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Old 01-19-2022, 03:34 PM   #1
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Need Advice and Help with trawler purchase

Live in Colorado and looking for a "vacation" boat to cruise the west coast of FL with occasional longer trips to the Bahamas, Keys, and maybe beyond in the coming years. Looking for 39 to 44 ft coastal cruiser that can make short ocean crossings to the islands. Have a budget of $125+ but would like to spend under 100K.

1. Should I wait until late 2022 or 2023 for prices to come down and inventory to go up?
2. Brokers seem to want me to look, is there anyone out there who can help look for a good deal?
3. What are must have's?
4. I read stuff to stay away from this brand or that one, in these or those years? What is good solid, good layout, good engines? Thinking late 80's to early 90's.
5. Boat Insurance? Seems like anything near 30 to 40 years old is going to tough to insure? Tips?
6. Are marinas mostly full? Read a couple article as such? True or false?

Thank you been lurking for a couple of months and keep coming back to this site with it's wealth of info.
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Old 01-19-2022, 04:37 PM   #2
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My advise on the information you provided, "vacation" and "occasional", would be to do some charter boats for awhile. You will find out all you need to know about what boats will satisfy your needs by this method. It will probably save you a ton of money in the long run.
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Old 01-19-2022, 05:36 PM   #3
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Welcome aboard. There is a company in SW Florida that charters trawlers. It depends on how often you will be using the boat. If it is only once or twice a year then chartering may be the way to go. If you are going to buy then there are lots of things to think about. Insurance is a big one, age of the boat and experience of the owner. Chartering would help some with the experience part. Also being an owner in Colorado and the boat being in Florida you will likely have to have someone contracted to check on the boat regularly. If you are only going to be using it infrequently then dry storage may be a possibility. They launch when you need it and block it ashore when you are gone. Maybe take a vacation and visit some brokers and look at boats to get an idea what you want. Maybe a TrawlerFest. Good luck.
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Old 01-19-2022, 05:47 PM   #4
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I have thought about this and it's a good idea but I haven't been able to find many places that rent bareboat trawlers in FL? Any references or referrals appreciated.

And planning on attending Trawlerfest in Stuat FL this March.
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Old 01-19-2022, 05:49 PM   #5
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I think the name is something like Southwest Florida Yacht Charters, maybe. No affiliation.
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Old 01-19-2022, 05:55 PM   #6
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I lived aboard my Willard 36 in San Francisco for years. When I took a job in management consulting, I ended up traveling weekly. I worked mostly in financial services so Wall Street type clients. Since I could travel home anywhere I wanted, plan was to buy in Florida to avoid taxes (love Florida) , use the boat as a getaway in SF at least a couple times a quarter.

Sounds great but was a total failure. I didn't get to SF nearly as much as I wanted, and boat needed more TLC than I had time to provide. Boat slowly fell into disrepair. It was a fine flop house, but that's it. Even that wasn't always great. One weekend we arrived about 10pm only to find the boat had had a family of rats living aboard that really did some damage. Thank goodness for Marriott points and status because that's where we spent the weekend in between cleanup and finding upholstery shops. What a mess.

I also have a cabin in Colorado (outside Woodland Park). Had a similar plan there too. Issue is rental cars get expensive, and unless you spend a lot of time there, it can be a PITA. I write a lot of checks to insurance agencies.

For the last 5 of 15 years, we've spent summers in Colorado so it's worked out well. Boat is now in Ensenada finishing a refit at a ridiculous cost.

Boating is a passion, but it's also a disease. It causes irrational behavior. A 36-ish boat will cost a minimum of $15k a year for slip, diving, insurance, etc. (not including purchase). Whether boat is $100k or $500k, that's the table stakes. That's before you turn the key. God forbid if it's a stormy hurricane season. That buys a lot of nights at a Marriott of that's your goal.

I don't mean to dissuade you, but buying a boat is a crazy idea in the first place. Doing so with 2000 miles between you and the boat elevates the insanity. But if your dream is a vacation home that needs 5-days of constant work each time you arrive coupled with a lofty credit card limit, you can do no better than to buy a boat in Florida when you live in Colorado.

