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Thread: Considering a Zodiac type boat-need advice

  1. #1

    Default Considering a Zodiac type boat-need advice

    OK all,
    I'm considering purchasing my first boat. I'm leaning towards a Zodiac, Achilles type boat. I intend to use it to run around PWS, halibut offshore from Deep Creek type stuff. But also use it in the rivers if I can for local salmon trips. I realize motor selection will determine what type of work it can do. I like the Zodiac type boat from a safety standpoint and I know they are pretty reliable. I have a family of 4 so I'm looking at a larger one 16-18 ft range. I have never owned a boat and could use some advice.

    Is this a good choice?

    How large of a motor should I consider so I can do close in saltwater work?

    Long shaft/short shaft/jet unit??? I assume long shaft would be better in salt? Jet for river work?

    Are there many differences between the different brands? How about the Alaska boat/raft series. Are they worth the money?

    Thanks for helping out a novice!! I appreciate your time.

    Brian

  2. #2
    Member Yukoner's Avatar
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    Default

    One thing about Zodiacs and their ilk, they will beat you senseless in any sort of swell/waves, assuming you try to get any sort of speed. And, they are W-E-T.
    You will be safe, and you will haul a good load, but there are tradeoffs.
    They will run shallow with a jet unit, and thats good.
    If you buy used, make a very carefull inspection, as most people don't take good care of them, and that leads to lots of TLC required by the new owner.
    The Mercury line of inflatables are nice, i almost bought the big one a couple of years ago.
    Good luck

  3. #3
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    Default

    You may want to talk to more people to get several different opinions. I've gone the zodiak route, and found them lacking, I went with an 18 ft aluminum boat and am much happier with it. good luck!

  4. #4

    Default Inflatable is a start.

    My first boat was a 12' Achillies then got a 16' Avon. My experience with then was that they are safe if that is all your looking for in a boat. Next went with a 16ft Lund and the diffrence in room, maintenance and weight more than out wayed the safety factor of a tubed boat IMO. Only time you'll see me in another inflatable is if im using it as a second means of transportation or something. Not saying anything bad about them but after going to aluminum I wont look back at an inflatable for a primary boat.

    I am glad I started out with the inflatable for learning the ways of boating. The price was right at the time and it was just something different to experience. Soon as I decided boating was something for me I threw more $'s into it and im now pleased with a welded boat. So the advise i'd give is, if it's a good deal and your just looking for something to get on the water, it should do. I would definately watch the weather and dress accordingly, that includes everyone onboard.

  5. #5

    Default Inflatables all around

    They are what they are. But with this one I have been in very bay nook and cranny with in 35 miles and some farther out of Whittier. Some places where no other boat would darn go for fear of damage. Down rivers class 2 or more any lake. For a one boat fits all they can not be beat.
    Cold and wet on bad days yes, but with proper gear no different than riding a 4 wheeler for getting wet and cold. I got Mustang suits, awwwww!

    Have have one 14' to 18' for 25 years, caught and my favorite explored everthing I wanted on the water. I would vote for them without any exceptions, great way to learn and return!
    Last edited by alaskapiranha; 09-23-2009 at 17:09.

  6. #6

    Default Thanks

    I appreciate the info gang. I'm very new to boating and just trying to be sure I do the right things on the water. I'm thinking low cost for a boat to try out and see if it is something I want to continue.

    I appreciate your candor and info. Keep it coming!!

    Brian

  7. #7

    Default Forgot to say

    That pic was a 35 Honda remote, which added me up front under the top, before I had a 25 honda Tiller, sat in back while my buddy sat up front under & by my hand made windshield warmer and dry, but with the 25 I could cover almost 80 miles on 6 gallons of fuel. Thats had to beat!

  8. #8
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    Zodiacs are great for they are, i used them quit a bit in the corps. We ran them in the teams of 6 or 8 guys with gear. Keep in mind that you get wet from both the seas and the rain most of the time.
    They are real stable in the seas and as safe as they come if you like dealing with the weather.
    Good luck in your search.
    T

    Sweepint
    Wasilla, (when not overseas)
    '' Livn' The Dream ''
    26' Hewescraft Cuddy, twin 115 Yam

  9. #9
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    Default Best way to learn

    I think everyone should use them first, they handle mistakes better, and when you learn to spot problems on the water before they become serious, then you can get whatever you want. If like me, you constantly push limits, you will eventually get a RIB.

    Chris

  10. #10
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    Most of us probably started out with "Zodiac" style boats. And most of us quickly realized they were not for us.
    They make great dingy's, portable boats to take on trips when space is short, or when a lightweight rig is needed among other reasons. But if you want the family to enjoy boating and fishing up here get something more comfortable with a roof and more interior space. 4 People in a 18 footer would be a boat full. Someone might think you and your family are Cuban refugees who took a wrong turn somewhere!
    Tennessee

  11. #11
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    I think inflatables are great, if you have a couple of hard core guys wearing drysuits. The inflatables can handle alot of water for their size, and are fairly safe rides.

    But you'll find they aren't the greatest platform to fish from, due to low sides, and one or two wet and wild trips with the family will likely be your last trip.

    I was planning on starting with an inflatable, then thinking about a 20' skiff, and ended up with a 22' cabin cruiser. While it cost more than a smaller open skiff, and I spent alot more time building it than an open skiff, having a cuddy cabin and pilot house to get the family out of the weather has been priceless.

    Your best bet to see if you like it or not is to rent one of the Hewescraft from the boat rental place in Whittier. It may seem expensive, but once you add up yearly expenses, you'll find that a couple of overnight trips in the rental boats equals what you'll spend for your own boat. More importantly it'll give you a chance to see if you like boating, in a boat that will make the trips enjoyable.

    Years ago before I finished my boat we rented a 20' open skiff and took it for a day trip out of Whittier. It was one of those few perfect mid July days with glass calm water, blue skies and temps in the 70's. In spite of the perfect conditions, once we were up to cruising speed and my wife was facing a constant 25 mph wind, she was wearing every piece of clothing she had, and still somewhat chilled.

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