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Purchasing used boat - help me out here.


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Okay,

I had the wife and two kids out last Tuesday night on a larger South Dakota lake in about 20 mph winds in our 14 ft. wooden boat with fiberglass layers on the outside and a 7.5 hp motor that my dad found in a farmer's grove in 1968 and turned into a fishing boat that has worked for us since then. But...she wasn't feeling safe, and my pucker factor with my entire family in the boat was pretty high, and we love to fish. So...the wife says, "We need to buy a boat." I've been in a lot of boats and know what I want, which is a 16-18' tiller steer with a 50-75 hp motor on it. I like Lund's Pro-V and Pro Angler layout. The catch is price. $7000 is my top end, which puts me into a late '80s to early/mid '90s model w/motor. We won't use it for tubing or skiing, we have friends that invite us to their cabin for such activities. Are there any other boats out there that I should be looking at? We love to anchor up for panfish, catfish on the Minnesota River, and troll for walleyes and northerns - an all-around fishing boat that will handle bigger lakes. I've got a Suburban to pull it, no worries there. I've done some looking on hsolist and have seen some outfits that have what I want in the price range I have, so I know the package will be out there. But I've been fishing in this wooden boat since I was in diapers, so other "big boat" considerations that I haven't thought of are welcome. What kind of electronics should I be looking for? Is a GPS separate from the sonar or combined? I had a method of using my Vexilar FL-8 as the sonar unit on my boat, so haven't worried about electronics. Rod storage would be great, but not a huge priority, a good livewell is a fairly high priority. Color means squat to us as long as the boat looks decent. What about deck lighting, etc, etc? Sorry for all the questions, but I bet many of you can understand my excitement of my wife suggesting we buy a new boat. grin

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Alumacraft makes a decent boat. Also look at the Lund Alaskan. That is a real good tiller boat.

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You should be able to find something in that price range. I bought last year, and found several boats like you are describing in the $8000-$9000 range. Alumacraft Lunkers, Lund Alaskans, some others.

I went with a new Lund Fury...16' tiller and a 25 HP motor, so a bit smaller than what you are talking about, and it cost a bit more (right around $9000 for just the boat). But...it handles Waubay Lake (for example) just fine. I am quite pleased with how well it handles wind and waves (compared to my previous 15' Northwood).

One thing you have to think about in your budget are the 'add-ons'. Trolling motor, depth finder, etc. You can get a gps/depth finder...there are some very good combo units out there...and can spend anywhere from around $100 for a depth finder to a couple thousand for a top end gps/side-imaging, large screen depth finder. You will find a fairly large range on trolling motors, as well.

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Most of the used outfits that I'm seeing in my price range as a tiller steer already include a bow troller. I was over on Enemy Swim in the wind - comparable to Waubay for waves in the wind in the wrong place. We also need seating for four of us, so the Lund Rebel and Mr. Pike models are out. I'm having a lot of fun checking out the various models - the Crestliner Pro Tillers look like a viable option for us as well. I'm pretty sure a 16-17' boat will be more than enough, and 40-60 hp will do it - I don't need to go that fast and don't want to have a storage space issue with a big boat. I'm seeing lots of comments from guys that had the 18' boats and downsized to 16' and are much happier. I'm thinking that with the amount of anchor fishing we like to do, it will be easier to hold down the 16' boat. My dad has a 16' Lund that looks like an Alaskan model, but has no model designation and is a former DNR boat. We can hold that down easily for anchoring, but I would like more on-board storage and a better livewell than his offers. I'll be looking for a long time - probably until next spring. We have a couple grand on a car we need to pay off, then we're saving through the winter to buy the boat with cash. Accessories I can add on later, and quite honestly, I'll be happy with a decent graph with GPS that I can put lake data chips into. And I don't require an electric troller, our style of fishing just doesn't use them much unless the motor can't throttle back decent for trolling, and I know the 50 hp 4-stroke that my dad has throttles back as well as anything.

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If this is going to be your last boat for a while, don't skimp on power. There is nothing worse than getting the boat loaded and then not getting up on plane. I would not go any lower than a 50hp on a 18' boat. Also a 16' boat might get a little crowded with 4 people.