I'm usually pretty encouraging to folks with a dream. Not feeling it on this one.

Peter

Edit: definitely charter a couple times to see if it's lust or love. You'll also have a better idea of what your must-have are. Aft cabin for more sleeping space, or sedan style for more hangaround space. Florida is fine, but there are many other places to charter. Big decision is whether lifestyle is worth the sacrifice.
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Old 01-19-2022, 06:01 PM   #7
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Maybe looking into one of these "Boat Share" programs would be a good fit.


https://carefreeboats.com/


https://www.discoverboating.com/boat...o-peer-rentals


https://www.nauticalmonkey.com/


https://www.freedomboatclub.com/
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Old 01-19-2022, 06:13 PM   #8
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Greetings,
Welcome aboard. Mr. VB I was all set to sell you OUR boat but as above, cooler heads prevailed. Good advice, thus far. Charter or time share (Time share NOT the best idea IMO but it IS an option). Get your feet wet-not literally.


-Prices may not go down or inventory go up.
-A "good deal" is what you are willing to pay for a boat that will fulfill your wants/desires/needs.
-Almost impossible to generalize as to best brand. Each boat should be judged on it's individual merits and/or shortcomings and there is NO best boat. EVERY boat is a compromise. It all comes down to maintenance IMO.
-If you're set on buying in the near future, the first thing you should do is look for insurance and a marina. If you're 2 or 3 years out from buying, start looking now. Not only for a suitable marina but a suitable location from which to start your island adventures.
-Look at boats. Talk to owners, walk the docks etc.
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Old 01-19-2022, 06:41 PM   #9
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You've already gotten a lot of input on chartering and sharing. I don't know if you've chartered before, if not it is a good idea to make sure you want to commit to ownership. IF you decide to purchase a boat there are plethora of good choices in that size range. What is important is to buy a well maintained boat. No matter what brand a poorly maintained boat will cost you a lot more money. If you are a remote owner you want to focus on lower maintenance boats. This means minimum (or no) exterior wood. I'd avoid teak decks and teak windows and doors since these are weak points if maintenance slips. There are lots of opinions on brands, keep in mind what you really will use the boat for and having one fit for purpose.
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Old 01-19-2022, 08:58 PM   #10
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Great information folks, really appreciate it. To clarify, the plan is to start working on my semi-retirement plan and slowly transition to about 1/2 the year on a boat, might dry dock it for a few months over summer and get annual maintenance done? I am a consulting arborist so most of the summer here in Colorado and then most of the winter on the boat. Maybe...all depends on how my employees step up.

And yes, chartering is probably a great idea to get a better idea of what i want and to scratch that itch until I start throwing away serious money owning one. LOL

And yes, I was counting on 20 - 25K per year for annual costs, 15 would be great! Gotta pay to play, right? My motorcycles, sleds, ATV's, and other toys cost as well, that's the game.

Chartering for a month or so a year sounds like a great way to get going with nothing invested or lost... Great suggestions.

Rats, why did someone have to bring that up, I hate rats.....
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Old 01-21-2022, 10:39 AM   #11
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I'll add my 2 cents to the original poster on a few things. Take this with a grain of salt!

1. re: waiting, we are in a similar position, maybe even earlier in our journey. I think whether to wait or go for it depends on your time frame and how comfortable you are with waiting. Like RVs, a LOT of people bought boats during the pandemic. For how many people those toys 'stick' is an open question and it might be related to how quickly things normalize (seems awfully slow right now, but we are at the peak of omicron at least here in Seattle). It may take longer for the 'good idea but not for me' people to let go of their boat if things drag out (who knows?!), but eventually I do think there will be a surplus of boats - then the question is whether there's a surplus of the boat you want to buy.

2. Re: brokers, people who only make money when they sell you something always want you to 'look now' - I know that sounds cynical but it's true. It really doesn't sound like there are many good deals right now. Personally, I'd look, but be super, super patient and expect the search to take a long, long time. I think the balance is patience:want ratio. Not sure where our threshold is yet, but probably a few years at least.

