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This'll probably turn out like a chapter from a Patrick McManus book, but it'll be fun seeing where this goes (or doesn't). I was eating lunch with my dad the other day and he mentioned knowing where there was a little boat for free. Well, since we had his truck already hitched up to his trailer we just sort of HAD to go check it out. Long story short, we ended up winching this 13' 8" Ouachita out of the weeds with only a few disgruntled wasps to deal with. Kind of a neat little boat, despite looking a little bit like a slug. Seems to be in overall decent shape once we got it swamped out and de-bee'd.

Next day I started the hunt for a trailer so I can give my dad's trailer back. First one that popped up on C-List turned out to be this old Tee Nee trailer, pretty much the perfect size and a good price as well. It was listed for $160 but as I was getting out my wallet the guy looked at the trailer and said, "Ah, well, how about one-forty?" That's the kind of negotiating that I like. Not sure why he lowered the price- after all, the only things it needs are paint, wiring, lights, bearings, tires, hitch, and some welding; other than that, it's dandy!

Next thing to do is put the two together and haul it down to the river so I can find out how big a hole in the water it makes... :tango_face_grin:
 

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Can't beat free. :fing32: I can see it now, just you and Rancid Crabtree floating down the river enjoying a few cold one's. :trink39:
 

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I've actually been down the free boat creek once before with a friend of mine, who could be considered a creditable version of Retch Sweeney. He found a 16' plywood boat built in the early '60's with (I think) an old 25 horse Sea King and what we found out later was a pre-WWII trolling motor (looked cool as anything, but of course it didn't run). He got the big motor to start, so we grabbed a couple life jackets and headed down to the river. Thing ran great for the first few minutes, just long enough to get right out into the middle of the Snake River where it died completely. Not a big deal- the current is very minimal here and we just sort of drifted along tinkering on the old motor. When the barge came around the corner though, things got a little more interesting because we realized that neither of us had thought to bring paddles. I started sweeping with the engine cover and my friend figured that by pulling on the rope as fast as he could he could get the prop to turn and give us a little movement. Eventually, we got the boat to start creeping toward the shore but we were so focused on the task at hand (and getting more at hand every second) that we also failed to remember that the ignition was still on and the throttle was wide open. Next thing we knew the engine had coughed up whatever ailed it, I ended up in the bilge and my friend was halfway over the transom clinging to the screaming engine (he might have been doing some screaming himself).

We decided at that point that we should probably do some repairs before we took the boat out again. Of course, we discovered that his particular engine was very difficult to find parts for and not worth diddly even if it was running well; not to mention extensive rot in the transom and more cracked ribs than not in the hull. Eventually the boat ended up in the landfill, the trailer was converted to haul equally-derelict snowmobiles, and the engine scrapped.The trolling motor disappeared, likely stolen by a scrap scavenger.
 

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My friend has gotten many free boats in the past...he has lots of "stories"..

He told of one boat he got free that had no hull problems,didn't leak a drop--but it didn't run either..it had a 75 HP Mercury motor,he did some diagnosis and got it to start and run,but the lower end had a problem,when you shifted it to forward or reverse,it'd stall dead,like it was seized up..

So he went to a guy we know who's a scrap collector,who always had a heap of old outboard motors piled up in his yard--he saved many that looked like they had potential because guys would come buy them for parts or try to make them run again,and he'd make more than scrap value..

My friend found a nearly identical Mercury as his,and hauled it home for $30...

He took his apart,got the lower end unit off it,and heard needle bearings spill into the bottom of the case..he dug them all out with a magnet and used grease to hold them in place while he swapped the lower end unit off the parts motor onto his..

"I hope I found all those needles--looked like it should have had one more,but I'm not sure"..he started the engine and ran the prop in a 55 gallon drum of water,and forward & reverse worked fine.."good,I guess its fixed"..

Next day he and his brother in law take the boat to Plymouth harbor in MA,and they set sail for deeper waters..the boat was running perfectly,and they went zooming out to sea..got about 10 miles from shore,and suddenly they heard a loud "bang",and the engine stops dead!..he thought maybe the prop hit something,so they tilted the motor back and were horrified to see the entire lower case had been grenaded,and it and the propeller were somewhere at the bottom of the Atlantic under a mile of water..GONE !.

Evidently one little needle bearing can cause a LOT of damage!..

Luckily they saw another boat not too far away and were able to signal for help by waving their t-shirts at the operators,and yelling--they ended up towing them back to the harbor..they gave the guy $50 for rescuing them..

