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PacNWdreamin 12-04-2020 07:01 PM

Desert Rat - PacNW boating hopeful - Adventure Always
First time posting, novice in boating.... so be gentle.

I am interested in getting into boating and after 6 years in WA. Long time camper who now feels the pull to explore our Puget Sound / San Juan waters. I have done so in a friends boat, but am contemplating the leap for my family of 4. Ultimately we would like to spend nights away exploring and enjoy our beautiful state.

Any thoughts or insights you have for a hopeful enthusiast, on boat recommendations or anything else would be appreciated. I dont want to buy our dream boat at this time, but something my family and I can make memories with (camping, exploring, fishing, etc). Thanks again to this community and what you all provide.

Comodave 12-04-2020 07:36 PM

Welcome aboard. Good luck in your search.

ghost 12-05-2020 01:00 AM

Get out there and start exploring safely. Iíve been fortunate to spend a few decades in the neighborhood in boats from 20 to 50 feet. They were all fun in different ways and we still very much treasure the memories from a 23í Penn Yan that took us everywhere for a number of years early on.

What are your parameters?

Your first boat likely wonít wind up being the perfect boat for you, so buy something you can get your money back out of. Turn key is usually the most economical over a project, but all boats require keeping up with projects.

Spinner 12-05-2020 04:19 AM

It sounds like you already have a list of basic needs - this is what I deduce from your description:

Sleeps 2 adults plus 2 children
Cooking facilities (propane)
Dinghy so you can go ashore
Some kind of heat is almost a year around requirement
- A/C is not needed in these waters -
Adequate ground tackle (anchor, windlass, ample rode)

Remaining questions:

1. Do you want to trailer, keep in dry storage (like Dagmars in Everett) or keep it moored at a marina dock
2. What’s your budget?
3. What’s your maintenance/upgrade budget?
4. How fast do you want/need to go (slower is cheaper��)
5. Plan to fish from onboard?
6. Anything else?

Answer these remaining questions, maybe add stuff I left off, and you will have a good start for looking for your boat.

firehoser75 12-05-2020 12:03 PM

Sue is right on. Unfortunately you provided too little info or detail for anyone to give meaningful opinions on.
My advice is look at "Boat Search 101" on this forum. Search for other first timer boat search questions and read the suggestions given.
Make lists. Start with figuring out how you plan to use the boat and what you want it to be able to do (including Sue's remaining questions)? Example: short trips of maybe weekends, or long trips like the full summer onboard?

Then list of features: must haves, nice to haves, and DO NOT WANT.

If you take the time to do this, it will start to become clear what type of boat best fits you and your family. From there, start the actual search of the market to find the best fit. Also, on used boats, past maintenance is very important unless you don't mind either a lot of work or a relatively large added expense. Look for a boat that has been "loved" by previous owners :)

NwWaters 12-05-2020 01:03 PM

You may want to join some of the Facebook groups about boating in Pacific northwest, (Puget Sound Boating, PNW Boats) there is a group for boating with kids too, and look at the type of boating people do in the area, where they keep they boats and the boats they have. Happy to talk about our experiences.

porman 12-05-2020 01:59 PM

Greetings. Our family started off tent camping on the Columbia river. After a couple years we got a small boat to use on the river. Now it's 30 years and 6 boats later. We live pretty close to you. If you like, send me a PM with your phone number and we can talk. I wish I could invite you over, but with Covid we really aren't seeing anyone right now. I hope that will change this Spring or Summer.

Moonfish 12-05-2020 03:36 PM

You're going to have fun on this journey!

As my good friend Bob Bitchin would say, "Don't dream your life, live your dream!"

Pete Meisinger 12-05-2020 03:44 PM

What are the age and gender of the kids? If they are younger than about 8 they can share a V-berth regardless of gender. If they are over 8 but not yet really teenagers you will have to make accommodations for them for separate sleeping quarters. If they are true teenagers, don't worry about it, they will be abandoning ship within the next year or so.


Nomad Willy 12-05-2020 05:58 PM

The OP mentions camping many times so I don’t think they are looking for a typical trawler.

Probably more like a SeaDory.

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