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Old 01-19-2016, 01:40 PM   #1
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Am I crazy? Doing it cheaply in our 30s

Hi all,

Thanks for all the great information on this forum. Truly an awesome resource.

My wife and I are in our early 30s, no kids yet, and have a house on the water in the Florida panhandle. A trawler is a dream of ours. I've owned a 22' center console for four years and we spend most nice days on the water. I had a hole in the water bowrider before that. I'm no stranger to boat bucks.

Am I crazy to think we could pick up a decent trawler for $40-50k, finance 2/3s, keep it on our dock, and overall escape relatively cheaply? Sure there is maintenance but I'm not scared of learning it and doing it myself. Yes, insurance and fuel but those are predictable. No slip fees. An annual haul-out but we would probably do the hull ourselves, so just the marina fee.

We don't need a perfect boat and I see no reason we can't work on it on our schedule, with the exception of emergencies. I realize that there could be large unexpected costs but then the wife works an overtime shift or three and I work to keep the costs down with my labor. We aren't hurting for money in the first place.

We would use the trawler for one to two night trips on weekends and the odd week here or there. If kids aren't in the cards in the next couple years, my wife may start looking for travel nursing assignments along the coast. I would find something to do remotely. And perhaps we would live in the trawler for months at a time.

I would have any trawler carefully surveyed. I don't want to mess with soft decks or a complete repower if we could know upfront.

So, how far off base am I? Thanks!

-Tristan
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Old 01-19-2016, 01:50 PM   #2
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Not too far off base, assuming you have enough depth at your dock even at low, low tide. Certainly a decent used trawler can be picked up for $40-$50K. Cannot speak to the financing -- probably can be done but not my area of knowledge. Routine maintenance is not all that difficult assuming you get a well-maintained boat to begin with.

So yeah, go for it. As you get older, you will be glad that you did. Too many people wait until they are doddering to even start.
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Old 01-19-2016, 01:56 PM   #3
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Your idea is not crazy at all. We picked our trawler last year for 50k. A 1992 Marine Trader that was in great shape. No slip fees for you is a real plus. The only problem you might have is financing. You might want to look into maybe a home equity loan or re-morgage, might keep things easier.
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Old 01-20-2016, 07:57 PM   #4
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Heck no, you're not crazy. I started boating later than you are but I also started with a bowrider. I tend to keep boats a long time and had that one for 11 years before moving up.


I wish I'd thought of a boat when I was younger but I had too many other things going on in my life.


You're young, you have no kids to tie you down so I say GO FOR IT!!!
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Old 01-20-2016, 08:16 PM   #5
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Make sure you have enough water depth for the intended boat and it fits under any fixed bridges between you and where you wanna be. Then get after it. Berthage "tends" to be the largest annual expense and you have that covered.
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Old 01-20-2016, 08:36 PM   #6
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I wish we had done it at 30 instead of 50.

Mark Twain said it best. "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."


Go for it.
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Old 01-20-2016, 09:12 PM   #7
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Greetings,
Mr. P. You're not only off base, you're miles from the stadium. Don't be foolish GO FOR IT NOW!
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Old 01-20-2016, 11:13 PM   #8
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Yes, you are probably a little crazy.

So what?? Do It!!
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Old 01-20-2016, 11:33 PM   #9
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I bought a 34' wood Harker's Island snapper boat when I was 27. Lived on it as my rented house was eaten by hurricane Hugo. Traveled far and wide on the old Harvester. Many good trips and many good memories.

Go for it. That simple.
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Old 01-21-2016, 12:05 AM   #10
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The only flaw I see with your plan is the part where if things get tight your wife starts working OT. In my family that would be the perfect recipe for a disaster. But then, I am well trained.
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Old 01-21-2016, 12:28 AM   #11
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Bought mine at 50....wish I had started at 30! Absolutely you can get into it easily for $40-50K, especially in FL. Go find a well cared for 38 Bayliner and make some memories! Or a 34 Californian...or a Carver... or a CHB...or a ...
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Old 01-21-2016, 12:43 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyWright View Post
Bought mine at 50....wish I had started at 30! Absolutely you can get into it easily for $40-50K, especially in FL. Go find a well cared for 38 Bayliner and make some memories! Or a 34 Californian...or a Carver... or a CHB...or a ...
Tollycraft tri cabin - if you can find one where you live!
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Old 01-21-2016, 01:26 AM   #13
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We bought our boat in our 30s with two kids. It just works into the budget. There are sillier things you can drop 40k on, that won't reward you nearly as much. I say go for it too, particularly with your own moorage.
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Old 01-21-2016, 01:34 AM   #14
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That mooring spot with no boat just looks wrong.
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Old 01-21-2016, 02:30 AM   #15
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Tristan,
Not that my two cents is worth much but I like everything about your plan except the financing portion. Work your OT on the front side, save your dough and purchase the boat outright. That way you won't be in debt and, most importantly, your wife won't feel a slave to OT for a boat which she may grow to despise.
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Old 01-21-2016, 06:11 AM   #16
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"Am I crazy to think we could pick up a decent trawler for $40-50k, finance 2/3s, keep it on our dock, and overall escape relatively cheaply? Sure there is maintenance but I'm not scared of learning it and doing it myself"

