content
Admiral
captkevin  Online Content
Admiral

Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 8,072
Chicago, IL
The poor slow speed control of jet powered boats was greatly corrected on newer models. Originals defiantly suffered from this.


2004 Rinker 232
2010 Dodge Ram Crew Cab Laramie 4x4
#574832 - 01/13/21 11:34 AM Re: Advice for buying the first boat [Re: captkevin]  
Joined: Jul 2003
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Dave R Offline
Admiral
Dave R  Offline
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Joined: Jul 2003
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Raymond NH
Originally Posted by captkevin
The poor slow speed control of jet powered boats was greatly corrected on newer models. Originals defiantly suffered from this.


I don't know how well the new jet boats handle at low speed, but my 2015 Sea Doo RXT260 PWCs are amazingly easy to operate with precision at low or no speed. If late model jet boats are anything like them, they will be a pleasure to operate around the docks.

Why I like my Sea Doo RXTs so much at low speed:

1. Shifting from forward to neutral is as easy and squeezing the brake lever briefly with your left fingers and releasing it (yes, they have a braking function that is incredibly powerful).

2. Shifting from neutral to reverse (idle power) is as easy as squeezing and holding the brake lever to the bar. When you release the brake lever, the PWC goes right back to neutral. If you want more speed in reverse, you can squeeze the throttle with your right fingers while holding the brake lever to the bar.

3. Shifting from neutral to forward is as easy as leaving the brake lever alone and squeezing the throttle.

4. No matter if you are in forward, reverse, or neutral: when you turn the handlebars to port, the bow moves to port, when you turn the bars to starboard, the bow moves to starboard, if you keep the handlebars straight, the bow remains stably pointed in one direction (obviously wind and current can affect this). Want to spin around 180 degrees without moving fore or aft? Simply leave the machine in neutral and turn the bars in the direction you wish to spin, stop the spin when you are pointed in the right direction. The further you turn the bars, the faster the rotation. NOTE: It does take getting used to the bow moving in the direction the bars are turned in, in reverse; it's exactly opposite of how a car or typical boat responds to steering inputs while backing.

5. You never need to remove your hands from the handlebars to shift, brake, accelerate or steer.

These controls let me drive the PWCs to within an inch or two of the dock without touching it. It's quite remarkable.


"Mischief Managed II"
1992 Tollycraft 44 Cockpit Motor Yacht
Twin CAT 3208TA inboards
#574833 - 01/13/21 03:45 PM Re: Advice for buying the first boat [Re: Jack T]  
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Justaddwater Offline
Boating Newbie
Justaddwater  Offline
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Warrant Officer

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Bellevue, WA
Jack T, that's a good one. Haha

#574834 - 01/14/21 09:25 AM Re: Advice for buying the first boat [Re: Justaddwater]  
Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 8,072
captkevin Online content
Admiral
captkevin  Online Content
Admiral

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Posts: 8,072
Chicago, IL
Dave R my brother has a new Yamaha waverunner with the Ride Technology. It is amazing what a difference it makes. Amount of control they have a low speed is amazing.


2004 Rinker 232
2010 Dodge Ram Crew Cab Laramie 4x4
#574836 - 01/17/21 06:51 PM Re: Advice for buying the first boat [Re: Justaddwater]  
Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 3,944
athiker Offline
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athiker  Offline
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Lake Norman, NC
So a lot to take in and comment on after reading through this thread. I have a 21' sterndrive bowrider that we bought lightly used in 2003. My youngest of 3 kids is a now a H.S. sophomore and the others are away at college. It has been a great all around boat and I've been very happy with the Cobalt quality. That said, numerous times I have considered going up to a 23 footer. Lakes are like highways and SUVs now with the arms race to ever bigger boats which almost forces everyone else to upsize too to deal with the increases wakes and chop. I boat on a fairly large lake that I boated on as a kid in a 16' 4" boat and we never considered it to be a small boat back then! For us, even though a few extra feet would be nice, it just never was quite enough to push us to upsize though. We have a pretty sharp V at the bow which helps, all hulls are not created equal in that regard.

Length considerations include what kind of lake you are on and how crowded, do you need an onboard head, do you need to trailer and how far, how much hassle do you want at the ramps. 21 feet and below are pretty easy to trailer and launch/retrieve, 23 feet and above start getting more affected by wind, are harder to manually muscle around and start requiring larger tow vehicles. Is 8 crowded on our boat?....a bit, but manageable. Like I said a 23 footer would be nicer for our situation, just not enough to go through the hassle of switching. Our next boat will likely be a tri-toon as we switch from water sports to sunset cruises and dinners on the lake with adult friends. When I first started looking I actually planned to buy an 18 footer, but am very glad we went with the 21. Our 21 footer has a nice deep seating area in the bow though, which has made a difference. I remember looking at some Caravelles back in the day that looked nice, but had a shallow bow seating area.

