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Old 07-22-2021, 04:08 PM   #1
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Total noob to boating

We recently got an RV and keep finding ourselves at places where thereís nice boating, so Iím here to mostly lurk and try to learn about boating and maybe get ideas on what we should get. (Kayaks come to mind first but honestly I donít fancy the relative lack of stability in a kayak, if Iím going to end up in the water I want it to be because I went swimming.)

Iím a semi-regular lurker over on Cruisers Forum, which is how I learned about this forum. Ultimately my fiancť and I are thinking seriously about a boat - I was thinking sail but power has some advantages too - as an eventual replacement for our RV, if we decide we like boating and can stand being in a small space with each other all the time. But thatís years off. We both have a little experience sailing but not as captain, so there is a lot we need to learn about navigating and safety and so on.

For right now my absolute ideal boat would be one that can hold 3 people and a 125lb dog for casual cruising around small to medium lakes and rivers (we live in the Pittsburgh area so lots of rivers) and does NOT need to be trailered - we pull our car behind the RV now so our towing Ďspotí is taken. So I want something that can go on the roof or inside the car. (Itís a Honda Element so there is a fair amount of interior space for something that is bulky but not long. I keep trying to figure out, for example, if a nesting dinghy would fit nested.)

Iím not at all certain such a thing exists, mind you, so weíll just see how things go. I might have to give in and try kayaking anyway. (I canít picture our dog in a kayak either - at 125lb if he decides to shift around a lot I can just picture the kayak going Ďflipí and into the drink with him and whomever is with him.)

Anyway, Iím off to lurk.
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Old 07-22-2021, 04:24 PM   #2
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This one is a hard call and most won't have an experience in your scenario. I tried looking at big inflatable boats, then I remember what my 9 1/2 foot RIB weighed, and it comes in at 120 pounds. So a boat to fit your bill will be heavier, so getting it up and down is a real issue, and I haven't begun to discuss the weight and moving challenges of a motor to accommodate the boat.
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Old 07-22-2021, 04:51 PM   #3
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Boating Education

I certainly do not want to interfere with your progress, but I would certainly urge you to take a boating course with the U.S. Power Squadron or the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. The course selection with the U.S. Power Squadron is more geared towards the reactional boater, and they an excellent number of advanced courses. (the USCG is a military organization and their e
classes reflect that)
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Old 07-22-2021, 05:04 PM   #4
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I'd suggest an inflatable boat that rolls up when deflated. Maybe 12 ft, with a 20 hp outboard. Stable, versatile and portable. Get a good 12v electric pump to inflate/deflate.

There are also tripping canoes that will quite comfortably accommodate 3 plus a large dog. Or one canoe and one kayak.
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Old 07-22-2021, 05:13 PM   #5
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+1 for starting with USPS, ABC, USCG courses.
You will not only learn somethings about boating but will greatly expand your network of people with similar interests.
Some might appreciate or welcome a hand for chores or for a day cruise where you will get to talk about their likes, dislikes, experiences, etc which will help you narrow your target.
We do both MH and boat, have carried a conoe on a van camper, towed a fishing boat behind a MH, carried a folding boat atop a toad and separated the two... boat in summer, MH (south) in winter.
Your choice so only you can decide.
One option is to rent boats, kayaks, fishing boats etc. while RVing. It's a way to boat and see different areas and experiment to see what peaks your interests...
White water rafting is another option to try even if it doesn't end up as your long term goal.
I like to suggest people write down their likes, dislikes absolute ideal to explore the opportunities but do this separately THEN compare notes to find common ground and compromise (aka... just do it her way!)
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Old 07-22-2021, 05:24 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by rsn48 View Post
This one is a hard call and most won't have an experience in your scenario. I tried looking at big inflatable boats, then I remember what my 9 1/2 foot RIB weighed, and it comes in at 120 pounds. So a boat to fit your bill will be heavier, so getting it up and down is a real issue, and I haven't begun to discuss the weight and moving challenges of a motor to accommodate the boat.
If itís inflatable we could deflate it and put it in the Element potentially? Although I am not sure about the combination of inflatable and dog nails? I might be overly concerned but I just imagine him shifting and digging his claws in and *pop*
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Old 07-22-2021, 05:29 PM   #7
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I certainly do not want to interfere with your progress, but I would certainly urge you to take a boating course with the U.S. Power Squadron or the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. The course selection with the U.S. Power Squadron is more geared towards the reactional boater, and they an excellent number of advanced courses. (the USCG is a military organization and their e
classes reflect that)
Oh, no! Thatís a wonderful suggestion. I will look into that. I mean if I could make the perfect boat magically appear tomorrow and wake up knowing how to do things safely, thatíd be great, but as thatís unlikely to happen weíre willing to be patient and make sure we have a decent idea of what weíre getting into. Just from skimming online it doesnít seem like boats worth having are super cheap so better to wait and learn than end up with the wrong thing and out a chunk of money. (Iíve seen cheap stuff near me but most of it looks kind of suspicious in terms of its ability to keep the water where it belongs - outside the boat.)
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Old 07-22-2021, 05:32 PM   #8
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I'd suggest an inflatable boat that rolls up when deflated. Maybe 12 ft, with a 20 hp outboard. Stable, versatile and portable. Get a good 12v electric pump to inflate/deflate.

