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Thread: Airplane vs Boat

  1. #1

    Default Airplane vs Boat

    Has anyone else troubled themselves over this choice. I have gone back and forth for a while, between a good (probably new) deep water boat for two to four people, head, overnighter, etc. Or getting a 180 or 185. Can't afford both.

    So I go back and forth over which one you could do more with. With the boat, you can do all the fishing, shrimping (I have never done this and want to badly), and also at least deer/bear hunt the PWS area. The airplane, I'm still trying to figure out, beyond the obvious of point A to point B. I don't have a cabin to go back and forth to. Then you have the floats vs wheels issue, at least in the summer. I guess you can get out to a good remote location with an airplane, to hunt or fish, which you can't do with a boat. I fly for a living, and don't need to do a lot of tooling around, although I would enjoy that.

    I have a brother coming up this summer for maybe two weeks, that loves to fish, especially the deeper water fishing, and wants to go shrimping. I would enjoy the time doing that with him a lot, and am thinking of spending the bulk of the time in PWS doing the above. I have an Aire Leopard with a 25 horse 2 stroke Tohatsu, and can't even dipnet in that anymore. I used to dip, then take it down to Homer and out halibut fishing. Now we're limited to dipping on a friend's boat, and halibut charters.

    So I'm at the point where I'm thinking of doing what someone on an earlier post was looking at doing - getting a decent used deeper water boat (have no experience with one) that will do all of the above, is safe, and can be used to learn the ropes, and figure out what I would want, if I really wanted to upgrade down the road. Or maybe keep it, and maybe get an airplane down the road. I was initially leery of going out in those waters in a used vessel, but it sounds like if you are careful, you can get a decent used boat. The shrimping, and spending the time in PWS, is what is putting me over the edge at this time.

    Also, are there people that do pre-buy's on boats, like in the airplane business?

    Sorry to ramble, but I am really interested if anyone has gone through this decision process. Also, I have learned a lot on these forums, and appreciate all the input from everyone on here. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Member rimfirematt's Avatar
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    If you like fishing more than hunting, get a boat.

    If you like hunting more than fishing, buy a plane.

    that would be a very tough decision to make, fortunatley for me, Im not in your shoes

  3. #3
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    A used aluminum hull with a good outboard is a good place to start. Low maintenance and pretty forgiving. The right boat will open up a whole new world in PWS and elsewhere but the right plane will open up the whole state. I have a pilots license and chose boats.

  4. #4

    Default Airplane

    Buy a plane; everyone should have the expereince of dealing with the FAA once in their lives.
    A boat costs less and has much lower upkeep than a plane. The boat requires no certifications or special license to operate. And you can carry more stuff and friends, You can fish and hunt from the same boat.
    A plane has many requirements and limited cargo space; unless your FLUSH (you can buy a big plane). It will get you on top of a mountain or into the wild. But if you are hunting it may require more than 1 trip out to carry your animal.
    Don't forget all the legal stuff like annuals, and required upgrades plus add-ons like floats, skis, STOL kits and on and on.
    " Americans will never need the 2nd Amendment, until the government tries to take it away."

    On the road of life..... Pot holes keep things interesting !

  5. #5

    Default Get friend with a plane... and get the boat.

    That's what I did. My friend owns a 185 with floats, wheels and skis. Actually we've been friends long before I purchased a boat this year. I called him up the other day he was very excited to go boating with me this summer. We'll use his plane to do our typical trout/salmon fishing out in western Alaska. BTW, that gas in the Bush is crazy pricey.

    Actually I'm stoked about the boat because it can sleep six and carry far more gear than a plane. I'm hoping it will get my whole family and friends more involved in the outdoors. I plan to be in Whittier most often.

    Good luck with your selection

  6. #6
    Member Sobie2's Avatar
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    I once played a round of golf at an extreemly exclusive course (for charity) with a 3 guys that have more money than they no what to do with, and they gave me some advice I'll never forget. I think it applies in your situation...

    If you can fly it, float it, or f-it... RENT IT!!!

