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Thread: Turn Key boat vs. the blank slate

  1. #1
    Member HuntKodiak's Avatar
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    Default Turn Key boat vs. the blank slate

    Just yesterday my brother sent me an email asking me for my feedback on what it would cost to outfit a boat with electronics. He was curious because some boats listed on craigs list are turn key and some aren't. Kinda wondered the value of "turn key". Using my background in electronics and as a new boat buyer last year, I gave him the following response. Tonight I thought the info might prove helpful to others. Keep in mind that my costs are for equipment that's probably middle of the road in cost. A person could certainly spend more........or less. If I missed something, feel free to post it.

    Enjoy, Mike.

    "Your question asks about electronics, and I can give that to you pretty easily. But I'll also throw in some other gear that technically isn't electronics, but the stuff is needed or wanted to outfit a boat for fishing.

    Electronics:

    Fixed mount VHF radio w/ DSC function for emergencies and an antenna w/mount. ($150 for the radio and $80 for antenna w/mount)

    Handheld VHF radio for shore runs in raft and for the ditch bag. ($80)

    Chartplotter/depthsounder/GPS combo w/transom mount transducer with temperature (my Lowrance HDS-5 cost about $750)

    Electronic chart disc for the chartplotter (about $250)

    Depthsounder/fishfinder to run so you don't have to run the chartplotter split screen fishfinder/chart (about $250)

    That's about it for electronics. Total probably run you around $1500-$1600.

    Other stuff:

    Downriggers (electric Scotty $360/each, manual $100-$200 each)

    Downrigger mounts, cannon balls, electric outlet, line clips, etc (assuming two downriggers, approx $300)

    Safety gear like life jackets, flares, water dye, extra anchor, extra props, etc ($600-$800)

    Raft ($500-$700)

    Fenders ($100)

    Fish gaffs, harpoon, net ($200)

    You can figure out the fishing rods, lures, flashers, and any other fishing gear you want.

    That's about $2400 for the misc stuff

    I think I spent between $2000 and $3000 outfitting my boat. It already had a Garmin fishfinder, spare props, and fenders. I added the second anchor a little later, was given a harpoon, and had a long gaff already. That's just the cost to buy the stuff and not the time you'll have to spend installing the stuff. You'll have to run cables and wires between radio & antenna, fishfinder & transducer, chartplotter & transducer, power runs for all electronics & electric downriggers, drill holes and install backing plates for the downriggers, drill holes for electric downrigger outlets, and I'm sure there's other stuff too. So it really is worth a lot to have a boat ready to go.......assuming the previous installer did a good job and you don't have to fix his shabby install work."

  2. #2
    Member Maast's Avatar
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    I was just thinking about posting something like this, I bought a bare boat and I'm going broke rigging it out. I even made a joke today at work about the next boat being a 1 year old already rigged.

    For example the windlass:

    Lewmar ProFish 700: $780
    The 4 AWG Polar Flex wire to rig it: $160
    The rope: $320
    The Rocna 22lb anchor: $330
    Misc nuts, bolts, electrical connectors, etc: $50

    Thats $1640 just for my ground tackle and windlass, and I didnt go gucci on it either.
    2696 Sea Raider Pilothouse
    "Dominion"

  3. #3
    Member jrogers's Avatar
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    What he needs to find is someone that went high end at rigging a boat and is selling it, since you don't pay much if anything for this at resale. My transducer alone was $750. I think Maast did go Gucci on his anchor though. I 'only' paid $300 for mine, and it is a 33lb real Bruce anchor.
    2009 Seawolf 31'
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  4. #4
    Member HKYDDY's Avatar
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    Default It adds up fast!

    Even with a small (16 footer) things add up fast when you are trying to get a boat ready for the water. Between oars, locks, life vests, bilge pump, seats, extra prop (the correct prop), anchor, and other assorted safety gear and goodies that make life easier, it is easy to drop close to a grand before you get her in the water. Thank goodness I lost track when I outfitted my new boat.

  5. #5

    Default I'm there now...

    ... bought a used Phantom (it came with upgraded tanks but otherwise was bare) and have already spent close to 2K in accessories and I still have 2 more lights and a second battery set-up to install!

    On the other hand, consider what you get in resale by setting up a clean boat yourself. I sold my last boat (18' G3 90/65 Jet and trailer) for $500 less than I bought it for 3 years prior by selling as a "total package deal". Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING went with the sale and it sold in less than 4 hours after posting on Craigslist. Nothing else came close by comparison so those interested in a hassle free purchase (not to mention securing extra items they would otherwise have to buy and install) came my direction.
    "He should have been packing a more powerful gun...you have to be a very good shot or very lucky to stop a brown bear with a .357 Magnum." - Rick Sinnott, Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologist after a double attack by a grizzly.

  6. #6
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    Default Do you have time?

    I got my boat without any electronics or accessory wiring. It was a good winter project,that is if you are looking for a project??
    It was time comsuming and getting all the proper parts I required was a hassle. Every little stainless nut and bolt starts to add up as well as wire & loom & tie wraps. I was able to lay every thing out the way I wanted it which was nice.
    Would I do it again? Sure, but only if I had lots of time before fishing season. Definately would not take a project on with just a month evenings & weekends before the season.

  7. #7
    Member Gundog's Avatar
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    I would only add value to the electronics if they were fairly modern and something I wanted an old loran system with monochrome screen holds very little value to me but to someone else ???

