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Old 05-09-2019, 08:18 AM   #1
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Any advice to a new boater?

My wife and I are finalizing our first boat purchase in which we will be living aboard. I've lived on sailboats and have used many boats in the past but nothing quite as large as a Trawler.

Any advice going forward?
How did all of you get used to all the controls/gauges/switches?
I've considered just finding someone with more experience and compensating them to show me some of the ropes. Does that sounds like a solid approach?

Any input would be appreciated, thanks!

Wife and I are still < 30, so we will have years to come if she's okay with the lifestyle.
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Old 05-09-2019, 09:05 AM   #2
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Greetings,
Welcome aboard kids! Enjoy... and relax.



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Old 05-09-2019, 09:07 AM   #3
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A couple of thoughts...
Previous owner?
Are you a member of USPS now ABC Americas Boating Club? Not only good courses but you immediately expand your network of knowledgeable folks w similar interests... I'm sure some would be glad to assist.
ABC has a new offering a few hrs aboard your boat w an e experienced instructor to assist w "new" boat owners... if available and the right person it might help.
Was it surveyed... the/ a surveyor should be able to explain the systems in detail.
Before engaging help suggest Take several days and go through it system by system... note what you know / find and questions before engaging others.
A Capt could be helpful if familiar w your type boat and/or if you need help re handling the "new" boat.
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Old 05-09-2019, 09:11 AM   #4
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My experience so far is you need 20 hrs general advice for every hour of solid advice.....not hard numbers just a guess.


Some of the worst advisors I have come across are in the USCGAUX and similar organizations that breed power trippers. There are definitely good ones, but their uniforms, title or position doesn't mean crappola.


Same with posts here. Most contain a kernal of fact/truth..... But often leave out important points. So read them all, investigate all leads but there is rarely one oinion, one way of doing anything, one rue, one fact, one oil, one anything that covers all basis.


Some here and around the docks have been boating all their lives....they still know so little. Their views are full of opinions based and little real world experience.


Read lots, believe little till you have verified beyond a shadow of doubt.


Often the old salt who sits back and let's the wannabe helpers swarm around you may be the best source of info. He/she won't tell you what is "fact"....but they will explain the concept and point you in several directions that will reliably support the answer you are looking for.
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Old 05-09-2019, 09:18 AM   #5
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If you lived on sailboats in the past, you probably have already seen 80% of what is in a trawler. A lot of what is different about trawlers will be specific to the boat.

Trawlers can have twin engines or singles with a bow thruster and that is different from a sailboat. And maybe a genset as well. Also you probably have two helms to deal with.

These are fairly straightforward to deal with. One issue that you may not have faced with sailboats is keeping the start and house batteries isolated as well as charged. I remember our first trawler, a new Mainship 34T we bought after owning several cruising sailboats and living aboard one of them. The first night out I ran down the starting battery as I wasn't familiar with the DC system on that new boat. Fortunately I was able to disconnect the bow thruster battery and jumper it over to the starter and got the engine started.
That is the sort of thing you may have to deal with and maybe the best way is to stay close to home base until you figure it all out. Spend a few nights at anchor in Offats Bayou, Double Bayou or Redfish Island. You will be surrounded with boaters who can help with most problems and Sea Tow or TowBoatUS is a VHF or phone call away.

These electrical details are often boat specific and unless you find a real pro like a delivery skipper who has run dozens of boats, I don't think hiring a coach will be all that effective. Maybe hiring a marine electrician for an hour or two to run down of systems would be better.


Psneeld made a very cogent observation above: 1 hour of specific (and accurate) advice is worth 20 of general advice (and often flawed).


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Old 05-09-2019, 09:30 AM   #6
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Welcome to the forum.

What exactly are you buying, power plant etc.?
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Old 05-09-2019, 09:33 AM   #7
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I'm definitely going to sticking close to dock area for a while until I am comfortable going out farther.

I do recognize(and remember) a lot of the small tricks I learned from being on a sailboat. The big difference is maneuvering/electrical regarding the things that I am still trying to ramp up to. I acknowledge every boat is different, but I can figure out those small differences as I go. It's mainly the large components I'm wanting to fully grasp from another more seasoned trawler owner.
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Old 05-09-2019, 09:38 AM   #8
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Carry good liability insurance for as much as you can afford before you get started.

Leaving and navigating around docks will be the most difficult part. Spend a solid day just practicing in a quiet cove. I measured my slip and the approach and recreated it in a quiet part of the bay with pool noodles. A bit much? Yes but after a whole day's practice I had it down.
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Old 05-09-2019, 09:38 AM   #9
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I'm looking to buy a 79 Albin Trawler(43 ft) if all goes well, because it's just my wife and a dog joining me on the boat. We don't want kids, and we both make decent money. We both like a simple life style, and we HATED owning a house. Not to say a boat isn't a lot of work, but it's a lifestyle that I always liked.
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Old 05-09-2019, 10:06 AM   #10
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Welcome aboard and hope you and the wife enjoy the lifestyle. A 50 yr old boat will keep you busy for some time. And you will figure it all out soon enough. Assuming your both still working, cruising long distance is not gonna happen anytime soon. But getting information from people who never leave the dock is pretty much worthless.
Be careful using the term “Liveaboard”, insurance companies dont like that term. Full time cruisers may work better for ya. Lots of blogs, vlogs and a wealth of information here will help you, as long as your able to filter, you’ll do fine.
Take one day at a time, enjoy the experience and remain positive.
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Old 05-09-2019, 10:09 AM   #11
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I think I found the boat you are considering here on Yachtworld: https://www.yachtworld.com/boats/197...dard%20listing


Twin Lehmans, genset, air conditioning, no teak decks (yayyy!), great looking engine room. Looks like a good deal.


