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  1. #1
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    Default Costs of owning a Cabin Cruiser?

    My fiance and I have lived on a smaller lake for years now and have had a few smaller 17-20' open bows. We love being on the water and sometimes crash out for the night under the stars, but the open bows don't offer much protection from the elements. We got to thinking about getting a 21' Cuddy for our small lake but think we will sacrifice too much space for a small sleeping area. We then start looking into keeping a small open bow for our lake but purchasing a nice 25-27' cabin cruiser for a large nearby lake (Lake St Clair, Michigan). We would love to have one on that lake to go out for the weekends and be large enough to sleep a 4 and have kitchen/bathroom amenities. We priced out some of the Marina slips and they arent too badly priced, around $1500 for a six month season. What we aren't sure on is how costly the other upkeep and services would be. We don't want to get a cabin cruiser then find we are in over our heads. Obviously it differs from location to location, but what do usual winter storage fees? Do they charge a lot of money to move the boats in and out of storage you? Are engine maintenance much more common and expensive over smaller boats open bows that we are used to owning? Is fuel consumption much more drastic? We expect a Cabin Cruiser to obviously be more expensive than a smaller open bow but we dont want to get a good idea on how much more.


    Thanks,

  2. #2
    Petty Officer 1st Class
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    Default Re: Costs of owning a Cabin Cruiser?

    Go for it, as experienced boaters you will love it. First of all, if you stick to a 24-27 foot you can keep it trailerable and single engine. It really wont eat more gas than a powerful ski boat. Most marinas have package pricing for winter/summer with the pullouts included. Here in upstate NY I pay about 3,000 for everything, including winterization bottom clean electric and water etc. cheaper than a summer camp, and we spend every weekend on the boat rain or shine. sometimes we sleep on the boat and dont even take her out, it really is a small summer camp.

    It would be the last expense I would cut if needed.

  3. #3
    Lieutenant scoutabout's Avatar
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    Default Re: Costs of owning a Cabin Cruiser?

    As noted above, if you can stay with a single engine you will save big on gas and upkeep. My dad bought a 25 ft Chris Craft single in the mid-eighties and he and I weekended on it a lot. Real comfortable for two, that size. I think maybe a bit too cozy for two adults and a couple of kids. Not impossible though.

    As Steve above says, it can be great just hanging out on a boat at the marina watching the world come and go. That said, it could drink some serious amounts of gas if we wanted to get anywhere at speed. But again, just puttering up the rivers and such was not a huge fuel bill.

    I remember our neighbour the next slip over had twins in a similar size boat and the fuel was killing him. He even tried running it with one engine only in an effort to cut costs. Didn't work out so good.

    Of course, if you can afford it, then no biggie.

    Other expenses I would expect would be higher insurance and the storage you mentioned.

    *edit* Found a pic -- she was just like this without the hardtop. Sniff -- I loved that boat. Great memories hanging out with dad.

    (BTW, I note that this one is for sale, asking 6 grand...I think my dad paid 55 new! .Which is to say, Optik -- one of the biggest ways to save $ is to just buy used...)

    Give me a picture and a thousand words!


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  4. #4
    Chief Petty Officer ShaneCarroll's Avatar
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    Default Re: Costs of owning a Cabin Cruiser?

    I would say go for about a 24 footer with an aft cabin. That way, you and the fiancee can have the v-berth in the bow, and the kids(?) can share the aft cabin. Most boats that size have a single engine, the fuel consumption is not all that terrible, and they can still be towed, as well as stored at the house.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Costs of owning a Cabin Cruiser?

    Im assuming that the open bow you currently run is an I/O? Most cuddys and cabin cruisers use and I/O driveline. If you are only familiar with outboards things will get more expensive. Otherwise maintenence between the two is similar. Consider the extra cost of pumping and winterizing any holding tank or grey water system onboard and the added surface area to clean/wax/paint. Check over the boat your considering very well, ask the seller what he/she does to maintain it and purchace accordingly. Use caution and go for it.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Costs of owning a Cabin Cruiser?

    I think the SeaRay Sundancer 268's, 270's are great boats for 4 people to overnight. Most have a single engine, but a rare few will have small twin v6's. I can't imagine having any more expense other than fuel for that size of a boat. If you start getting into the 29+ class, the all start having twin engines and generators to maintain. Also, if you do tow back and forth, the 27' boat is capable of being towed by most regular trucks, but the 29+ is going to need a 3/4 ton or better.
    1976 Mark Twain 200VBR w/Mercruiser 233 (Ford 351w) "Heart & Soul"

  7. #7
    Honorary Moderator Emeritus tashasdaddy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Costs of owning a Cabin Cruiser?

    remember pump out charges, do not leave poop in the holding tank.
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  8. #8
    Moderator ezmobee's Avatar
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    Default Re: Costs of owning a Cabin Cruiser?

