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What brand is reliable for used bowrider? Question from a totally new to boating

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  • What brand is reliable for used bowrider? Question from a totally new to boating

    Dear all,

    Longtime browser and new members with first post. We are ready to buy our first boat and we know that we want a bowrider at around 19' so it will fit in my garage, plus I will tow it with my V6 Sienna for a short trip to 8 miles to the lake. I have looking from Craigslist and some local listing and also talk to a dealer and there are many choices. Can you give me some advices, share your experience and your 2 cents on the right brand?

    Thank you

    New boater
    2007 Sea Ray 185 Sport 4.3L Mercruiser 190 HP


  • #2
    Re: What brand is reliable for used bowrider? Question from a totally new to boating

    1) Get a standard powerplant. Outboards will be lighter and easier to tow. Avoid obsolete I/Os like OMC. Get a brand that you can have serviced locally, and is not too old.

    2) Stick with a standard brand of boat. There are too many to list.

    3) Measure the tongue of the trailer. That 19 footer may fit, but the tongue will likely stick out, unless the garage is oversize.

    Comment



    • #3
      Re: What brand is reliable for used bowrider? Question from a totally new to boating

      There are no brands that won't do the job. A lousy manufacturer wouldn't last long in this competitive world.

      There are lower end boats that will still give years of satisfaction at a more affordable price point. Bayliner has always had a market niche here. If you want to buy top notch "Lexus" quality, it's hard to go wrong with Sea Ray, Four Winns, Chaparral, Cobalt, and I'm sure others. If you want middle of the road, there is Larson, Glastron, Reinell, and on the upper end of the middle, Crownline.

      Really, they all use the same engines, and the rest of it is a lump of fiberglass poured in a mold. Some are thicker, heavier, and more solid than others. Some have nicer trim. Condition of the boat, and how it runs on a mandatory sea trial, can be every bit as important than brand name. Don't cheap out on a small engine. You will be continually dissapointed.

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      • #4
        Re: What brand is reliable for used bowrider? Question from a totally new to boating

        Only thing I can reccomend is to find a boat with a motor that still has all of its parts available. I bought a 1992 Maxum 1800 XR last year with a Force 120 outboard. Only problem was that the tilt/trim was having issues. Went to look for parts and found most were not available and I had to search EBay for used parts.

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        • #5
          Re: What brand is reliable for used bowrider? Question from a totally new to boating

          Biggest problem with used boats is wood rot and abuse (including poor maintenance). On today's newer boats, they have been designing the wood out which has really been a plus for buying an older boat....but it will take some time for these to get into the older market.

          On tongue length, you can get trailers with folding tongues to fit a 19' boat in a basically 20' long garage.....or as I was going to do before I traded boats, cut a slot in the garage door and let the tongue stick out.

          OB's are the way to go. With today's technologies, OB's, even 2 stroke engines can run right up there with the best I/O.

          My 2c,

          Mark
          If you are new to boating or have a new boat, a knowledgeable friend could show you how to operate your boat and save you a lot of grief, maybe some money, and maybe your life.

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          • #6
            Re: What brand is reliable for used bowrider? Question from a totally new to boating

            Realistically, before even considering brand preference you'll find that your choices are limited by what size garage door you have. Assuming you have at least 20+ ft of depth, for a single wide door 8ft wide by 7ft high should be considered the absolute bare minimum. I think single wide doors wider than 8 ft are less common so when you consider that many boats will have beams between 8-8.5ft you may have to limit what boats you consider due to this constraint. Also even if the boat's beam is skinny enough many trailer wheels are spaced at 8ft6in wide. If you have a double wide door that's less than 7 ft high you may have to lower the trailer tongue to the ground to clear the windshield. Regardless, take a tape measure with you and get all the critical dimensions as precisely as you can before you commit to anything or else make damn sure the seller agrees the sale is not complete until you've confirmed it fits in your garage.

