1st Boat Questions

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Henpecked
Posts: 88
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2018 9:05 pm
Location: Ellis County, TX

1st Boat Questions

#1 Post by Henpecked » Thu Sep 13, 2018 5:20 pm

1. Inboard vs. Outboard - I'm boat hunting and I see that most people have outboards. I don't know much about either, but what are the advantages of one type over the other. Is it hard to keep water out of the inboard engine bay? Sump pump? Is one easier to service than the other? Does one type typically perform better than the other? Can you trim an inboard? How are both types cooled? Do they have radiators or do they simply circulate lake water through channels in the engine for cooling?

2. VIN numbers - Do pontoon boats typically have VIN numbers or some other type of registered identifiable number for the boat, motor, and trailer? Where are they located? I need to know this if I ever find a boat to buy and want to avoid getting swindled.

3. Towing - Do most boats come with a standard size ball for towing? I've never owned a trailer. My truck has a 7 pin connector. Are most boat trailers 4 pin? I guess that would depend on whether the trailer had brakes or not. What are some good ways to secure your trailer during storage or parking while on the lake? I'm assuming all boat trailers will have submersible lights.

4. Ethanol - Most boats (especially older) weren't designed for ethanol. How important is it to find ethanol free gas? Are there any mods to do to improve performance or reliability with ethanol?(stainless steel lines) What additives do you recommend for ethanol fuel?

5. When you bought your first boat, did you do anything wrong or not do something that you wished you had? I want to learn from your mistakes.

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ROLAND
Posts: 3918
Joined: Sat Oct 03, 2009 4:29 am

Re: 1st Boat Questions

#2 Post by ROLAND » Fri Sep 14, 2018 1:30 am

Hello Henpecked... I may be able to help you with a few things.. maybe... lol
Henpecked wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 5:20 pm
1. Inboard vs. Outboard - I'm boat hunting and I see that most people have outboards. I don't know much about either, but what are the advantages of one type over the other. Is it hard to keep water out of the inboard engine bay? Sump pump? Is one easier to service than the other? Does one type typically perform better than the other? Can you trim an inboard? How are both types cooled? Do they have radiators or do they simply circulate lake water through channels in the engine for cooling?

2. VIN numbers - Do pontoon boats typically have VIN numbers or some other type of registered identifiable number for the boat, motor, and trailer? Where are they located? I need to know this if I ever find a boat to buy and want to avoid getting swindled.

3. Towing - Do most boats come with a standard size ball for towing? I've never owned a trailer. My truck has a 7 pin connector. Are most boat trailers 4 pin? I guess that would depend on whether the trailer had brakes or not. What are some good ways to secure your trailer during storage or parking while on the lake? I'm assuming all boat trailers will have submersible lights.

4. Ethanol - Most boats (especially older) weren't designed for ethanol. How important is it to find ethanol free gas? Are there any mods to do to improve performance or reliability with ethanol?(stainless steel lines) What additives do you recommend for ethanol fuel?

5. When you bought your first boat, did you do anything wrong or not do something that you wished you had? I want to learn from your mistakes.

Inboard or outboard.. I've got an outboard and I would guess that the majority of boat owners do as well. Personally I've never seen a pontoon boat with an inboard motor...I would think that if you had to work on your motor, an outboard would be much easier, especially when it comes to accessibility.. My outboard is water cooled...

as for Vin numbers.. I don't want to tell you something wrong, but I do believe that there is either a VIN or serial number... I've never looked into it, but I believe I've seen a small metal plate with a fairly long letter / number combination on the back of my boat.. I believe in my case it began with the letters ETW...

As for towing, I googled the following: The most common ball size is two inches in diameter, but heavy-duty industrial trailer balls can go up to 2 1/4". The diameter of your ball mount's hole must be no more than 1/16" greater than the ball shank diameter in order to fit [source: etrailer.com]. As for securing my trailer in storage or at the lake, I have a trailer lock on it.

Ethanol gas.. my opinion, AVOID IT AT ALL COST... That crap is horrible for boats... My boat is now on it's 9th season and only once have I put gas with ethanol in it.. and that was an emergency... other than that one time, nothing but ethanol free gas. To find a station that sells E FREE gas in your area check out: https://www.pure-gas.org/ Once your on the site, just find your state, then your city or closet city for a list of stations that sell e free fuel. Like alot of the guys on this forum, we also use a stabilizer in our fuel.. Everyone has their own preference.. Some like Startron, some Stabil.... Personally I've been using a product called Pri G. I never drain my fuel at the end of the season.. I just treat the fuel and then top her off at the beginning of the next season.. 9 years and zero fuel issues.

