Needed: Boat Recommendation for Puget Sound (limited towing capacity content)

Discussion in 'Watercraft' started by Chris Puma, Mar 17, 2008.

  1. Chris Puma hates waking up early

    Posts: 965
    stumptown
    Ratings: +2 / 0
    Can anyone help me out with a boat recommendation for Puget Sound considering my Subaru has a limited 2000 lb towing capacity?

    I've been looking at craigslist for quite sometime now. Doing a little research here and there. I basically need something that will be comfortable to fish out of... If it's not comfortable I won't use it. I was really thinking of some sort of fiberglass center console especially since I'd like to use it all year around.

    Am I on the right track thinking of a 13' or maybe 14' used fiberglass center console? I'm pretty sure this is going to give me great limitations on what weather and range. Is this a practical boat for the Sound despite these inconveniences?

    I have very little boat experience but I'm willing to familiarize myself by taking safety classes, etc. before purchasing. I've always grown up around boats but never had the opportunity to own one.
  2. tomc Member

    Posts: 195
    Beyond Shelton, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    One of my boats is a Boston Whaler 13', its ok for nice casting days on the sound. I tow this with my Ford Ranger with absolutly no problem. I have considered towing it with a friends smaller similar car, and have no boubt it would be able to launch and tow the Whaler without difficulty. I would like him have the opportunity to buy some gas for a change:thumb:
    Tom C.
  3. ibn Moderator

    Posts: 1,884
    Federal Way
    Ratings: +10 / 0
    Sounds like you've got the right idea. Check http://www.boattrader.com/ in addition to Seattle Times and craigslist. The nice thing about Puget Sound is there are really no rollers to worry about, and if you have mechanical failure there is land all around you and lots of other boaters, plus cell reception works. So you don't really need a backup outboard.

    I know when I hit up Neah Bay it can be sketchy when your motor doesn't start and you're 10 miles offshore in the pacific without anyone else around and no cell reception. Just be smart and you will be ok.
  4. Hooker Banned or Parked

    Posts: 273
    WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    What do you want to be able to do out of it?
  5. Denny Active Member

    Posts: 4,020
    Seattle, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +38 / 0
    Dude, I'd get aluminum. Lighter, so it's easier to pull and you don't need as much HP to push it, so that translates in to some $$ saved (initially outlay plus operations). It also would be easier for you to handle if you're out on your own, launching and loading. If you're fishing in close to shore, you're going to bang the bottom from time to time, and the aluminum would handle that better.
  6. ibn Moderator

    Posts: 1,884
    Federal Way
    Ratings: +10 / 0
    While I wont argue with all your points about aluminum boats, I will say that fiberglass isn't as fragile as people make it out to be. Having owned a 'glass boat now for 4 years I've hit the bottom several times, and I launch it solo all the time. I'd still consider my boat in excellent condition.
  7. MasterAnglerTaylor Member

    Posts: 749
    Poulsbo/Pullman, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    I think aluminum would be good choice. We have a 17ft sea runner and it weight 1000 even. Not sure what motors weight and trailers. But then again you dont want a 17ft boat so weight wouldnt be an issue. Check your marine forecast, then check it again.
  8. MasterAnglerTaylor Member

    Posts: 749
    Poulsbo/Pullman, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    O yea and i dont know what year for what ages you have to have that boating certification thing. Im 18 and i know i have to have it by now, which i do.
  9. Jerry Daschofsky Moderator

    Posts: 7,580
    Graham, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +573 / 5
    I'll agree with IBN about glass. They aren't fragile at all (unless you get a cheap boat like a sears gamefisher). We used an old Hilaker for years out in Puget Sound. I do believe it was a 14' boat, and we used to pull it with a little Mercury Comet. Was a great boat, and was awesome to use in the sound. I was tempted to buy one just to have it. Could do alot with that little boat. Aluminum is nice, but becareful of those heavily riveted boats. They tend to leak, especially when you hit the occasional floating log (and chances are, all of us at one time or another have ran into a submerged log or ??? while out in the sound).

    Another thing to consider is finding yourself an old glass driftboat with LS motor on it. You can use it on the rivers, then toss the motor on it and troll out in the sound with it. They've worked well, and my best friend used to use his old alumaweld with a 9.9 LS kicker on it when he'd run in the sound with it. Was a great setup.
  10. MasterAnglerTaylor Member

    Posts: 749
    Poulsbo/Pullman, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    If you get aluminum do not get a riveted, go welded.
  11. clarkbre Member

    Posts: 49
    Everett, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Ah...Another Subaru, another boat, and another great set up!