    Quote Originally Posted by ShaneCarroll View Post
    I would say go for about a 24 footer with an aft cabin. That way, you and the fiancee can have the v-berth in the bow, and the kids(?) can share the aft cabin. Most boats that size have a single engine, the fuel consumption is not all that terrible, and they can still be towed, as well as stored at the house.
    I agree with this post. Some of the 24' have some really cool layouts and I love the aft cabin. And in that size you can get around pretty well with a single 350 motor. In that case your boat maintenance shouldn't be much more than you have now. I was drooling over this one in a boating magazine recently http://www.stingrayboats.com/product...hp?model=240cs
    1976 18' Starcraft SuperSport 90HP Evinrude
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  9. #9
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    Default Re: Costs of owning a Cabin Cruiser?

    Excellent advice guys, keep it coming, we really appreciate the input.

    For how much we would love a new cabin cruiser (they are being manufactured with beautiful wood cabinetry and pleather and awesome track lightning these days but unfortunately the cost savings of going used is much more appealing.

    We have been looking at a few early 2000's Sea Ray Sundancers, a 2002 Rinker Fiesta Vee 270 (The Rinker's Fiesta Vee's seem very plentiful, I need to do more research to see what the quality of these are). And I just recently found a 2000 Crownline 268 in good condition for $23k. Seems like a steal, I have to go check that one out.

  10. #10
    Admiral dingbat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Costs of owning a Cabin Cruiser?

    The cost of fuel is getting blown off by most it seems.
    I guess it depends on it you want to do with the boat. If you want to sit in a slip and use it as a floating living room then it might not be a concern. If you want to leave the dock and actually do some boating then you need to look seriously at the cost of fuel.

    Look back at the post from last year when fuel was over $4 a gallon. The world was coming to an end. It was costing me over $600 to fill the tanks. If I'm out and about I could burn them off on a long weekend.

    http://forums.iboats.com/showthread....high+fuel+cost
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  11. #11
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    Default Re: Costs of owning a Cabin Cruiser?

    Quote Originally Posted by dingbat View Post
    The cost of fuel is getting blown off by most it seems.
    I guess it depends on it you want to do with the boat. If you want to sit in a slip and use it as a floating living room then it might not be a concern. If you want to leave the dock and actually do some boating then you need to look seriously at the cost of fuel.

    Look back at the post from last year when fuel was over $4 a gallon. The world was coming to an end. It was costing me over $600 to fill the tanks. If I'm out and about I could burn them off on a long weekend.

    http://forums.iboats.com/showthread....high+fuel+cost
    Is the extra cost of fuel really going to be much different from the 20ft'ers that he's used to? Granted you are dealing with another 1,000lbs of boat, but chances are they aren't going to be pulling skiers and such with a cabin cruiser! We have looked at the same type/size of cruisers and could honestly see us just motoring out on the lake and anchoring while going out in the ski boat or jet ski to play around. The cruiser would just be a floating base of operations!
    1976 Mark Twain 200VBR w/Mercruiser 233 (Ford 351w) "Heart & Soul"

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Costs of owning a Cabin Cruiser?

    On our smaller lake we sometimes pull skiers and tubers but most of the time head out, drop anchor and lounge...One season we had a 30 gallon tank last us 2 months haha. If we had a bigger cruiser on a larger lake we would probably spend the first few weeks/months exploring our new area but eventually probably just either chill out at the slip (especially if we have cool neighbors) or head out and drop anchor and relax for the day/weekend. There are plenty of restaurants, bars, and sandbars on Lake St Clair to keep up occupied without the need to travel great distances. Obviously this is all just speculation at this point.

    How much does the 5.7 Merc drink compared to the 5.0 merc? is the extra HP worth it when comparing the gas consumption?

  13. #13
    Admiral dingbat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Costs of owning a Cabin Cruiser?

