Bill the boat addict
Saw another thread about nearly free boats and while I posted there, I should have started a fresh thread.
Circa 2012 I pick up a boat from the parents neighbor for $100. It's a 1988 Red SeaRay Seville 16 foot open bow (100 hp) with bad floors and a motor that isn't running. Knowing the neighbor is the original owner and the guy is typically super retentive about stuff, I'm surprised the boat was neglected after the tarps decayed. 1998 was the last registered year on the boat. Boat was hardly used at all. Original prop looks perfect etc. I tow it home and somehow have it three years before hopping on the project. One stator and four carbs being cleaned later it runs on a fresh can of fuel. Then the floor gets done, some wood under seats etc. Drop it in the water and enjoy the 2016 summer going out tons of times. Boat paid for itself that one summer. Come 2017 it wouldn't run right and I tried everything except actual carb rebuilds or looking at block seals.
2017 and the SeaRay is becoming a disappointment. Late summer 2016 I picked up a 1989 Blue 17 foot Larson open bow with 3.7L stern drive (165 hp). I talk to a few folks that work on boats and they say the motor is notorious for head gasket failures. 89 is the last year of production and it is half of a ford 460, aluminum block with cast iron head. Those of us that work on cars can understand that the mid 70's to late 80's was not the best time for dissimilar head/block combos w/o head gasket issues. Guy told me it takes on water but the bilge keeps up, the gauges flutter around a bit and the starter was a cheap one that doesn't turn the motor over well. I am mad at the SeaRay so I start working on Larson. Starter goes in and is slow turning it over, warrantied that out and put in the next that does start it well. Dunk it into the water to find the shift bellow is broken at about the 1" round spot that is letting a ton of water in. The darn bilge would have to be on 100% of the time to consider keeping up. I learn how to do the bellows and hey...that's not a fun job. Drop it in the water for a shakedown and it runs well but has a serious flat spot in the throttle. Not being a carb expert at all, I have a local specialist rebuild it. Boat is amazing.
Fast forward to 2018.. Buddies parents are selling their 2006 22 foot pontoon and since I'm a good friend they will sell it for thousands less than it should go for. Who am I to say no to the type of boat we want with tons of extras. It has a Johnson four stroke with fuel injection and is low hours. Boat comes with the best porta potty you can buy, nicest grill, the carpet looks like new still. Everything works well except the speakers are shot. So I have picked up new ones to install tomorrow, along with the electronic grill ignitor, and a set of pontoon centering bunks to help with loading up as we are dry docking at the marina. All the slips were snatched up for the season. The gear that came with the boat was worth another thousand or two by itself. Brand new life jackets, dock lines, 7 bumpers, two spare props, anchors with line, and the list keeps on going to the point that I filled the 4 Runner with gear and then put stuff into the boat in order to get it all home.
Three years and a different boat each year. Fairly sure the pontoon will be around for a while as we love it, the dog loves it and there's room to have the dog and friends along. This is what we do to relax and enjoy the outdoors.
2010 Deere X540: 54" mowing deck, 44" Snowblower, 7 bushel Power Flow bagger, Halogen headlights, Brush guard, Suitcase weights, LED tail lights, tow behind 25 gallon sprayer.
2013 Craftsman GT6000 - soon to be neighbors
2006 Cub Cadet GT1554 - Clueless buddies
2015 Cub Cadet XT2 - Dad's