3. Marinas full...not sure about where you are but here in the pacific northwest, undoubtedly yes. Timing and patience here again seems like it is key.

Good luck! These newbie questions are super interesting to me since we are in the same boat, figuratively.
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Old 01-21-2022, 12:28 PM   #12
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Marinas in SE Fla. are mostly full. I have 3 waiting to go aboard a ship out of Palm Beach. One is in Stuart, Fl., behind a friend's house and 2 in Bahia Mar in Ft. Lauderdale.
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Old 01-24-2022, 11:28 AM   #13
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Huruta,
Several boats I've been watching have been reduced in price recently. Maybe the downward trend is beginning? Economic and asset markets tend to "hold their position" in times of uncertainity. The RE market here in Colorado is an example of that, but home prices have slowed the increase and maybe dipped a bit this fall/winter. Maybe the price increases were due to overly enthusiastic sellers wanting to capalize on the market? It appears a correction is starting? MAYBE? Keep in touch, I'm looking Florida and curious what the boat markets are doing across the country. But for $12,000 to transport a boat from CA to the gulf, that market is out of my market.
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Old 01-24-2022, 05:06 PM   #14
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VanBrudenship,

Good to know. I guess time will tell. I wonder if increases interest rates will dampen prices and inventory. We'd pay cash so it won't affect us, but if it reduces purchasing broadly then things could open up. Our home in Seattle keeps going up at a crazy rate - it always dips for a month or two in winter and then just takes off like a train in the spring. I'm not sure what that means for boats in Seattle where there are more boats and more buyers than a lot of places. Going to Seattle Boat Show, which should be fun and informative. As a complete newbie and one of the reasons we haven't "jumped" is that it's a fair amount of cash outlay for a hobby that we don't have a background in....will we really love it or will we be one of the "nice try, but not our gig" people? I think there's high potential we'd really love it, but it still feels like a big jump. Saw a friend's boat (1980 something 36 CHB trawler) this weekend....it was SO COOL, but think we want something a bit faster (it's 8 knots)...maybe a small Ranger tug? Not sure. Anyway, like the idea of keeping in touch.
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Old 01-25-2022, 07:12 AM   #15
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"And yes, chartering is probably a great idea to get a better idea of what i want and to scratch that itch until I start throwing away serious money owning one."

The more boats you get to see the more your desirements will firm up.

Visit boat shows. walk the docks and be sure to start with looking at smaller rather than big boats .

Craigs list, or fixer uppers may be ghastly , but will still show dimensions and have some good ideas.

Remember speed is Very expensive , unless the boat is under 30 ft or so.

Gasoline boats are a great start, cheap to buy and keep.

For over 1000 hours a year diesel is still more expensive, but may have longer range.

Knowledge is Power! Start getting up to speed.
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Old 01-25-2022, 03:17 PM   #16
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I see in your first post you asked what were MUSTS.
The challenge is that is your job to define musts, wants and dont wants.
I recommend defining, actually committing it to writing helps, how you intend to use the boat and then list what you believe are musts, wants and don't want.
If a SO in the picture I recommend having them do the same separately and then compare, combine & compromise.
OK to modify as you go, learn more and talk to others. Having it should help keep clarity and rank various boats you get to see / explore.
When you walk the docks talking to others and looking at boats it helps to inquire about their cruising style along with what they like / dislike about their boat. If their cruising style is different than yours their musts & likes may have little bearing on whether they will work for you.
Good luck with the search and make them search fun vs a chore... mini vacations, charters, boat shows, trawler fests can be enjoyable and educational.
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Old 01-25-2022, 04:52 PM   #17
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VanBrudenship,

We lived in the Denver area for about 12 years all the time having a boat in Florida. We moved to Denver from the Fort Lauderdale area for work and had a boat when we lived in FTL and kept her but eventually moved her to the Tarpon Springs area. At that time we had a 31' express with a V berth, a small galley/dining/salon area, and a small head. The head was a wet head, so we rarely used the shower opting to take advantage of the marina facilities. We would get out of the Denver cold and come spend time on the boat whenever we could and when work allowed. It didn't take long for us to realize that the 31 was very cozy, so we upgraded to a 44' CPMY.

