I'm new here and thanks in advance for all the great posts many of you have made, I've read up here and there already. My family and I are boaters, but just smaller runabout types. My wife and I along with our two kids (14 and 11) currently keep a Stingray 220DS sterndrive, for family lake fun. This of course does not make me anything close to even a nautical light-weight. But I've been a boat owner, partial self-maintainer and purchaser of maintenance and upgrade service for about 12 years.
Some background on why I am looking at a Trawler: My work takes me to the San Francisco bay quite a bit. Traffic in the area is horrible and getting to and from this remote work location will involve about 1 to 2 days a week in a hotel, or in a boat of course. I was originally looking at buying a condo or even a mobile home as an investment that can also be used by myself when I need to. But really, what my chosen budget allows and what's available in this area are somewhat not a match. Doable, but not happy with what's on offer. This led me to speak with a number of colleagues who, not much to my surprise, also have sailboats and trawlers and stay on them, one to several days a month. Then on other occasions they bring family out for multi day cruises. Yeah, I could probably say buying a condo is a better investment but truly, not in this economy. Prices are so inflated, its bound to pop soon. The marinas I'm looking at are darn near walking distance to my work except it's really busy and probably not an enjoyable walk (meaning easy Lyft or Uber). Plus, when I'm on my death bed, I'd rather jokingly say I wasted too much cash on boating than wish I had made a move to really live a life, like boating of this type potentially offers.
My wife is not keen on sailing. She likes the idea of a familiar powerboat situation but with stability, shower / privacy, living space and convenience. This led us to looking at trawlers. Our budget realistically would be about 65K on purchase without having to stretch. The local rates for slips, insurance, modest fuel / oil burn, haul out every 2 years and hull cleaning every month have been factored in. I look at fuel costs to cruise as being a resort fee and don't concern me unless I was going to have to burn 40 gallons an hour to cruise - and for that I'm not interested in burning the fuel for environmental reasons. The main goal is to have a part time stay aboard that can also efficiently cruise on family outings for a few days every two months or so. Then also, go for a 2 hour out and back twice a month between family trips, just for fun and to keep the engine and systems happy (or unhappy systems get a chance to speak up when I can get them fixed, before we have a scheduled outing).
What I have not factored in are realistic upkeep and maintenance costs. I read a thread here
on this forum discussing the real costs of ownership. Reminds me of aircraft ownership, something I'm familiar with. But I'm interested in knowing how often to "expect" maintenance surprises that go above a few hundred bucks or into the thousands, at a time. While I'm very familiar with aviation small runabout boat ownership, I'm pretty new on the larger (to me) trawlers.
The big question right now is in the shopping of such an investment.
1) In the SF Bay, it seems a good way to be budget minded is to limit a purchase to a semi close area to avoid shipping. But that really limits the draw and potential options on what's really out there. I see a lot of nice prospects as far as Portland or Seattle or even BC. What is a ball park estimate on hiring a seasoned captain to help in a post-purchase cruise from say Seattle to San Francisco? How much would an endeavor like that cost (operating costs plus hiring out plus their costs) vs putting it with a marine shipping company?
2) I can be somewhat picky but I'm not wasteful in what I need. I want a solid boat though. I don't need advanced electronics, I'm not navigating so much as staying on it and cruising in a moderately fair weather region. I do not want a project and do not want a leaky boat. What are the red flags to look for on surveys? I see mentions like teak wood (teak rhymes with leak, but does it really?) and "intrusion" which means to me soft structure and replace large structural areas.
3) Should I go with brokers and pay for the experience to offset my inexperience they offer, albeit at a pricey fee?
4) Is 32' big enough to keep 2 adults and 2 teems comfortable for at least 3 or 4 days? Is 32' big enough for a married couple for a week? I don't want to fall into the classic trap of size envy. I probably don't "need" 40' but one colleague of mine has a 42' and does say he enjoys the extra room.
That's enough of me going on and begging for experience for a day. I truly appreciate any thoughts though, and am grateful in advance for the chance to chat with many of you!