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Old     (Bigstic)      Join Date: Aug 2011       09-13-2011, 9:44 PM Reply   
Howdy, been lurking for a little over a month and figure I would post up.

I have ZERO boating experience other than canoes and rafts. Never driven a motor boat. Wife has even less experience. We have 3yo and 5yo children.

After spending all summer sweating my balls off we went to one of the local lakes to chill. On the way home the wife looked at me and said "lets get a boat". Now I have wanted a boat my whole life but location and money have always squished that dream. Well currently money is good and lakes are only a couple hours away (close for me).

I have spent the last 5 weeks reading every forum and watching a many videos and even calling a few dealers we have decided to purchase a v-drive this coming spring. We are waiting till spring for financial reasons(have my down payment tied up till february) and the fact that the season is pretty much over up here(Montana).

Our price point is going to be around 30-40k and I will be spending the winter trying to decide on the boat. As of right now the surf side of the sport is the most appealing to us so that will influence our decision.

All my friends think I am crazy to just jump into a sport but I am just bored of losing all my other hobbies and so far they are still leaving the lakes open. I have no friends with boats except for jet sleds for river running.

So if you were 32 and bored would you jump in head first? What are the chances of me killing myself? Am I going to regret this? Money isn't an issue if I lose some, I just want something I can take my family and have fun for a couple hours on my random days off.
Old     (501s)      Join Date: Feb 2010       09-13-2011, 9:56 PM Reply   
I bought brand new wake boat at 32. Best decision I ever made. Jump in!
Old     (Paul)      Join Date: May 2011       09-13-2011, 10:03 PM Reply   
Nope you will not regret that decision, my best memories with my family center around boating and wakeboarding, jump on in.
Old     (SangerTom)      Join Date: Aug 2010       09-13-2011, 10:13 PM Reply   
About 8 years ago I was riding my mountain bike with a friend. I was telling him what a blast we had riding a friend's Seadoos. He told me that I should jump in and get some because its something your family can do and as your kids grow up it can be the glue that keeps everyone together.

Well - 8 years later - I bought 3 Seadoos and sold them and bought a used Sanger last year. It has been a great 8 years. My boys are now in their early 20's and my daughter is 15. They love inviting friends out, going on weekend lake trips. It is the highlight of their summer.

My friend had given me great advise. If I pay it forward to you - then I've done my job. Your kids are young - you will give them one of the greatest gifts- a lifetime of memories and fun.
Old     (diamonddad)      Join Date: Mar 2010       09-13-2011, 10:33 PM Reply   
Go for it! Boating is a very social family fun sport. Someone once said "a bad day on the water is better than a good day on land".
Old     (ixfe)      Join Date: Aug 2008       09-13-2011, 10:53 PM Reply   
Your story is just like mine, circa 2008. No prior boating experience, 34 years old. I just got tired of being bored on the weekends and never knowing what to do with our free family time. One day my boss invited us out on his Calabria Pro V. My wife didn't think the kids could handle it (8, 6, 4, and 2 years old, at the time). Wrong! They had a blast. I tried wakeboarding that day for the first time... what a rush!

So on the way home, my wife looks at me and says, "lets get a boat." Bam... our research began that day and we bought our first boat in February 2009.

At first I looked at I/O's like everybody else, but I have good friends who quickly pointed me in the right direction. My budget was $30k - $40k, just like yours. For a couple of months that winter I was in discussions with my neighbor on a boat sharing agreement... so glad he backed out an saved me from that mess. We looked at lots of used boats in that price range... mainly pre-'05 Malibu VLX's and pre-'06 MasterCraft X-2's.

In the end, we decided to stretch our budget a bit to get into a newly launched model... a 2009 MB B52 Team Wide Body (aka TWB). People thought I was crazy to start with a brand new boat. They warned about all the dock scars I'd put on it. But I have never regretted it... no dock scars, thank you! and stretching $5k at the time seemed like a lot, but quickly faded. The larger boat has allowed us to take lots of other families on the boat and introduce them to our new passion, just as my boss did for us three years ago.

