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First time boat buyer looking for suggestions


Chargersflyer

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Hello all.  Just joined the forum a few days ago because I am a fact and opinion gatherer as part of my decision making process.  Short story is we have never owned a boat and have little experience around boats.  We have 3 boys with a 4th on the way and have been to Greers Ferry in Arkansas four times in the last six weeks.  We have rented pontoons with a tube each trip and enjoyed them but I am certain as we dive into lake life more, wake boarding and surfing are on the horizon.  My wife likes the easy comfort of a pontoon but we saw a 23 or 25 LSV this last week and it was beautiful.  I asked about the ride and the owner said it was great.  That has brought me to this forum to start researching the best first boat for our family.  Right now I am leaning 2017 or newer 23 LSV.  Any other suggestions? Would a less expensive, older boat be any as a starter or bite the bullet and go newer so that there is less mechanical concern and hopefully not be selling and buying a boat in a year.  Any insight, wisdom and suggestions would be welcome.  Also, what’s the best way to get into the sport and learning how to pull people, etc.  I think a marina at Greers rents a wake boat and I am all for trial and error but I also like to work smart and hard not just hard.  Thanks for reading.

 

Gavin

KMEM

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1 hour ago, Chargersflyer said:

Hello all.  Just joined the forum a few days ago because I am a fact and opinion gatherer as part of my decision making process.  Short story is we have never owned a boat and have little experience around boats.  We have 3 boys with a 4th on the way and have been to Greers Ferry in Arkansas four times in the last six weeks.  We have rented pontoons with a tube each trip and enjoyed them but I am certain as we dive into lake life more, wake boarding and surfing are on the horizon.  My wife likes the easy comfort of a pontoon but we saw a 23 or 25 LSV this last week and it was beautiful.  I asked about the ride and the owner said it was great.  That has brought me to this forum to start researching the best first boat for our family.  Right now I am leaning 2017 or newer 23 LSV.  Any other suggestions? Would a less expensive, older boat be any as a starter or bite the bullet and go newer so that there is less mechanical concern and hopefully not be selling and buying a boat in a year.  Any insight, wisdom and suggestions would be welcome.  Also, what’s the best way to get into the sport and learning how to pull people, etc.  I think a marina at Greers rents a wake boat and I am all for trial and error but I also like to work smart and hard not just hard.  Thanks for reading.

 

Gavin

KMEM

congrats on making the decision to become boat owners. you will not regret it.

my advice for first time boat owners is to buy a used boat(dont max out your budget) that already has dents and dings.  you are going to make mistakes and it is less demoralizing (and costly) to make them with an older boat than on a $75k boat.   Malibu's from the last 15 years are all quality boats and have held up well.  If you buy an older one and take care of it, you will get most of your money back when you sell.

I have been through 4 boats as our family grew.  Your needs will change as the kids get older.  So dont try to solve all of life's problems in one boat purchase.  the right boat today will not be the right boat 5 years from now.

For gaining experience, I would enlist an experienced boater friend and have them show you the basics of docking and maneuvering a VDrive, as it will be vastly different than a pontoon or stern drive.   If you are towing your kids, you dont want to learn from your mistakes so get some help.

This is a bummer time to be buying because the market is as hot as it ever has been.  I suggest waiting until the winter boat shows (if they happen) .  Also, lots of boats were bought this summer and some percentage of them will be back on the market this winter as people who rushed into the purchase get tired of paying for and storing a toy you can only use for a couple months.

Good luck in your search and keep us posted

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@Chargersflyer

Welcome to the crew. There are a lot of great folks on this site and don’t be afraid to ask any question. All of us were once new boaters and will be glad to help. 

Can’t give much advice on the boat purchase but if you wanted to come to Pickwick for the day instead of Greer’s Ferry I would gladly let you drive our boat and give you some advice on pulling tubers. 

Unfortunately our season is almost over as they start drawing down the lake on Tuesday.

Glad to see someone else willing to admit being from Memphis.

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There is a very nice 2011 23 LSV in the classifieds on this site for a good price.  One thing I would recommend is not going any smaller than a 23' with the size of family you have.  If you are cramped on the boat it ruins it for everyone, especially if you are just learning.  I would recommend going out a time or two without the kids to take some of the stress off.  If you are going to trailer each time it would be best if your wife would learn to either back the truck down or load the boat.  There are only a handful of brands that hold there value and I would stick to them for resale if you decide to switch. 

It is even in your state.

Edited by wakesonthesnake
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@kylesullens @BearCreekBum @wakesonthesnake

Thank you all for the input.  I definitely plan on having a few friends give me some lessons out there. We haven’t been to Pickwick except for a trip with friends a few years ago, I am sure we will head down there next season simply due to proximity.  I will keep an eye on the used boats on the forum.  As I am looking, a couple questions I have are the year model introduction of internal ballast and the surf gates.  I would say internal ballast is the bigger of the two wants.  The last time I was wakesurfing was 2008 and my buddy had ballast bags on the floor that we filled up with water.  I know the technology has come a long way and it seems like a ballast system would make things much easier and leave more fun.  As far as the Malibu surf gates, I think I read they were introduced on some models in 2012 or 13.  Anybody know for certain? Thanks again.


Bear Creek, Memphis is a great town with a low self-esteem.  I’m glad we are finding the ability to get on some water to give us more to do as a family. Thanks for the offer on Pickwick, I may take you up on it one of these days.

Gavin

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Not sure this is all correct but I think the underfloor ballast were introduced in 2006 and Surfgate in 2013. What budget are you working with as that will help us know better on how to spend your money?

If you go to Pickwick I would suggest avoiding the area by the dam especially with kids. We are on Bear Creek and it is usually very peaceful. However, this afternoon was a zoo. Most boats I’ve seen down our way.

 

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