We considered the Yamaha jet boat at the time, but they had just come out with the full sized bowrider style back then and that made us nervous. The overall build quality did not match Cobalt at that time either. I was going to say that a jet boat is typically not good for wakeboarding, if that is a consideration, but I see they have a "watersports" version now. I would want to see that wake shape before buying. We don't have a tower but our attachment point is elevated up at the sun pad so is a nice compromise and it throws a nice wake for a non-dedicated wakeboarding boat. My son is able to jump wake-to-wake.

You mentioned being "on" the lake so not sure if you will be launching on a regular basis, but if you are and are new to it I would recommend going over during a weekday if possible and practicing. If that's not possible you can go hang out at the ramp on a weekend and see when it is less busy and do some practice launches....maybe early spring in the middle of the day.... early evening on a summer Sat/Sun probably not! Heck you can bring your rig to a large empty parking lot and practice backing up over and over. Its a quick learning curve, and you can watch videos but there is no replacement for actual practice.

Key points: When you lock the hitch onto the tow ball get down on your knees and look up to visually make sure the tongue is actually under and gripping the ball from below. Remove your rear trailer tie-downs...if you don't have those, get them and use them. Know where your drain plug is! Know where your "Trailer" button is on the boat throttle! (this brings the outdrive up farther than normal so you don't ground your prop). Get everyone out of the launch vehicle except the driver, remove your seatbelt and lower your windows (just in case things go south!). Hand on the bottom of your wheel...move hand the direction you want the stern of the trailer to go when backing up. Go slow and make small wheel adjustments! Check your winch cable/strap...the nylon straps degrade quickly if left in the sun and can snap. There is nothing wrong with having a check list until you get comfortable with the procedure....the other people at the launch will appreciate that much more than having to wait while you pull your boat back out b/c its sinking with no drain plug. :-)

Take a boater course as suggested above or at a minimum Google the rules of the road on the water. The basic rule, and an easy way to remember, is to simply look at your bow lights. You have a red (port) and green (starboard) light up there. If you are showing another boat the side with your green light, they have the right of way and you should make a clear and obvious move to change course, drop speed or both. If you are showing them the side with your red light, you have the right of way and should maintain your course and speed. It's pretty much like you are showing another boat a traffic light...green-go, red-stop. There are exceptions and other rules but just knowing that will put you ahead of most boaters. Remember, even if you have the right of way you still have a responsibility to avoid a collision! Sailboats (under sail) and large difficult to maneuver vessels have the right of way, especially in narrow waterways, regardless of the light you are showing them.

Finally, when you have people in the water your prop is a killing/maiming machine. When anyone is the near the boat in the water the engine is off, not in neutral, off. I flip my kill switch from habit going back to when my kids were little, to make sure they didn't "accidentally" start the engine while I'm on the swim deck helping retrieve gear, with someone in the water. When you are towing someone and they fall, get off the throttle, turn and idle back to them, don't plow back to them creating big rollers...just idle up to them keeping them on the driver's side of the vessel. Then kill the engine.

Like with everything, speed kills...the slower you take things the less severe mistakes are likely to be. That goes for towing trailers, launching, towing tubers, retrieving people in the water, approaching a dock, retrieving a boat, etc. etc. An old adage is don't approach a dock any faster than you are wiling to hit it. ;-) Make a deal with your spouse that whoever is driving the boat is in charge for that time...they are the captain. There is a reason boats have captains! Its the captains responsibility to keep everyone safe and there may not be time to explain every instruction in the moment so the "crew" needs to listen and follow directions and ask questions later.

With experience everything will speed up and you will fall into your routines and wonder why it seemed so confusing back when you started!

Sorry I ran on a bit and I apologize if you knew most of this stuff already, but a lot of new boaters don't seem to. As boaters we are all thrilled you are taking the time to ask questions; I've learned a ton on this board. It's the start of a great journey, enjoy!




2000 Cobalt 206 5.7L EFI Alpha 1
#574840 - 01/19/21 12:58 AM Re: Advice for buying the first boat [Re: Justaddwater]  
Joined: Jan 2021
Posts: 8
Justaddwater Offline
Boating Newbie
Justaddwater  Offline
Boating Newbie
Warrant Officer

Joined: Jan 2021
Posts: 8
Bellevue, WA
Athiker, thank you for the very detailed and thoughtful explanations. Really appreciate!

The lake we are on is about 7 miles long and 1.5 miles wide. It's small enough to head home if someone needs to use the facility, so we don't need a head onboard. But the lake does get crowded in summer months so we know we can't go too small. While we don't have to worry about launching or trailering a boat regularly as we have our own dock, a 21 ft or smaller boat is going to be a little easier to dock than a 23 ft. I like the idea of one captain. Backseat driving on land is bad enough, I image that could be far worse on water.

Anyway, lots of great suggestions. Thanks.

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