We are on season #3 now, and boat #2... another new MB.

Moral of the story... fall in love with a boat that's right for you, and jump right in with both feet! If that's a used boat, great! If that's a new boat, stretch a little for the one that makes your jaw drop.

The memories you create on the water with your family are priceless (see below).

Last edited by ixfe; 09-13-2011 at 11:00 PM.
Old     (nailem)      Join Date: Apr 2011       09-14-2011, 6:01 AM Reply   
go for it, same story other than i have owned boats before, but i have two small girls now 5 and 6 and the family days on the boat are priceless. my kids love boating and i got both of them knee boarding this year. i also surfed with both of them on the board with me and they had a blast. Sunday was kind of cool hear but we just went out for a ride the girls had smiles on there faces the whole time.
i switch from I/O to a v-drive and the added space the seating allows is great for kids. we spent 9 hours on the boat at Norris lake this year and the kids were able to play on the floor and take naps on the seats.
you will not regret it!
Old     (alans)      Join Date: Aug 2005       09-14-2011, 7:04 AM Reply   
Do your research on boats and boating safety, then jump in.

As a boat sales guy, I highly recommend finding a sales person and/or dealership that will spend time with you and bring you up to speed with driving safety and etiquette. I get to spend spend time on the water with a lot of families like yours and it is the most rewarding part of my job.

Also, my step father 67 years old, bought his first boat 3 years ago and is now cruising the inter-coastal with my mother in their latest purchase. It is never too late to start.
Old     (cwb4me)      Join Date: Apr 2010       09-14-2011, 7:11 AM Reply   
Start doing your research.If you start with a used well maintained boat at the right price you can't go wrong.Boating is enjoyable and relaxing.Good luck.
Old     (txmxer)      Join Date: Sep 2011       09-14-2011, 7:32 AM Reply   
My family and I jumped straight in two seasons ago. After we got past our stage of learning how to do things (sometimes frustrating) we really began to enjoy it. Its alot of fun and its a great time spent with my family. Just like you, we had no experience with boats...none. Our first and current boat is a 2005 Malibu Wakesetter VLX. We had the same budget as you. I looked around furiously to find a nice, used, and well taken care of V drive that was used. My advice is to look around during your winter months, you may be able to get a great deal in the off season and dont be afraid to take the boat to a mechanic to have it checked out before you buy it.

Also find someone to teach you how to do all the things that go along with boating, that will help you a bunch and save you alot of hassle. Good luck and have fun.
Old     (camassanger)      Join Date: Oct 2009       09-14-2011, 7:34 AM Reply   
Jump in Kevin! Lots of people think of boats as giant holes in the water that people throw money into. Partially true, but I would argure Totally Worth It. ANother way to think of it is an investment in your family... and tons of fun...

If you have kids, its even better. Where else can you get your family together within 10 feet of each other, enjoy a great day without cell phones and yardwork concerns, etc. IMO, it is one of the best family activities there is! People actually talk to each other on the boat LOL!

Oh yeah, and FUN as heck. A v-drive is the perfect boat because you can do ANYTHING behind it. Not as true for other kinds.

