Who does boating? The hobby conundrum......

#1
OK, so I'll start by saying that I'm just "thinking out loud" here and looking for opinions/ideas from y'all. We have done some boating with friends the last couple years and really liked it, and we've casually talked about getting a boat but there is no way I can add it to my fleet of hobbies without removing other things first.... I know that we can rent one but I hate the idea of spending $5-800 per day to rent a boat. I'd like to think we'd use it enough to justify buying one, and we are last-minute planners, so a quick trip to Deer Creek or Jordanelle when timing is right would be nice to be able to do.

We have a sxs and a toy hauler that we do love but our 4 seater sxs (Teryx4) is now too small. Our 1 year old makes 3 kids now, so we literally haven't used it all year. We have a JKU that fits the whole fam nicely so I'm thinking of doing away with the sxs hobby. If we do that, we don't really NEED the toy hauler either so we could get rid of that. If we get rid of both of those, we would have space and funds to do an entry level used (around $20k) boat that will accommodate surfing which is what we like. The problem becomes our camping situation. We talked about a smaller bumper pull camper but when we go camping, we usually have some sort of toys along with us. We have dirtbikes as well that have been neglected that I'd love to start using again if we nix the sxs, although I might just sell all but mine so we're left with jeeping or boating.

My more recent thoughts have veered towards a nice-ish truck bed camper that can sleep 5. We don't need tons of space, but a warm dry place to sleep and prep food with heat/air, fridge, bathroom, etc. are musts now after having been spoiled with a large camper for so long. My wife doesn't want to go back to tent camping at this point until the kids are older. If we get the truck camper, we can use it while pulling the boat, bikes, jeep, or whatever.

OR, we ditch a camper altogether and focus on the boating/jeeping but do hotels or rentals when we need a place to stay......

So here are my questions for you guys:
-Who here does boating? Are they actually a money pit? Do you use it enough to justify having it?
-If you do, did you trade other hobbies or re-arrange your hobbies to accommodate the boat and was it worth it?
-Who uses truck bed campers? Anybody use one with a family of 5? I feel like 5 could work with the right camper....
-Have any of you ditched camping to focus on the toy hobbies and just hotel'd it to save the "hassle" that camping brings w/ a troop of kids?

Any other thoughts?
 

Jesser04

Well-Known Member
Location
Kaysville Utah
#2
We have a boat owned it for 10 years. It’s been trouble free except a starter a few years back. I paid 15k for it when I bought it and I think it’s still worth 15k. We used 3 times last summer all trips to lake Powell. I have no use for the local reservoirs way to many idiots on the weekends for my liking. Our boat is 1999 23’ chris craft jack of all master of none type boat have a volvo duoprop with a 5.7. I added the front bimini and extended swim deck both great investments.

So to answer your questions are boats money pits? Yes they can be but do your homework and buy one the previous owner took good care of.

Is boating worth it? That’s up to you we hadn’t used our boat much the year before last. Then we made some of the best memories of our life last summer with it.

Do I use it enough to justify having it? If I had a payment maybe not but it’s paid for and insurance 200-300 a year I don’t mind if it sits.

The first couple years we owned we had no kids went to pineview every weekend with friends then we had a kid and stop going we wasn’t the same with a kid. We then left it at flaming gorge over the summers for 5 years with our 5th wheel that was awesome. The group that we had bought a cabin at strawberry and we didn’t want to go by ourselves so we sold the 5th wheel. The year before last we only used it once at Tahoe then Powell last year three times.

One thing I’ve noticed if you buy one that’s 10-15 years old and well cared for you can’t get hurt on it. If you don’t like it you can always sell it. Hopefully we still have an open invite to Powell next summer...
 

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Location
UT
#3
My strategy is to have a camp trailer (like we do) while my kids are young (currently 5 and 3) but when they're preteen and up we will get a boat. This is an effort to make them like us as parents and have an activity we can engage in for quality time. It's inevitable that adding or even exchanging hobbies will take time away from other hobbies but it works for me. I don't see me + rock crawling going away.