    Sobie2

  7. #7
    Member jrogers's Avatar
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    If you are younger and single, get a plane. It is really a good time to buy either, and I think planes hold their value well over the years, although the operation costs are higher. I use to fly, but boats seem like a better fit for families to me. Boats are also less challenging and less stressful, so that makes planes funner when you are younger and like the pucker factor more.

    A lot of people have a fear of the motor stopping on them -- I just bought a boat with a single and went through the single/twin motor debate. If you are worried about this, then being on the water is a lot less stressful than being in the air most of the time.

    Another thing that suprised me is the cost difference between hull insurance (full coverage) between boats and planes. I think I pay $1200 per hear for full coverage on my boat which costs as much as a 185. I can't even tell you a number for the 185 these days, but it is a lot higher than that.


    Jim

  8. #8
    Member Tolman24's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sasquatch View Post
    ....
    So I'm at the point where I'm thinking of doing what someone on an earlier post was looking at doing - getting a decent used deeper water boat (have no experience with one) that will do all of the above, is safe, and can be used to learn the ropes, and figure out what I would want, if I really wanted to upgrade down the road. Or maybe keep it, and maybe get an airplane down the road. I was initially leery of going out in those waters in a used vessel, but it sounds like if you are careful, you can get a decent used boat. The shrimping, and spending the time in PWS, is what is putting me over the edge at this time.

    ...

    Sorry to ramble, but I am really interested if anyone has gone through this decision process. Also, I have learned a lot on these forums, and appreciate all the input from everyone on here. Thanks.
    One thing to keep in mind, as soon as you use a new boat it becomes a used boat. If you take your time, look hard at the bones of a used boat and not it's lipstick and makeup, and take the time to have a good mechanic go over the power and electrical you can get a dependable boat. Don't fall in live with the boat before it is inspected. Be willing to walk away if in doubt.

    If it is an outboard it is pretty easy to re-power. If I had the option I would buy a used hull with no power and re-power and rewire. That gives peace of mind. Keep it simple and determine what you really need and get rid of the rest.

    Simple means less things to go wrong. Determine what you will really need. For an on land example, Do you need a motor home, a 24' travel trailer, a pop-up camper, or a tent? All will get you out in the wild but with varying degrees of comfort, price, and reliability. The more comforts the more points of failure.

    In my example I chose to go with an upgrade to a tent, at least that is how I explained it to my wife. We have a 24' cuddy boat, it is divided roughly in thirds. First third is 7' cuddy, next third is 7' cabin, and my requirement, last third is 7' fishing deck. The rest is an anchor well.
    • Sleeping/storage area is sleeping pads and sleeping bags over storage compartments in the cuddy. The sleeping area is almost a queen size bed.
    • Galley is a Coleman one burner/grill combo unit that fits under the seat and a 2 gallon water jug and plastic container for a sink. It can be set up in the cabin or on the deck.
    • Head is a porta potty in the cuddy or over the deck depending on activity and person.
    • Heat is a Mr. Buddy or sleeping bag.
    And truth be told we sleep great, we eat to much, we can heat water and wash up dishes or body with minimal fuss and bother. And we can take care of any other bodily functions in comfort and privacy. And the good part is if any subsystem quits working it is no problem to replace it. We elected to skip the dinette in favor of a bench seat. We skipped the built in galley in favor of a second bench seat. Our small cabin has seating for 8. That matches our needs. We can cruise 8 or fish 4 in comfort.

    I have my safety concerns. New main, new kicker, correctly sized marine wiring, dual batteries, fuel filter/water separator, second emergency fuel supply, and an inflatable. GPS/Chart plotter and VHF radio. Hand held backups. Still want radar.

    I have to admit that when I look at some of these GC with all the built ins I am a little envious, my wife is very envious. But when we take a look at how WE use a boat we don't really need them. But they would be nice to have.

    ****, I seemed to have rambled on. It must be a Friday and it is warming up and I am ready to get on the water.

  9. #9
    New member fishnhuntr's Avatar
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    Sobie,
    That's some good stuff....can't say I entirely agree but sure made me laugh.

  10. #10

    Default Well Sasquatch

    Sounds like you dont need a plane. Boating has its strong points and it sounds to be a bit cheaper than the plane. Good luck with your decision. There are lots of pointers on other postings about setting up boats and stuff. If you start out with something decent you will have a feel for what you really need. Good luck on your decision.