My 2 cents, best of luck to you!
Old     (timmyb)      Join Date: Apr 2007       09-14-2011, 7:39 AM Reply   
I was 31 when we got the itch and don't regret it one bit! We started out with a 19' Rinker that we picked up fairly cheap ($18k) to make sure that we would like boating and would actually use the boat and then I discovered Wakesurfing and sold that boat and really jumped into the deep end and boat my Tige RZ2 brand new. I'm 37 now and having more fun than ever! I say go for it! Your kids will love it!
If you have friends that have boats, make sure you go out with them for the first few times so you can learn the ropes (there's a lot to learn)! If you don't know anyone with a boat, maybe someone on here (or another forum) can help get you on your way so you don't aren't "that guy" at the ramp.
Good luck!
Old     (buffalow)      Join Date: Apr 2002       09-14-2011, 7:54 AM Reply   
I have been on the water most of my life and bought my first IO in 1993. I have taught countless numbers of riders from beginner to the best pros in the world and had probably 10 different boats. In all of my time in the industry and selling boats, I would urge you to jump in with both feet. I would say start with a quality used boat first. You are going to run it into the dock, trailer, rocks, ding it up with your board, drop stuff on the carpet,etc.. Than give it a year or two and get that new boat. You will greatly appreciate it when you upgrade and than you are not destroying a brand new boat. There are a ton of great used boats truly set up for your needs. Also if you ding up that used boat if won't greatly affect the resale price, like a new one would.

Your time on the water will become your favorite place. We have often said it is our church that brings up peace and calmness.

I'll wan you though - this is very addicting and once you start, you will never look back
Old     (1niceharley)      Join Date: Feb 2010       09-14-2011, 7:57 AM Reply   
A day at the lake is the best. Here is a photo of me and my 3 1/2 year old wakeboarding. He also surfs with me. LOVES it. He usually gets the first pull. He started wakeboarding with me when he was 2 1/2.

A used v-drive is the way to go. We started out with a used IO but a couple years later sold it for our Centurion. An inboard is much better for the kids. Don't have to worry about them jumping in and hitting the prop, and they can sit on the swim plateform with their feet in the water and relax.
Good Luck and keep us posted on what happens.
Old     (JohnAr)      Join Date: Jun 2010       09-14-2011, 8:08 AM Reply   
As the dissenting opinion...

I could not imagine investing $30-40k with the closest lake being "a few hours away." Unless you're crazy loaded, and I don't get that impression, you will not get enough use out of the boat to make it worth it. IMO, you *need* a local, go-to lake or river to get the use out of the boat.

Also, a V-drive is not "first boat friendly," and the advantages of a v-drive in terms of wake quality will not be appreciated by a brand-new boat person who doesn't board hard. Actually, in my opinion it's a LOT easier to learn to board behind the mild wake of an I/O, and a lot easier to learn to drive, load/unload etc.

I think with your scenario you would be a lot better off getting your feet wet with a used I/O boat like a $7-9k bayliner, searay, etc.
Old     (timmyb)      Join Date: Apr 2007       09-14-2011, 8:27 AM Reply   
John and Jason both have great advice. Learning to drive an I/O is a LOT easier than a v-drive boat and the entry fee is a whole lot lower but it sounds like you want to wakesurf and an I/O would not be the right choice for that.

Another question - What kind of truck/suv do you have? If you go with a v-drive boat, you will need something that can comfortably tow 5,000lbs or more so keep that in mind and then also keep in mind that most trucks get < 10 mpg towing and if your lake is pretty far away, the cost of gas cuts into your boating budget pretty significantly unless you can leave your boat at or near the lake. Some people forget to factor in the tow vehicle's cost when looking at boat ownership and if you don't live or store by the lake, it can cost you more in gas for the tow vehicle than it can for the boat.

Look for a used boat where the person is possibly getting out of the sport/hobby because they will most likely throw in ropes/anchors/life vests/fenders/boards/etc and believe it or not, that can add up to a few grand pretty quickly!
Old     (Bigstic)      Join Date: Aug 2011       09-14-2011, 9:14 AM Reply   
Thanks for all the responses. Even the "dissenting" ones. The honest opinion is what I want.

