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#1 Jul 26, 2007 at 9:02 pmHi all!! Seems a bit quiet around this forum so I'll be the first to stir the pot. I live in Arizona and am looking to get into boating. Now, most people would think "I did not know that boats could run in sand" but actually Arizona has one of the largest per capita boat ownership as far as the United States goes. I am looking for suggestions from any experienced boaters as to the best boats. I am leaning toward an open bow boat in the twenty foot range. Preferably inboard. I will mostly be pleasure boating with a bit of fishing and maybe towing some water toys. I'm not looking for the fastest or most powerful boat, just something that I hopefully will be happy with. I used to live on Long Island and although I never owned a boat there, I drove many a craft and am experienced (albeit, it has been a while ). I've been looking on the internet mainly and plan on visiting a few marine dealers this weekend. I like the Regals and Chaparrals from what I've seen on the internet. Any help or advice would be appreciated. Thanks
#2 Jul 26, 2008 at 1:16 amI'm also new to the boating scene, but have picked up a few magazines and I'll share what I've learned from them and my own experience.
Of course your budget is going to dictate what you buy. Used boats are a gamble. If you are new to the scene and the seller knows it, you may have a nightmare waiting. Be sure to have a dealer or mechanic check it out first and make sure you test drive it. If they are not willing to take it to the lake, stay away. Lucky for you, open bow runabouts are probably the most popular boats out there, so finding a used one shouldn't be that hard. When I was first shopping, I thought I wanted the same type of boat. I thought Caravelle had some of the sharpest looking boats, and had a good reputation for being fast and well built. Glastron and Bayliner have been around forever and make some nice boats, but they also make some entry level boats that are cheap and don't really hold up.
If you're looking for a new boat, it's hard to go wrong. The manufacturers are making the best boats they've ever made, if only Detroit could say the same!! I was surprised how much new boats cost! One boat that really caught my attention, though, was the Stingray 220LX. It seats 8, has lots of storage, great features and with the optional engine, would scream across the water at 60 mph!! Cruising speed would give you very good mileage, and at only $34,000, is a steal compared to some of the other boats I've read about. With the base engine, it was only $30,000. A similar boat by Rinker is $40,000!!
Either way you go, the engine is the most important part of the boat. In my experience it starts out as "Speed isn't everything, I just want to be out enjoying myself." That didn't even last 2 months into my first season!! I would recommend a V8 for 2 reasons: It can never be too fast, and more importantly, with a full load of people and gear it will actually get better mileage than a V6. If you are sure you not get the speed itch, and don't plan on loading as much weight, then the v6 will get better mileage, they are cheaper to maintain, and are usually quieter.
As with any investment, knowledge is power, so pick up magazines, pick up manufacturer brochures, read reviews on the internet, and ask independent dealers. Wish you the best of luck!!
Build it like you'll show it, Clean it like you own it, Drive it like you stole it!
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