            Also, not to knock minivans as tow vehicles, but pretty much any 19ft fiberglass runabout in that size is going put you extremely close to your max capacity (i.e. somewhere between 2700-3500lb of total weight). You may find it downright scary towing that much. Is it rated on paper to tow 3500lbs? Yes, but you may not feel entirely safe behind the wheel when it comes time to stop. It goes without saying that you should fit brakes if the trailer does not have them already given you'll be close to your limit. (Plus it'll give you some ammunition when negotiating a lower price if you explain the trailer needs brakes). I guess it's just something of a pet peeve of mine every time I hear someone say they only have a short hauling distance to justify using a tow vehicle that's barely adequate. If you can find something to your liking that's aluminum and closer to 2000lbs you'll have a lot better time getting to the water and might even feel confident enough to tow beyond 8 miles.

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            • #7
              Re: What brand is reliable for used bowrider? Question from a totally new to boating

              Your major constraints are towing capacity and storage size. For towing capacity the Sienna starts at 3,500 lbs and the you subtract the weight of all passengers and cargo as well as the weight of the trailer, which will mean you need something around 2,000 lbs. A Four Winns 180 OB is pretty close. There may some other 18 foot outboards in that weight range as well. Any major manufacturors motors still in production would be reasonable choices. The same goes for hulls in decent condition.

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              • #8
                Re: What brand is reliable for used bowrider? Question from a totally new to boating

                Originally posted by Kaplooi View Post
                Also, not to knock minivans as tow vehicles, but pretty much any 19ft fiberglass runabout in that size is going put you extremely close to your max capacity (i.e. somewhere between 2700-3500lb of total weight). You may find it downright scary towing that much. Is it rated on paper to tow 3500lbs? Yes, but you may not feel entirely safe behind the wheel when it comes time to stop. It goes without saying that you should fit brakes if the trailer does not have them already given you'll be close to your limit. (Plus it'll give you some ammunition when negotiating a lower price if you explain the trailer needs brakes). I guess it's just something of a pet peeve of mine every time I hear someone say they only have a short hauling distance to justify using a tow vehicle that's barely adequate. If you can find something to your liking that's aluminum and closer to 2000lbs you'll have a lot better time getting to the water and might even feel confident enough to tow beyond 8 miles.
                Just to expound on that, some 18 footers will put you over 4,000lbs on the trailer loaded with gas, a battery and some gear. I've towed that much with a minivan many times out of a combination of ignorance, frugality and excitement. Ignorant that a minivan loaded with people and gear won't maneuver well in an emergency situation when pulling two tons, frugal that I just spent a ton of money on a new boat and I'll be damned if I'm going to buy an suv too and excited that I don't care how It gets to the lake as long as it gets there. I own bowriders of the heavy (see my sig) I/O variety and the much lighter Outboard variety. As much as I prefer the I/O's for multiple reasons, they pack on a lot of extra weight compared to their O/B counterparts. If it is a minivan I am towing with, all things being equal, an outboard version will be pulled easier. There are certainly brands of bowriders with I/O's, usually the inexpensive brands built to lighter standards, that will work for you and your minivan tow vehicle.
                As for fitting in your garage. My boat is 18'3" plus the outdrive and the swing toung. It wouldn't fit in my standard depth garage without the swing toung and wouldn't fit in my slightly shorter winter storage garage if I had the extended swim platform. Storing in a garage is a game of inches which is why most everysingle person I know with a boat, owns one under 20 feet. Some manufacturers actually detail the storage length.

