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Thread: My first foray into the jet boat world

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    Member orion94us's Avatar
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    Default My first foray into the jet boat world

    Here is a picture of my new (to me) recent purchase. She's a 23' North River Commander powered with Marine Power 8.1L and Hamilton 212 jet. She has less than 180 hrs on her. Like the title says this is my my foray into the jet boat world. I have owned boats for most of the 20 years, but all have been either Ranger bass boats, or Smoker Craft walleye boats. I am open to any and all suggestions, tips, tricks etc from any of you that have time and experience on this type of boat and the rivers here in Alaska. The boat has a Garmin GPS with chart plotter, so if anyone is willing to share any of their tracks for navigating the rivers that would be amazing as well and would be greatly appreciated!! Here is a pic I took from Kenai lake Thursday during her test run.NEW BOAT.jpg

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    Member Frostbitten's Avatar
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    There's no ice on Kenai Lake right now?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frostbitten View Post
    There's no ice on Kenai Lake right now?
    Nope. The lake was completely open on Thursday

  4. #4

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    I've owned the 8.1 Kodiak in a Duckworth for a few years ago and have learned a lot. Where you end up using the boat will depend on what upgrades you make but here are my lessons learned.

    Kicker - I haven't done much off shore fishing/trolling so I regretted spending the money on the kicker and remote steering control system. Wish I had just got a cheap short shaft and left it in the boat for emergencies. Long story there.


    Jet - spend the $ on an extension for the clean out trap so you don't end up flooding the boat through the trap to pull out a rope or seaweed etc that's wrapped around the shaft. Easy to bolt on and gives you all the time you need to reach in and free up the shaft. It's like about an 8 inch extension. Hamilton dealer will need to order for you.

    Sand trap - If you run slowly on sandy rivers you'll sooner or later suck up sand. You'll learn to manage it, but shut the engine off as soon as you hear the bottom of the boat sliding over sand and don't try to power out of it or you'll make it worse. It's best to be going down river in these situations so the current can move you over the sand bar and fire it back up after you 're floating freely.

    Trim tabs - The can get torn off when running almost 50 mph and hit stuff. More lessons, go figure. Sure like them though to level the boat out. I've thought about getting new stronger system but haven't spent the money.

    Oil and grease - Everyone has opinions on oil, and it's a can of worms, plus the Kodiak manual lists different oil options, but the best advice I got was that the thicker oil isn't necessarily tougher, fresh oil is, and you should use the weight oil the manufacturer (GM) recommends for that engine. I use Mobil 1 extended range 10W 30 because it handles the impurities that affect the oil performance for a longer period, for a little insurance. Hamilton recommends a Chevron grease for the jet zerk but use any grease that matches that type. I forget the details. Don't over grease.

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    Member Music Man's Avatar
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    Where will you run the most?
    When seconds count, the cops are just minutes away.
    '08 24' HCM Granite HD "River Dog"

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    Member orion94us's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ducky View Post
    I've owned the 8.1 Kodiak in a Duckworth for a few years ago and have learned a lot. Where you end up using the boat will depend on what upgrades you make but here are my lessons learned.

    Kicker - I haven't done much off shore fishing/trolling so I regretted spending the money on the kicker and remote steering control system. Wish I had just got a cheap short shaft and left it in the boat for emergencies. Long story there.


    Jet - spend the $ on an extension for the clean out trap so you don't end up flooding the boat through the trap to pull out a rope or seaweed etc that's wrapped around the shaft. Easy to bolt on and gives you all the time you need to reach in and free up the shaft. It's like about an 8 inch extension. Hamilton dealer will need to order for you.

    Sand trap - If you run slowly on sandy rivers you'll sooner or later suck up sand. You'll learn to manage it, but shut the engine off as soon as you hear the bottom of the boat sliding over sand and don't try to power out of it or you'll make it worse. It's best to be going down river in these situations so the current can move you over the sand bar and fire it back up after you 're floating freely.

    Trim tabs - The can get torn off when running almost 50 mph and hit stuff. More lessons, go figure. Sure like them though to level the boat out. I've thought about getting new stronger system but haven't spent the money.

    Oil and grease - Everyone has opinions on oil, and it's a can of worms, plus the Kodiak manual lists different oil options, but the best advice I got was that the thicker oil isn't necessarily tougher, fresh oil is, and you should use the weight oil the manufacturer (GM) recommends for that engine. I use Mobil 1 extended range 10W 30 because it handles the impurities that affect the oil performance for a longer period, for a little insurance. Hamilton recommends a Chevron grease for the jet zerk but use any grease that matches that type. I forget the details. Don't over grease.
    On the jet clean out. I have a stomp grate, is what you're talking about or an add on to this?

    The original owner had switched the oil to Royal purple after the initial break in and that's what has been run it since. What are the recommended change intervals, is it an hourly thing or ?....