There are also tripping canoes that will quite comfortably accommodate 3 plus a large dog. Or one canoe and one kayak.
Are canoes more stable than kayaks? I have very limited experience with them as it was just at summer camp and they switched for lighter and easier to manage kayaks before I did much canoeing. If we could do one person and dog in a canoe and two in a kayak thatíd work I think, if the canoe wouldnít be too unsteady if the dog shifts around.
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Old 07-22-2021, 05:35 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Bacchus View Post
+1 for starting with USPS, ABC, USCG courses.
You will not only learn somethings about boating but will greatly expand your network of people with similar interests.
Some might appreciate or welcome a hand for chores or for a day cruise where you will get to talk about their likes, dislikes, experiences, etc which will help you narrow your target.
We do both MH and boat, have carried a conoe on a van camper, towed a fishing boat behind a MH, carried a folding boat atop a toad and separated the two... boat in summer, MH (south) in winter.
Your choice so only you can decide.
One option is to rent boats, kayaks, fishing boats etc. while RVing. It's a way to boat and see different areas and experiment to see what peaks your interests...
White water rafting is another option to try even if it doesn't end up as your long term goal.
I like to suggest people write down their likes, dislikes absolute ideal to explore the opportunities but do this separately THEN compare notes to find common ground and compromise (aka... just do it her way!)
I feel like there is usually a way to reply to multiple posts in one post but I canít figure it out on my phone. So apologies for all the individual replies!

We thought about renting first but so far it seems like rental places donít want to let you have a dog on board? But thatíd be ideal to see what everyone thinks of it and what we enjoy.
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Old 07-22-2021, 05:41 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jib Davidson View Post
I certainly do not want to interfere with your progress, but I would certainly urge you to take a boating course with the U.S. Power Squadron or the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. The course selection with the U.S. Power Squadron is more geared towards the reactional boater, and they an excellent number of advanced courses. (the USCG is a military organization and their e
classes reflect that)
We taught USCG Auxiliary classes for 30 years and they were absolutely not geared towards the military. The Auxiliary is a civilian organization not military. The USCG does not teach boating safety courses.

I do recommend any classroom boating class you can find. Any class is better than no class.
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Old 07-22-2021, 06:07 PM   #11
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Let me throw some water on this, "Let's go boating."
Both my mother and sister were in favor of boating until they got married.
Enough said.
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Old 07-22-2021, 07:36 PM   #12
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I feel like there is usually a way to reply to multiple posts in one post but I can’t figure it out on my phone. So apologies for all the individual replies!
There is. And welcome to the forum.

Re your query...You just click on the inverted commas button (immediately right of the quote button) on each of the posts you want to quote, then also click on the quote button on the last of those. However, as I often recommend to all posters, it is often best to then go in and do a bit of deleting, retaining the most relevant part of a quoted post, (or posts), otherwise it does tend to end up rather lengthy.
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Old 07-24-2021, 11:53 AM   #13
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Let me throw some water on this, "Let's go boating."
Both my mother and sister were in favor of boating until they got married.
Enough said.
Iím the future wife in question, and it was initially my idea, so I think weíre good.