                If you do get down to the nitty gritty of boat buying, you will see a direct correlation between the cost of the boat to the dry weight of the boat and the size of the gas tank all else being equal. The newest boats produced are starting to blur the lines a bit however. Also take note that all trailers are not equal weighted as well. The dealer where my sig boat came from matched all their models to trailers much heavier than others. So much so that even the wheels are six lug. In other words there are premium trailers that spare nothing and basic trailers that will get the job done.
                If for example you had a body on frame suv, none of the weight considerations would need to concern you with a 19 foot boat.
                2003 Chaparral 183SS

                Comment



                • #9
                  Re: What brand is reliable for used bowrider? Question from a totally new to boating

                  Originally posted by Kaplooi View Post
                  Also, not to knock minivans as tow vehicles, but pretty much any 19ft fiberglass runabout in that size is going put you extremely close to your max capacity (i.e. somewhere between 2700-3500lb of total weight). You may find it downright scary towing that much. Is it rated on paper to tow 3500lbs? Yes, but you may not feel entirely safe behind the wheel when it comes time to stop. It goes without saying that you should fit brakes if the trailer does not have them already given you'll be close to your limit. (Plus it'll give you some ammunition when negotiating a lower price if you explain the trailer needs brakes). I guess it's just something of a pet peeve of mine every time I hear someone say they only have a short hauling distance to justify using a tow vehicle that's barely adequate. If you can find something to your liking that's aluminum and closer to 2000lbs you'll have a lot better time getting to the water and might even feel confident enough to tow beyond 8 miles.
                  I used to be a disciple of this line of thought, but I now strongly disagree. For background, I am a CDL holder and drove tractor-trailers for 2 1/2 years, and have very recently owned an F150 as well as 3/4 and 1-ton diesel pickup trucks. Towed lots of things with these trucks, but recently had to re-evaluate priorities due to $4.00/gallon diesel and ended up selling my big trailer and my truck. I am now towing my Larson LX850 I/O bowrider with my wife's 2011 Sienna.

                  Trailer brakes were a must for me when buying, and this was a primary reason I bought the Larson, as many other boats this size don't come with brakes. The disc surge brakes on the Shore-Land'r trailer do an impressive job stopping the boat, and with the trailer properly set-up for tongue weight my wife's Sienna has absolutely NO trouble pulling, handling, and stopping our 3,500 lbs of boat, motor, and trailer. This is a 4,500 lb van that weighs 100 lbs less than my first truck, a regular cab 4x4 F150. The 265 HP V6 has an easier time pulling this boat than my '03 F150's 4.2L V6 did a boat 1,000 lbs lighter, and this is largely due to the 6-speed automatic that's standard in the new vans. I have started this boat on a ~15% grade from a dead stop and never had any trouble.

                  As long as it's setup smart you should have no troubles. A class III hitch, proper wiring, factory tow package on the van, proper trailer setup, and most importantly TRAILER BRAKES make for a nice, easy towing setup. I get no trailer sway, the trailer rides nice and level, and equal or better panic stopping than my F350 did with a heavier trailer with electric brakes. It can be done.
                  2011 Larson LX850. 4.3L MerCruiser TKS/Alpha 1 outdrive.

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                  • #10
                    Re: What brand is reliable for used bowrider? Question from a totally new to boating

                    You need to look at STINGRAY Boats

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                    • #11
                      Re: What brand is reliable for used bowrider? Question from a totally new to boating

                      Thank you all for your supports and advices. Towing is my first concern. Selecting the right boat that will not require any repair or rot will be important for me too since I don't want to have any expensive suprise on my first boat. What is the best way to check for rot wood? Thanks.


                      TomB985 - I am glad to hear that your set-up is working. I have Sienna '11 with towing package and class III hitch graded at 3500 lbs. Thank you for tip on the trailer brake and you are right about not many of trailers having brake. Can you explain more about the proper wiring? Is it wiring for trailer? Thanks.
                      2007 Sea Ray 185 Sport 4.3L Mercruiser 190 HP

                      Comment



                      • #12
                        Re: What brand is reliable for used bowrider? Question from a totally new to boating

                        Originally posted by baylake
                        TomB985 - I am glad to hear that your set-up is working. I have Sienna '11 with towing package and class III hitch graded at 3500 lbs. Thank you for tip on the trailer brake and you are right about not many of trailers having brake. Can you explain more about the proper wiring? Is it wiring for trailer? Thanks.
                        Yup, you have to have the wiring present for the trailer lights. I did this myself with the kit from www.etrailer.com, but it wasn't as easy as some others to install. I had to run a positive wire under the car to the battery as well as remove most of the rear trim panels. This is how the trailer lights are powered, and it's required to tow on public roads. If you have the hitch installed you probably have this done already, in which case forget about it!