    I have a 16' Lund WC, 15hp engine, and trailer; fully loaded weighing in at about 950lbs. My tow rig is a 2003 Legacy with the 2.5L engine and automatic tranny. At first I was very skeptical of this combo (used to have a 4.0L Jeep and 12' boat) but the Subaru pulls the boat great.

    The Subaru has pulled my boat over Snoqualmie pass, to the lake, and to the sound all with great success. Racking in about 1200 miles so far without any issues, the 950lbs boat/engine/trailer combo is barely noticeable behind the car. The only time I do notice the boat behind me is during braking. According to Subaru, if the trailer weighs more than 1000lbs it needs trailer brakes. The tongue weight can be up to 200lbs.

    As far as a good boat for the sound, I'd get something in the 14'-16' range with a wide beam and a deep V-hull. I started with a 12' aluminum and quickly outgrew it with 3 adults. A boat in that range will take you in most any water on the Sound.

    Below is a pic of my set up to give you an idea of the boat and Subaru. Also is a link to a Craigslist ad for a Duroboat that could easily be pulled by a Subaru.

    MasterAnglerTaylor and Jerry Daschofsky: Why is a riveted boat so bad? Some of the top names in aluminum boats are riveted (Lund, Smokercraft, Lowe). I've owned two and never once had a leak in 14 years.

    http://seattle.craigslist.org/see/boa/608028518.html
    [IMG]
  12. Salmo_g Active Member

    Posts: 7,286
    Your City ,State
    Ratings: +1,391 / 0
    Chris,

    Ditto what Clarkbre said. I tow a 16' Lund SSV with my Subaru Outback. Since I use it mostly on rivers, I have a 50 hp jet hung on the transom, and a little 4 hp kicker for salmon trolling. The SSV dry weight is listed at 390 lb. The jet is 185 lb. The kicker is about 50 lb.

    I thought about getting the 14' model, but the 16' is just as easy to handle solo, and is more comfortable for those times when I have 3 in the boat.

    Sg
  13. Chris Puma hates waking up early

    Posts: 965
    stumptown
    Ratings: +2 / 0
    ibn, thanks for the info. saw your picture in the gallery. you have a great boat!

    thanks for the great responses everyone. i actually never gave aluminum much thought. i originally backed away from the idea, fearing that such a boat would be uncomfortable in cold weather/cold water. is there any truth to my perception? i searched for boat topics on this board and a few people mentioned to be weary of aluminum due to its properties of transferring the cold. people could be exaggerating quite a bit in these regards. what are your experiences?

    salmo_g, i've had very limited experience with boats. i had my heart set on owning a boat with a center console. i could see many potential advantages to navigating your boat from a standing position. do you think i should reconsider? does not having a center console affect you when fly fishing or looking for fish?

    bottomline is that i want a boat to be comfortable. not only comfortable to fish out of but also comfortable enough for my g/f to enjoy cruising around in the warmer months. i'm planning on justifying this purchase by taking her out on the weekends to admire the saltwater. if i can show her a seal or even get her into a salmon then she'll get real excited.



    hooker, i basically want to be able to cruise the shore looking for fish. i have a lot to learn about fishing the salt in washington. all i know are techniques i've learned in massachusetts while fishing for stripers. in massachusetts besides learning geography and migration patterns of fish you would sometimes just focus on working birds depending on what you were targeting.
  14. clarkbre Member

    Posts: 49
    Everett, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Comfortable is a very broad term. :confused: I've never felt that my aluminum boats make me any colder than a fiberglass would have. Usually its the air temperature that gets ya. When I bought my boat it came with two very comfortable seats with pads and even cup holders.

    My boat's been out at least once a month, every month. It's all about dressing for the weather and being able to withstand the elements. Adding a bimini top to any boat is useful as well. It keeps you dry in the wet and shaded in the sun.

    Bottom line is, an aluminum boat will be lighter to pull and YOU can make it as comfortable as you would like.
  15. ibn Moderator

    Posts: 1,884
    Federal Way
    Ratings: +10 / 0
    I've owned both aluminum and 'glass boats, this is my opinion based on my experience, others experiences might vary.