    Quote Originally Posted by haulnazz15 View Post
    Is the extra cost of fuel really going to be much different from the 20ft'ers that he's used to? Granted you are dealing with another 1,000lbs of boat, but chances are they aren't going to be pulling skiers and such with a cabin cruiser!
    Your wildly underestimating the weight of a boat that size. What's a 20' weight? #3k maybe #3.5K tops? Most 28' is going to put you about #8.5K or so with fuel so your doubling the weight and most likely increasing the beam as well.

    My 22' fully loaded with fuel weighs almost #6K. On a good day I get 2.5 mpg at a cruise speed of 26-27 kts. If I have to run against tide you can easliy drop that down to 2.0 mpg

    Say we run over to Oxford for dinner. Just the other side of the Bay. 18 miles each way, tops. Do the math. At $4 a gallon that's almost $60 an hour in fuel alone.
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  14. #14
    Admiral Huron Angler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Costs of owning a Cabin Cruiser?

    Quote Originally Posted by ShaneCarroll View Post
    I would say go for about a 24 footer with an aft cabin. That way, you and the fiancee can have the v-berth in the bow, and the kids(?) can share the aft cabin. Most boats that size have a single engine, the fuel consumption is not all that terrible, and they can still be towed, as well as stored at the house.
    http://grandrapids.craigslist.org/boa/1191105428.html

    I was checking out this thread earlier and happened to see this great deal on a 21' aft cabin cruiser. Pretty nice rig...I was thinking that 24' was small to have dual berths, so I was surprised to see the 21' Sea Ray claiming to have two as well.

    I want a cruiser with aft cabins now(after the college loans are paid off), thanks for the idea.

  15. #15
    Moderator ezmobee's Avatar
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    Default Re: Costs of owning a Cabin Cruiser?

    I'd love to see pictures of the interior to see how they crammed all that in there. I swear that must be a 24'.
    1976 18' Starcraft SuperSport 90HP Evinrude
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  16. #16
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    Default Re: Costs of owning a Cabin Cruiser?

    Per the fuel debate, if you look at Boattest or other third parties I dont believe you will see a huge difference between a runabout with a 4.3L V6 and a mini cruiser with a 5.7L. Some difference in GPH, but not terrible. I have a 'lowly' Bayliner 2655 with the base 5.0 LX, very fuel efficient based on just gut wallet reaction - 20 gals lasts a long time of mixed canal speed and running on plane. Last summer we spent more time anchored and running at canal speeds. But to keep things in perspective, my boat has a 75 gallon tank, as do many small cruisers. If you have a 600 gallon tank you are talking about a very different kind of boat, perhaps twin outboards?

    also - Sea Ray did make a Seville mid cabin 21 which had a very small aft berth and a front V dinette. It is tight but the boat could sleep 4 small people....

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Costs of owning a Cabin Cruiser?

    My 20 ft runabout weighs close to 4K, the 268's weigh close to 6K I believe. However, it depends on how far you go. We don't normally go out more than a couple miles each way, so the difference in fuel savings isn't that great. When you start drinking fuel like the jet skis, then you have an issue!
    1976 Mark Twain 200VBR w/Mercruiser 233 (Ford 351w) "Heart & Soul"

  18. #18
    Admiral SS MAYFLOAT's Avatar
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    Default Re: Costs of owning a Cabin Cruiser?

    I've owned my 77 Victoria Bayliner 27.5' since April 2001. It was a basket case. I had watched this boat sit for 4 years with each year making an offer. Finally he took $4000 for the boat and a Float-on tri-axle trailer. According to the paper work he gave me for ownership transfer, he lost on the deal. The engine he said was rebuilt was a total waste. So I had to buy an engine. 2002 I redone the stringers. Used the boat for a couple of more years and then restored the transom in 2006.

    Since I purchased the boat, my wife and I have spent nearly every weekend on it during the 6 month boating season. We slip the boat as it is cheaper than renting a campsite for the season. So we call it our camper on the water. The boat is underpowered and will only get up on plane when there is no load. Load it up with fresh water, bedding, food, coolers, and cooking supplies, it will not plane. However, we boat on a small lake and never in a hurry to get anywhere

    The boat weighs 7800 empty and close to 9,000 loaded. That's not counting the 1500 pounds for the trailer. Just trolling around the lake for the season, I will burn about 60 gallons of fuel. If I push the throttle up where its putting off a mighty big wake, you can almost feel the boat getting lighter from the fuel being used up.

    Where I dock at, it is mandatory that all cruisers buy a season pump out for $75.

    BTW, if you are serious about getting a cabin cruiser, make sure that it has Air Condition. A boat sitting in the direct sunlight with the rays bouncing off the water can cause your cabin temp to climb well in to the 100 degree mark.