  11. #11
    Member ocnfish's Avatar
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    Default What is the matter with both ....

    OK ... at 57 years old I have had a few years to make it happen ... but, take care of business first. A good paying job with an eye towards the future, we did it by buying income properties, they eventually started making the money that would replace my salary. Next, take care of the family and put no more than 10% of total assets into toys. I started out with an airplane, cessna c-180, before finding a great wife. The boat is more family oriented and when our son was about 10 years old we got a nice bay boat a sea raider 22 with a 150 merc salt water, you could also drop it into Big Lake and drag the kids around on tubes and skis. Last we upgraded to an Osprey 26 LC, great overnight boat that can take you anywhere in the gulf of AK.

    Now an empty nester we are thinking about a 40' Carver .... Whats next?

    By the way, the big Cessna airrplane has always cost less than the boat, marine environments are really nasty and costly ...

  12. #12
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    The biggest downside I've heard with planes, is that if you want to have the skills to fly into and land/take off in the bush, it is a serious time committment to get in the flying hours. If you don't put the hours in to proficient in flying in adverse, aka Alaskan conditions, you are putting yourself and others at risk.

    It's much cheaper to find a good bush pilot who has alot of hours flying in the bush than it is to own your own plane. Likely much safer as well.

    At one point I had the dream of a plane, but then I factored in the reality of doing it right, and it just hasn't pencilled out. I suppose loosing a co-worker and former co-worker to a small plane crash has colored my thinking as well.

    As to the used boat option, my way of thinking is either go for a new used boat that doesn't have alot of hours on it, and have a good mechanic go through the enging and electrical system. It should be in pretty good shape. Or, get an older boat at a decent price and re-power it. I would not personally want to be out in the sound in a boat that I wasn't real clear on how reliable it is. And I also wouldn't want to spend all summer working out the bugs on a used boat. There really aren't any towing services in the sound, and you can be hit with a serious bill for a tow in. Might as well put that towing money into a new engine before heading out.

  13. #13

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    I find that I can stop boat expense by puting it in the barn and closing the door.
    The airplane expenses went on and on and on and on even with the hanger door closed.
    Sold the plane and bought the boat, I still have more offers to fly then I accept.

  14. #14
    Member tzieli22's Avatar
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    Default I have to give my 2 cents

    Sasquatch, as much as I want to take credit for this, Theilercabin stated it so well just a few weeks ago regarding the boat options... and it reads

    "What you need to do is get about $20,000 all in twenties in a nice suitcase, get on the Seward Highway, drive really, really fast, past all the fat, minivan moms with a cell phone glued to their ears, past all the 1980's Ford 150's with Moses at the wheel, past all the dip#%^&s that drive with their headlights off while it's snowing, drive as fast as you can go, then start tossing those twenties right out the window until they are all gone, then stop at the Girdwood Tesoro, politely ask a big burly fellow to kick you in the nuts.

    You will roughly get the same experience on buying a boat."

    Now if you still think you want a boat, continue on until your in Seward, stop at the bank there, take another $20,000 out and then come and see me, I'll kick you the nuts once more, take your money and then offer you a boat ride...

    As for the plane option, just multiply your $20k to 40k by 3, do the same thing and you'll achieve about the same results.

    Now in all honesty, if you can afford the plane, I would take that option and just hire out for the few times you want to boat in the ocean.

    I can speak from experience on the ocean boat front, last year alone, I spent about $18k for my fun. total cost that is. But I had a heck of good time and showed many a friends the same.

    Good luck on your choice.
    Tony

  15. #15
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    I've had boats. I've had airplanes. Since buying the first airplane I've never looked back. An airplane suits me better for what I want to do. My travel time is reduced (weather permitting) and my operating budget is smaller with an airplane, too. The weather comment is important. Not that boats can ignore the weather, but they're more accommodating in bad weather than an airplane. Guys with rigid schedules should consider that.

    I tell guys that the only reason to have an airplane is because you have a passion to fly and you'd fly just for flying's sake. Getting somewhere isn't a good enough reason. Determination to get there makes for a dangerous pilot.

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