What do I wish I had done when I bought my boat... well since I had never owned a boat, I wish I had taken a boater safety course. I wasn't ready for a lot of the drunks and yahoo's that are out on the lakes on the weekends and I would have been better prepared had I taken a course... as for doing anything wrong... well not really but I did have an issue getting the boat back on the trailer that first season... was very humiliating taking 3 or 4 tries to get my boat loaded while other boaters were sitting in the bay "waiting" for the new guy to load his boat. Of course, with some tips from the guys on this forum, and a little experience that worked itself out.

All I got my friend.. hope some of this helps.
Roland & Jo
2010 Bennington 20 Sfi
Yamaha 75 4 Stroke
Shreveport, Louisiana

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FLOUNDERPOUNDER225
Posts: 265
Joined: Thu Jul 16, 2015 7:19 am

Re: 1st Boat Questions

#3 Post by FLOUNDERPOUNDER225 » Fri Sep 14, 2018 7:24 am

built, repaired, owned boats since I was 10 yrs old (46 yrs). here's my advice opinions:

1. Inboard vs. Outboard - Go outboard, especially if you operate in salt water. Inboard Outboards (I/O) have a much higher maintenance schedule because of the amount of components involved, CV Joints, Outdrive Boots, Cables, Transom brackets and attaching parts, in salt water the risers and exhaust manifolds HAVE to be replaced about every 4-5 years or you will destroy the motor from water intrusion. Plus working on them down in the bilge is a major PIA. Advantages for the I/O is quietness while running, and fuel mileage is probably double that of an outboard

2. VIN numbers - Boats have HIN numbers (Hull Identification Number), located on the starboard aft end usually on the transom area. Mandatory since the mid to late 70's prior to that not required, last 2 digits represent the year of the boat, first letters identify the manufacture's name.

3. Towing - standard ball size is 2" or 2 5/16 there is no such ball size as 2 1/4. because of their weight, most pontoon boat trailers will only be 2" . LED lights are probably the best.

4. Ethanol - Avoid it if you can, deal with it if you have to. the problem with ethanol and boats is infrequent use, and open to the atmosphere vented fuel tanks, where condensation can accumulate in the tank. there is nothing you can do really to avoid issues, additives are just snake oil. use this website to find corn free gas. https://www.pure-gas.org/

5. When you bought your first boat, did you do anything wrong or not do something that you wished you had? I want to learn from your mistakes. To long ago, and too much to remember, probably best discussed over a cold 6-pack.
Pensacola FL
2015 Berkshire 231 RFC
Yamaha F-150

Bamaman
Posts: 3630
Joined: Fri May 06, 2011 1:44 pm
Location: NW Alabama--Tennessee River

Re: 1st Boat Questions

#4 Post by Bamaman » Sat Sep 15, 2018 7:40 am

Most people will suggest you power your boat with the largest engine the hull is rated for. Many that start with smaller engines simply get bored, and would prefer if their boat would get up and go--if for pulling tubers or outrunning a thunderstorm.

When I bought my first pontoon boat in 1985, I kept it for 28 years. Aluminum boats have long, long lifespans if kept out of the weather and out of the water. Thankfully we have a double boathouse built like a garage. Many pontoon owners keep their boats in the water seasonally or all year and have to spend time cleaning their toons often. I prefer to have a trailer where I can move around from lake to lake and so I can pull my boat for maintenance.

My new boat is a Bennington S model 24' tritoon with a F150 Yamaha motor pushing a Reliance 15 pitch prop. It's good for 40 mph. Although my boat is Bennie's entry level boat, it is as nice a boat that I choose to pay for. Most manufacturers have numerous models of boats at all price points to suit any customer needs.

Over the years, pontoons/tritoons are getting nicer and now customers are going for larger motors. The 22' to 24' boats with tritoons and lifting strakes on the hulls with 150 horsepower or more is where the real performance comes in. The lifting strakes allow you to trim the motor up and get the nosecones of the boat out of the water--essentially giving you 10 mph more and more efficiency. When you get over 40 mph, it's all a horsepower race to get more speed. But realistically, most pontooners don't run 40 mph all the time--more like 20-25 mph.

