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Best saltwater boat -- Bu, Nautique, Mastercraft???


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A close family friend is in the market for a new boat to go with his recent purchase of a bay/beach house. We have been long time Bu owners and think our 09 VLX has been our best BU yet, but I am unsure as to their reliability & durability in a brackish or total salt environment. If it were for a fresh water application I would have no problem suggesting either a Bu or Nautique (the two best boats imo), but I have no saltwater experience. I know that Mastercraft has the best saltwater reputation (maybe just marketed better) and Nautique has its new LINC system. Any insight is greatly appreciated. I know it is tough to be unbiased (I love BUs & Nautiques) but I want to suggest the best boat for his application no matter the manufacturer.

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I have a buddy in Seattle with an 08 VTX that is setup for the salt water. His dad has a place on Wollochet Bay in Gig Harbor where they ride pretty regularly. Besides the engine being closed water cooling, he has zincs on the transom, an Extreme trailer that is both galvanized, then painted red, and everything stainless. He doesn't store the boat in salt, and is diligent about rinsing things out whenever he comes in. So far the boat is doing really good. :rockon:

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I was up at Fox Island this last weekend and I was shocked at what I found around the bay from my parents place. A slalom course! I also noticed a few inboards, three of them were newer Ski Nautique 206s and one was a MasterCraft wave maker of some type.

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I thought that anything on the outside of these boats was either brass or stainless steel (and some aluminum)? At that point, other than a closed cooling system (which is going to be the same for each brand), what would the actual differences be?

If you are that worried about it, put some zincs on the transom and flush/wash/wax regularly. Either brand should be fine.

The trailer differences are more important, as mentioned above.

Edited by jk13
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Make sure they get into a 08+ boat with full closed cooling, older boats with half systems / aluminum swim step brackets, etc. just reep a slow death. We have quite a few salt water customers and they are constantly fighting issues with the boat.

The newer boats with the full salt water package seem to be doing great and holding up well.

-Paul

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I have a buddy in Seattle with an 08 VTX that is setup for the salt water. His dad has a place on Wollochet Bay in Gig Harbor where they ride pretty regularly. Besides the engine being closed water cooling, he has zincs on the transom, an Extreme trailer that is both galvanized, then painted red, and everything stainless. He doesn't store the boat in salt, and is diligent about rinsing things out whenever he comes in. So far the boat is doing really good. :rockon:

Wollochet was my favorite place to ski growing up. :)

I would add that outboards are a good option for the salt. Mastercraft and Sanger both make great three-event/barefoot boats that are built for outboards. I am not sure how they would work for boarding, but they are awesome for slalom and built for salt. Also, as far the stainless goes, there seem to be different "grades" of stainless. A lot of the "bling" on a boat that is not built for salt will look like crap--pitted and pocked--after only one season in the salt. Also, I concur in not leaving one of these boats in the salt when not in use. It needs to be pulled, washed, and rinsed each and every time or the salt will take its toll, especially in a harbor where there are boats plugged in while moored and leaking electricity into the water.

Edited by jjackkrash
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300 series stainless steels and salt water do not go together, which is what jjackkrash is probably referring too. I'm surprised they put it on boats intended for salt water use.

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