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Best boat for shallow water ( 2 feet)

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  • Best boat for shallow water ( 2 feet)

    We dont know much about boats. We are looking for a used boat that will be used mostly in 4-11 ft water, but may need to go into 2 ft water. (I think they call this skinny water.)

    1) How shallow of water will a pontoon boat go into? Does it matter how many people are on it?
    2) How shallow of water will a runabout go into?
    3) How shallow of water will a bass boat go into
    4) what is the term for the depth of water a boat can manuever in? Is it draft?

    Right now we are just looking for a generic boat, not necessarily wanting to fish or ski but just learn the lake.

    Thanks
    Janie


  • #2
    Re: Best boat for shallow water ( 2 feet)

    Draft is the depth that the hull protrudes into the water. Thus, if you have a boat with a 18" draft, you better have at least 2' of water.

    There are 16' pontoons (or runabouts) and there are 27' pontoons (or runabouts). The draft may be different for each one. THus, your questions are too generic for good answers.

    In general, for what you want, an outboard with power trim will be best. Run an inboard aground and you're screwed. An I/O can do shallow water, but not for long periods. An inboard jet is seemingly OK, but at 2' you run the risk of sucking up the bottom and ruining the impeller and wear ring, which isn't a cheap repair.
    2009 Starcraft 14' FLSS & Yamaha 25
    2005 SeaDoo GTX 4-Tec 155
    1984 Stingray SVB190SS & Mercruiser 3.0 Liter 140
    1964 Sea Nymph 14R & 1970 Evinrude Sportwin 9.5
    1960 Mulray 100 Dinghy, equipped with Beaver Oars
    1952 Lyman 15' Mid Steer & Evinrude Big Twin 25
    63 Outboards: 1919-2008, representing 11 manufacturers
    -------------------------------------------------------------------
    Member ACBS, LBOA, AOMCI

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    • #3
      Re: Best boat for shallow water ( 2 feet)

      Originally posted by JCOLake View Post
      4) what is the term for the depth of water a boat can manuever in? Is it draft?
      Jim's answer on draft is correct regarding the hull, however this does not include the drive. As an example, I have a deckboat that has an advertised draft of 14" (I also deal with skinny water), but prop sticks down at at least another foot. Anything less than 3' of water and I get real nervous. These numbers will likely be about the same with a bass boat, a pontoon maybe a few inches shallower. The runabout (assuming deep or semi-vee) will need about a foot more water.

      I can trim it up but (raise the motor), but still it 2' of water is white knuckle even at no wake speeds. I have some friends that have the same boat that use an electric motor to get to and from their dock where the water is 2'.

      Depending on the bottom type, you might do best with a jet. It doesn't stick down further into the water than the draft, but like Jim said if its weedy or muddy, you can suck it into the drive.

      Comment



      • #4
        Re: Best boat for shallow water ( 2 feet)

        For safe boating in shallow water,consider a Penn Yan with tunnel drive. It's hard to beat 8 inches of draft and being able to beach your rig without having to worry about your propeller or lower unit.
        Make sure the plug is in

        Comment



        • #5
          Re: Best boat for shallow water ( 2 feet)

          About 24 inches is as shallow as I like to go on my pontoon and even then its kicking up a lot of mud.
          sigpicJames & Deb

          Bad Dog

          If it aint broke your not having enough fun

          my 1988 Riviera Cruzer pontoon rebuild
          http://forums.iboats.com/showthread.php?t=526820

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          • #6
            Re: Best boat for shallow water ( 2 feet)

            so much depends on your bottom. If you have a soft bottom you can take more chances; if you have a hard bottom you can't. Flat bottoms mean you might glide if you get too skinny; lumpy bottoms mean a sudden stop.

            Talking about the below surface conditiosn; not you.

            You can run on a plane and draw a foot or better less but it's risky due to the prosect of hitting.

            If you run skinny water a lot you have to be prepared--and able--to pole or paddle out. Only use outboards; no I/O or inboards.

            You want a flat bottomed boat, too. Carolina Skiff is one of the best--also carries a crowd of people. You don;t want a deep V.
            A man of constant boat tinkering.

