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#1 dawktah

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Posted 02 November 2007 - 08:57 PM

Hello!

I'm not sure if this subject has ever come up, but if you could buy and outfit your own dive boat what and how would you do it? Buy new or used? RIB or hard boat? Also, where would you put it? Anybody already have their own boat? Are there any fellow Captains on Wetpixel?

My wife and I visit the USVI and the BVI enough that we are giving it some consideration. Right now we own a small boat that can carry us to dive sites and carry tanks but that's about it, no accommodations. Things I would like to put on board would be minimally an air compressor, GPS/Nav, freshwater shower. I am a cert. gas blender, so I would at least add a Nitrox stick. Not sure how you could install a computer and have it last in salt air?

Given the large number of sites from Western Puerto Rico to Anegada, BVI, we won't run out of sites or subjects. February whales can be found in the region so a boat with decent range is in order. The hardest part about boating down there is dry storage. Also, balance cost of use 4 times a year as solo owner vs. co-op or hire a 6 pac (USCG) cert. Captain and charter it? Liability seems high with that.

My first thought is a RedBay Stormforce 8.4E

Ideas, comments,

Chris

#2 james

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Posted 02 November 2007 - 09:03 PM

Hi,

I hate to be a buzz kill but my general rule of thumb is to NEVER buy a boat unless you absolutely have to. The best boat is someone else's... :_)

If you want to run a vessel for hire then you are going to need a captain's license. You'll also need to be CG inspected and to be insured - lots of money.

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#3 Giles

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Posted 03 November 2007 - 06:02 AM

Renting boats out of the BVI is not exactly expensive and is a lot cheaper than owning your own boat that you use a few weeks a year and store the rest of the time. I just went out for a week hiring a Virgin Traders Power Yacht ... had a GREAT time.

Also ... a bit more description of how the boat would be used would help as well, I would almost go away from the RIB idea if you are looking at spending serious time on the boat and would like to have a dry area to use a laptop etc

I certainly would never consider putting a Compressor or Nitrox mixing equipment on board a RIB. Nor computer or anything else land electric based. For any of that I would suggest a boat with V Birth and Generator.
RIB's are at best a half day to - day boat put your dive gear on and go for a dive come back and fill your tanks up. Although that RIB you mentioned is big enough you could take 6 or more people diving !

quick suggestion of what type of boat i would buy:
http://www.bayliner.com/Cruisers.asp
http://www.bayliner....cuddycabins.asp

not necessarily that brand .. but something like those, you can even get boats in the under 10 m range that have cabins to sleep in which you could easily convert to a dive locker .. or even keep it for staying on board if you are doing a very late night dive !
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#4 Dan Schwartz

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Posted 03 November 2007 - 08:39 AM

Chris,

For many years, my mother had a plaque on the den wall:

A boat is a wood-lined hole in the water,
Into which you pour money


Since you're in Indianapolis, you've probably seen the TV commercial for the outboard motor repair trade school: One graduate brags that he was flown to Jamaica for five days to repair an engine... And that is you paying the bill! :)

I'm pretty much with Chris and Giles on this one: Rent, or check into time-share ownership. Conde Nast Traveller magazine just had an an extensive article on Carribbean charters, with names of brokers, agencies, and rates.

[DISCLAIMER: My future sister-in-law works for one of the Conde Nast magazines.]

The exception to owning would be if you get a boat with less that a 102 inch beam (about 28 feet max), keep it on Lake Lemon during the summer for weekend use; and then trailer it to Florida in October or November for the run to the Carribbean, reversing the trip in the spring back to Indiana.

You can go up to a 10 foot beam (about 36 feet length) and still trailer the boat back & forth; but it would have to be on a flatbed with WIDE LOAD placards and an escort car -- Very Expensive.

There are other questions that you need to ask yourself if you buy or rent a boat:

* Is it going to be just you and your wife; or will you be bringing others (kids, in-laws, friends, etc...) with you?

* Will you be using this for just diving, or other water sports? It takes a LOT of horsepower -- and fuel -- to push a cabin cruiser fast enough to go water skiing! (Been there, done that, have the T-shirt with a 25 foot Bayliner)

* How fast do you want to go when cruising from island to island? (See above re horsepower & fuel consumption B) )

* Outboard, I/O (stern drive), or inboard? Outboard weighs the least and gives you the most room on the boat; inboard allows you to use larger engines &/or diesel but takes up the most room; and I/O is a compromise that is falling out of favor, now that large 4-cycle outboard engines are available.

* Security: It's not like you'll be keeping your boat on the Chesapeake Bay while you're back home in Indiana.

