Posted by: Andy Whitcomb
May 17, 2011

Andy Whitcomb

The Quest for the Perfect Family Boat

Okay, I think I have worked past my boat trailer light issues… I am ready to do some boat shopping.

Not long ago, I had a 14-foot V-bottom boat. It was a hefty riverboat, originally purchased in Alaska. Tall and heavy, it was really taxing on an electric trolling motor.  And with the high sides, on one family outing we learned the hard way that it is difficult for a mother-in-law to climb back in the boat.

The riverboat never earned a name, but we got along pretty well. However, yanking on the starter chord of that 25-year-old outboard still has my right arm much larger than the left. Eventually, we stopped taking it out. We were having great family fun, but a new motor was not in our budget at that time and it just was not fitting our boating needs. I tired of mowing around it so returned it to a good home.

Currently, we are making do with a 12-foot johnboat. It is short and light enough that I do not have to worry about a trailer. Just lift and slide in the back of the pickup and strap it down. But the kids are growing and this boat is rapidly running out of room. And there are some intriguing new boat designs out there.

Here are some good tips on buy/selling a boat:  www.takemefishing.org/boating/the-boat-for-you/home. For example, it is important to consider the main purpose of the boat so it suits you and your families’ needs. Be sure to look for the “Boat Explorer” tool too. That way, when you meet with a dealer who talks about easily-controlled “dinghies” and “runabouts,” you know it is not in reference to your kids.

There is some disagreement among my family members about what features the ideal boat should have. I’m thinking something easy to load and stealthy for fishing. The rest of the family thinks it should have a plush sofa, grill, and a two-story slide off the back.

Therefore, we keep looking… can’t wait to get back on the water.

Andy Whitcomb is a columnist, outdoor humorist, and stressed-out Dad. Visit him at www.justkeepreeling.com.

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