(The other half will only complain if I donít let him make Ďimprovementsí to any electronics involved. Though right now heís occupied with the crummy lighting in the RV, so the potential boat is safe atm. )
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Old 07-24-2021, 11:55 AM   #14
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There is. And welcome to the forum.

Re your query...You just click on the inverted commas button (immediately right of the quote button) on each of the posts you want to quote, then also click on the quote button on the last of those. However, as I often recommend to all posters, it is often best to then go in and do a bit of deleting, retaining the most relevant part of a quoted post, (or posts), otherwise it does tend to end up rather lengthy.
Itís very weird - Iím using Safari on the iPad and IPhone and on the phone I only get the ďquoteĒ button and on the iPad I usually get just the ďquoteĒ button but occasionally if I reload I get the full set of options. Not sure whatís going on there. I tried telling it to request the desktop site and then the mobile site and it didnít seem to make any difference.
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Old 07-24-2021, 11:58 AM   #15
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I’ve seen many an RV with a folding Portabote. I believe they come in different sizes and can even accommodate a small outboard, though I understand they row quite nicely.
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Old 07-24-2021, 12:06 PM   #16
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Why don't you check out something like Carefree or Freedom boat clubs. For the cost of a monthly membership you can use a number of different boats whenever you like, wherever you like, and they can teach you what you need to know before you hit the water. This way, wherever you take the RV, you can find one of their locations and boat.
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Old 07-24-2021, 12:36 PM   #17
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Kayaks

As a long time kayaker I think it's funny people think they are unstable or tippy.

It's hard to tip a sea kayak. Took me days of trying to finally learn to do the old 'eskimo roll'. Which I just wanted to do for fun.

In my experience canoes are dramatically more tippy. But would be better for dogs due to the open space.

And no, you cannot get trapped upside down in a kayak, the hard part is staying inside when it goes over.

Biggest point in favour of a kayak is the ease of paddling alone. You have to be really good at canoe paddling 'J strokes' to go alone. Any first timer can paddle a kayak with some very basic instructions.
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Old 07-24-2021, 01:30 PM   #18
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As a long time kayaker I think it's funny people think they are unstable or tippy.

Your basic dinghy is really a jeep, good at many things but not great at anything. Its transportation, its good at moving bulky things, it can take passengers, they can get the job done but they won't win the best transportation vehicle award, the best cross country award, the best bulky parcel mover award.

With a jeep I can go pick up friends, transport and fill propane tanks, bring back bags of groceries. The dog can stand or sit in the jeep.

Now a kayak is the zippy brother of paddling vessels, can handle the most bad water scenarios, clips along nicely, is fun to paddle. But its lousy at bringing guests over to the boat, lousy at bringing propane tanks over to the boat, and not so great if you have done a big shop and you are trying to store a lot of goods in a limited storage boat.
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Old 07-24-2021, 01:55 PM   #19
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rsn48: Totally agree. I plan to have a kayak so when I am anchored in a calm scenic bay so I can tour around, look for marine life that get scared by motorboats, take some photos, get close to shore, sight see.

But it still looks like I am going to need a dinghy for the things you mentioned.

The OP mentioned kayaks as something to use from her land based RV. And if it was just her, a kayak would be perfect, imo. But with a dog, the kayak goes out the window, even if it is just as stable and faster, easier than a canoe.

I'm sure there are people who canoe who would say they are the most versatile, can certainly hold a lot of supplies, etc. I just always found them tippy. Tippy canoe just seems to go together. Experienced paddlers seem to have no trouble in a canoe.
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Old 07-24-2021, 02:05 PM   #20
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small starter boat for RV'er

For someone towing a small 'starter' boat on a trailer to parks where they would launch, I'd recommend something like a Boston Whaler 130SS.

Just big enough for 3 people and a dog (but no more than that).

Well made, lightweight, simple, stable, self bailing, low maintenance, maintain their value, ubiquitous. Very easy to launch and haul out.
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