Tow vehicle is not a problem and gas is just a small price to pay for a day of fun. You have to remember for my family to do pretty much anything there is at least a 2-3 hour travel. Don't even try to talk me into an I/O because I would just sell it after my first day out. And all the "Boat Ramp" stories just proves that a large percentage of the population has absolutely no common sense

I also understand I wont "appreciate" this boat as much as most of you in the beginning but give me some time and don't laugh to hard as we learn. And for this I apologize right now. And don't kill me but I did promise to take my dad fishing when he comes to visit

I honestly have no clue how often we will use it. My job dictates a lot of hours and my days off are few hence why I am trying to find a activity that we can get away from it all, even if just for a couple hours. The kids are to young for four wheelers and snowmobiles and we all love the water so why not, its just money.
Old     (polarbill)      Join Date: Jun 2003       09-14-2011, 9:34 AM Reply   
I don't think the difference in driving a vdrive/inboard boat is that much as compared to an I/O. As long as you practice and know that it is only going to back one way you can easily set yourself up for just about any scenario. In fact, docking an inboard boat is way easier in my opinion then an I/O. Come in at a 45 to 30 degree angle and put in in reverse when your bow gets close sucks the rear end right over to the dock. Plus who wants to deal with an outdrive stickign off the back of the boat. Also, you said you want to surf. That aint going to happen behind an I/O.

There is an absolute ton of options for used vdrives that will surf well in the 30k range. Hell if you mainly want to use it for lounging and surfing you can get a nice 2000ish vdrive for 20k. Look for a Tige 21v/2100v from 1999-2002. The boat has a big interior and surfs awesome. You might have to add some ballast bags to the rear but no biggie. This would be a great way to go because first of all you are out 20k vs 40k and the boat won't depreciate that much. You can use it for a couple years and if you decide you don't use it enough turn around and sell if for abotu what you paid. Other boats to look at would be 2004-current Sanger V215's, V230's, Centurion Avalanche's or Typhoons. Another good option that tend to be priced in that 20-30k range are Calabria ProV's. All are nice boats, that have lots of room and surf great.
Old     (duffymahoney)      Join Date: Sep 2008       09-14-2011, 9:44 AM Reply   
Amazing surf boat at an amazing price.
Old     (brett33)      Join Date: Apr 2011       09-14-2011, 9:47 AM Reply   
Originally Posted by Bigstic View Post
why not, its just money.
Amen to that!

Sure toys arn't cheap, but the memories far exceed the costs. Whatever your boat decision may be, you will have many fun filled years on the water. For many of us, lake life is the only life.
Old     (wakebrdr94)      Join Date: Jul 2010       09-14-2011, 10:06 PM Reply   
I will say this. Owning a boat is the worst investment money wise you will ever make (unless you are like some people on this site and can always sell your boat every year for more than you paid, but that's another story), but it is the best investment ever made in terms of fun with friends and family. Being in MT obviously makes the season a short one for you. My best friend lives in Bozeman and hates the fact the season is so short. Also, find a buddy or teach your wife to drive, nothing like getting a new boat and not being able to ride. There are many choices and you'll get a lot of opinions and great advise here on this site, just make sure you check out as many boats as you can and get what suites you. As far as learning to drive and handling, the biggest obstacle IMO, is the reverse in one direction. Depending on where you are boating, wind, current, and room can prove to be difficult.

Have fun, don't be afraid to ask for advice, and try not to get to frustrated during the learning process.
Old     (brett564)      Join Date: Jul 2006       09-14-2011, 10:26 PM Reply   
I'm going with John and his opposing opinion here.

I love my Malibu because it holds 3+ families at a time, is reliable, and allows me to wakeboard, ski, surf, tube, etc.

I love me friend's Eliminator because it holds 3+ families at a time, is reliable, goes really really fast, handles chop like no wake/ski boat can dream of (which is a big deal on big lakes), and allows kids to tube.

If it wasn't for my love of wakeboarding and skiing (from growing up doing this as a kid), I would have gone with a go-faster boat. Most of our day is spent relaxing at a beach as compared to actual boarding anyway, There are definite cons to owning a wakeboard boat, and unless you plan on boarding a bunch, there are lots of other great types of boats out there.