I do disagree with Giles on one point: You can easily take a Panasonic ToughBook laptop computer aboard with you, as the motherboard has a silicon coating to make it corrosion-resistant.

In any case, your best bet is probably a bareboat or wet charter of a 32-36-40 footer, big enough for your compressor & nitrox gear... And then find another couple with similar interests to split the tab.

I'm not sure if this subject has ever come up, but if you could buy and outfit your own dive boat what and how would you do it? Buy new or used? RIB or hard boat? Also, where would you put it? Anybody already have their own boat? Are there any fellow Captains on Wetpixel?

My wife and I visit the USVI and the BVI enough that we are giving it some consideration. Right now we own a small boat that can carry us to dive sites and carry tanks but that's about it, no accommodations. Things I would like to put on board would be minimally an air compressor, GPS/Nav, freshwater shower. I am a cert. gas blender, so I would at least add a Nitrox stick. Not sure how you could install a computer and have it last in salt air?
(cut)
Chris


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#5 Giles

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Posted 03 November 2007 - 08:50 AM

Dan are you seriously suggesting as an option he own a boat that he keeps in Indianapolis, trailers to Florida and then has shipped down to the Virgin Islands for his vacation ?
Or did you think a small boat like that could make it from Florida to the VI's quick enough for a little dive trip .. that has to be at least a week worth of travel if not more in itself just to get there !

Chris, you probably know that owning a boat can be expensive, but Dan did ask some good questions, how long would you intend to be on the boat for at any given time, what range would it need, and whjat size are you comfortable driving ?

I had (trying to find them now) with links to boats that had dive entrances in the hull and some other unique features for fun personal use dive boats.
I still would only suggest using any electronics like laptops .. toughbook or not .. on a boat with a cabin. The cabin style boat offers two things, protection for the equipment (dry area) and more often than not some sort of power be it 12v or 120v from a small generator. (12v can be converted to charge laptops)

If I find the websites (which I got from the Miami boat show) I will link them. But from what you were saying it sounded like what you really wanted was a smallish day boat with probably some sort of cabin, and if you are getting a compressor then i would think about an inboard engine boat with fuel tanks and hook the compressor right up to it, you may even be able to run the compressor from the engine.
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#6 Dan Schwartz

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Posted 03 November 2007 - 09:44 AM

Yes, a 28-32 footer with lots of horsepower to make the trip in 3 days or less... And then the boat would stay there for the winter, with Chris flying back & forth for other trips; and a drive back down in the spring to pick it back up.

Here in the U.S. in years past, the width limit for trailering was 96" (without special permits, etc...). However, when the limit was raised to 102", that extra 6" of beam translated into an extra 4-5 feet in length for trailering a boat.

Couple that with the vastly improved towing capacity (and importantly, driveability) of half-ton & 3/4 ton pickup trucks & larger SUV's, we are seeing more and bigger boats on the highways to & from the Jersey shore.

The only caveat is loading & unloading a big boat: While unloading is pretty easy, especially with the "floating" trailers; loading is a whole different story: I loaded our old 6000 pound 25 foot Bayliner in a 6 knot cross-current just off the Delaware River... And it was pretty ugly. From then on, we used a marina with a hoist for loading duty.

As a side note, instead of diving in the US & British Virgin Islands, Chris could trailer to Key West and make a shorter run around Cuba to the Caymans, and winter the boat there instead. :)

The three advantages of Chris keeping his boat on Lake Lemon or Eagle Creek during the spring through early fall:

1) He has a place to go on Friday afternoons for the weekend... And invite friends to come down for the day for picnics, swimming, etc...

2) The hassle & worry of hurricanes: His boat will be up here until, say, Thanksgiving;

3) Mechanical maintenace is better & certainly less expensive: Indianapolis (and especially Charlotte) have a lot of very good mechanics, as a spillover from the racing industries in their areas. [In fact, in the last 2-3 years, many NHRA teams (lead by John Force Racing) moved to Brownsburg... Specifically because of the availability of good mechanics.]

Chris, on that last point: Take a trip 8 miles out I-74, past Eagle Creek Dam, to the first exit for Brownsburg. Go south on Highway 267 (right turn off the exit) to the first left turn (before the Kroger); and see all the teams that are scrambling to build new facilities.

Cheers!
Dan

Dan are you seriously suggesting as an option he own a boat that he keeps in Indianapolis, trailers to Florida and then has shipped down to the Virgin Islands for his vacation ?
Or did you think a small boat like that could make it from Florida to the VI's quick enough for a little dive trip .. that has to be at least a week worth of travel if not more in itself just to get there !