                        Again I'll emphasize brakes....my boat and trailer weigh right around 3,500 lbs, and the car weighs just over 1,000 lbs more than that. Without trailer brakes the brakes on the Sienna would be overworked and would not be capable of stopping the boat fast if the need should ever occur. Many boat trailers for this size boat don't have brakes, this is not something that can be sacrificed. Here's the boat we have:

                        http://larsonboats.com/boat/overhead/lx-series/850

                        Comes with a very high quality trailer with brakes, and this setup is the easiest boat I've ever seen to launch and retrieve. With the V6 engine it's right at the max weight, but it seems to be a well built boat. I really like the 5-year full warranty on the boat and trailer, as well as the lifetime hull and deck warranty. We've had it for a month and a half and couldn't be happier!

                        2011 Larson LX850. 4.3L MerCruiser TKS/Alpha 1 outdrive.

                        Comment



                        • #13
                          Re: What brand is reliable for used bowrider? Question from a totally new to boating

                          Originally posted by TomB985 View Post
                          Again I'll emphasize brakes....my boat and trailer weigh right around 3,500 lbs, and the car weighs just over 1,000 lbs more than that. Without trailer brakes the brakes on the Sienna would be overworked and would not be capable of stopping the boat fast if the need should ever occur. Many boat trailers for this size boat don't have brakes, this is not something that can be sacrificed. Here's the boat we have:

                          http://larsonboats.com/boat/overhead/lx-series/850

                          Comes with a very high quality trailer with brakes, and this setup is the easiest boat I've ever seen to launch and retrieve. With the V6 engine it's right at the max weight, but it seems to be a well built boat.
                          Again though the larson is a midlevel weight boat but I can see the trailer is a bit nicer than the average. I almost never see the winch cover on our smaller trailers other than the more expensive ones. 2450 lbs with the base engine (of course you have the v6) and only a 23 gallon tank. As for trailer brakes, I wouldn't consider no trailer brakes even with a nice suv. You start getting to 19 feet and/or up the boat scale and the minivan will show its weeknesses. maybe 10 or 12 extra gallons of gas weight and maybe 500 lbs more dry weight and the weight really adds up on the minivan.
                          2003 Chaparral 183SS

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                          • #14
                            Re: What brand is reliable for used bowrider? Question from a totally new to boating

                            Regarding the folding tongue -- you can buy kits to turn a regular tongue in a folding one. They run about $100.
                            SDSeville
                            1986 19' Sea Ray Seville BR (restored 2011)
                            Merc 470 A679763/Alpha 1
                            http://forums.iboats.com/showthread.php?t=380371
                            Speedi-sleeves, Breezeworks alternator conversion, 4" heat exchanger (stock that year), Electric fuel pump

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                            • #15
                              Sign up today
                              Re: What brand is reliable for used bowrider? Question from a totally new to boating

                              i couldn't read some of the Walls O' Text above, but I wouldn't look for brands as much as I would look for the care and maintenance that a boat has recieved. Our SeaRay may be a "high" brand but I bet a Bayliner that has spent its off-water time in shelter could be a better boat.

                              Brand hunting is generally a wasted distraction in the small, pleasure boat world.
                              1995 SeaRay BR200 5.0 Alpha I "Texas Belle"
                              1999 Starcraft Aurora 2415 5.7 Alpha I "MO Belle"

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