He said he never did fix the boat engine,instead he decided to sell it for $250 to another enthusiast..which he used to buy--you guessed it--another boat!..

This one he sold to a good friend a day later though,after his wife screamed at him for buying it and "having a death wish to die at sea"...

They got the boat running,and the following weekend they were going to go fishing in it..

The friend had an older F-250 Ford 4x4 that was lifted,and the trailer he had was a tandem axle,the hitch on his truck was a bit too high,when they put the coupler on the ball,the front tires on the trailer were not touching the ground fully..they had no drop hitch,so off they went "It's only 15 miles--it'll be OK"..

Well,they didn't even get to the harbor this time..they were going about 60 mph down the highway ,and they see a white spoked rim & tire go sailing past them in the passing lane..driver says "hey--that looks like the TRAILER tire!...:eek:..

He speeds up and gets ahead of the tire,still rolling at 60 mph or so,and all the cars behind him are honking their horns,and dropping WAY back,knowing there may be an accident in the making..

The guy gets his truck and the trailer in the first lane,and now the trailer tire is rolling along side of his truck,and angling towards the breakdown lane..

He decided to stop in the breakdown lane,and about 5 seconds after he stopped,the tire SLAMS under the back bumper of his pickup,lifting it almost off the ground--now it is wedged firmly underneath,and attempts to just drive the truck forward only results in wheel spin and smoke!..all the cars behind him go by blaring the horn,and flip him the bird..

As they stood there staring at the truck,a state trooper pulls up,puts his lights on,asks if anyone was injured,then goes about running his registration and license to see if they were active,and he had no warrants,etc..

He had to use his hi-lift jack to get the tire out from under his pickup,and he locked the hubs and used 4wd to drive forward enough to get the tire out from under --it had dented the gas tank in pretty good,but no leaks...when he got the trailer tire out, he saw it had hit his frame cross member so hard it blew the tire,and dented the rim in some..

He couldn't put it back on the trailer anyways,all 5 lug holes in the rim were ovaled out and had sawed the lug studs nearly in half,and only 2 still had the lug nuts on it..

The trooper said "I'm afraid we'll have to get it towed--you cant leave it here,or fix it here..

Then the trooper gets a call,there was an accident up the road a few miles--he said "I'll be back as soon as I can--you call a wrecker,understand ?..I don't want to see you trying to drive this like that..and he gets in the cruiser and speeds off..

My friend looks at his friend and says "the exit is only a mile away--you gonna wait for him to come back,maybe write you up for defective equipment,and make you pay $300 to tow both things to the nearest tow yard ?...

"NOPE"..:D..he tosses the trailer tire & rim in the bed,his jack,lug wrench,and limped it the mile in the breakdown lane ,gets off the highway,and they headed for a parts store--which was closed on Saturdays after 12 pm,it was like 2 pm by then...they ended up towing it home using all the back roads with only one tire on one side of the trailer..:eek:..they made it all the way home too,without getting pulled over!..
 

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I’m wondering if y’all were wearing life jackets. This is the exact type of accident where people can expire from head trauma and drowning. I am guilty of not wearing a life jacket near as often as I should :/I

I search CL for free boats off and on but not for the hull. I am trying to find the free trailers that accompany the free boat. Few and far but they do show up on occasion.
 

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Ouachita's were good boats especially for free; back in the day a former employee had one and now his son has it and still uses it. It had stick steering iirc and a small Mercury on the back. Great score.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I’m wondering if y’all were wearing life jackets. This is the exact type of accident where people can expire from head trauma and drowning. I am guilty of not wearing a life jacket near as often as I should :/I

I search CL for free boats off and on but not for the hull. I am trying to find the free trailers that accompany the free boat. Few and far but they do show up on occasion.
My friends and I did some pretty stupid stuff back in the day, but one thing I never did was go out without a life jacket. I learned very early in life how quickly tragedy can strike, and now a good, reliable PFD is non-negotiable. This became a little bit of a sticking point when I went to work for a tour company running jet boats up in Hells Canyon. When I got hired, I bought an inflatable PFD that looked like a pair of overstuffed suspenders. The owner of the company wasn't terribly pleased at first; thought it suggested a lack of confidence. I explained that in the event of ANY sort of accident- even something as simple as a customer falling off a dock, I could pull my cord and drastically improve the odds for us both. About a week later, we did have a child fall off the dock; I didn't have to go in- I was able to reach the child's arm without difficulty, but it still illustrated my point. I also learned the value of inspecting them; about a year later I bought a service kit for my vest which had a new CO2 cylinder and some other bits. I sat down in the river with the old cylinder still in place and pulled the cord- the cylinder popped off and shot in a big arc out over the river. The vest was still inflatable via mouth tube, but from then on I checked to be sure the cylinder was snug every trip out. For personal trips, I still prefer a regular, non-inflatable, looks-goofy-as-heck-but-it'll-float-ya life jacket.
 

