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Question Spearfishing/Fishing Boat

Garrett Norman

New Member
Jan 5, 2020
3
0
1
15
Arizona
Hello everyone!!
Me and my dad are looking for spearfishing/fishing boat. We are out of Arizona and spear/fish in Mexico and Rhode Island (so towing capabilities are a must for the long trips). We would lake a boat that can be easily launched. We want a boat with the capability to get out 15-20 miles off shore, and handle decent seas just to be safe even though we will choose our days wisely. We want to be able to hold 4 people in the boat, and all the gear needed. we want this boat to generally based around spearfishing, but want it to be used for fishing as well. Our budget is up to 20,000, but would really prefer a boat as cheap as we can get, with compromising safety and quality. I have only been spearing for about a year, generally being shoredives so any advise is appreciated.
 

cdavis

Well-Known Member
Jan 21, 2003
3,965
755
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Sarasota, Fla
Your budget is a challenge. You might be able to do it with an older boat, relatively new engine, and a lot of care and knowledge when picking the boat. A Seacraft Seafari 20 would do the job, if you can find one. Rough water ride is outstanding. An open fisherman can be better for fishing, but, for diving, having a windshield is far better. 20 Seafari, empty, weighs 1800lbs, total tow weight, with trailer, would be around 3500-4000 lbs. I dived 20-40 miles offshore in mine for years, all year around. 4 divers is no problem without tanks. I usually went with 3 divers, 10 tanks, etc etc. That was way overloaded, but the boat can handle it.

Performance: be wary of big engines on older boats. They were mostly designed for lighter two stroke engines and won't ride right with a heavy engine. Ability to stay on plane at 15 knots or less(12 is a lot better) will be critical for you and too much weight in the stern will make your minimum planing speed upwards of 20 knots, way to fast for rough water. Check this on sea trial, not matter what the owner says. Believe me on this one, its really important.

For where you are going, you will need a small, but absolutely reliable kicker. This is one to buy new. Good idea to consider the cost of extras, EPIRB, Inreach,radio, tools, spares, a good biimini if the boat doesn't have one, etc. This stuff can get up there and very few boats come with what you will need.

Good luck with your quest.
 
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Garrett Norman

New Member
Jan 5, 2020
3
0
1
15
Arizona
Your budget is a challenge. You might be able to do it with an older boat, relatively new engine, and a lot of care and knowledge when picking the boat. A Seacraft Seafari 20 would do the job, if you can find one. Rough water ride is outstanding. An open fisherman can be better for fishing, but, for diving, having a windshield is far better. 20 Seafari, empty, weighs 1800lbs, total tow weight, with trailer, would be around 3500-4000 lbs. I dived 20-40 miles offshore in mine for years, all year around. 4 divers is no problem without tanks. I usually went with 3 divers, 10 tanks, etc etc. That was way overloaded, but the boat can handle it.

Performance: be wary of big engines on older boats. They were mostly designed for lighter two stroke engines and won't ride right with a heavy engine. Ability to stay on plane at 15 knots or less(12 is a lot better) will be critical for you and too much weight in the stern will make your minimum planing speed upwards of 20 knots, way to fast for rough water. Check this on sea trial, not matter what the owner says. Believe me on this one, its really important.

For where you are going, you will need a small, but absolutely reliable kicker. This is one to buy new. Good idea to consider the cost of extras, EPIRB, Inreach,radio, tools, spares, a good biimini if the boat doesn't have one, etc. This stuff can get up there and very few boats come with what you will need.

Good luck with your quest.
Thanks for the reply, appreciate the consideration. I do like this types of boats, and was wondering if this is something that may fall in our price range. With the older used hull, and semi new motor, is it something that we could afford? Also, if we do end up getting this recommendation, is it a reliable option out on the ocean, being older and all? Finally, would this really be suited for spearfishing? Thanks again
 

cdavis

Well-Known Member
Jan 21, 2003
3,965
755
218
70
Sarasota, Fla
Thanks for the reply, appreciate the consideration. I do like this types of boats, and was wondering if this is something that may fall in our price range. With the older used hull, and semi new motor, is it something that we could afford? Also, if we do end up getting this recommendation, is it a reliable option out on the ocean, being older and all? Finally, would this really be suited for spearfishing? Thanks again
You should be able to find something that works. When buying older hulls, it can be tricky, lots of garbage out there. If its real cheap, run. 20 k should be enough for a 19-20 ft reliable hull with the extras you need, just barely. you can find boats like that much cheaper, but they are not likely to be in good enough shape. Big thing to look out for is rot in the transom, stringers or decks. Decks are relatively easy, stringers and transom are major repairs and hard to see before you buy. Seacrafts have glass stringers(most brands are wood core), but plywood core transoms and balsa core decks. If you are not comfortable diagnosing a rotten transom, find a competent surveyor (hard to do), worth every penny for a good one. A deep V(24 degree deadrise) or VDH hull is what you want. A 21 degree hull is ok, and much more common, but rides much harder in rough water.

The Seafari is near perfect for spearfishing. Thats what I used it for. Otherwise look for much deck space, a windshield and a small cabin area. if you find one with a wet transom and a great engine, it might well be worth replacing the transom (multi thousand dollar job). Few other brands will be worth that kind of investment. You can get an idea of whats out there in Seacrafts on www.classicseacraft.com.

If a transom has an aluminum plate covering much of the outside of the transom and under the motor, the wood core is almost certainly goo.
 