  8. #8
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    Default The beauty of rigging your own boat

    you can install fuse pannels in places that make sense
    you can apply corrrosion protection to all the connections
    you can use heaver wire than factory and aircraft wire is best (finer strands)
    Using solderless connectors, solder just the tip of the wire,not the whole bite of the connector.
    marine shrink tubing has hot glue inside, I love it .
    If the boat getts swamped ,the last thing i need is a dead battery,I know every one puts them down low, but I am the odd ball.
    If you prepare for the worst , it'll never happen, well almost never.
    I keep a zip loc bag with all the paper work for the toys on board,in case I want to take advantage of some feature I don't normally use .
    The boat has it's own tool box as well. prop changing tools are on teather cause they don't float except the 2x4 prop block.
    weld a ring and put a tether on a pair of vise grips to use during a prop change, it'll save some frustration.
    B reak
    O ut
    A nother
    T housand

    a hole in the water you throw money into

  9. #9
    Member bhollis's Avatar
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    Upside to buying new and outfitting it yourself: You get exactly what you want, and everything's brand new.

    Downside: You pay for it, both in upfront costs and depreciation (which can be as much as 20% in the first couple of years).

    I've always gone with slightly used boats, and have no regrets. Just a matter of taking the time to find the right boat.

    My current boat is a 2004 SeaSport Voyager. Bought it in late 2006. At the time it only had 70 hours on it. Much of the equipment (stove, downriggers, pot puller) had never been used. And it was outfitted pretty much exactly as I would have done it myself. Essentially got a new boat, and saved more than $80,000 over what an equivalent new boat would have cost me.

  10. #10
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    Turn key on a used boat is typically a better deal because those items just don't increase the price of the boat, but they do help the seller sell the boat. The other advantage of going turnkey is you can upgrade the items you want as you go, vs. having to dump out $3-5k out of pocket.

    I think your prices are quite low on some items. Especially up here cold water imersion suits IMHO aren't an option, so when you add them to lifejackets, anchors, rodes, first aid kit, ditch bag (w/ hand held gps) etc, you can easily spend $2k on the safety items.

  11. #11
    Member Sobie2's Avatar
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    My floatilla has both new purchased and used purchased boats in it. I agree with bhollis. My new boat last year was brand new, and even today it isn't finished out to the detail I hoped. I should have paid the extra and had the pro installers do everything. I paid $2000 alone on my Raymarine chart plotter gps depth sounder... and I still had to install it myself. To do it right with new kicker, raft, heater, pot puller,endless odds and ends you could easily have $10k into a new boat. And unless the guy is a pro or verious meticulous on his own install it won't look or function nearly as nice as having the shop do it right the first time... believe me I have seen plenty of those kind of installs.

    I purchased another lighty used boat in the past and have been enjoying all the thoughts and details and money the other owner put into it.

    The best deals are from the guy who does it all perfectly on his 22-26 footer then decides he wants a 28 or 32 footer because of 2-footitisi and has the bucks to buy his other boat before selling his 2 year old boat. Usually they are only looking at what they paid for the boat alone and don't care about the money they spent on extras.

    Sobie2

  12. #12
    Member HuntKodiak's Avatar
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    Great feedback and viewpoints. I can't say I've read any comments that seem wrong, some just a bit different. There certainly is a trade-off between getting a boat that's nicely outfitted for you and outfitting a boat with the "stuff" you want on her and doing it right. All outfitted boats are certainly not created equal, and as some have said, be carefull assuming (let's say for example) a boat with a fishfinder means you're set and won't need to work on it. A thorough inspection by you or a friend that's knowledgable can hash out these revelations.

    Most of the work I did on my boat was enjoyable because I find doing things right the first time is a lot better and easier than fixing somebody else's work, and knowing it was done right gives me a piece of mind while tooling around on the ocean. But, like I wrote in my brother's email, you need to be honest with yourself about the time needed and frankly whether you have the skills to do the installations yourself. Man, I don't know how many times I double checked my thoughts each time I prepared to drill a hole in my boat! Poorly placed holes are most definitely not welcome, and I did not want to be responsible for something that would result in me looking in the mirror and saying "you dumb a_ _!" In the end, I managed to keep that personal exchange down to one time so far. LOL

    Paul H, I'm sure there are many others that agree with your thoughts on my low estimates. In most cases, more money gets you higher quality. I have a ditch bag, but only included the cost of one item (handheld radio) that's part of it since there's quite a variety of ways to outfit a ditch bag (as seen in a couple of the ditch bag threads). Imersion suits, don't have them. I do agree they can be very important, but I bought a good quality and nice sized raft for emergencies and commutes ashore. I can cut the raft loose very quickly as I always carry a knife while u/w and have one or two stationed around the deck for others to use. If something happens too quickly, god forbid, for me to cut the raft loose, then there would be no time for my guests and I to don imersion suits either since they take longer to don than cutting the raft loose would take. (And by the way, if you have them, practice putting them on occasioally. It does take practice to put them on quickly, which is the reason for drills on larger vessels.) I could give more explanations of how I estimated costs or why I left out other things, but in the end, I was shooting to include most of the basic items that should be on the boat for the first voyage to fish. If money is tight after buying the boat and dropping a few thousand on equipment (that's sure how I felt), then upgrades like fuel flow sensors, networks, anchor winch, creature comforts, etc could be delayed until later.

    Keep the thoughts coming. My brother has already written me to say that when the posts die down he's going to print the whole thread for reference. For him and others is exactly the purpose for starting this.

    Mike

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