@skippy boat boat boat boat boat
 
#4
We have a boat owned it for 10 years. It’s been trouble free except a starter a few years back. I paid 15k for it when I bought it and I think it’s still worth 15k. We used 3 times last summer all trips to lake Powell. I have no use for the local reservoirs way to many idiots on the weekends for my liking. Our boat is 1999 23’ chris craft jack of all master of none type boat have a volvo duoprop with a 5.7. I added the front bimini and extended swim deck both great investments.

So to answer your questions are boats money pits? Yes they can be but do your homework and buy one the previous owner took good care of.

Is boating worth it? That’s up to you we hadn’t used our boat much the year before last. Then we made some of the best memories of our life last summer with it.

Do I use it enough to justify having it? If I had a payment maybe not but it’s paid for and insurance 200-300 a year I don’t mind if it sits.


One thing I’ve noticed if you buy one that’s 10-15 years old and well cared for you can’t get hurt on it. If you don’t like it you can always sell it. Hopefully we still have an open invite to Powell next summer...
Thanks for the feedback! If you don't mind me asking, how many in your family? Do you guys surf behind your boat? do you do wheeling with the whole family as well? I'm assuming you do wheeling and boating, do you also own a camper? What is your lodging situation?
 
#5
My strategy is to have a camp trailer (like we do) while my kids are young (currently 5 and 3) but when they're preteen and up we will get a boat. This is an effort to make them like us as parents and have an activity we can engage in for quality time. It's inevitable that adding or even exchanging hobbies will take time away from other hobbies but it works for me. I don't see me + rock crawling going away.

@skippy boat boat boat boat boat
Our kids are 1, 5, and 8, and the older 2 have fallen in love with water. After a few hours of wheeling, they find things to complain about. When we're on the water or at a pool, they go all day and don't want to leave. Plus, Lake Powell is just magical.
 

Jesser04

Well-Known Member
Location
Kaysville Utah
#6
Thanks for the feedback! If you don't mind me asking, how many in your family? Do you guys surf behind your boat? do you do wheeling with the whole family as well? I'm assuming you do wheeling and boating, do you also own a camper? What is your lodging situation?
We have a 6 year old boy and two nieces 13 and 17 we have semi adopted. We haven’t taken our Jeep out in a long time but when we do yes the whole family goes (Wheeling is way more work). You wouldn’t want to surf behind a boat like ours could you? Probably if you bought some fat sacks but I wouldn’t suggest it. Owned a camper sold it this summer if we go boating over night we tent it or sleep on the boat depending who is with us.
 
Location
UT
#7
Our kids are 1, 5, and 8, and the older 2 have fallen in love with water. After a few hours of wheeling, they find things to complain about. When we're on the water or at a pool, they go all day and don't want to leave. Plus, Lake Powell is just magical.
Have you considered hitting them? Hahaha jaykayyyyyy. Kids are weird and their interests seem to be constantly shifting. Fingers crossed that my kids will always enjoy wheeling and that my attempts to keep them engaged will work. We had a boat when I was kid but we mainly used it for fishing. We did however use my FIL's boat quite a bit right after we got married and I enjoyed it. It seems that boat has had a TON of issues over the past several years and it makes me happy that it's not my problem.
 

bobdog

4x4 Addict!
Location
Sandy
#8
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I bought this 2 years ago. it's been a whole lot of fun..
Yes boats are money pits.
Yes I use it enough to justify it.
Yes I've had to cut back on my four wheeling hobby and its all but put a stop to a Jeep project I was working on. It OK with me because my friends actually like to ride in this and almost none of them like Jeeping.
I have ditched camping for the most part. In my old age I much prefer the ease of motels.
 
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Jesser04

Well-Known Member
Location
Kaysville Utah
#9
They is some thing that nickel and dime you. Wheel bearings yearly drive and engine oil yearly and trailer tires. I do all the maintenance myself and try to pull it as little as possible. We’ve left it for the summer 6-7 years of ownership so all we had to do was launch it.
 

Shawn

Just Hanging Out
Location
Holly Day
#10
I have too many toys, boat couple of sxs, quads, dirt bikes fifth wheel, enclosed trailers for everything. I tandem pulled for many years and now my son is old enough to drive so I bought another tow rig.

We started off boating ever other week and are now down to 2-3 times a year, but with long stays on the water. The family's top pic for fun is the boat. we would never sell it unless we upgrade. This boat is our third and we started off with a cheeper boat that came with it's problems.