    Music Man,

    I am hoping to have enough free time through the summer to pack up the wife and get out and do some adventuring all over the state. But I would say the vast majority of its time will be spent on the lakes here on the peninsula, and some ocean fishing for Halibut (I'd say within 5-10 miles of shore lol).

    Also the sand trap, is that something that the boat already has from the factory or another add on I need to buy?

    I am thinking heavily on buying a tiller controlled kicker for when I want to go trolling. I always had one on my walleye boats, and loved having the added security of a backup to limp home on, and of course the speed control, especially when running down riggers for deep lakers.

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    Member orion94us's Avatar
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    I need to add a HUGE shout out to Mel at Ak Fab, he answered a ton of my questions! I almost bought a new boat from him , but I just couldn't make the expense work out on paper for just the wife and I. I will be taking this boat to him for that impending "oops" that I'm sure will happen while I'm learning to read the rivers here. A sincere Thank You, just doesn't seem quite enough.

  8. #8

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    The roughly oval shaped cap on the top of the jet unit is the clean out. The extension is a 8 inch cone made of the same metal as the jet unit and rises the clean out a few inches to get the clean out cap higher than the water level is alongside the boat. If you don't, then water rushes in the boat when you remove the cap and your bilge pumps better be working to handle it. It becomes a matter of reaching in to the clean out as water rushes past your hand for up to a minute or so, while you dig for an obstruction, then closing the cap to let your bilge pump empty out the water that just flooded in, repeatedly, vs jacking up your clean out cap higher that the water level on the side of the boat so you can reach in and clean it out with no flooding. Night and day in my opinion, except you'll need to have longer arms. You could also drag the boat out of the water. Not easy with a 23 ft. 2 ton + boat.

    You probably have a sand trap. It's a cylindrical clear glass tube that uses centrifugal force to keep sand out of the cooling system. Change oil yearly or 100 hrs is what I've seen, with synthetic.

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    Member orion94us's Avatar
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    Thank you for the information! I'll be crawling around on her tomorrow and checking those things out in depth. Helps a ton when you know what to look for lol.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by orion94us View Post
    I need to add a HUGE shout out to Mel at Ak Fab, he answered a ton of my questions! I almost bought a new boat from him , but I just couldn't make the expense work out on paper for just the wife and I. I will be taking this boat to him for that impending "oops" that I'm sure will happen while I'm learning to read the rivers here. A sincere Thank You, just doesn't seem quite enough.
    Congrats on the purchase and you're more then welcome. That's one sweet looking boat! If you decide to get the clean out extension let me know and we'll get one coming.

    Mel
    North River and Phantom Boat Dealer
    Mecury, FNM Diesel Engine, Hagglund sales and service
    Prop, Impeller & Alumimum boat repair, customization, & metal fabrication.
    Visit www.akfrontierfab.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by Halibutgrove View Post
    Congrats on the purchase and you're more then welcome. That's one sweet looking boat! If you decide to get the clean out extension let me know and we'll get one coming.

    Mel
    I will do that for sure. Is it something that I would need to bring the boat in to your shop to install or can a reasonably able former helicopter crew chief, now shade tree mechanic tackle it at home?

    Chris

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by orion94us View Post
    I will do that for sure. Is it something that I would need to bring the boat in to your shop to install or can a reasonably able former helicopter crew chief, now shade tree mechanic tackle it at home?

    Chris
    You can install it yourself. Simply extends the clean out on the suction housing inside the boat so it's above the waterline. Not all boat need it.
    North River and Phantom Boat Dealer
    Mecury, FNM Diesel Engine, Hagglund sales and service
    Prop, Impeller & Alumimum boat repair, customization, & metal fabrication.
    Visit www.akfrontierfab.com

  13. #13

    Default river piloting experience

    If you are really new to jet boating, then that is a very large boat to start learning with !
    Highly Highly recommend following another similar sized boat for a few trips before heading out on your own.
    At a minimum you have to understand:

    How to read the water, and how to run it.

    How deep (18" ?) and how far (3 boat lengths ?) to get on step from a dead stop.

    The ground effect (boat rises up when running fast over very shallow water).

    How shallow can you go ?

    What to do when you lose thrust because of debris, especially in faster water circumstances.

    Tools and techniques to get such a large thing "unstuck".

    Stopping super fast (reverse bucket) but not too fast depending on circumstances.

    Driving downriver at slow speeds (i.e. off step). It can be done, and sometimes is safer than staying on step.

    How to "swim" a river if you or someone else falls in.

    I'm sure there are others, but that is a start.

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    Quote Originally Posted by titobandito View Post
    If you are really new to jet boating, then that is a very large boat to start learning with !
    Highly Highly recommend following another similar sized boat for a few trips before heading out on your own.
    At a minimum you have to understand:

    How to read the water, and how to run it.

    How deep (18" ?) and how far (3 boat lengths ?) to get on step from a dead stop.

    The ground effect (boat rises up when running fast over very shallow water).

