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When It Comes To Boats, Bigger is NOT Always Better

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On: Wed, Aug 11, 2010 at 2:28PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

 When it comes to fishing boats, bigger is not always better. There are many advantages to owning a boat that is, say, 17 to 25 feet, advantages such as less expensive to transport, cheaper to operate and store, and, perhaps one of the biggest advantages, how quickly can you get in and out of the water in a smaller boat.

"There's very little to break on a small boat," says Renzo Rivolta, co-owner of the newly launched Mojito panga-style boats. "I think they're more manageable and certainly the fuel efficiency is a huge part of the appeal. I think people are realizing that they had more fun in the 20- to 25-foot boat they had 30 years ago," says Jeff Messmer, vice president of sales and marketing for the tug builder Ranger Tugs in Kent, Washington. "Many boaters who have downsized realize that bigger isn't always better."

While it’s true that one can travel in comfort on long trips for extended periods in large boats and yachts, and that bigger boats (30 feet and up) can usually handle rough seas better, the cost is more, not only for the boat, but for everything else, including the slip, storage, maintenance, and insurance. "A large percentage of the boats are essentially cottages," says Ted Boynton, owner of Stagepoint Boats in Westbrook, Connecticut. "They may go somewhere for a couple of weeks, but for most of the summer they're tied to the docks, and their owners are using them as cottages."

Considering the price of a waterfront home, it is the only way many folks can afford to spend so much time actually living on the water.” While many others others are content with day boating, they value the ease of being able to get out on the water with short notice as well as having less intense labor to perform on a smaller boat.

A small craft gives its owner a sense of independence and freedom says , David Neese, Grady-White vice president of engineering. "As far as the value of small boats, besides their economy, it comes down to being able to operate it yourself or with a small crew. You can just go, and you can just go without a lot of fuss," says Boynton. Another advantage is that the shallow drafts in small boats make it much easier to navigate around skinny waters, and they can be moved from one spot to another readily by being pulled on a trailer which offers the boater much more flexibility in being able to move from one location to another. As the seasons change and fish are abundant in different areas of the state, the boater/angler can readily move around to be in the right place at the right time. Considering that you select a day with calm weather and safety measures are provided for, the right small boat can safely take you up to 30 miles or more offshore. "For a lot of people it's the beginning of a career on the water," says Boynton. "They start out in a Laser or a small powerboat and move up to a cruising boat. And then at middle age or toward retirement, they start downsizing. Or they still have a larger boat and want something to take the kids or the grand kids out."


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