    I've done all the work myself and have probably total of $14,000 in it. At least all the major stuff has been done and I should get at least 10 more years of use with minor upkeep.

    Good Luck and "Life is so much better on a boat" BTW the boat is my avatar..........SS
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  19. #19
    Captain JoLin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Costs of owning a Cabin Cruiser?

    I just picked up the boat in my sig. this past weekend. Couple of observations in trading up from my 21', 175 hp outboard walk-around cuddy.

    - The difference in living space is simply phenomenal. We have full headroom in the cabin, a front v-berth for 2, and small aft cabin (45" wide berth) big enough for an adult or a couple of kids.
    - Galley with sink, refrigerator, single-burner stove and microwave.
    - Stand-up head with shower
    - Observation at this point (still early, I know) is that fuel consumption is NO more than the old outboard boat. A fuel-injected 5.7L motor is pretty fuel-efficient, especially when teamed with a Volvo duo-prop or Mercruiser Bravo-3 (I have the Volvo).
    - This boat is much easier to handle at low speed and in tight quarters than the outboard. I attribute most of that to the increased weight (don't get blown around as quickly) and the duo-prop. I can't say enough good about the way the drive operates. No prop steer and instantaneous response to forward-reverse shifts. Invaluable when approaching the dock.

    Downsides in terms of cost- well, you have to remember that you have a bunch of on-board systems that you don't have in a smaller boat, and all of them are subject to failure. My microwave beeped a few times, then quit. Luckily, that's a cheap replacement. My fresh water pump is inoperative- might be as simple as a fuse, just haven't had a chance yet to investigate. You'll also have trim tabs, water heater, refrigerator, etc., etc. Complexity adds expense.

    Overall, though, I'm VERY happy with the upgrade- I see us having a lot of fun with this one.
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  20. #20
    Admiral
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    Default Re: Costs of owning a Cabin Cruiser?

    the wife and I picked up a 270 sundancer its a 1985. it is 10 feet on the beem and 30 feet overall and weighs in about 7000 dry.it was are first choice as you get the best of both worlds, speed and handling from the twin 260s as well as the full cabin, two berths head dinnete and kitchen, stove fridge and of course a full camper top so you can move around if its raining. About the only thing we will buy for it is a small honda gen set, 2000 watts approx.
    Its like having lake front property were ever you drop anchor.
    rob

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Costs of owning a Cabin Cruiser?

    How is a 270 a 30ft boat? Are you counting the outdrives and extended swim platform in your length?
    1976 Mark Twain 200VBR w/Mercruiser 233 (Ford 351w) "Heart & Soul"

  22. #22
    Admiral
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    Default Re: Costs of owning a Cabin Cruiser?

    yes I am counting the swim platform and the anchor davit. If the marinas count it for morage so do I.
    rob

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Costs of owning a Cabin Cruiser?

    Understandable, just making sure i wasn't just an anomoly of a model number!
    1976 Mark Twain 200VBR w/Mercruiser 233 (Ford 351w) "Heart & Soul"

  24. #24
    Master Chief Petty Officer This_lil_fishy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Costs of owning a Cabin Cruiser?

    That's normal, my 19.5' boat measures out over 22' with the swim platform...fits in my garage with 6" to spare. That said this is an interesting thread as we are looking to pick up a well used pocket cruiser at the end of this season as our 'cottage'. Then the current boat will be my weekend fishing/fun rig. I looked at a beautifully kept 24' chris (1979 I think) with a single 5.0 and the owner had mentioned that he spent $700 cruising the trent canal system. Basically going from Toronto to Ottawa on the water, each day setting out to a different destination. Heck, that's less then two weeks of hotel rooms! If you're like me, your boat will likely never do that trip, but instead head out to the center of of nice smallish lake for the weekend and back, then using the bow rider for the fun stuff, mooring them together, and having a great time. In this case we expect to put twice as much fuel in the bow rider over the year.


    Ian

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  25. #25
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    Default Re: Costs of owning a Cabin Cruiser?

    I do a 18 ft bay cuddy for the small lake, and a 24ft sunnrunner aft cabbin for the Hudson river and big water, keep it on a trailer, it tows very nice, it doesnt cost much more than the bay, is easier to maintain then the force ob. thats for sure. bought it use in grand rapids for 2500 last year, in perfect condition.
    liability insurance is 58 buck a year, state farm. 2500 , dont need loss coverage.
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