My advice in buying a boat is to buy new or newish. The money pit part for me, which is for everything, is the accessories.
 

rholbrook

Premium Member
Premium Member
Location
Kaysville, Ut
#11
My father's friend gave him a t-shirt that said, "He who dies with the most TOYS wins."

Jessor04 is my nephew, we grew up with lots of toys, Jesse can attest for that and as a family as a whole, have very fond memories on Flaming Gorge and Lake Powell. My father even had a house boat on Powell for almost as long as I can remember.

In my opinion, there is no better family activity then a boat...period. Especially if you have teenagers. Teenagers will drop everything to go boating, even in those years when parents are not cool, they will still come water skiing(people do this still?), wake boarding, tubing and surfing. I actually sold my 24' Chapparrel SSI. It was a 2004 that I bought around 2006 I think. I have had a total of 3 boats of my own.

Boating can be a lot of money to justify but we would literally go twice a week. One day during the week after work and on Saturdays. We didn't have comp soccer, baseball, etc to deal with though. My kids would take turns inviting friends and we would alternate with them every other week as to who got Saturday for a longer day. When you are confined in a 24'x8.5' you get to know your kids' friends pretty fast and what kind of kids they are. When I see their friends, they still talk about how much fun they had with us. These kids are now in their mid-twenties and that was some of their fond memories too.

The last 5 years the boat sat a lot. Missions, moving away to college, etc put a big time crunch in the use. We still go to Powell every year with some good friends who we hauled around for years in our boat so they are paying that back. I see another boat in my future because I want grand kids to enjoy the water as much as we did.

If you will use it once or twice a year, I would rent. If you are going to use it more often, own it. Newer boats with fuel injection run well. Normal maintenance would be an impeller(water pump) every couple of years and every year an oil change in the motor and outdrive. I had a gimball bearing go out a couple of times which is the bearing between the motor and outdrive. It was a $350 bill if I remember right. Buy used and take care of it and you should be able to get your money back out of it. When you look at a used boat, take a look at the condition of his other stuff. If a guy takes care of his stuff, his boat will also be taken care of. I have a brother in law that you could eat off of his garage floor because it will be just as clean as his dishes and gets washed as often as his dishes. I'm not exaggerating.

As far as giving up a hobby, I never did but I didn't own a SXS. I would probably keep it for the winter time or those times you wanted to go camping. A camper is a great alternative to so you can pull the boat and still stay out of a tent.

Good luck, you won't get me to me talk you out of a boat.
 

Hickey

Rusty Girdle
Premium Member
#12
Growing up, my family's main hobby was boating/skiing. We stopped doing it when I was about 14. I've always loved the water and boats.

We borrowed a friend's boat a few months ago for a trip to Havasu. This was great, because we weren't really sure how much we would like the boat thing, especially because it will almost always be just my wife and our pups in the boat. We found that we really enjoyed it, and that the lakes are empty on our days off (not Saturday/Sunday.

I have a deposit on a boat right now, and I'm picking it up next week.

AF9B9AAD-9EDA-4DDE-9D0A-3FFECCF94A3C.jpeg 85B7BDB3-14C6-4D3F-AC3F-E5F942210AC3.jpeg
 

pkrfctr

Registered User
Location
Spanish Fork, UT
#13
We owned a sail boat for years and loved it. We sold it because we liked the jetskis better. Still have a jetski and use it multiple times a year. Only costs the registration and insurance. Need to pick up another one now that my kids are old enough to drive one. They are a ton of fun, cheaper and less work than a boat.
 

Gravy

Edd China of Dirtbikes
Premium Member
#14
I grew up boating. Love it. My Dad just sold our boat last year!

I think a boat you can surf behind will be a hard buy at under $20k. Older boats can be made to do it, but never as well as a wakesurf designed boat.


To further muddy the waters, we race motorcycles now and every race is far away. We still camp on occasion but mostly we hotel it. It takes a lot of cheap hotel stays to equal a trailer and I don't have to clean it: at least that's my reasoning.
 
