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Looking For a Boat

Posted: Fri Dec 23, 2016 3:01 pm
by ejomby
Hello everybody. I'm new to the forum. And I'm looking to get a Boston Whaler.

A little bit about me: I'm a single Dad with 2 kids--12 and 10. I drive a 4 cylinder Rav4. I live in the Dallas area. I was hoping you could help me.

I'm a complete newbie, but I'm a quick learner. I want to get a whaler that I can tow and that I can take my kids on. The most I'd ever have on it would be 5 people, but typically just us 3. So here are my questions:

1. What's the best boat to get? (considering the car I have for towing: rated towing capacity is 1500 lbs)
2. Where's the best place to buy it from? (I'm a teacher, so I don't have much money. The cheaper, the better)
3. What kind of motor should it have?
4. For those near me, what's the best lake to take it to?

Thank you very much for your help.

Re: Looking For a Boat

Posted: Fri Dec 23, 2016 4:01 pm
by Phil T
E--given your tow vehicle, you are choices include the 13' Sport,15' Sport or the post 2000 130 Sport. You might also be able to handle a Dauntless 13.

As for engines, classic whalers were rigged by the selling dealers so all brands are prevalent.

For a 13' Sport, look for one with a 30-40 hp motor. For a 15' Sport and Dauntless a 50-70 hp motor.

Keep an eye out at the Marketplace forum here as well as the Texas craigslist pages.

Re: Looking to Start

Posted: Fri Dec 23, 2016 4:27 pm
by ejomby
Thank you. So for 5 people, the 15' would be best?

I see a lot of cheap boats on Americanlisted. Do you guys usually trust that site?

Re: Looking to Start

Posted: Fri Dec 23, 2016 7:15 pm
by Jefecinco
I believe a 15 would be the best option for more than three people aboard. I've never heard of [the website referred to just as] Americanlisted, and thus do not trust it. It appears to be a copy of craigslist.

No matter the source of a listing it's highly recommended you personally see the boat and it's ownership documents before paying anything to anyone toward purchasing a boat. Many, many people have been defrauded by con men pretending to sell a boat or selling a boat with a serious defect. There a many Boston Whaler owners in Texas and some of them are members on this site. Perhaps one of the members in close proximity to you can provide some guidance.

Boston Whaler dealers can sometimes provide a nice previously owned consignment boat for your consideration.

Re: Looking to Start

Posted: Fri Dec 23, 2016 10:04 pm
by Buoy
Take a look at the specs for the classic (and some post classic) Boston Whalers as it provides detailed information on weight, length, beam, etc. Note and be mindful of the minimum and maximum horsepower data as you're searching for your Whaler, it's very important that your vessel is not underpowered. ... tions.html

Good luck and keep us updated.

Re: Looking to Start

Posted: Sat Dec 24, 2016 9:08 am
by macfam
My opinion:
Kids grow, and add friends.
Your best bet is a 17 Classic Montauk, or if affordable, a 170 (newer style) Montauk, of even a 150 Montauk if you can get a good deal.
Engine: To start, something DEPENDABLE. Low hours and well maintained. 2 or 4 stroke doesn't matter to get you started. You want an engine that a local dealer can service, and gives you the high sign that it's pretty darn decent.

You can upgrade the engine when it's necessary and/or affordable. The boat should last a LONG time, and engines come and go every 10-15 years, depending on maintenance and usage.
The 17's are plentiful on the market. Do your research. Find a good one. Add canvas options if you want.
The cost of ownership for a used 17 or 170 over 5-7 years may actually be the lowest in the boating industry. And YES, I will stand by that comment.
Search craigslist,, yacht world, iBoats etc.
They're out there......
Good luck!!

Re: Looking to Start

Posted: Sat Dec 24, 2016 9:23 am
by Phil T
Keep in mind the limited tow capacity the buyer has. While a classic Montauk 17 or early Montauk 150 are nice, they exceed the tow rating.

One additional item, capacity. 5 people is not practical in a 13 or a 15. In a Montauk 17, you can have two sitting on the RPS facing the stern, the driver standing and 2 sitting on the console cooler.

Re: Looking to Start

Posted: Sat Dec 24, 2016 10:47 am
by jimh
My first Boston Whaler boat was a 15-footer. We had a lot of fun with our SPORT 15 for several years. We towed it all over the Midwest with our full-size rear-wheel-drive sedan, a FORD CROWN VICTORIA. The SPORT 15 is very easy to launch or load with a trailer. It is a very fun boat to run. It is NOT a good boat for five people. I think we never had more than two aboard. Because the SPORT 15 is an open boat, some of the cockpit space is taken up with the fuel tank and battery. Add a cooler, and some other gear, and the cockpit is full. There won't be much room left for four passengers. See below:


If you really need a small boat that can comfortably and safely handle five people most of the time, you will need to get something bigger than a 15-footer. For five, I'd go with a 20 to 25-footer. For one adult and two young people, a 15-footer will be fine. Also, a 15-footer is about the largest Boston Whaler boat you'd want to let a youngster take out alone.

The problem with trailer boating is the necessity of a good towing vehicle. The farther you have to tow, the more important the tow vehicle becomes. The steeper the grades you have to climb and descend, the more important the tow vehicle becomes. I don't think of Dallas as being a mountainous location, so your small SUV should be able to tow well right up to its maximum ratings. If you just have to tow a few miles to a local boat ramp, and you won't be traveling at 70-MPH on a superhighway, even marginal tow vehicles can work--if you are cautious.

