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Two boats, which one should we purchase?
June 11, 2008 12:11 AM   Subscribe

I know nothing about boats, but I'll be buying one soon and have narrowed it down to two styles. Help me make a choice.

We have a house on a very small lake that isn't big enough for anything other than canoes, paddle boats, kayaks, and small boats. Motors are not allowed (except small trolling motors). Residents around the lake use their small boats to visit other neighbors and take leisurely rides up and down the lake.

We'd like to buy a boat so that our mother, who loves the lake but is scared of water, would feel safe on. So the number one thing we're looking for is stability.

We've found 2 boats that we like, but they're slightly different and I have no idea if one is more stable than the other.

Boat 1

Boat 2

Does anyone knowledgeable regarding boats know if one would be appreciably more stable than the other?

We've already decided against paddle boats, small pontoon boats, etc
posted by justgary to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (14 answers total)
 
Boat #1 is wider and would therefore be inherently more stable when your mother gets in or out.
posted by Krrrlson at 12:20 AM on June 11, 2008


Those are fishing boats. Are you sure a fishing boat is the best choice when your stated purpose is to "visit other neighbors and take leisurely rides up and down the lake" and "We'd like to buy a boat so that our mother, who loves the lake but is scared of water, would feel safe on"? Nowhere in your question do you state that you want to use the boat for fishing. There are many other choices out there to meet your needs besides fishing boats.
posted by amyms at 12:27 AM on June 11, 2008


Those are fishing boats.

Yes, I realize that. There's some crossover though, isn't there? A jon boat is sometimes called a utility boat.

But if there are other boats that are better, I'm all ears/eyes.
posted by justgary at 12:35 AM on June 11, 2008


But if there are other boats that are better, I'm all ears/eyes.

I would have suggested a small pontoon, because of their stability, but I noticed that you've already decided against that. Sorry.
posted by amyms at 1:01 AM on June 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


Everybody's gonna have an opinion on this but in mine, number 1 looks pretty good for futzing around. Definitely less tippy. If you're boarding from a float/pier, making sure Mom steps into the center of the boat will help a lot too. FYI, No. 1 is also likely to be a bit slower for a given motor size, but it doesn't sound like that's going to be an issue.

The tasks you've described are things a classic yacht tender/dinghy is designed for. So if you haven't totally made up your mind a Google search on "dinghy" will return plenty more candidates.

If you do look at other boats and you're going to be beaching a lot be sure to look at weight too (though both your current choices are about as light as a decent boat of that size is going to get.)
posted by Opposite George at 1:16 AM on June 11, 2008


I would have suggested a small pontoon

Honestly, I haven't considered a pontoon boat because I thought they were quite a bit bigger, but I'll do a search and see what I can find. Thanks.

The tasks you've described are things a classic yacht tender/dinghy is designed for. So if you haven't totally made up your mind a Google search on "dinghy" will return plenty more candidates.

See, I was thinking the white boat was basically a dinghy. I'll look into that more. Thanks.

Something I didn't say before, it would tie up to a small dock.
posted by justgary at 1:38 AM on June 11, 2008


Pontoons are great for people who are a bit afraid. Your mother would be stepping "onto" it, rather than "into" it (it makes a psychological difference). If you can find a small pontoon that meets your needs, I think it will serve you well for the purposes you've described.

Good luck with whatever you decide!
posted by amyms at 1:55 AM on June 11, 2008


Yeah, the white boat is basically a modernish dinghy. Honestly I suspect the "fishing boat" thing is just as much marketing as anything (but what do I know -- where I come from most inland water fishing is done from jon boats anyway.) Seriously, compare it to something like this and there isn't much difference.
posted by Opposite George at 2:09 AM on June 11, 2008


Oh, and if you're going to be tying up, make sure the cleats are through-bolted or screwed into a block. You don't want them ripping out if it gets choppy on the lake (I mean, a self-respecting boat manufacturer would be sure they're on pretty good but sometimes shortcuts are taken...)
posted by Opposite George at 2:23 AM on June 11, 2008


I don't know how heavy you and your mother are, but take note of the rated capacities of each. Note that Boat 2 has a capacity of 100 lbs. less than Boat 1. Things like oars, an anchor, etc. also take up weight in addition to that of your bodies. If you go with an electric trolling motor at any point, know that a 12 volt deep cycle battery is very heavy too.

I owned a 10 foot metal jon boat for a while which two of us used for fishing. I have to say that even when we didn't have lines in the water, we really felt that we were practically sitting on top of each other, with little elbow room. While I ran mine with an electric trolling motor, I can tell you that if someone is rowing, the space issue will be even more of a consideration.

I think you'd be way more comfortable with a 12 foot boat; preferably wider than Boat 2. There are a lot of used metal 12 foot jon boats around and a wider one will be pleasantly stable.

By the way, whatever you get, en electric trolling motor is a really nice way to power it for your purposes, especially if you can charge the battery without having to remove it from the boat.
posted by imjustsaying at 3:01 AM on June 11, 2008


Both of the boats you've selected are or should be sub-$1000, even with a small trolling motor and battery attached. You're not going to find even a 14 foot pontoon in that price range, and pontoons don't lend themselves nearly as well to shallow-draft loading and unloading, and are also extremely poky (slow) with trolling motors. I would advise you ignore the pontoon boat suggestions above.

Boat 1 and boat 2 are both extremely stable. Boat 1 will eat small waves better, as it's got a wide v-hull. I'd be willing to bet that the draft on boat 2 is a little shallower, though. (Draft = how far under water the hull goes.)

The person above said boat X is wider and wider = more stable. That's not always true. A deep V hull is often significantly more stable than a flat bottom john in any kind of current, especially with folks moving around. Boat A isn't a deep v, it's a tri-hull, and in my experience tri's are very, very stable. Either one of those boats will absolutely haul ass with a 30 or 36 lb thrust trolling motor.

I'd select boat A if for no other reason than that I'm not a fan of plastic john boats.

I assume you're going to have her in a really good PFD? And are you shore loading or dock loading? If she's bigger, you're going to need some practice before you try to put her in it. Heavy person in front = bad, and operator goes in the back.
posted by TomMelee at 5:40 AM on June 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


Boat A isn't a deep v, it's a tri-hull, and in my experience tri's are very, very stable.

Agreed. I'm having a problem with the links (stupid firewall), but if one of them is a tri, that's almost certainly the way to go in terms of stability.
posted by somanyamys at 8:24 AM on June 11, 2008


Have you considered a Portabote? I have the 12' model and I love it. The website claims seem a bit over the top, yet they are all basically true. http://www.porta-bote.com/
posted by WWJB at 10:12 AM on June 11, 2008


Thanks everyone for the suggestions and information. It will help immensely.
posted by justgary at 10:48 AM on June 11, 2008


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