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#7 Giles

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Posted 03 November 2007 - 10:07 AM

Chris .. check these out..

Posted Image
http://www.pattencom....com/diveboats/


if you are after a small diving rib there are others like these that are pretty cool.

I still think it is absolutely absurd to suggest driving from Indianapolis to Floida. The drive down from Indiana alone is a day journey.
The Sea Journey is 1150 Miles just about and lets give a average estimated travel speed of 20 knots (23 MPH) so we have 50 hours of travel time or just over 2 days at a constant speed (fast for cruising!!)

Now in the sort of boat Chris is after .. i doubt he is going to have an autopilot system so he is either going to have to stop and rest or take turns driving going through the night. Anyways that journey done in a sensible manner on the sort of boat chris is after is going to be IMO 5 days of 10 hours SOLID driving ... so we are talking about 6 days of traveling to get the boat down there. Plus lets not even get into the fuel consumption .. the journey would need 100's of litres of fuel !
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#8 Dan Schwartz

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Posted 03 November 2007 - 10:18 AM

Chris,

Giles raised a point I didn't consider in re electronics: That you were looking for perhaps just a cuddy cabin, as opposed to a full cabin. You could probably get away with a conventional laptop with a full cabin (though I would keep it in a plastic bag when not in use); but I would still recommend the ToughBook.

I would be careful driving a compressor off a PTO (power take-off), unless it's belt-driven: Mechanical complexity adds to headaches when it fails; and of course, Murphy's Law will make sure it happens when you're the farthest from a repair shop. :)

Also, this is a question none of us asked: Are you going to use this as a day boat with an occasional sleep-over and a nice hotel room back on shore; or do you want to live on it for the 1-2 weeks of your vacation? This is the key question you need to ask yourself; as when your boat becomes "self-contained" the weight goes way up; as does the horsepower to push it around and the fuel to make it happen.

By the way, if you do decide to buy your own boat, it's only a 4 hour drive to St. Louis, where you can launch on the Mississippi River for a summer cruise for a few days, like upriver to Hannibal or downriver to Memphis...

-------------

All in all, though, unless you're really into powerboating (or sailing), your best bet is to time-share a yacht, or just charter for the 3-4 weeks per season, as you won't have the hassles of ownership. Just like a time-share condo where the management takes care of everything, there are agencies that sell time-share deals for boats (and private jets, for that matter), where all of the maintenance is taken care of.

A boat is a wood-lined hole in the water,
Into which you pour money
:D

I still would only suggest using any electronics like laptops .. toughbook or not .. on a boat with a cabin. The cabin style boat offers two things, protection for the equipment (dry area) and more often than not some sort of power be it 12v or 120v from a small generator. (12v can be converted to charge laptops)

If I find the websites (which I got from the Miami boat show) I will link them. But from what you were saying it sounded like what you really wanted was a smallish day boat with probably some sort of cabin, and if you are getting a compressor then i would think about an inboard engine boat with fuel tanks and hook the compressor right up to it, you may even be able to run the compressor from the engine.


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#9 Dan Schwartz

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Posted 03 November 2007 - 10:51 AM

I still think it is absolutely absurd to suggest driving from Indianapolis to Floida. The drive down from Indiana alone is a day journey.

Actually, it's a bit longer: From Indianapolis to Atlanta is 440 miles; then down I-75 to Miami is another 670 miles (~1100 miles total).

That being said, there are always college students willing to trade the driving to ferry a car in order to get home or back to school: I did this a couple times myself between Atlanta (Georgia Tech) & Philly.

The Sea Journey is 1150 Miles just about and lets give a average estimated travel speed of 20 knots (23 MPH) so we have 50 hours of travel time or just over 2 days at a constant speed (fast for cruising!!)

Now in the sort of boat Chris is after .. i doubt he is going to have an autopilot system so he is either going to have to stop and rest or take turns driving going through the night. Anyways that journey done in a sensible manner on the sort of boat chris is after is going to be IMO 5 days of 10 hours SOLID driving ... so we are talking about 6 days of traveling to get the boat down there. Plus lets not even get into the fuel consumption .. the journey would need 100's of litres of fuel !


True: Our old 25 foot Bayliner with a 190 hp Chevy (OMC stern drive) which weighed 4000 lbs (not 6000 lbs as I wrote above) would get about 4 MPG running at 4200 RPM (about 36 MPH) on runs from Philly down to the Delaware Bay or to the Chesapeake Bay... And this was without trim tabs or even power trim.

The big factor that determines fuel mileage is if you have enough horsepower (and the trim tabs) to get the hull up onto plane, or you just plow through the water. Once you're planing, your fuel mileage goes way up for a given RPM.

