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The typical situation - ocean and river

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  • The typical situation - ocean and river

    Okay so I know this is the typical situation but I need to move forward and can't figure out what's the best route. I moved up here about a year ago from Nevada. I got use to 12 months of fishin and huntin in good places, not many folks and use to my own space down there. I realized quick that trying to do that from the roads up here was a pretty tall order, particularly since I am in Anchorage. A boat seems to be a necessity.

    So here it is. I would love to get to the situation where I can take my dad fishin and maybe after a moose and such but realize one boat aint gonna cut it. I don't make a ton of money so I can't afford two boats. What's the best route to go. Get a good ocean boat (which means a substantial $$$). Or, get a decent river boat and then later invest the big money in a ocean boat. I realize lots of guys have been in this situation so I am relying on your experience. From what it seems like most guys with cross-over boats end up wanting to trade up for an ocean boat. What do you guys think. What's the best route to take right now.

    To be honest, I probably can only convince the wife to part with 30-40K max so the budget aint big. Any advice is more than welcome.

  • #2
    My suggestion is to get a boat that will do a little of both. For that price you can get a really good river boat that can handle some bigger water.


    • #3
      For that money,

      get 2 boats. Right now on craigslist I see 2 or 3 boats that would be interesting, one is a 18' Alumaweld with inboard jet for 8500. That would leave you with 22K or more dollars to spend on a used ocean boat which can easily be had.
      Unless your thinking a newer Hewes, Glacier Craft, etc. for an ocean boat in the future, I'd go that route. You're right about the "one boat for everything" theme. Seems most have been down that road.
      Actually, no need to count out the "nice" boats; get the 18' Alumaweld (or similar), then bank the money (or put in a coffee can or buy gold these days) with the intent of saving up for a nicer ocean boat down the road; there's nothing politically incorrect about paying cash up front for something. Me? If I had 30k or so layed aside for boat(s), I don't think I could wait and I'd go with door #1.
      Last edited by Big Jim; 02-11-2009, 06:46. Reason: more info
      Check out Quickwater Adventure water taxi/transport services:


      • #4
        You can get into a river boat that will take you safely on almost any river here for a fraction of the cost of a "safe" ocean boat. Some ocean boats require a bottomless slush fund to keep them up to par and one should have lots of knowledge in the ways of the water/boat relationship. If you love the ocean then get into the big one, if you enjoy the rivers then you'll save time and money.


        • #5
          I had the same problem and went with a bigger river boat and use it for both. No it does not do anything perfectly but it gets my family out and about enjoying the things we love and that is what matters.

          It sure would be nice if all of us could afford 3-4 boats and had the room to store them as well!

          "People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." - George Orwell

          Before taking any of my advice for granted on here research the legal ramifications thoroughly I am not the Troopers nor am I the Judge that will be presiding over your case/hearing. Please read the hunting and sportfishing regulations and feel free to interpret their meaning on your own.


          • #6
            Easier said than done, but get whatever you figure you will use most. I chose ocean and have been happy with that choice.

            If you go with a dual purpose boat, try and go with something that is more ocean worthy than the ideal river sled. If you run a boat that needs a bit more water then less in a river, then you get stuck more easily. If you take a jon boat out on the ocean, you run a serious risk of getting swamped.

            You don't have to spend six figures to get a safe ocean boat, a 20' skiff with a 50 horse o/b is very capable. The biggers boats really don't buy you safety, they buy you comfort. You can get in just as much trouble in a 30' ocean boat as a 20' skiff if you don't know what you are doing.

            But that comfort is important as you'll use a boat with a pilothouse for a much longer period of time than an open skiff. Also the bigger boat will allow you to run into bigger chop before throttling down. While I'd be content piling on the gear and running an open skiff out in the sound, I knew one or two cold miserable trips with the wife would be the end of my ocean boating, so I went with a cabin cruiser.

            You should be able to find a used c-dory 22 or 22-24 foot hard top hewes in your price range is you want to go the ocean route.
            Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

            If you have a tenuous grasp of reality, Alaska is not for you.