Re: Looking For a Boat

Posted: Sat Dec 24, 2016 11:39 am
by macfam
With all the limitations, if it were me personally:
17 Montauk, 50-70 hp two stroke, trailer.
It may slightly exceed towing capacity, but I'd still go for it.
Drive very carefully, leaving room to brake. Texas is pretty flat and no mountainous areas.
When it's time to replace the RAV4, go for a bit more Texas Beef.

Back in the late 70's, I towed a 17 Nauset, 70 Mercury 2-stroke, on a Load-rite trailer, with a 1976 Plymouth Arrow (Mitsubishi) 4-cyl. 5 speed stick. The towing capacity? About the same as a 10-speed bicycle!!
My wife followed me with the three kids to the boat ramps. Some ramps were 20 miles away with one big long hill.
Wouldn't do more than 50 up that hill on it's best day.
But we went boating!!!! Great days.....great memories.

Re: Looking For a Boat

Posted: Sat Dec 24, 2016 5:41 pm
by ejomby
Thank you everyone for your help. I think maybe I should go for a 17'. The 15' looks a little too tight. Maybe I can just keep it stored near or at the marina. Then I won't have to worry so much about the Rav4.

Re: Looking For a Boat

Posted: Sat Dec 24, 2016 9:55 pm
by porthole
ejomby wrote:So for 5 people, the 15' would be best?

I had a 1983 15 center console, great boat, probably the best riding Whaler hull of them all.
It was great for me and the dog pretty good for my wife and our two dogs (Golden's), but already crowded.

Even with just 3 it gets cramped on the 15. And the 15 has a very low freeboard compared to the 17. That should be a consideration with younger kids.
The 17 Whaler is very popular and as such, they are always on the market.
Horsepower? If you are looking to go with 3-5 people then the horsepower goal for me would be at the upper design limit.

Someone mentioned a 17 with a 50-70 outboard. I had a 4 stroke 50 on my 15 and it was underpowered.

Re: Looking For a Boat

Posted: Sun Dec 25, 2016 2:19 am
by Drafter
As far as boating options go nearby: I live just north of you in Tulsa. Surprisingly enough, Oklahoma has more shoreline than the East Coast and Gulf Coast combined. There are lots of great lakes to explore with your boys in a small trailerable boat. I've spent a ton of time on Possum Kingdom, two-hours west of you. Absolutely beautiful lake in the hill country. Just north in Oklahoma is Broken Bow with surrounding mountains (large hills) and very clear water. Just east in Arkansas is Quachita and Greers Ferry. Lots of great information and advice on this site. Good luck!

Re: Looking For a Boat

Posted: Sun Dec 25, 2016 9:48 pm
by ejomby
Merry Christmas everyone. I've now watched a ton of videos, read a ton or specs and reviews. And now I'm totally split. I know long term it's better to get a bigger boat. But the prices are out of my range. I think I could be good with a 13 with just my 2 kids. It's something that I can afford, something that's realistic, and something that will put me on the water. I know how to run a trailer in reverse ( I used to do it with little tractors.) But I just want to get out on the water, and there's no way I can pay more than 5k right now. Even that is big money for me.

I'm 41. I'll start small, and I'll move up. (So if you see any good deals in Dallas, let me know :) ) Thanks again everyone.

Re: Looking For a Boat

Posted: Mon Dec 26, 2016 9:54 am
by Jefecinco
Given your budget a classic 13 Sport is realistic. For $5,000 you should be able to buy one in excellent condition with a late model engine installed. Make sure you get a good trailer under the boat. For exclusive fresh water boating a painted trailer is a good choice versus a galvanized steel or aluminum trailer. I believe an aluminum trailer is the best choice but that is not important. If it's the right boat don't be distracted by the trailer material. A forty horsepower engine is ideal but 30 horsepower will move the boat very well though a 30 may be a bit strained to pull a pair of water skiers.

My wife has a 1981 Sport 13 with a 30 horsepower four stroke, EFI engine with tilt and trim. She bought the boat for around $4,000 five years ago. We replaced the trailer last year but knew that would be necessary when she bought. The hull is sound and dry but the interior has several minor dings which are cosmetic only. The wood is original and needed attention but that would be very easy for a 41 year old. She has been very happy with her 13 so I'm happy as well.

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of 13 foot Boston Whalers for sale all over the country. I believe Craigs List is a good place to start a search. A valuable tool to widen a Craigs List search is found at We live in the Mobile, AL area and found our 13 in Atlanta, GA. The seller was willing to meet us half way at a large lake so we could inspect the boat and do an on-the-water test. We brought a certified check for the agreed upon amount. We closed the deal at a nearby boat dealer where we had the paperwork notarized. We thought that if the seller was willing to drive a few hundred miles with the risk of having to take the boat home unsold if it failed to pass muster it was a small risk to us. It was fun and easy. At our first stop for fuel on the way home my wife was thrilled to have a fellow at the next pump admire the boat and ask if we would sell it. We've since been asked that question many times.

Re: Looking For a Boat

Posted: Mon Dec 26, 2016 10:33 am
by andrey320
Check out the Dauntless 15.

Re: Looking For a Boat

Posted: Tue Dec 27, 2016 1:38 pm
by jimh
I am sure a DAUNTLESS 15 would be a nice boat, but I don't know that it fits the criteria for this buyer. Typically a DAUNTLESS model will be heavier, increasing the towing weight, which is an important consideration to this buyer. A DAUNTLESS will also be more expensive than an open skiff boat like a SPORT 13 or SPORT 15, as the DAUNTLESS models usually have an internal fuel tank, more elaborate upholstered seating, and more creature comforts. This buyer is quite cost conscious.