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Old 10-11-2021, 02:08 PM   #1
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Best Education for getting my 1st Boat

Hello everyone. I just wanted to throw out this on-the-board question. I have been on boats as a passenger and acting 1st mate during a sailing adventure in the Caribbean islands. So I am green but not the greenest! I am thinking of getting a small trawler that is 32 to 40 feet. Staying intercoastal, maybe the Bahamas, but mostly want one to learn on. Also, would like to know some great instructors, classes etc in the SE US. Any online instruction would be nice as well. I understand there is nothing better than an on-the-water experience, but I would like to get less green and more experienced before I buy.

Any input or ideas on vessels that I should look toward. I have no kids, dogs, and a wife that says she will help! Thanks in advance for any tips! The budget will be 35k to 150k and assume 10% a year repair budget or higher.
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Old 10-11-2021, 02:34 PM   #2
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Welcome aboard. Both the CG Auxiliary and the Power Squadron offer online and in person classes. I recommend that both you and your wife attend together so you will have a common base of knowledge. Then maybe rent a trawler for a week or so. The rental agency will probably have some training before they turn you loose with one of their boats. I have no personal experience with South West Florida Charters, or something like that, but have read that they do training as well as charters. As to what boat to buy, there are so many different ones I wouldn’t know where to begin. Look into Trawler Fest, they have classes and usually boat tours of attendees boats. Good luck.
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Old 10-11-2021, 02:36 PM   #3
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Google up America's Boating Club. Join and learn. Also check out the US Coast Guard Auxiliary courses.
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Old 10-11-2021, 02:57 PM   #4
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I will second Rich & Daves recommendations. I'm more familiar with (USPS) Americas Boating Club courses but both are good. Some ABC chapters have embraced and offer some o` the water teaing at least as part of their courses. The additional benefit of joining is you & wife immediately expand your network of experienced people with similar interests. Many times there are some looking for a crew for a cruise.
Renting can also provide some training and insight re what works / doesn't for your style of boating.
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Old 10-11-2021, 03:10 PM   #5
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Yep --classes are good (we did Colgate Sailing school among others) but in my opinion nothing beats bareboat chartering and rental for developing a sense of what you like and don't like in boats. Layout, type, size, twins or single - and whether you even want to be a serious boater, rather than a casual weekender. Whether a married couple love the (bigger) boating life, or be driven to divorce. Classes are good, but nothing beats getting out there to give you an education.
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