Just food for thought...
Old     (shawndoggy)      Join Date: Nov 2009       09-14-2011, 10:40 PM Reply   
I was you two years ago. Best money I've ever spent, and I wish I'd have done it a few years earlier when the kids were a little smaller. They are 12 and 15 now. There's no better way to get to know your kids and your kids' friends than a day on the lake.
Old     (wotan)      Join Date: Jul 2008       09-15-2011, 10:07 AM Reply   
I can't believe that nobody has pointed this out yet.... The boat is the cheap part. It's the gas, truck, toys, repairs, beer, maintenance, upgrades, time off work and sunscreen that will add up. Just be prepared. I wish someone had told me this.

Of course... it's all worth it.

I have been on boats my whole life but posts like this make me feel so lucky to have grown up on the water and have been fortunate enough to buy my first boat @ 19. I think it would be great to share that with your family.
Old     (timmyb)      Join Date: Apr 2007       09-15-2011, 10:27 AM Reply   
I pointed it out.
Old     (tommyg)      Join Date: Apr 2002       09-15-2011, 9:17 PM Reply   
Had a co worker tell me this week that a friend of a friend died stew weeks back behind an I/o. My kids and I were just around the corner from where it happened the following weekend. Just a point. To consider that I/o's can be dangerous especially for inexoerienced boaters...
Old     (tommyg)      Join Date: Apr 2002       09-15-2011, 9:18 PM Reply   
And sorry, I can't type on the ipad
Old     (nitrousbird)      Join Date: Sep 2008       09-16-2011, 11:30 PM Reply   
You don't need 30-40k to get into a decent V-drive. Budget 25k and you will get something pretty decent. I passed up on an 03 Wakesetter @ 23k locally for my 01 Sunsetter @ 20k (both in good shape, but my Sunsetter had low hours + LS1 and more options so I had to go with it). Remember, this is your first boat, so you will do something to ding it up. For me it was buying it cash vs. financing. I guarantee you will be very happy with a 25k boat, and your budget will be even more so.

Coming from having an I/O for over 10 years, a V-drive is harder to drive at slow speeds. I was unaware that they don't really turn in reverse until the first time I took her out on the water. You learn to compensate and get used to it, but it is pretty difficult at first - and I was pretty damn good with my I/O.

Remember to have money set aside for repairs/upgrades. I do my own work, but parts aren't cheap, and I've gotten creative to save some money (rebuilt the alternator vs. a new one, purchased universal cut-to-fit performance plug wires instead of $190 factory wires, etc.).

Everyone talks about making sure the boat is in good shape, mechanically sound, water testing it, having a mechanic look at it, etc. What most folks forget to mention is doing a good inspection on the trailer. Traier tires like to not last as long as you would expect, and run about $100/each. Make sure the brakes are good as well, as that can start adding up. Trailer wiring isn't as big of a deal as it isn't that expensive to rewire, but takes some time.
Old     (Bigstic)      Join Date: Aug 2011       09-17-2011, 12:54 AM Reply   
Once again thanks for all the comments.

Like I said I will be spending all winter researching and asking questions. My biggest problem is lack of dealers and boats for that mater. Closest dealer is going to be 200+ miles away. I am headed to Denver for work this fall and hope to check out a couple places down there. I have also been talking to a dealer in Idaho, and he said if I buy from him he will meet me half way and take me out on a lake to show me the boat. But this its still a sketchy thought.

I have done my own maintenance on all my toys and this will be no different. I rebuilt my first chevy 350 motor 15 years ago just by reading a chiltons and its still running. So if I can read how to do something I am not afraid to try it.

I have already ordered "The Book" but was wondering if there were any other good resources I should read. I dont want to be the douche out on the lake so looking for anything here. I know "no power turns" and have been reading the boat safety but as for towing etiquette I have a lot to learn.

As for the price point, I have 6 months until I can buy the boat. That can change up or down. It will all dependon what the market is like when I go to buy.


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