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UNSTUCK

But stuck more often.
Location
Magna
#15
We are now on our third boat in 4 seasons. We bought a "cheap" 2000 Tige 21v for about $20k to see if we would like boating. We fell in love with water sports instantly. After two seasons we purchased a bigger boat that turned out to be a bit of a bad deal as it was too big and too under powered for our elevation. After one season with it, we went all in a 2017 Tige RZX3. For us it's the perfect boat and I imagine we will have it for a long time. An inboard boat is the only option for surfing. Dont even consider anything else. But that also means you will pay more for your boat. There is also quite a learning curve to navigating inboards. However, for the price of a high end SXS that seats two, you can get a boat that seats 12+. We try to always invite another family to boat with us. Sometimes we just want to go alone though.
We put 80 engine hours on the boat and probably double that in floating time this year alone. Pretty much every Saturday and a few long weekends. Our kids are 13, 12, and 7. So far there are no Saturday commitments that interfere with boating. As our kids get older and get into sports and other Saturday activities we will look hard at selling it. At that point we will rent a boat for the few times we would get out and still be money ahead.

The downside of our boat is that it pretty much takes all of our fun money. We save all winter to play all summer. That makes the winters long and boring. I really like the idea of having family season tickets to a ski resort, and having a dirt bike for each of us for the summer. That's good times all year long.
 

mesha

By endurance we conquer
Supporting Vendor
Location
A.F.
#17
I can't really help you with your boat conundrum, but I can help with the camper trailer. :)

We LOVE our camper. Love it. It has been so much fun to have. I know you have had a truck bed camper in the past so you know most of what owning one entails. I will tell you that the first in bed camper we used many many years ago was not as nice as this one and it makes a big difference. Not having a million tiny little things to fix makes a huge difference. Not counting the stuff all campers have my main things for a camper are electric jacks, flushable toilet, solar panels. For us the camper also needs a bunk bed so the kids have their own beds. With a couple of smaller kids the table bed could be shared, but as they get older that gets harder. We didn't use the AC as much as we thought we would and ended up pulling it out recently when a leak around the opening formed because it just wasn't worth having it. Being able to tow whatever other toys we want behind and still have a comfy place to sleep/play cards is amazing. It does get a little cramped if the stay is long. We drove to Alaska a couple summers ago and lived in the camper for a couple months. It was so much fun, but a few times the kids and I had to go on a walk for a while to give mom some time to herself:D.

Come check ours out if you want and even take it out for a weekend or something.

I don't get rid of hobbies so I can't help there either.
 

Bart

Registered User
Premium Member
Location
Arm Utah
#18
I have owned about 10 boats through the years and have used them a lot some years and not much at all on others. They can be expensive but I can't think of another hobby that we used more for the family and kept them interested, even when they got older. We currently have a 30' Cruisers that we keep at Powell during the summer and I pull home in the winter. One kid and her family have a 32' that and we go down with them quite a bit.
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skippy

Pretend Fabricator
Location
Tooele
#19
We bought a Nautique earlier this summer and it has been amazing, By far one of the most fun family hobbies you can be involved in. In my research most of the people that complain about boats being expensive or reliable are the same ones that dont properly maintain them. My bigggest issue with boating is how much it digs into my rock crawling time......
 

Houndoc

Registered User
Location
Grantsville
#20
Own a 2001 Hyrdoswift 2200. Honestly it spends very little time on the water- 2018 had it out to Pineview for Girls Camp and 4 day trip to Lake Powell. Tough balance of using it enough to justify but not to let it overwhelm other family time. For us, it has proven a fantastic family activity- our kids only miss Lake Powell while they are on missions- otherwise they started going young (my youngest spent a week tent camping with 115 temps at 5 months old.)

My parents and siblings usually join at Powell as well (my first trip was in 1970, little before turning 2.)

Would not trade that time for anything.

looking up from Dungeon Camp.jpg looking up from Dungeon Camp.jpg



Repairs haven't been that big of a deal. $1,200 couple years ago for fuel pump (went out first day at Powell so spent the week kayaking and swimming from camp) but otherwise certainly wouldn't call it a money pit.


My wife isn't into the 4x4 thing, so the boat and horses are our family recreation.


I think we would get out a little more if had an outboard. Have used it before for deer hunting and love late season fishing at Flaming Gorge but dislike winterizing the boat every night when pull out.
 
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