This one had 2 staterooms 2 heads each with separate showers, a reasonably comfortable salon, and a galley. It was very comfortable and we would spend as much as 3 months at a time on her. We had enough space to accommodate guests for several days and everyone was comfortable. We had her in a marina in St Petersburg that was convenient. My job evolved to the point that I was mostly traveling so as long as I had access to a good airport I was good.

I managed to retire a couple of years ago, we moved back to the Tampa Bay area and we sold that 44 and recently purchased what we think will be our last vessel - a 44 trawler. This one has a similar layout to the last one except that it has a lower helm in addition to the flybridge and a walk-in engine room. The previous boat only had a flybridge and if we got into some bad weather I was totally exposed to the elements. The engines in the last one were shoehorned into a space below the salon floor. I do most of the maintenance, hiring people when needed for complicated things, so the access to the engines is wonderful. In addition, the trawler is much more fuel-efficient and more stable in rougher water partly due to the basic hull design and partly because it has stabilizers. Yes, the trawler is a slow boat, but did I say that I am retired. We have more time to enjoy the cruising life. The trawler has about twice the fuel capacity and probably 4 to 5 times more range. Our plan is to spend a little time getting used to this one and cruise the south Florida area then do the loop in the next year or two.

I guess that my point with this long-winded story is that over time our wants changed and there are a lot of variables to consider. We were lucky in that when we were away from the boat the dock masters and live abords at our marinas looked out for us. We made a point of acknowledging the marina people and treating them well especially at Christmas. At least in the area we are now - the Tampa Bay area - it is getting to be really hard to find marinas that allow liveaboard, not to mention just finding a slip has become a challenge. We have had different vessels over time each with a different layout and function. We kept each long enough so that the upgrade and change weren't too noticeable financially.

Depending on your ability to spend time on your boat the option of charting seems like a really good one to try different styles and help define your likes, dislikes, and wishes. There is a lot to consider and everyone is different.
If you would like to hear more feel free to PM me and the Admiral and I would be happy to share our $0.02 worth.

Good luck and we hope that you find the perfect vessel.
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Old 01-25-2022, 08:00 PM   #18
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SW Florida charters-
https://www.swfyachts.com/
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Old 01-28-2022, 02:49 PM   #19
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All good advice by others. I'll add one more idea: Looper Crawls

I have been signed up to 2 other forums like this one. All of them are excellent. The AGLCA forum (members only) is excellent, they would welcome you as members. They have 2-3 "Rendezvous" events each year. Generally, spring in VA, and Fall in AL... where most of the Looper fleets are. This month they added a third one in Ft Myers due to popular demand that basically doubled up the geographical content of the Fall Rendezvous.

A bit more than half of the attendees at these conference-like events are "Planners" folks with or without boats who are planning to do The Loop at some point in the next few years.

One of the most popular "events" or parts of the Rendezvous are the "Looper Crawls". Usually a dozen or more Loopers open up their boat for "visiting hours" where you can tour several different types of cruisers/boats. There was also a break out Panel Discussion featuring 4 couples who each had different types of boats, which we were a part of to tell about our Mainship 390. Many planners said the cost and time invested in the Rendezvous was worth it for the Looper Crawls alone.

Yacht Insurance was another popular break out session... given by one of the brokers who specialize in yacht insurance... a fellow who is a USCG Master himself.

As the registrations for these things fill up quickly, I would recommend signing up to be a member and watch closely so you can pounce on the online registration when it comes. We were originally rejected, but then due to cancellations, we got "in" with room at the hotel/lodge. Then we were informed that a slip opened up too!!! So we obviously simply stayed on the boat. In other words, don't give up if you do not initially get "in".

I have not yet been to a "TrawlerFest" ... (different organization) but I hear those are great too!

Good Luck!
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Old 01-28-2022, 03:34 PM   #20
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I live in Colorado and would love to meet up. Interested ?
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