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What to buy for tubing

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Old 06-13-2010, 09:37 PM
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Default What to buy for tubing

We have been using a friends Sea Doo Challenger for the last 2 years while our friends have been out of the country. Well, they are back and now we are realizing that we will miss our free use of the boat (we almost forgot it wasn't ours) but what we found is that we primarily go tubing. No racing fast tubing but tubing. We have young children and they love it, we enjoy being on the water and jumping the waking around the lake. We are in the Midwest and therefore don't have a lot of months on the water. We liked their boat but now that we are faced with deciding what to buy we want to make sure we do some research. Anyone have suggestions for the personal preferences on boats in the Midwest waters for primarily tubing in large lakes?
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Old 06-14-2010, 09:07 AM
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Well, being all about going fast, this may not be the best forum for that question. But, I'll chime in what I know from my boating as a young adult & then with kids.

Buy something with lots of cockpit & seating room and storage everywhere. Foresake amenities (sinks, built in refrig, etc) for room. All that bling is nice, but room is the one thing you will always want when you start getting the kids & friends into the boat with associated gear. We now have a 26' bowrider, and last w/e with 5 adults and 3 kids it got crowded. You do want a built in cooler, however.

Second - buy something versitile, with plenty of power - in the 20-22 foot range, with 250hp. Foresake top speed for pulling power - 45 mph is plenty fast for a watersports boat. You'll want a I/O IMO, the outboards get in the way.

Although the dedicated watersports boats are nice (Mastercraft, etc), weigh that against the utility of the boat - in rough water, they ride rough. If you expect rough water (from wakes or weather), get a boat with a 21-23 degree vee bottom.

Being your first boat, look at the used market, and don't shy away from some of the lower priced brands to get your feet wet. My first boat was a Bayliner, and it got me a good boating education for little money upfront, and no issues other than maintenance. You'll likely trade in a few years anyway.

Plan for maintenance, it's cheaper than breakdowns. More $ are spent on boats for lack of routine maintenance than anything else IMO.

Last edited by apollard; 06-14-2010 at 09:09 AM.
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Old 06-14-2010, 09:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thulman View Post
We have been using a friends Sea Doo Challenger for the last 2 years while our friends have been out of the country. Well, they are back and now we are realizing that we will miss our free use of the boat (we almost forgot it wasn't ours) but what we found is that we primarily go tubing. No racing fast tubing but tubing. We have young children and they love it, we enjoy being on the water and jumping the waking around the lake. We are in the Midwest and therefore don't have a lot of months on the water. We liked their boat but now that we are faced with deciding what to buy we want to make sure we do some research. Anyone have suggestions for the personal preferences on boats in the Midwest waters for primarily tubing in large lakes?
if you realy like the jet boat buy one . you have to choice's seadoo or yamaha . i think they make them from 16 to 24 foot . one bonus on these type of boats with kid's is there is no prop in the water to cut them up .

good luck
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Old 06-14-2010, 12:10 PM
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How many people will be on the boat in any given time?

Apollard makes some good points, but if its primarily you, your kids, and maybe a friend or two, forgoing some seating for some amenities might be nice.

I'm not a big fan of bowriders. They're nice for sitting, but you get beat up pretty bad if you sit in the bow while its running, not to mention that it's not all that safe if there's any chop or wake action whatsoever, but some people may feel differently about it than I do.

If you have a smaller group a Wellcraft Eclipse is a really nice boat for tubing and family fun, but it is a little large to store and tow (it's 23' and fairly heavy for its size, but it does have an enclosed head).

A Four Winns 205 Sundowner is another model that's family friendly. The 211 Liberator (by Four Winns) is a little more sporty/offshore styled, and handles rougher water a lot better than the above models. If you want to go a little smaller Sea Ray makes a nice 19' cuddy cabin boat (also comes as a bowrider) that would do the trick just fine.

These V8 or V6 I/O options are going to weigh more, be a little tougher to tow, and take up more storage space than one of the little jet boats. That said, they also seem a lot more reliable than the sea-do inspired jetboats, and hold their resale value much better. It all depends what you want out of owning it and using it (in terms of both head aches and joy).

If you give us an idea as to your towing/storage capacity, and how many people you plan on having on the boat you will probably get some better advice.
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Old 06-14-2010, 01:38 PM
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Sea Doo Islandia is an awesome family ride.

If you like the challenger I'd go with that though. They made a few flavors of it though so I'm not sure what challenger you used.
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Old 07-18-2010, 09:39 PM
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Hey everyone. Well, still haven't gotten a boat. Have borrowed our friends again a few times. So...still considering.

We would have 2 adults and 3 children in the family and would like to be able to take some friends (2-4 people) with us if possible.

Still open for suggestions. We have no storing issues and we want to be able to do tube and ski.

Thank to all for suggestions and comments.
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Old 07-18-2010, 10:38 PM
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I got into boating almost the same as you, except 35 years ago. An attorney, who my wife worked for, took a new boat in trade for services. He asked us to sell it for him, however, this was during the first oil crisis and fuel jumped to over 60 cents a gallon....
After a year and a half of using and trying to sell this boat, I finally sold it. So, I was without a boat....
Once you have had a boat, you are hooked.
Flash forward, we are in our 9th boat and each one met our needs for the time. Ranged from Jet Skis to 47', now a 22' Donzi Zx and a Seadoo RXT Is.
Find the cleanest, lowest hour, best maintained in/out (my preference) or jet that you can find that meets your needs for the next couple of years. Based on your needs, a 20' +-, open bow will carry more people, One advantage of the production boat builders is that they are easier to sell down the road. Not only do the buyers know the names Sea Ray, Bayliner, Seadoo, Yamaha, etc., so do the banks and credit unions that finance them. Now is the best time ever, to be buying a boat.
There are two kinds of people, one that have never owned a boat and those that have owned only one boat.
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Old 07-18-2010, 10:40 PM
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What lake do you boat on? We are on LOTO but before that we were on Mark Twain, we have a 20 ft VIP we use for sking and tubing and somtimes just running around, save gas alot cheeper than feeding the Donzi, The VIP was fine at Mark Twain but get a little small at LOTO sometimes, we are at the 46 mm where there is less traffic. What I'm trying to say is look at boats big enough to handle the water on your lake but still small enough to be a good ski boat.
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Old 07-18-2010, 10:45 PM
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my neighbours use their Formula 330SS for wake boarding and tubing. Bravo 3's on any boat will ensure excellent hole shot and great low speed plane.
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Old 07-18-2010, 10:46 PM
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With 7-9 people + gear & supplies, don't go low on power. That's a lot of weight, especially when pulling people up on skis, boards, etc. With that many, I'd want 300 hp, not the 250 I mentioned before.
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