Like I said in a previous post, DC battery banks in a trawler, particularly one with twins can get a bit squirrely. First go over it with your surveyor and then if there are still concerns get a marine electrician to look at it and discuss improvements if needed.



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Old 05-09-2019, 10:15 AM   #12
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Yeah, that's the one I'm looking at. Writing up the paper-work now to get it under contract. I'm paying for all the surveys to make sure it doesn't have any unwarranted surprises. The batteries in this one were just replaced when I spoke to the owner, and they appear to be semi-new. The surveyor will be able to verify if there are any issues(I hope), that's what he's paid for anyway.

I've also been told when insuring the boat to avoid the term "liveaboard" like the plague. Even getting the loan is a touchy word.
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Old 05-09-2019, 10:49 AM   #13
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Welcome. I agree with David that if you have lived on sailboats, you already know most of what you will need to know for the trawler. The primary difference that I found going from sailboats to a trawler was the complexity of the systems. I don't have twins so that is a whole other set of issues. My approach was to use a system by system approach to leaning the boat (and I'm still learning now going into my 4th year). Power, transmissions, electrical, plumbing, helm, electronics, will all be bigger and more complex than what you are used to, but nothing is really difficult. Anything you don't understand, you can usually quickly find out from a professional. I've learned a ton from Trawler forum. Lots of very bright folks here with decades of experience.
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Old 05-09-2019, 10:52 AM   #14
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Where do you live OP ?
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Old 05-09-2019, 03:25 PM   #15
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Beautiful boat and the price looks right (pending survey)I'm curious about the window air conditioner and the roll about heater and portable air unit? Doesn't it have a reverse marine air unit? It should have at least one, probably should have 2. Not cheap but not a deal breaker, more like a bargaining point. Installing new ones will cost 2 - 3 boating units per A/C, replacing existing units for half that.

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Old 05-09-2019, 04:35 PM   #16
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$55K is a great deal if the boat is as good as the pictures make it look to me. When I was shopping 12 years ago the really ratty 40 footers we're asking that. Never saw a 43 under 80K at the time.
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Old 05-09-2019, 04:49 PM   #17
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Welcome aboard and good luck with your new boat, hope it works out for you.
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Old 05-09-2019, 05:16 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trawlerx07 View Post
My wife and I are finalizing our first boat purchase in which we will be living aboard. I've lived on sailboats and have used many boats in the past but nothing quite as large as a Trawler.

Any advice going forward?
How did all of you get used to all the controls/gauges/switches?
I've considered just finding someone with more experience and compensating them to show me some of the ropes. Does that sounds like a solid approach?

Any input would be appreciated, thanks!

Wife and I are still < 30, so we will have years to come if she's okay with the lifestyle.
If you are unfamiliar with a twin engine powerboat, reward yourself and hire a boat handling instructor. A good instructor will go over your mechanical, electrical and electronics with you describing their function and maintenance requirements in addition to making you a good boat driver. They will also give you some pointers in case of failure of the more critical systems.

Make sure the trainer is a USCG licensed captain - ask to see the license. Check with your insurance broker for recommendations and if you will qualify for a lower rate after the training. Contact previous clients to verify the captains instructing proficiency and demeanor. There are many USCG licensed captains. Most are in the commercial sector. Not many captains have the communication skills, knowledge, patience and pleasure boating experience to train a novice boater.

Expect to spend a minimum of 8 hours (hopefully not in one session) actually behind the wheel practicing docking and other maneuvers. Ideally the mornings are spent docking when the wind is light and the afternoon is devoted to going over the boats systems, handling emergencies and other "book learning". 16 hous total training is typical, 10 to 12 hours practicing handling and 4 to 6 on systems depending on the boat owners proficiency and the complexity of the boat. Avoid the instructors that have the same preplanned program for all clients irregardless of the clients experience or boat.

Do not use the excuse that training is too expensive. You just bought a boat, you have no problem spending thousands on electronics, dinghy, canvas and other frills immediately after buying the boat, but refuse to spend money on becoming a better boat driver. Most males will refuse training because of their ego or cheapness. Then they embarrass themselves docking poorly or experience railing benders. Eventually the insurance claims pile up and premiums rise. Boat owner gets frustrated or wife refuses to be on boat and the boat owner becomes a RV owner or worse.
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Old 05-09-2019, 08:03 PM   #19
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Some surveyors also hire out as teaching and delivery captains. It would be worth checking into because he/she will already be intimately familiar with the boat's systems. Make sure to select someone who is comfortable with you looking over his or her shoulder during the survey and not only will you learn a lot in the process but you will get a good idea as to whether you would enjoy spending time on the water learning from them.
In my experience the number of knowledgeable and pleasant cruisers outnumber the obnoxious blow hards but you will find plenty of each just like anywhere else in life. Anyone who wears clothing with ”Captain” or "Skipper" on it or refers to themselves as Captain regardless of credendials puts me on edge (unless they an active duty officer of course).
Best of luck on your new adventure.
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Old 05-10-2019, 06:13 AM   #20
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"I'm definitely going to sticking close to dock area for a while until I am comfortable going out farther."

Out a bit further would be wise , docking differences will be the shill that require the most learning .

Your sailboat probably did not blow sideways much , the shallow draft and more exposed hull and deck house of apower boat will change docking.
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