            • #7
              I would agree with Paul H. Get a 18'-20' open skiff with a 50hp. You'd be able to fish the Kenai plus the near shore stuff. (Resurrection Bay, Ninilchik, Kachemak Bay)


              • #8
                Agreed. I ran an 18' Bayrunner open skiff with a 40HP + 4HP kicker out of Juneau for years - fished, crabbed, shrimped, hunted deer - the works. Takes more bad wx than you can. Older hull type would "gripe" (yaw hard left/right) in cross swells, but the newer hull types (bigger bow) was a big improvement. Can run up on the beach and not worry.

                I know lots of old timers down there that started with a 14' Lund, went to a 20' skiff, then a 24' Bayliner, then a 32' Tolley, and by the time retirement age hit, were back in a 14-16' skiff, period. Rain gear is cheap compared to a cabin on the boat

                This wouldn't be a good boat for river running, but it's inexpensive enough for you to get a good, solid jet boat. Wooldridge has my vote.


                • #9
                  you could buy my 21' northriver commander in the pricerange you have allowed to ya . ive been up and down the Su the tanana and to motegue in it. runs easily in 6 inches and takes on 4 footers fairly easily.


                  • #10
                    Is that your commander on craiglist? Pretty nice boat. If I could afford that nice a river boat I would definitely be interested. Just seems like it would be pretty rough in the ocean. You shouldn't have any problem selling it though.


                    • #11
                      The hardest part is figuring out where all you want to run.

                      Where you will run the majority of the time

                      What amenities you want to have or your family would want to have

                      When I was in the market I sat down and made list after list and went back and forth between an ocean boat and a river boat

                      Finally decided on what length I had to have, then on inboard or outboard, then tops, did we want to be able to sleep aboard, then finally on a river boat for use in salt and rivers/ lakes.

                      Most of the inboard jet boats have 12-14 degree hulls so they do ok in the salt water, sometimes you just have to slow it down a bit so you do not get beat up, then again suspension seats help out with that a lot as well.

                      The best thing would be to wait till spring and take a few on test drives or go on rides with some of the forum members on here plenty would be glad to help you out. If I was going to be around I sure would.

                      "People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." - George Orwell

                      Before taking any of my advice for granted on here research the legal ramifications thoroughly I am not the Troopers nor am I the Judge that will be presiding over your case/hearing. Please read the hunting and sportfishing regulations and feel free to interpret their meaning on your own.


                      • #12
                        I'd consider a cheap used beater river skiff 18' you see for sale all the time (3,500 to under 10k), and a newer/light used ocean boat. I've seen a lot of 21' extended transom aluminum boats for sale between 20 and 30k

                        Or a new Wooldridge Sport 20' Outboard with a lift and pump and prop lower units. 10 deg deadrise 18 deg bow. This boat seems like a good compromise try to do it all boat. Since it has some vee and a tunnel. Iam guessing this might run around 30-35k (but not sure).



                        • #13
                          I would consider two things. First would be where I lived. and second what family and freinds would go. As far as the interior goes I would get a good skinny water boat. In anchorage or closer to the coast I would get an ocean boat. I lived in Fairbanks for 7 years and ran a lot of rivers and chartered for the ocean trips. Now I live on the coast and run deep water boats. I have two boats now and there is not enough time to use both. The river boat only gets used once a year. If it was not payed for it would not be worth haveing. Even though you could afford two boats remember it is twice the maint, insurance, and space it takes. I have had to replace several items on my inboard jet just from letiing it sit, such as batteries,hoses, dry rot tires, and drive belts.

                          only my two cents.


                          • #14
                            I was in your boat (pardon the pun) for years. I got this boat and ran it up until last year til I finally broke down and bought a new Hewescraft Alaskan 240. This Boat served me well and I spent about 75% of my time in Seward for Silvers, Homer for Halibut, and did my dipnetting in the Kenia and caught all my Kings on the Deshska. I know a guy whom has the jet unit for sale for this motor for $800.00. It will do everything you want to do. I don't need it any longer as I will spend the rest of my time in the Ocean. It gets about 6 GPH wind open throttle at about 37-39 mph and cruises at 30 mph at about 4.5 GPH. Boat is in great shape, clean and ready to go.



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