For $2,000- $5,000 you can pick up a running IO Bayliner or similar

Probably the interior will suck, but few specialized skills are needed to replace and repaint.AS you wont be aboard except for days at a time , a work in progress is no big deal.

An IO suffers less from bouncing in the mud at a shallow berth.

And most of the boats of that class have little buried plywood to rot.

Your best chance of having a zero dollar round trip ,and no banksters , just out of pocket expenses.

What you will learn will be invaluable , and you can enjoy the boat from day 1.
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Old 01-21-2016, 07:17 AM   #17
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Panhandler

Why a slow trawler? All sorts of fairly new non trawlers out there in your price range. So many vessel choices and good availability in your area. Do you have reliable dock power so you can run AC?

Enjoy the search and find, it will be a life altering experience.
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Old 01-21-2016, 08:04 AM   #18
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Am I crazy? Doing it cheaply in our 30s

Thanks, all. Good to hear! I'm glad to know that many of you feel the good stuff shouldn't be postponed so to speak.

A few things. The wife doesn't need to work overtime; we would be fine with an extra 1-3k a month in expense, or we could sell or mortgage a house etc. I see your point about not letting her feel the pressure.

Docking and air draft are issues but not terrible. Need to be less than 15' air draft to clear the bridge. My understanding is this is quite possible, just need to do my research. Correct?

We currently have 3.5' at low tide in the winter at our dock, but it'd be simple to run it out another 40' feet. Or build a longer one at the property we own two doors down. Yes, I understand it would take a permit etc. I pulled them all the first time

We do have reliable power at the dock. I ran it myself and had an electrician connect it all. Plenty of capacity unless we wanted to run the lift for the CC while running several A/C units on the trawler. I believe 60amps total.

A trawler for a couple reasons. The first is space/layout/living room. We love the aft cabin/sun deck design. Lots of room to host people for the day and very comfortable for us. I also refuse to ever own another gas I/O. If we have a gas boat it'll have a 4 stroke outboard on the back. We have looked (online) at older carvers and others which are more motor-yacht, but they lack the character and some of the space. A trawler is slow, but, for us, it's about the journey and not the destination. And finally, what a fun a never ending project!

Northern Spy, good to hear. We think it would be fun even if kids come along, maybe more so!

Jim Gandee, noted and good point. Thanks.

FF and FlyWright, why the recommendations for non-trawlers? Cheaper and faster?

Thanks all!
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Old 01-21-2016, 08:23 AM   #19
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I started at 37 (41 now) and, as my signature line states, my mantra is "go small, go simple, go now". You could spend years saving and looking for the ideal boat but you'll likely be missing out on wonderful experiences. My wife and I work hard, have a mortgage, and save for retirement; so it was important not to incur huge boat related expenses that would impact our long-term savings plan.
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Old 01-21-2016, 08:38 AM   #20
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1. Be sure you BOTH like the boat before purchase!

2. Keep Wife Happpppyyyyy!!!

Link is worth a look. May take fun water trip to get one to your dock; some Tollycraft are on your coast. Well designed and built boats.

Tollycraft Boats For Sale


PS: Tolly's listed are planing hull. Cool for going relaxing hull speeds (7 to 8 knots, depending on wll). Great for planing-out; averaging 16 to 18 knots, continuously. Can reach 21 to 24 knots at WOT when desired/required. Taint nutten wrong with slow cruising - and/or - fast cruising. Tolly's 34' to 40' models offer multiple cruise-speed opportunities.
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