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Bill McIntyre

San Clemente, CA
Staff member
Forum Mentor
Jan 27, 2005
3,350
1,106
368
81
San Clemente, CA
cadavis is giving you great advice. I would just add that I owned a 23' Seacraft center console and it was the best riding hull I've ever owned. I bought it when I was running far offshore for marlin in North Carolina. I might still own it but I was transferred to California and after a few years decided I wanted something with a cabin so I could spend the night at the islands in more comfort. I bought a Skipjack 24' flybridge and owned it for 24 years. I could sleep inside and look for marlin from the bridge. But it was a very wet ride on the bridge and California water is cold, so as I transitioned to less fishing and more diving, I put an aluminum half tower and eisenglass enclosure on it. But that was a real PIA to wash, dry, and maintain.

Finally I quit fishing altogether and just wanted to be warm and dry on the way to diving spots and between spots, so I got a SeaSport 22'. I don't have a nice view from a bridge but I don't need one. I can shut the door and run the cabin heater if I need to warm up.

I'm not sure how much of this post will be relevant to you other than to point out tradeoffs. In Mexico I suppose a center console open boat will be just fine but I'm assuming the water and weather in Rhode Island will be a bit cooler and you might want more shelter. However, while I've towed my boats to Mexico, I've never been to Rhode Island.

Before I got the Sea Craft I used to run 20 miles offshore in North Carolina in a 16' 7" Boston Whaler. I felt perfectly safe, but it was a rough ride. It's all about priorities and tradeoffs.
 

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Garrett Norman

New Member
Jan 5, 2020
3
0
1
15
Arizona
Thanks for the info again guys, greatly appreciated. Where should I look for a boat like the Seacraft, Craigslist? And if so, what state/city should I search in. Not many boats in az, where I’m at
 

cdavis

Well-Known Member
Jan 21, 2003
3,965
755
218
70
Sarasota, Fla
Thanks for the info again guys, greatly appreciated. Where should I look for a boat like the Seacraft, Craigslist? And if so, what state/city should I search in. Not many boats in az, where I’m at
Seacrafts were built in Florida and thats where most of them still are. There are a lot of them in the Northeast and a surprising number on the west Coast. I'd watch craigslist, as wide a search as possible, and www.classicseacraft.com. Sometimes you see them on Boat Trader, might be other sites like that. Simply googling "Seacrafts for sale" will bring up some surprising stuff. In a year or so I'll join you in the search. Planning to downsize from my 25 Seafari to a 20.

You might try contacting Strick on Classic Seacraft. He lives in Central California and seems to have a finger on Seacraft availability on the West Coast.
 

banton441241

New Member
Feb 18, 2020
1
1
1
28
Memphis,TN,USA
Affordability is relative to income and your goals for your fishing trips. You must realize the cost of owning a boat against the cost of either renting a boat and using your own equipment and knowledge or chartering one with all bait, tackle crew and captain included. Time is valuable and the time it takes to maintain store and transport a boat must be considered along with the initial purchase price of the vessel. The destination is also important. Are you happy fishing in your own area or is travel in your itinerary? I am in the Florida Keys where many people have dockage right in their back yards and world-class fishing only minutes from home. If they do not have the ability to use their boat (walmart fishing license online) at least every other week they often discover that it is cost-effective to charter rather than own. I have many clients that will charter my boat several times a year to entertain guests and enjoy a day out even though they own their own boat, just to have the ability to have a captain and a different boat than the one that they own. If you compare all the costs you will probably find that chartering a boat is the most cost-effective way to fish.
 
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Power446

New Member
Sep 27, 2020
1
0
1
24
USA
Thanks Banton for:
Affordability is relative to income and your goals for your fishing trips. You must realize the cost of owning a boat against the cost of either renting a boat and using your own equipment and knowledge or chartering one with all bait, tackle crew and captain included. Time is valuable and the time it takes to maintain store and transport a boat must be considered along with the initial purchase price of the vessel. The destination is also important. Are you happy fishing in your own area or is travel in your itinerary? I am in the Florida Keys where many people have dockage right in their back yards and world-class fishing only minutes from home. If they do not have the ability to use their boat (walmart fishing license online) at least every other week they often discover that it is cost-effective to charter rather than own. I have many clients that will charter my boat several times a year to entertain guests and enjoy a day out even though they own their own boat, just to have the ability to have a captain and a different boat than the one that they own. If you compare all the costs you will probably find that chartering a boat is the most cost-effective way to fish.
 

cdavis

Well-Known Member
Jan 21, 2003
3,965
755
218
70
Sarasota, Fla
Thanks Banton for:
Affordability is relative to income and your goals for your fishing trips. You must realize the cost of owning a boat against the cost of either renting a boat and using your own equipment and knowledge or chartering one with all bait, tackle crew and captain included. Time is valuable and the time it takes to maintain store and transport a boat must be considered along with the initial purchase price of the vessel. The destination is also important. Are you happy fishing in your own area or is travel in your itinerary? I am in the Florida Keys where many people have dockage right in their back yards and world-class fishing only minutes from home. If they do not have the ability to use their boat (walmart fishing license online) at least every other week they often discover that it is cost-effective to charter rather than own. I have many clients that will charter my boat several times a year to entertain guests and enjoy a day out even though they own their own boat, just to have the ability to have a captain and a different boat than the one that they own. If you compare all the costs you will probably find that chartering a boat is the most cost-effective way to fish.
2 cents from a long time diver/boat owner. Its MUCH MUCH less expensive to charter or rent, unless you use your boat very frequently, near impossible over the long term. The hooker for me was I could not charter a small boat to do what I want to do (Bahama dive trips), so I accept a very large hole in the water that never gets filled no matter how much money I pour in it.
 
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