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Great Lakes Boat Size

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  • Great Lakes Boat Size

    Hello. I'm fairly new to boating, I've never owned a boat. I'm looking into them because the winters have little snow lately and I'd be able to use a boat more than a snowmobile. My question is, what size boat would be good for the great lakes (Lake Michigan in particular)? I live less then ten miles from the lake. I would probably also use it on inland lakes. Something I could fish from, but also take friends out on. Would an 18' Ski/Fish combo be ok or do I need something bigger? I don't plan on buying anytime soon, probably next summer, but would like to get some helpfull information from experienced people.Thank you very much for your replies.TH


  • #2
    Re: Great Lakes Boat Size

    Hi THauch, I live about an hour away from Lake Erie. I frequently go up there often during the boating season. It is considered a shallow lake which can generate some big waves in a hurry. As with any body of water, you must use good judgement when going out. Of course the smaller the boat the weather on the lake can limit your ability to go out. The larger the craft, the bigger chop/wave it can handle, so you can enjoy the lake more. But it is all prefrence to me. I have seen people in canoes 10 miles out, jet skis, and other small watercraft. From experience I know more boats under 18' have been sunk than other boat that are larger. I have a 20'V Stingray that I have used on lake Erie. 1-3' waves is okay, but 4' to 6' I don't go out. If the weather reports say it is going to get rough, I head in. I haven't had any real close calls, but things have been awfull hairy at times. I just purchased a 27' cabincruiser this past spring that I will be using instead of the Stingray. I'm keeping it for the inland lakes. But I wouldn't suggest anything over 24' to be towing from lake to lake. I have found out that my 27' is just too much work to tow here to there all the time. An 18' would be great for inland lakes, but just a little small for the lake, but that is my opinion. And I am sure others will have some input also. You have come to a great forum for help and advice. You have a great day!
    BEER........Helping ugly people find true Love since 1862

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    • #3
      Re: Great Lakes Boat Size

      Hi thauchMy Dad uses an 18' Starcraft deep V centre console with a 70HP yammy on the big lakes (Huron, Erie, Ontario) for fishing salmon ALL the time. He's out there from early spring until late fall. He uses it strickly for fishing.. no water skiing and the like and usually keeps his personal limit to himself + 2. He often goes out 10 miles or so to find em. No complaints from him and he's been using it for about 10 years now. Just my $0.02 worth

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      • #4
        Re: Great Lakes Boat Size

        Thanks for the replies. Another question that may sound dumb- I'm guessing a boat with a deeper V-type hull would be better in the bigger lakes than say, a bass boat-type. Am I correct in this assumption? Which would you rather have: a 17'-18' Deep V or a 20' Bass Boat-type, on the big lake?Thanks againTH

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        • #5
          Re: Great Lakes Boat Size

          To me Deep V's are better for the rougher water handling wise. The flater the bottom the quicker handling you'll have, but with a rougher ride. It is all on how much water displacement the boat has. If the boat draws less water, you will tend to feel every little bump and wave, The more water the draft of the boat has, it will tend to cut through instead of floating on the waves as with the flater bottom boat. On the bigger lake, I prefer a 20'ter or more personnaly. Usually around here, my friends tend to wait until I go to lake Erie to fish instead of going to the inland lakes. So my smaller boat is for inland use since I have less guests, but the bigger one is for the extra guests for the bigger lake. This is something that you will eventually find out if you get a smaller boat. Every boat under I think 26' has a capacity rating. It is very wise to honor this. Accidents happen to those who do not abide it. Hope this will help you. Hopefully JB Cornwell or 12footer can help shed some light on this subject. Those two have lots of experience and might be able to put it in different terms. Good luck, check out all your possibilities and keep reading the Forum, it has lots of important issues here!
          BEER........Helping ugly people find true Love since 1862

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          • #6
            Re: Great Lakes Boat Size

            SS MAYFLOAT Thanks again for your informative reply, it is much appreciated.

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