Boat Advice


Well-known member
Alright, I am thinking about getting my first boat sometime next year. I know I can be long winded so the important parts are bolded and underlined if you want to skip the small talk.

I'd like to keep it as inexpensive as possible. No financing, probably >$4000 and as far less as possible

be able to take 3 or 4 people

use gas and electric

need as little fixing up and maintenance as possible

able to be stored outside without damage

Bee tow-able by a Corolla or a Rav 4

Some background. My father and both grandfathers had boats when I was young. Tri hulls and bow riders, that kind of thing. I was driving those before I was driving a car. And I stopped driving those around the time I started driving a car, when girls and stuff became more interesting than going to the lake, and I was old enough to stay home alone and have time away from parents and brother. So that's been, um, well, we won't talk about how long ago that was. But I have not driven a boat in a long time.

I live in a compartment, so I have no room to work on something like a boat. I have only basic tools. I have no skills with anything related to building, or fixing a boat such as messing with fiberglass, or motors, or electrical stuff. I know I could develop the skills, but that takes time. I don't want boat repair to become a new hobby, I want to enhance the fishing hobby.

I started checking craigslist to see what boats are going for, and bugging Don with questions, because, hell, he built one. It floated despite my best efforts. He advised me to consult the brain trust here. The brains here are pretty much Grem and Sheila, but the rest of you can feel free to chime in as well ;)

Some of the questions I have come up with;

What the heck is the significance of title verses registration for a boat? For a trailer?

I've noticed having a title seems to add about $1000 to the price on average

Should I not consider boats and/trailers that only have registration?

What minimum length/width would you want to be stable enough for gas power lakes where people go fast?

Don has said that 16' or bigger has additional issues. What issues?

Flat bottom verses V verses semi V?

Metal, wood, fiberglass?

Anything I have not yet thought of?


Nuts & Bolts Guy
LOTS of variables here. How do you intend to use the boat on the water? Bass Fishing? Panfishing? Recreation like tubing or skiing?

Your desire to have 4 people is a big flag for me. 4 people requires a 16' boat or greater. I had a Deep V 16' that had a large 88" beam, 3 guys max was all that we could muster. Not to say that I have not seen some dicey things out there and 6 people on a 16' boat but you're just asking to be stopped by law enforcement. To propel 4 people would also require a pretty decent motor. A boat that size and weight, I don't know that your car could handle towing it safely. Maybe the Rav4?

As for lakes that with fast boats, 16' or greater once again. You've seen what Blue Marsh looks like, you do not want to take a 14' out there with 3 people regardless of hull shape. With hull shape in mind, Deep V is going to give you the best stability with Mod V still being stable for skinnier water. A flat bottom would be out of the picture if using on lakes where people go fast.


Well-known member
Congratulations at looking into a boat. The biggest issue today is price. Boat prices are stupid now.
Your first concern will be weight of the rig. You should try to stay about 80% of your tow vehicle capacity.
All motorized boats in Pa require registration.
All trailers require registration.
Buying a boat that doesnt have a registration or trailer without a title can be a headache. It doesnt need to be current, as log as it has one.
With a smaller tow vehicle I would say aluminium, is your only option.
V hull will take rougher water a little better. Flat or modified V is a good platform and can get a bit shallower.
3 people would need 14' minimum, 16 would be better.


Well-known member
above 16' you need full lights, fire extinguisher, capacity plates, throwing device and more.

Can't legally register a boat unless you own it. A title proves you own it. Same with trailer.

There are rules of the road to learn as well for larger boats but start by reading Chapmans Piloting.

Notice that most boat rentals rent 16' or less because the complexity is so much less.


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Well-known member
Fishing is the main intended use. No specific type of fishing. I'd like to be able to fish for almost anything in fresh water.

I have no interest in skiing or tubing.

Blue Marsh is one of the 3 reasons I am thinking about boats. The other 2 reasons are standing and being able to move my legs.

3 people max would be OK but I don't want to be stuck at 2. I would like to be able to take my wife and another person.

So it looks like an aluminum V at 16' with titles is the target if I understand you guys correctly. I'll have to look at the towing capacity of both vehicles.