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Thread: Newbie Seeking Your Advice on Riverboat Purchase

  1. #1
    Member AK_Kid's Avatar
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    Default Newbie Seeking Your Advice on Riverboat Purchase

    Guys,

    I'm sure there are a ton of "which boat should I buy" threads on here, and I'll be sure to try to chase them all down. That being said, I'm considering purchasing a riverboat, I know just enough to be dangerous, and I would appreciate any insight you grizzled vets might be willing to offer.

    Primarily, I need something for dipnetting on the Kenai once a year. I recognize that for this purpose alone, a guy could float pretty much anything. However, if there is a reasonable option available, I'd like to get something a little larger/nicer and use it during moose season. Basic thoughts:

    - 17-20'
    - Inboard jet preferred, but outboard jet okay
    - Welded bottom with a pretty solid hull
    - No tiller steering
    - Small cabin, cover that can zip to be fully enclosed, or ability to install a cover
    - Can be towed, loaded, by a rig with 5,000 lbs towing capacity

    On hunting trips, it would need to carry 2-4 guys and gear. I'd be willing to make multiple runs to a camp. Larger rivers, mostly.

    I'm looking for something used. There's such a diversity of options out there that I'm just sure which is right at this point.

    I get that this is vague, but thoughts/ideas on what guys with similar uses have done and been happy with will be appreciated.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by AK_Kid View Post
    Guys,

    I'm sure there are a ton of "which boat should I buy" threads on here, and I'll be sure to try to chase them all down. That being said, I'm considering purchasing a riverboat, I know just enough to be dangerous, and I would appreciate any insight you grizzled vets might be willing to offer.

    Primarily, I need something for dipnetting on the Kenai once a year. I recognize that for this purpose alone, a guy could float pretty much anything. However, if there is a reasonable option available, I'd like to get something a little larger/nicer and use it during moose season. Basic thoughts:

    - 17-20'
    - Inboard jet preferred, but outboard jet okay
    - Welded bottom with a pretty solid hull
    - No tiller steering
    - Small cabin, cover that can zip to be fully enclosed, or ability to install a cover
    - Can be towed, loaded, by a rig with 5,000 lbs towing capacity

    On hunting trips, it would need to carry 2-4 guys and gear. I'd be willing to make multiple runs to a camp. Larger rivers, mostly.

    I'm looking for something used. There's such a diversity of options out there that I'm just sure which is right at this point.

    I get that this is vague, but thoughts/ideas on what guys with similar uses have done and been happy with will be appreciated.

    I Live on the kenai and could advise on that, would have to differ on the other rivers. here's my take. For dip netting from a boat (and considering what else you want to do ) I would recommend a 20' minimum. You can get 2-4 dippers in there without killing each other. The problem your going to run into is the jet itself. When the river is packed during the dipping season its difficult maneuvering in tight places with fast current coming and going. The jet doesn't react as fast as the prop when you give it command. Not to say it won't work, it will just be a little difficult at times when things get lively. If you haven't run down there before, just be patient and try to give yourself a lot of room.

    Sounds like your going to want something with horse power to take guys up river hunting. i wouldn't go less that 115hp to haul that many guys and stuff. Wooldridge makes an inboard jet unit you might like http://www.wooldridgeboats.com/
    Thunder jet is another brand, here's one on craigs list http://anchorage.craigslist.org/boa/4847416060.html
    Hewescraft is available with inboard jet as well : http://anchorage.craigslist.org/bod/4838516824.html

    Lots of options out there. I would call the local dealers and get pricing. they should be able to steer you in the right direction. See you somewhere on the water!!

  3. #3
    Member jkb's Avatar
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    You've got tons of options, I just sold the perfect starter boat last summer. 18 alumaweld intruder with 150 mercury jet. The biggest thing you have watch for on outboard powered boats is being under powered. A lot of dealers outfitted hulls with 25 hp to small of engines. You are always worried about weight when your boat doesn't have enough power. Also when you go with someone else they are always waiting for you. Plus I've never heard a guy on this or any other forum complain because his boat has to much power.
    Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming-----WOW-----what a ride!
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  4. #4
    Member Yukoner's Avatar
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    From what you have described, don't even look smaller than 20'. Been there, done that, and you will need at least 20'.
    One of the posters mentioned a T -jet! nice boats! but they tend to be pretty heavy. I'll admit I'm biased! but Wooldridge builds a tough, light package. Outboard jets are very versatile, but for the loads you are describing, you will need at least a 150 HP power head outboard jet. I had a 20' with an Optimax 150 obj, and 4 adults, gear, gas and a Moose was pretty much max.
    if I were you, I'd look for a used Wooldridge Classic, 20-22', 350 or 351 with a 3 stage pump. You can find them relatively affordable, they are lighter than many other welded Al boats, and are tough. There were a few last fall on CL, bad time of year to look, but you could put out a "looking for a...." On CL. What's your budget? A used boat as I have describe would be 15-20 k. A fellow I know here is selling his Wooldridge Classic, 22', 351 with a Kodiak 3 stage. Really nice shape. Older, but nice. New vinyl. He had it on a local site here in the Yukon, but it never sold. Your dollar is strong against ours right now, so you could get a good deal. If it interests you, I could let him know. It was an Alaskan boat, and he is getting a lake boat instead.
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  5. #5
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    What rig will you be using to pull said boat and what is your budget? If you are under 15k, you should be looking at used jon boats with an older but good running 4 stroke. If you don't mind spending more money, like 20k, then a about any used 20ft jet boat will be fine with a near new or repower outboard. If you want a boat for your whole life with a very reliable motor, then you are looking at 40k+. I know what I want for what I do, but I don't want to spend the money on it. My old Wooldridge with the rebuilt (again) 351 will take me anyplace I want to go. I am not willing to pay another 20k for the reliability, comfort and fuel economy (yet).

  6. #6
    Member oakman's Avatar
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    I've got the same priorities for the most part. I bought a 20' seaark with a 115hp outboard. Great all around boat. Tough too. I have a prop and a jet, the prop is great on the Kenai for dipping and anywhere else that the water is somewhat deep. The jet works well (enough HP) when the water is shallower.

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