I have a 1994 Montauk 17 with a Johnson 90.
Here are my thoughts on the basics of boating.
Check the trailer thoroughly, with special attention to the wheels, tires and hubs. Also the bunkers, rollers and lights.
Review all of the procedures regarding the running of the engine and accessories. Starting, running, oil-gas management. Often just a silly thing can cause a problem. Use the Rec90 gas. A fuel filter would be ok, although I have never used one myself.
Make sure you have all of the required safety equipment and that it is accessible when needed. Use a portable marine radio in case of an emergency. Things like flares expire after a time.
For trailering and launching, do a little practice. Try to find a less busy location for your first launch. As noted, check the tie down straps, plugs, and engine position prior to launching. I use a chock on the wheels of my tow vehicle to make sure it can't slide backwards during the launch or when I pull it out. Dont forget to hold on to a line before letting the boat launch down into the water. I have seen this happen where the boat owner watches his boat float away. But the most common mistake I have seen is people launching their boat with the engine still down in the travel position. Then it hits the bottom. Definitely avoid that.
Take care to balance the load. Don't get too many people on one side. It does pound some in a head sea, but just moderate your speed and trim, to help with that. You will find waves that may come over the bow. But don't worry about it. The boat is desgned to handle it. Make sure you have a bilge pump in the stern. The boat is self bailing, but it will help. I don't like to go too fast, but getting on a nice plane does it just fine. In calmer water, the boat and engine have a sweet spot and just sings along. It is wonderful. It is like surfing. But I do tell people that come with us that it is possble for them to get wet (in rougher water).
I have a bimini top. If you don't have one, I highly recommend it.
The boat can do most anything well, within its limitations. You can cruise, dive, fish, waterski, whatever. We, now being older, love to go to sandbars and just hang out. MIne has a stern platform/ladder which makes it easier to get in and out.
One person can run the boat fine, but I normally have 4-6 people in it as we like to go with friends. I have the cooler seat and bow cushions as well as the stern seat. Its like a nautical minivan. I have had as many as 7, which is its rated capacity with no problems, and the 90HP was enough for what I do. And everybody was comfortable. I love the reversible helm seat, as it allows you to both sit when you are going slow, but stand up when you are going fast.
I live in South Florida, and I have had the boat up and down the Intracoastal Waterway, in the bay, and offshore in the Gulfstream 10-20 miles in the deep water trolling for Dolphin (fish, not the mammal). I have trailered it to the Florida Keys and the West Coast of Florida to Sanibel/Captiva islands. No problems at all. Never felt unsafe. And it sips gas compared to most of the boats I see these days. Some of them use as much gas in one day, as I would in a year. And I really don't think that they are having any more fun than I do.
Another advantage of the Montauk 17 is that when we are threatened by a Hurricane, it is snug in my garage. Never had a problem, through all of the storms we have had over the years.
When you are out there boating, be aware of where you are and have nautical charts, (paper or electronic) to indicate where the shallow areas and channels and markers are. Also note the tides and currents. If you have them in your area, some inlets can be very rough to get through. Check with the locals who are knowledgeable to understand the best way to navigate through them. (The middle may be the worst place to be). Try to follow the rules of the road, but don't ever think that others will. Use defensive driving principles and courtesy when on the water. You will also likely run into people who do neither and/or have too much alcohol. Just stay clear as much as possible from them. This is especially true at the boat ramps.
Be aware that you might have engine trouble at some point. Be familiar with your engine. It is usually a fuel or ignition problem. But there also is the possibity of overheating caused by debris blocking the engine intakes. Keep your engine serviced, and test run it periodically. Change the water pump regularly. Also, as a precaution, you could sign up for one of the boating services like Towboat US, etc in the event you breakdown and neded help.
Keeping all of this in mind, just be a little extra cautious when you go out for the first few times. If you have an experienced friend that you trust, take them with you.
[Moderator’s note: originally posted in reply to a three-year-old thread.]
A conversation among Whalers
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