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I always insist anyone under 18 wears a jacket when on my boat. After all it is the law. I want an auto inflatable but they are so expensive compared to ski jacket or regular orange horse shoe jackets.
 

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I snagged a nearly free boat 5 years back and didn't get the time to do much to it. 1988 16 foot SeaRay with 100hp outboard. Boat was from parents neighbor who parked it when he bought the house. Boat sat from 1998 to 2016 when I dropped a stator into the motor and it fired up. Cleaned carbs, replaced fuel line, did the floor, etc etc. Had $1200 into it and got a great summer of 2016 from it. In the meanwhile I picked up a 1989 17 foot Larson 165hp stern drive.

2017 arrives and SeaRay makes it's first journey out, wife and I anchor for lunch and motor won't start. No spark. Get towed in and replace the spark box, but now the engine isn't running right. Do the coils, plugs, wires etc etc, another spark box and still won't run right. I started working on Larson: do the bellows, starter, rebuild carb and hook up the automatic wire on the bilge. (why not eh?). Go out and get to middle of river... stalls. Get towed back, get home to find one nut on the coil post is loose. Seriously this is stupid simple to fix. I need to fix the neutral switch and do so, we get out on the water a few days later ... you got it right to the middle of the river and dies. I check for looseness of wires and find nothing. The neutral switch wires are touching but they have coating on them. Sure enough after a tow and getting back home I separate them and presto. This is dumb stuff that's causing me pain. I go through it all and make sure it's 100%, I trust nothing anymore. As I'm winterizing the two boats, I sell the SeaRay for the $1200 I'm into it. Good right?

2018 is here and boy does the Larson run great. Get ready to head out the second or third time and before leaving I check that I get a key click. Zippo, try the trim on the engine, zippo. A new battery later and we have a good day except the bilge comes on 5 times and it's pushing out a lot of water while we are on a beach. I check the plug and the screws that hold the treaded fitting in are a little loose. Next day it's about 3 times the bilge comes on. I pull it reseal it and for giggles put the boat on craigslist for about double what I'm into it for, sells in under an hour and a half. Ooops, wife gets home and isn't the happiest as she wants to boat that weekend. I go and look at a 22 foot 2006 pontoon my buddies parents bought new and used lightly. Hello pontoon!

From nearly free to nice pontoon with grill, portajon, bimini etc etc in only 3 years. Pretty darn happy, now all I need to do is fix up a couple holes in the seats. And I happen to own a SailRite sewing machine. I really just need the right color material.
 

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In '97 we purchased a new carry over '97 40th Anniversary Bayliner Capri 1850LS and after a few mods including slant cover, porta pottie, homemade a/c, privacy curtains and screens and eventually a remote controlled bow mount trolling motor with rotated head mounted on the swim platform we set sail so to speak. We used it to fish, camp & cruise the Pearl river above the reservoir in Jackson, MS or state lakes just about every other weekend for almost 2 decades. We met some of the nicest people along the river who were there camping and boating for the back to nature therapy just as we were. Attached is a pic of the better half waking up on a Saturday morning after smelling the coffee brewing & breakfast cooking during one of our weekend jaunts. We finally sold that boat a couple of years ago in a packaged deal along with our guest house but we have fond memories and hundreds of pictures from all our trips. BTW, I did keep the trolling motor, porta pottie & a/c just in case. :thThumbsU
 

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My first boat was a 10' aluminum punt I got at an auction for 12 bucks, one corner had been run over by a truck that had been left running without the e brake applied. 60 bucks got it hammered out and welded, 25 for oars and I was in business. I had a lot of fun and caught my share of trout in it. The last one was an old 14' 'glass runabout with a Johnson 25 my sister wanted out of the yard. It leaked so was a dog performance wise but better than nothing. Eventually I had no space to store it and boating opportunities on the prairies were limited so I gave it to my nephew. Guess where it ended up. His mother was not impressed.
 
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