I chose to spend the money to get exactly what boat suits my family's needs. And I'd be very happy if this boat would last 28 years like my first.
'12 Bennington 24' SSLX Yamaha 150

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Budoff
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Joined: Thu Sep 18, 2014 7:07 am

Re: 1st Boat Questions

#5 Post by Budoff » Sun Sep 16, 2018 5:34 pm

Last weekend saw the following on the access road to our community launch. Person launched their boat, battery was dead, so put it back on the trailer incorrectly. They had in strapped on the front only, and evidently did not get it on the bunk.
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1736.jpeg
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My whole reason for post is if you're going to be trailering look into guides similar to the ones on my trailer and also the straps that are shown in the picture also. I too had trouble loading when I first got the tritoon but now with the guides it is real easy.
CM-Loader-Tritoon-2.jpg
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Enjoy your new boat.
2014 Sweetwater 220 DFS Tritoon
Yamaha 150 4 stroke
GPS 39 mph 4 adults full fuel
2016 Yamaha FX Cruiser HO
2016 Chevrolet Colorado Crew Cab 4X4
Lake Anna, VA

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steve1313
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Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2017 6:33 am

Re: 1st Boat Questions

#6 Post by steve1313 » Tue Sep 18, 2018 2:41 am

You've gotten most everything you've asked already answered, but here's some more info.
All outboards are cooled by pumping the surrounding water through the motor. Most I/O's are cooled the same way

If you're truck has a 7 pin (round) connector, you'll need a simple adapter to convert it to 4 or 5 pins, depending on what the trailer you get has. That fifth pin is a brake lockout. If you have hydraulic brakes on your trailer, the fifth wire is connected to your backup lights and it prevents the trailer brakes from engaging when you back up. Some states require trailer brakes some don't.

Just as a clarification of terms, you said "sump pump" in the engine bay. On a boat, that's called a "bilge pump".

Tell us more about where youy plan to use your boat and store your boat, too! You'll find a great group here that is willing to help!
Steve
2017 Sweetwater 2286 WB Tritoon w/ 150HP Yamaha "Serendipity"
Slipped at Lake Anna, Virginia

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Henpecked
Posts: 88
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2018 9:05 pm
Location: Ellis County, TX

Re: 1st Boat Questions

#7 Post by Henpecked » Wed Nov 07, 2018 6:23 pm

I'm still looking for the boat. I don't live very close to a lake right now. I plan to trailer it to/from the lake about 1 weekend/month + vacations. I'm not afraid of buying a project, but I've never owned a boat before and the learning curve is steep. I can do electrical, decking, flooring, and cleaning. The motor part scares me a little, but I have a neighbor who is a mechanic and would love to help me and help me use the boat. I guess it comes down to finding the right boat at a price that I can either afford as is or afford to buy and fix up. I'm looking to spend $8-10k and would like a minimum of 22 feet. I see lots of 18-25 year old 24 foot boats, but I'd like a 4 stroke if I can find it. Right now, I only have enough to pay cash for the fixer upper and I can pay for parts as I go with the rebuild. If I'm going to fix it up, I'd like to buy soon so I have Winter to work on it. Texas doesn't really have much of a Winter where I live. I have a 1 acre yard and some spare time. Anyway, that's my situation.

Oldchuck
Posts: 46
Joined: Sun Oct 14, 2018 10:19 am
Location: Central Florida

Re: 1st Boat Questions

#8 Post by Oldchuck » Thu Nov 08, 2018 5:57 am

Hen,
The above is good advice and I can not add much to the conversation.
Boating is like being around any machinery in that within a season or two you will become familiar with your boat and motor. I would advise a safety course and if you really want to have a lot of knowledge at your disposal get copy of Champman's Piloting, Seamanship and Small Boat Handling for answers to most questions you may have however may be a little too much info on boats and boating, rules of the road, knots, anchors of the average boater..But I would imagine most of that is on line now...Many of us older boaters still rely on printed material...
Have had inboards, Inboard/outboards and outboards and for the type of boating you are doing and especially for a toon I would advise an outboard as has been suggested. I would also spend a lot of time docking and learning to maneuvering the boat in calm weather so when its' not you will be ready. The pics on boat trailers and loading is especially useful. Have seen more at the ramps than I care to comment on..Find an experienced boater friend and take them along a few times.Listen and you will learn a lot..
I would also second the thoughts on ETHANOL fuel--DO NOT USE... Ethanol is hydro static and attracts moisture which is a killer for the injector and filters...If you talk to any outboard mechanic they will tell you most of all the issues they encounter is the result of Ethanol fuel....
I buy NON-Ethanol and haul it as I have no fuel stations where I boat and use a jiggle syphon to transfer to fuel to boat but that is just me..

Most of us learned what we needed to know and stay safe boating and with a little effort you will as well..

Good Luck and you can get most questions answered here...

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