To Buy or Not to BUY

What's on your mind? Anything generic goes here.

To Buy or Not to BUY

Postby PACA1953 on Thu Mar 07, 2019 11:49 am

I have been a member of this wonderful site for a little less than a month. I was and am so happy to have found the site. My wife and I are in the process of beginning our retirement (Ages 65/63) in Florida. Of course we live on the water and of course we are interested in pursuing boating to take advantage of our great new environment. While researching we discovered that a “trawler type” vessel was most likely the type vessel that would suit us. After that, we became aware of the Ranger and Cutwater Series of boats, and all they have to offer. We had become convinced that one of these boats would be the exact fit for our new lifestyle. Thus I found and joined the TUGNUTS site.

Neither my wife nor I have any mechanical training, or really any mechanical inclination. Also my wife has some back issues, which preclude any heaving moving lifting or pushing. Our boating experience has been limited to a small outboard ski boat in Maine in the summer. We have never had a boat in any saltwater of any kind. I love the camaraderie of the TUGNUTS! I have been amazed at the mechanical and ingenuity of the members of this site. I have over the month become increasingly concerned and almost intimidated concerning some of the issues that you all have amazingly dealt with. I mean as small an issue as ”cleaning out weep holes”, to “sudden smoke in the cabin with a cracked portion of an engine”, to “closing a seacock (whatever that is) when towing the boat”. Given our boating experience and lack of mechanical inclination we have actually been leaning towards not purchasing one of these vessels.

I was hoping for some insight and advice from all the voices of excellent experience on this board concerning our fit with this type boat. We love the boats; we are not convinced we could accomplish many of the repairs that I see many of the members of this board make. This lack would probably require us to have any repairs and maintenance be performed by professionals. Any insight for intimidated potential newbie’s would be appreciated.
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Re: To Buy or Not to BUY

Postby Admiral S on Thu Mar 07, 2019 12:08 pm


A lot of what you read is applicable to any boat. If its a new boat, these are all handled by professionals under warranty.

Boating is an (expensive) labor of love. If you do not have the skills to perform repairs, that becomes an outsourced expense.

Specifically, "Cleaning out weep holes" (Drains between the different compartments in the hull) or "Closing a seacock" (The valve that allows water to enter the boat for engine cooling, air conditioning, etc.)

This is business as usual for daily boat maintenance.

I would recommend charting a boat (probably with a hired captain) and see if this is really a lifestyle choice you want to pursue. As I said, its a labor of love and requires quite a bit of commitment or money depending which path you choose.
Admiral S
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Re: To Buy or Not to BUY

Postby baz on Thu Mar 07, 2019 12:21 pm

Quite honestly, I suspect many RT and CW boat owners you see posting here were at some point during their initial thoughts of buying their boats feeling the same way. The company behind the RT and CW boats are the best and they strive to make their dealerships act responsibly for the customers. Of course there are always a rotten apples surfacing, but from my readings this is minimal.

Like any activity that is new to you, you simply need to move forward cautiously and do your research. When starting out with a boat such as the RT or CW models it's best to attend (you and 1st Mate) the USCG Safe Boating course which when I did it over 10 yrs ago was a 6-10 week course meeting once a week for several hours. This course will allow you to understand what all is involved with boating and keeping yourself and your passengers safe.

When taking your first cruise it would be good if you could partner up with a buddy boat. This brings a lot of comfort to your boating skills and having the buddy reduces any anxiety you may have.

When you buy a RT or CW the company offers you a 2-day on the water introduction to the boat's operations. The first day typically covers all the components in the boat and how to operate them and where they are all located. The 2nd day is the 'on the water' and this will include the art of docking the boat which always intimidates first time boat owners. Don't be shy, go slow, there's no race when docking, take as much time as you need and practice during the 2nd day and afterwards. The bow and stern thrusters in calm marine waters are extremely useful in helping you align the boat to the dock side. Pulse the thrusters rather than employing them continuously to maneuver the boat.

