Kemah Police Chief Chris Reed’s family sues delivery enterprise over deadly boating accident
Longer and warmer days can make us think of lazy days on or near water. When we think about going for a boat ride or fishing on any lake or river, some of us might begin dreaming of owning our own boat. Living north of the 49th parallel, the summers tend to be shorter, so we want to know that we will get the most use and value for our boat-buying dollar. Boat shopping can be enjoyable, but it can also be annoying, frustrating, exhausting or all of the above. You need to ask yourself some questions before deciding on a boat because there are many things to consider. First of all, what kind of boat are you looking for? Is it for water skiing, tubing, fishing or just for sightseeing? Where and how will you be spending most of your time? How many people will normally be in the boat with you, and what kinds of features do you want or need? For most of us, price is also a major factor. Know how much you are willing to spend on a boat. New boats have great appeal but some of us may be limited to purchasing a used boat simply because of the price tag. (A word of caution: in the used boat market, a bargain is not necessarily a bargain, and a boat bought in the United States and brought to Canada usually has no warranty in Canada. Since I am a marine mechanic in Canada, this article will be from a Canadian perspective)
I was brought a boat bought at an auction in the States late in the season, so it wasn’t until the following spring that it came into my shop to be checked over. The first time I fired up that 200 HP outboard, the knocking was so loud that you could almost hear it clear across town. The outboard was shot and required a $5000 fix.
Another man brought me a boat he’d bought in Texas to be used for water skiing. He thought he’d gotten a great deal. He brought the boat to me because he noticed the instrument panel wasn’t functioning properly. You couldn’t tell engine speed because none of the electronic gauges were working. The instrument panel was a one-piece unit, so it cost this customer $800 just for the instrument package. He had been sold the boat with the promise that there were no problems.
New boats have higher price tags and generally need to be financed. There are many affordable used boats out there and good deals can be found, but some boats that look good and affordable might not be what they seem at first glance. When you begin to make your selection, know your price range, know what size of boat will meet your needs, and know what features you want. Also, keep in mind that most of us will need to tow our boat to our fishing or boating destination, so make sure you have a vehicle capable of towing a boat. A 14 to the 16-foot boat will work well on smaller lakes without a problem, but I would recommend a 16-foot boat rather than a 14 footer. After you’ve chosen the length, you will also have to decide on a width for your boat as a variety of widths are available. Many of the older models are narrower than today’s boats. Newer boats come with options such as live wells, navigational lighting, bilge pumps, better seating, and better handling. When you buy a new boat, you have a warranty on the boat, motor, trailer, etc. Many used boats come with very limited warranties or even none, so be sure to ask and get in writing what the warranty includes. Too many people have bought a used boat without a warranty only to discover that all was not as promised. Before buying that boat, ask to take it out on the water, preferably with a seasoned boat owner. You do not want to purchase a boat having been promised that the boat is in great condition and works well only to find out the first time out that you are reduced to rowing back to shore or losing a wheel off the trailer. You could also wind up with dead batteries, no lights or a myriad of other issues.
An example of this is the man who took his family out for a first ride in his newly purchased used boat. The boat was supposed to be trouble-free and water ready. He backed the trailer into the water and launched the boat by hand. He pulled it to shore so that his family could get in, pushed the boat back out into the water and tried to start the engine. After an hour or so of vainly trying to start the engine, he finally gave up. It was a very windy day and the water was cold. He had to row the boat close enough to shore in that wind so that he could stand in the frigid water and push the boat back to shore to enable his family to get out, and then manually push the boat back onto the trailer. When he had bought the boat, he was promised there were no issues with the motor and he was refused a refund. He was out the money he had paid and would have needed another $1700 to make the boat usable and reliable. Even with the $1700 repair, the boat still would only have been worth what he initially paid for it.