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            • #7
              Re: Best boat for shallow water ( 2 feet)

              Originally posted by rolmops View Post
              For safe boating in shallow water,consider a Penn Yan with tunnel drive. It's hard to beat 8 inches of draft and being able to beach your rig without having to worry about your propeller or lower unit.
              That would have been good advice back in the day. However, if you could still find one it would probably not be in very good condition, considering its age. Penn Yan was a fine builder - too bad they are long gone.
              2009 Starcraft 14' FLSS & Yamaha 25
              2005 SeaDoo GTX 4-Tec 155
              1984 Stingray SVB190SS & Mercruiser 3.0 Liter 140
              1964 Sea Nymph 14R & 1970 Evinrude Sportwin 9.5
              1960 Mulray 100 Dinghy, equipped with Beaver Oars
              1952 Lyman 15' Mid Steer & Evinrude Big Twin 25
              63 Outboards: 1919-2008, representing 11 manufacturers
              -------------------------------------------------------------------
              Member ACBS, LBOA, AOMCI

              Comment



              • #8
                Re: Best boat for shallow water ( 2 feet)

                Originally posted by Campylobacter View Post
                Jim's answer on draft is correct regarding the hull, however this does not include the drive.
                Pardon my less than complete answer. However, practically speaking I can run at idle speed in water that is only deep enough to float the hull. If you know where your outdrive is, you can position it so that the prop is just above the bottom of the boat. You won't go fast, but you won't go crunch either. Although I can run that way with my I/O, it's much easier with an OB with power trim.
                2009 Starcraft 14' FLSS & Yamaha 25
                2005 SeaDoo GTX 4-Tec 155
                1984 Stingray SVB190SS & Mercruiser 3.0 Liter 140
                1964 Sea Nymph 14R & 1970 Evinrude Sportwin 9.5
                1960 Mulray 100 Dinghy, equipped with Beaver Oars
                1952 Lyman 15' Mid Steer & Evinrude Big Twin 25
                63 Outboards: 1919-2008, representing 11 manufacturers
                -------------------------------------------------------------------
                Member ACBS, LBOA, AOMCI

                Comment



                • #9
                  Re: Best boat for shallow water ( 2 feet)

                  I am surprised nobody has mentioned it an airboat can run on dew.

                  Comment



                  • #10
                    Re: Best boat for shallow water ( 2 feet)

                    For safe boating in shallow water,consider a Penn Yan with tunnel drive. It's hard to beat 8 inches of draft and being able to beach your rig without having to worry about your propeller or lower unit.

                    Originally posted by JimS123 View Post
                    That would have been good advice back in the day. However, if you could still find one it would probably not be in very good condition, considering its age. Penn Yan was a fine builder - too bad they are long gone.
                    Just come over to Lake Ontario. You will see a lot of these rigs, LOL they sell for bigger money now,than when they were new.
                    Make sure the plug is in

                    Comment



                    • #11
                      Re: Best boat for shallow water ( 2 feet)

                      Originally posted by Bubba1235
                      A standard large outboard for normal use that can be tilted out of the water and a small air cooled aux. outboard where all you need to do is have the prop at the water surface.
                      I forgot about the "mud drive" or "surface drive" option. They are used around here in the tidal sounds and will run in 0" of mud if its wet enough. Probably not what the OP is looking for, but pretty cool

                      Surface Drive (Mud Drive) Outboard Engine - YouTube

                      Comment



                      • #12
                        Re: Best boat for shallow water ( 2 feet)

                        It also depends on how fast you go. The physics of a planing hull (going fast) will require quite a bit less water than a displacement hull (going slow). Some planing hulls will only require enough water for the drive and prop. For example, a bass boat at speed is mostly out of the water. However, if you are going fast and do hit something the end result could be interesting (in a very bad way).

                        If you know where you are going and what is out there you could find that there are places you can get across at speed that you could not going slowly. However, prudence suggests that going fast in shallow water is not something to be taken lightly.

                        Comment



                        • #13
                          Re: Best boat for shallow water ( 2 feet)

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                          Have a nice day!

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                          • #14
                            Re: Best boat for shallow water ( 2 feet)

                            A good ski boat like a Malibu Response or Mastercraft 197 will run less than 22" of draft but if you find one from 10 years ago it's less than 18". Drop a few more when you are on plane.
                            Maybe not exactly what you had thought but think of the fun. ( carry a spare prop in case you find a rock at 15")

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                            • #15
                              Re: Best boat for shallow water ( 2 feet)

                              Welcome to iboats

                              You would be wanting a good sized flat bottom jon boat, that is what they were made for, throw a jet drive on it and you are good, none of the boats in you original post are good for skinny water, especially the pontoon.

                              With a good size flat bottom maybe 16' long and 80+'' wide you will only need a few inches draft with 2-3 people and a jet drive only needs @8''-10'' of water to run.

                              Are there other boats on this lake?

                              Really shallow water is really no fun and can cause alot of problems depending on the bottom.
                              GO IRISH!!!!

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