Buy some boating books to learn some of the boating lingo. The Chapman Piloting is a really good starting point and buying a used one is AOK as the boating basics have not changed that much.

Think about what your boating dreams are and find a boat that meets your requirements for making your dreams come true.

You will be just fine... don't worry and don't panic... much fun is ahead of you. :)
Barry & Jake-Wire Hair Fox Terrier
SOLD - 2010 R-25 LAXEY
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Re: To Buy or Not to BUY

Postby bob daily on Thu Mar 07, 2019 12:24 pm

Don't let so much reality into your life that there's no room left for dreamin !
That said the most fun is the learning experience, you don't need to know how to overhaul a motor to drive a car safely down the freeway.
I doubt there is any thing that someone hasn't written a book or made a video of how to do. I would start off a little small (less systems) to take care of, and enjoy the adventure.
Good luck and enjoy Bob
bob daily
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Re: To Buy or Not to BUY

Postby Brian B on Thu Mar 07, 2019 2:15 pm

I think the bottom line is with any boat they need to be maintained and things will eventually break. These are complicated systems in a tough environment. If you do not have mechanical abilities then you need deep pockets to pay for repairs. Check out Freedom Boat Club, they have many locations in FL. You pay a membership fee, use a boat for a day and walk away.
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Re: To Buy or Not to BUY

Postby Ernie on Thu Mar 07, 2019 2:46 pm

I have an R23, and can recommend it to others old or young. The expense is an issue, budget for that going in. Depending on use and your particular shop the expense beyond moorage can be $1,000 to $2,000 a year. Fuel is also a big expense if you put over 100 hrs a season on the water. The maintenance is minimal , and or is an expense to outsource. The r23 and 27 are a breeze to handle on and off the dock, sonetimes a dock hand at the marina is a good thing.
I’m used to running ours in more or less protected inshore water with great depths and great tides and currents.
In Florida I think people love these boats, my question is how I would feel about cruising in shallow water with flats. Our boat draw about 3’ motor down. I cruised in Belize a few times and got used to 12’ or less water, so I suppose it’s what you get used to .
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Re: To Buy or Not to BUY

Postby JamesTXSD on Thu Mar 07, 2019 3:21 pm

No one gets into boating "knowing it all." Sure, there may have been family outings, but when you get your own first boat, it is a big step. I tend to be pragmatic about some of these lifestyle endeavors when asked... if you look at the brochures and boat ads, you see smiling people, generally in swimwear, doing things that look like fun. They don't show you the images of couple arguing at the ramp, someone up to their armpits trying to get at an impeller, or waxing the hull of a boat that seems too small when you are on it, but is the size of a battleship when you have a buffer in hand. ;)

I think boating is spectacular. It is definitely a part of our lives (wife and myself). Neither of us came from a boating background. If you are "drawn to it," the lure may be irresistible.

Getting a Chapman's Piloting is a great first step, and also signing up for a safe boating class with the US Power Squadron or Coast Guard Aux. Do no believe the salesman who says, "It is just like driving a car." It is not. The dynamics are different and the "rules of the road" are different. The great thing, though: it can all be learned. Certainly not in one class. Or many classes. Or in a year. I have a 100 Ton Master License, and still learn something each time I go out. Consider it a "lifetime learning adventure"... sometimes you will learn what to do, and other times you will learn what NOT to do. The learning comes at a cost (time or money) - consider it tuition.

The payback is an incredible lifestyle. Seeing the sunrise from the water fills my heart each time I experience it. Having dolphins play by the boat. Watching a meteor shower while at anchor. And seeing the world from "the water side" gives you a completely different perspective.

Yes, there are costs involved. The boat is the price of admission, there are many more on-going costs: fuel, maintenance, mooring, etc, etc, etc. If you wouldn't consider a car that gets 10 mpg, how will you feel about a boat that gets 2 mpg? We have come to consider boating and RVing as "smiles per gallon," and we can't imagine not having that freedom to move about.