    Aluminum boats bang harder, they're noisier on the water, they're colder and less comfortable. On top of that I feel safer in a glass boat then aluminum. Metal doesn't float! (yes I know they stuff foam in seats and whatnot, and a good aluminum boat should still float when swamped)

    Aluminum boats have benefits that have been discussed in this thread, I'd weigh them both then make your decision based on that. I honestly don't think you can go wrong with either choice.
  16. Jon Borcherding New Member

    Posts: 535
    Tacoma, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    None of the earlier posters have touched on economy yet so I'll chime in with my $.02
    If you're looking at used stuff you should forget about the boat and start looking for a motor. Used boats are practically "free". It's the motors that cost money. I know that's an exaggeration but it's still a good rule of thumb when looking to purchase a used boat. Find a really good motor and then look for a boat or center your boat search on the motor. If you can afford a new motor, go buy one, then go looking for a used boat. If you buy based on the boat you might soon find that you own a boat that you like but the motor is shot and you need 2 or 3 grand for a new one. The alternative is to throw a bunch of money at a used motor that just "needs a little TLC". Whooo Boy!
    I currently own boats made of fiberglass (1), Aluminum (2) Wood (1) and Hypalon (1) they all require maintenance and they're all great for their intended uses. None of them works for all the different uses I have.
    Don't try to buy a boat that will do everything. Buy one that does one thing really well. Then get another boat for another use.
    Divorce kits are available online now.
    :clown:
    Have fun!

    JonB
  17. BFK Member

    Posts: 332
    North Sound, Wash.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Chris-- I've done the boat thing over and over and over. Currently I have four, make that five if you count my wife's sailboat project. If I were in your shoes and buying new, I'd go to the Lund dealer and look real hard at the 16' Alaskan with a tiller. A center console takes up quite a bit of room, and it seems to be compounded in a smaller boat. A tiller boat is generally cheaper and requires a little less maintenance. Another option is the Smoker/Starcraft Sportsman sled in 16'.

    If I were buying used, I'd look at both glass and aluminum. Older aluminum hulls can pound, but newer designs have reduced that considerably. My 18' Starcraft sled is the smoothest-riding aluminum I've been in yet. With the economy and gas prices the way they are, there are going to be a ton of boats being sold, and you can pick up some good steals, er, deals, if you watch the market closely.

    Jerry makes a pretty good pitch for the 14' Hi-Laker. I owned one for several years, and I towed it with a little 4-cylinder 2-wheel pickup. It's a good, stable hull that should be available for little money as the design has been around for years. It has a few drawbacks, but for the Sound, it should be fine.

    Have fun; the buying process can be a blast.
  18. Jerry Daschofsky Moderator

    Posts: 7,580
    Graham, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +573 / 5
    Jon makes a good point on motors. But, they're usually always money pits when you put a engine in anything. LOL. I'd advise on asking whoever you buy from to have a marine mechanic look at the engine. I've always done this with every boat I've bought that had an engine. It saved my butt on a sled I was looking at. The "deal" I thought I was about to get would've been a whole new motor (heads were shot, and the pump was toast as well). It only cost me like $75 last time I had it scoped out (been a few years, probably more for a pre buy inspection), but saved me thousands.

    Tis true, no one perfect boat. I'm back to rebuilding my collection again. I'm down to two whitewater boats, a glass driftboat, and my old wooden river pram. But I used to have almost 10 boats (including two DB's, a sled, and tons of whitewater boats in inflatable and composite). I wish I had one that did it all. Closest I had was my last jet boat. Was as near to perfect as I could've asked for. A semi V, so enough to run rivers, and just about enough to cut the sound (was still a bumpy ride). My trolling motor made it nice to troll lakes with, and since it was only a 14' boat, it had oar locks in it. Drafted like a driftboat. So I could jet up, and run back downriver with the motors up like a driftboat. Was an old Valco. Loved that boat to death. Still wish I kept it. But got too small for my family (was almost 7' wide at the transom for being a 14' boat). Was stable and drafted very little water. That was about close as I got to an all around boat.
  19. MasterAnglerTaylor Member

    Posts: 749
    Poulsbo/Pullman, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    I dont think you can go wrong with either material. I dont know why it would be any colder...? A top would help definatly on those days when that wind is in your face or you just dont wanna be soaked all day, but its not big deal. Like ibn said, diffrent people have different experiences with diffrent types of boats. Those little pamphlets and other things you see of aluminum boats fully flooded and still floating are kinda neat,i would hate to have a tanker wake you out though in that situation :)

    Motors are prolly more important then your boat tho. Gotta look for a good used one and get a little maintenance on it. New motors are insanly priced, but 4 stroke is a beautiful thing.

    Clarkebre- Riveted boats are fine, its one of those things tho, some people will have the boat for ever and never have a problem, then you hear some people that have a few problems with rivets. I dont guess hes gonna be bashin around the waves to much anyway.
  20. North Sounder New Member

    Posts: 23
    Hansville, Wa
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Chris, I just found a killer deal on a 16' Klammath on craigs list.
    (606480507). Your subaru should have no problem pulling it.
    Tom