    How shallow can you go ?

    What to do when you lose thrust because of debris, especially in faster water circumstances.

    Tools and techniques to get such a large thing "unstuck".

    Stopping super fast (reverse bucket) but not too fast depending on circumstances.

    Driving downriver at slow speeds (i.e. off step). It can be done, and sometimes is safer than staying on step.

    How to "swim" a river if you or someone else falls in.

    I'm sure there are others, but that is a start.
    Yes, I agree completely, I do have a lot to learn and did buy a somewhat larger boat. The good thing is, 1: I'm not afraid to ask for help,
    2: Common sense and the fear of destroying my investment will force me to err on the side of caution.

    I do know how to "swim" in a river, as well as in the ocean with heavy rips.

    Not sure on draft while sitting stationary, and didn't really put the hammer into it during the test run to check distance to plane.

    As far as shallow running depth on plane, the previous owner told me the ran in 18" of water while loaded on the way back from their last trip. That I assume will be a trial and error thing, hopefully with some guidance by other with similar boats I can mitigate the "error" side of it to as few as possible.

    I plan on spending alot of time at the lake getting to know the boat better before adventuring out onto any rivers. If there is a boating group that meets, or anyone planing on making any runs and wouldn't be opposed to allowing me to follow and ask questions, that would be awesome.

    The getting unstuck thing.... yeah information PLEASE!

    Like I stated before, I am not new to boating at all(last boat was a 20' walleye boat with kicker), and have messed around on friends jet skis (they are a fraction of the weight of this though).

    I am open to any and all do's and don'ts from anyone that wants to contribute.

    Thank you to all that have shared their knowledge and insight so far.

    Chris

  15. #15

    Default Unstuck

    If you have the $..............

    Then a chainsaw winch, a "Pull Pall" extraction anchor, and 600' 1/2" "Blue Steel" low-stretch rope, block & tackle; a couple good shovels, and some very solid tie off points on the boat is the most versatile set of gear.

    Other options cheaper options include:

    parachutes or Masdam "Rope Along" pulling and PVC pipe for rolling.

    There are past threads on the forum that discuss many of the scenarios and gear involved (even basketballs!) .

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    Quote Originally Posted by titobandito View Post
    If you have the $..............

    Then a chainsaw winch, a "Pull Pall" extraction anchor, and 600' 1/2" "Blue Steel" low-stretch rope, block & tackle; a couple good shovels, and some very solid tie off points on the boat is the most versatile set of gear.

    Other options cheaper options include:

    parachutes or Masdam "Rope Along" pulling and PVC pipe for rolling.

    There are past threads on the forum that discuss many of the scenarios and gear involved (even basketballs!) .
    OR ...................slow down !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  17. #17

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    I think sometimes it is better to hit the throttle than slow down, depends. This is part of experience. Learning to spin on a dime is handy. I went upstream through a channel one day to fish. Coming back around a tight bend a 4' dia. cotton wood had fallen across the channel. At 30 mph spinning the boat saved us, we did back wash into a root with a large clump of dirt. It fell into the boat and broke a good rod. The next boat down the channel went under the tree and turned over. Not a good situation, no one was hurt but the boat.

    I carry a a rope come-a-long and an aluminum fluke plus several hundred feet of low stretch rope. A shovel of course. A rope come-a long keeps running the rope thru so you don't have to reset every 6-12 feet. A fluke is like what climbers use on glaciers, it is a sheet of plywood or aluminum with a rope or cable coming from the center, dig it into sand and hook up the come-a-long and you can pull a lot of weight.

    Expect to hit stuff, especially in glaciated rivers. Carry spare parts. Get to know your boat. From the picture I can't tell if you have a stomp grate. You probably do. Have your passengers learn how to use it. If you don't have one, get one.

  18. #18

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    One thing that titobandito said was to follow a like sized boat. That is good idea but a word of caution is don't follow to close as in a narrow channel or shallow water the first boat will blow the water out. Leave enough space to give the water to roll back in.You will find that after another 20 years you are still learning something new. Good Luck

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    Member orion94us's Avatar
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    More great advice! Keep it coming please.

    I spent the evening last night searching the forum and found some great pictures and threads on others getting unstuck. Even found the basketball reference. I have my feelers out right now amongst my military contacts looking for a cargo chute to pack into the bow, have to decide if I'm willing to spend the coin on a portable gas powered winch and the subsequent cutting and welding that will have to be done on the boat for the mounting points.

    I can see, I am going to have to learn how to slide the boat, might leave the wife at home for that day at the lake though... lol

    Also, it seems getting stuck is inevitable, so i'd better get serious about an extraction kit and quick before I transition from lakes to rivers.

    Is there any kind of annual type get together's for jet boats up here? I would think if so that would be an awesome place to meet other owners and see what they have and the why behind it.

  20. #20
    Member killer instinct's Avatar
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    Usually a group will get together & run the Knik River - usually happens in the Spring.

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