You may hear some people say that boat cruising is: fixing your boat in exotic locations. Only partially true... sometimes you will be fixing your boat at your home location. :twisted:

My suggestion is to not jump into it without understanding the time/cost involved. We sure don't consider ourselves wealthy, but we do have enough discretionary income to afford the lifestyle we choose. We have all seen the couple who gets swayed at a boat show, then has their boat for sale less than a year later with only 50 hours on it... usually with an explanation of "We have found that we don't have enough time to do this fine boat justice." Those folks found out that their enjoyment return on investment wasn't enough.

We started out decades ago with a boat we could overnight on - weekends away from work were a delight. We discovered that we were meant to do this boating stuff. But, you don't know until you try it... unless you have good friends who have a boat and you can go with them to do all the fun stuff and walk away from it when they have to work on it. :mrgreen: Some people buy boats that are made to "go fast in circles" and others buy boats for cruising or fishing. We learned that our enjoyment was what we could do and where we could go with a boat... and what was comfortable for us when on the boat.

Good luck with the journey and the search. Ranger Tugs are fine boats, but there are systems and functions to learn. The "buy or not buy" decision will be more about you than the boat. Chartering a boat may be a good way to introduce you to the lifestyle, but you will need a minimum of experience or have a hired captain.

Best wishes.
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Re: To Buy or Not to BUY

Postby Dale777 on Thu Mar 07, 2019 4:27 pm


I live about half the year near Fort Myers Beach in a condo with my R31S, which we cruise around Florida. So, we live quite close to each other. Although, I have been boating most of my young and adult life, it was only in 2011 that I started boating in tidal salt water. I think I started this tidal salt water cruising activity at about your age.

I have been able to adapt quite well to this type of boating. However, I do have a strong mechanical bent, since that is how I was raised by, and learned from, a Dad who worked variously as a real cowboy, airplane mechanic in WWII, farmer, auto mechanic, research and development technician, diesel mechanic, and machinist. Lots of that rubbed off on me. But, I still have most of the significant work done on my boat by a qualified mechanic/technician.

Perhaps, we could talk or meet sometime, if you would like. I would be glad to show you around my R31S and acquaint you with all its systems and how I handle it in coastal cruising.

I will send you a Private Mail with my phone number. Give me a call.

Dale, My sister's art:
My edit [] of: "The horn [ocean] stirs memories of fearful things, of powerful things, of noble and beautiful things!" by John Williams.
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Re: To Buy or Not to BUY

Postby Dale777 on Thu Mar 07, 2019 5:11 pm


One more thought about beginning coastal cruising at a later age. When anyone in our later years of life talk about whether they "should" or "should not" do something, I ask them to think in terms of this Venn Diagram I made about the overlapping of MONEY, TIME, and HEALTH.

1. When young, you have unbounded Health, but no Money and little free Time due to working and raising kids.
2. When mid-aged, you begin to have some Money and still have Health, but still little Time.
3. When older, IF YOU ARE VERY FORTUNATE, you will be some of the few that have accumulated some extra Money, still have your Health, and now have some free Time.

When all three of Time, Money, and Health overlap as in the Venn Diagram, GO DO IT. Whatever IT is.

Dale, My sister's art:
My edit [] of: "The horn [ocean] stirs memories of fearful things, of powerful things, of noble and beautiful things!" by John Williams.
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Re: To Buy or Not to BUY

Postby Haifisch on Thu Mar 07, 2019 11:38 pm

LOVE the Venn diagram!
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Re: To Buy or Not to BUY

Postby PACA1953 on Fri Mar 08, 2019 4:59 pm

I wanted to thank all of you who took the time both publicly an privately responded to my post. I must say again what a great group!! I have read and reread all your advice and insights. I have not responded to anyone yet who was kind enough to leave an email or phone number as I don't want to be a pain in the *ss. I will if and when we decide to purchase contact you if you left me an email or number. I continue to enjoy reading everyday and my wife and I have decided to continue to pursue our Ranger Tug. I too loved the VENN diagram and LUCKILY we are both in the small good hole, so times a wasting and we are going to go for it. Thanks again
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