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Looking for my first boat
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Discussion Starter #1
I am a new member here and looking for some information on what is the best boat for the Gulf Breeze area for my family. I am in the market for a used boat in the 20-25k range. I have a young family (2.5 yr old and one on the way in October). My wife feels we should wait a few more years to buy a boat when our kids are a little bigger but we just moved to Gulf Breeze about 1 mile from the shoreline boat ramp. I don't think I can wait that long. I need to be able to tow it with my Honda Pilot 4,500 lbs so I am thinking 18-21 ft would be my target length. We will mostly be using it for cruising, sunset restaurant dinners, island hoping, fishing when I'm allowed, and taking the kids tubing. I feel like I can get a newer boat with less hours in a bay boat and it will be easier to trailer and load by myself. I like inshore and offshore fishing. I have only been out fishing here once and it was offshore so I am not as familiar with the fishing. I have been told that it's great for both. Most my fishing experience in salt water has been in palm beach and Tampa Bay!

My wife I think will be more onboard with the deeper V of a CC for smoother ride and looks safer for little kids? I also have a bad back so I don't want to buy a boat I can't take out because it slams me around.

If I had 80-100k to spend on a boat I would buy a Robalo 246 Cayman or Everglades 243 but I don't.

Thoughts on a Bay Boat vs CC for my families needs?

Oh and also I am all about safety. I know my limitations. I grew up on a Lake and driving, docking, maintaining a boat is not a problem. I know that salt water and open water is a different beast. Where I lack knowledge is with navigation, tides, weather, etc..... Do you recommend any classes, forums, apps etc.... So I can educate myself?

Thanks for your help in advance!

Ed
 

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Most bay boats that I have ever seen were CC's. They just have a shallower V than an offshore CC.

As for the size, I would stay in the 17-19ft range with your Honda Pilot. I have a 21ft and my Toyota Tacoma Prerunner with V6 will NOT even almost pull it! We bought a Nissan Titan for pulling the boat. My Tacoma pulled my old Cobia 174CC just fine. The towing weight of your truck vs the actual weight of your boat are two VERY different things. You have wind drag and can your truck pull a wet boat up a wet ramp. Who cares if you can pull the boat if you cant get it out of the water... haha And MOST important part of towing a boat... Can you stop it!?!

I'd find someone that you know to let you tow their 17-19ft boat for a try before you decide on a boat size. The good news is that you can find a really nice boat in your size range for $20K-$25K.
 
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As mentioned, you will be limited to what your pilot can tow, EFFECTIVELY. As far as should it be a skinny water boat or deep V I have had both and must say it was a progression, I found myself wanting to go out further for bigger fish. You are also correct that most bay boats you will have to pick your days versus deeper V off shore boats. It took me four boats each getting bigger and bigger for me to realize that my next boat will be a 21-22' deep V offshore, and I have been looking for two years now and have seen many nice boats in your price range. Steer clear of two strokes, ( I will buy Yamaha or Suzuki next) and look for low hours. When shopping I would prefer a couple years older hull with a newer motor than a newer hull and a motor with lots of hours, after all the motor IS THE BOAT.
 

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With very little exception, both are center consoles. Based on your primary intended use, I'd say a deeper hull. If you like to do a lot of inshore or flats fishing, look at the bay boat.

Your wife and two little ones are the biggest variable. Ask yourself 3 questions:
1. Where do I pee?
2. Where is the shade?
3. Where do we all sit?

I own a 22' bay boat and there is a common misconception that the ride is rougher. That may be the case for some but mine handles the water better than many deeper hulls I've been on. If the bay is starting to white cap, just about any boat in the 20' range will be an adventure.
 

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Looking for my first boat
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Discussion Starter #11
Jason nice looking boat. Def will consider taking a look at it.

Salty dawg that's definitely my conundrum!
 
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