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The 1800 Alaskan sounds like a good compromise. I know because I have one. They didn't come with livewells until 2005 so you will need to narrow your search. The problem may be finding a used one. Most people who buy that model do it for a reason and don't trade very often.

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Check out Alumacraft Navigators. I recently purchased one and love it. Ive got the 16'5" model, it has tons of room, and is very wide and stable.

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Used boats are plentiful and prices are on the low side of actual value. For $7000.00 you should be able to find a well equipped boat in the late 1900's to early 2000's. Try not to speculate on what you might find. Shop the will known internet sites. It is my opinion that you will do better for both price and equipment dealing with a private seller, but do your due diligence and look it over. Make sure you take it on a long test run and drive it at all speeds for and extend period of time. A rule of thumb I follow and many other FM's will tell you is that onboard equipment is not worth anywhere near cash value, but it does add value to you.

I've been looking around for a 1st boat for my son. Tomorrow we are going to look at a 97' LUND Angler with a Merc 60 fully loaded. The guy has sent me a full set of photos and it is clean. He has it listed at $7,400. I told him I wouldn't be interested in paying that and he said he was willing to negotiate because he want's it gone. So you should do OK if you take your time and look around.

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Down Deep, remember in MN you only pay tax on the value of the trailer. A used boat/motor is tax free when purchased from a private party.

Selmer, you can get a lot better boat for that money than what you are thinking. Check some of the used boat internet sites. You are going to be pleasantly surprised. With what you described above, don't skimp on the HP. In 2009 I got a '98 Crestliner 1750 Fish Hawk with an Evinrude 115, two finders, bow mount 24v troller and wave wackers for about 9. I know your budget is 7, but just be aware how much boat your money can buy.

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I agree 100% with jkb. Don't skimp on the horsepower. Most boats will have a metal plate on them with capacity and motor restrictions. You want to be as close to the max allowed as possible, for horsepower.

I was told that the value of the motor is about 80% of the total cost. Their are lots of under powered boats for sale.

Lund, Crestliner, and Alumacraft are the most popular aluminum models and probably have the best resale.

Good luck,

Nels

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another tool to help determining a fair price is a website nada... that provides some level of baseline value for any given boat, motor, assessories, etc...

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I was looking to sell my 16' Alumacraft Competitor this fall. It has a 60HP Tiller Evinrude, trolling motor, fish finder, rod storage, live well, etc. I can send pics and details if you are interestd. I am in Wyoming MN. It runs good, I fish with it at least 2 times a week on local lakes, just got back from a week trip to the Ely area with it. It goes right at 30mph via my hand help GPS. I have a family of 6 and we are out growing it. The kids are 4 - 11 and my wife told me the same thing this year - we need a bigger boat to all fit easier. I am looking to get around $3200 for it. It is late 80's model.

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gurkster, I can't seem to send you a PM. I'm interested, but want to see pics and I have a couple of questions.

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Many thanks to gurkster - he and I and my family will be meeting up yet this summer to take a ride in his boat. He's been GREAT on communication (I've probably been a bit obnoxious with the questions) and sending pics. He's got what I'm looking for, so we'll give it a ride!

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  • 3 weeks later...

gurkster and I will still be connecting to look at his boat, but I had the opportunity to look at one today and walked away knowing it was too BIG. 18'4" Alumacraft Competitor console steer with 115 hp Merc oil-injected two stroke. 18' is definitely more boat than I want or need, it looked like a tank when I walked up to it! It was in decent condition for only $5500 and three blocks away from my house. Great price on a nice boat, but it made me certain that the 16'-16.5' class of tiller steer is what I want.

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The best way to save money on a boat is to buy at the end of the season.

I would hold off for another month.

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Actually just looking now. Saving pennies over the winter to buy boat in spring. Yes, seems off, but it's the way we have to do it financially.

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spring is a good time to find a steal on a used boat... sometimes thats when folks go "I only used it once last year" and so they toss it up on the CrList.. can find boats with motor and trailer for 5 bills if you look at the right times

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I don't know if every KIA dealer does this, but the one where my parents live take anything in on trades for $ towards a new car, boats, RVs, etc. I managed to find a non-current 09 Rebel after months of looking, right search site at the right time i guess.

Also, I went to a credit union, a $5 saving account and I am a member and the rates and payment options were way better than I expected

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