----------------

The question Chris needs to first answer, though, is if he plans on spending the nights at The Bitter End or at a time-share condo he owns; or plans on living aboard. That determines the size and the powerplant(s) (& fuel consumption).

Next, he needs to decide if he wants to use it year-round on Eagle Creek as well as the Carribbean. Does he already own an SUV that can tow 6000 pounds? 10,000 pounds?

----------------

Lastly, having sailed in the BVI (including Anegada!), I don't know why Chris would rather dive there than in the Caymans, to begin with! :)
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#10 ce4jesus

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Posted 03 November 2007 - 11:06 AM

I had a boat...and yes it was a "labor" of love. I blew the engine this summer and was quite bummed that I didn't have the cash to fix it. The justification, or lack thereof, for getting it in the first place really boiled down to the fact that it was something we all liked to do as a family. My feeling was, its there if I need it. I didn't have to hassle with anyone elses rental, schedule or mechanical problems because I knew the boat inside and out. We all waste money on our recreation and a boat is a terrible investment, money-wise. If I were buying one today I'd have to give the larger mid-cabin cruisers a look. Very cool boats, you can write them off as a 2nd mortgage. Furthermore, its an overnighter so you can throw out anchor and put up some canvas for the night. I would make sure you get dual engines being an ocean vessel.
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#11 Phil Rudin

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Posted 03 November 2007 - 12:22 PM

The boat from Patten company which Giles posted is at the DEMA show this week and will be in the Florida Dive Show 1&2 Dec 2007 in the Broward County Convension Center. It will also appear in the Texas Dive Show in Houston in January 08 and in Georgia Dive Show in Atlanta in May of 08. If your not planning to make an ocean crossing or dive in cold weather this is a great way to own a boat without the high costs. It can be pulled by a compact car, requires very little gas to run and a well outfitted boat with trailer is under $20,000.00 new.

I have used this boat to dive out of and as a tender for police diving opperations and it is outstanding/v. cost.

Thats me in the photos entering the boat by the way and no James I don't work for or have ownership in this company. I just think its a great product for fair weather diving.

http://www.pattencom....com/diveboats/

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  • dive2.jpg

Edited by tropical1, 03 November 2007 - 12:23 PM.


#12 Dan Schwartz

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Posted 03 November 2007 - 02:44 PM

Gary's and Phil's experiences are at the extrema of the budgetary scale! :P

I have used this boat to dive out of and as a tender for police diving opperations


Spoken as I pay the Port Authority $6 to cross the Lincoln Tunnel to support their :) "harbor operations." :D
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#13 Dan Schwartz

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Posted 03 November 2007 - 02:59 PM

Chris, as you look over these well-thought-out replies from us, here are a few more "random & miscellaneous" questions you should ask yourself:

1) Will you need a "dry area" on the boat where you can disassemble everything (replace O-rings, dump the flash cards, load film :D, etc...): This single issue will determine whether your boat has, at least, a cuddy cabin;

2) What else do you like to do when you're on the water? Are you 100% certain that every morning when you & your wife wake up, you want to go on a SCUBA photo safari? Do you sometimes wake up in the morning and just say "f**k it -- I wanna go fishin'!"?

DISCLAIMER: I have personal experience that says inflatable watercraft, fish hooks, and :) don't mix! :P

3) Do you &/or your wife like to go water skiing? That ramps up the horsepower (and fuel!) requirements, especially when you have to push all the weight of a cabin cruiser around...

4) Is it just you & your wife? Or will there be others along for the ride?

Just a few random musings, which (#1, #3, & #4) apply, whether you charter or buy...

Edited by Dan Schwartz, 03 November 2007 - 03:00 PM.

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#14 dawktah

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Posted 03 November 2007 - 06:21 PM

Thanks for the replies!

This kinda went a direction I didn't anticipate but it does bring up all my quandaries? What has gotten me on the subject is the highway robbery we are so accustomed to paying. I recently chartered at boat out of Tortola which was to my advantage "out of commission." They in exchange gave me a 434. This boat had 4 cabins, 4 heads. To my dismay the condition of the boat was O.K. ;) Two of the heads didn't work and the boat had an engine that smoked like it was trying to get cancer. Plus other age related issues. Right now you can go online and charter this boat for a hefty $5,000+ for a week. Wife not interested in a liveaboard with strangers.

Dry storage is very hard to come by so it would have to "pay for itself" i.e. be used when I am not using it. Range needs to be greater than 150 nm. I would need to be able to get to Antigua or St. Maarten. In response to Giles you could take it to the Caymans. I'd need a two week vacation to pull it off though! :lol:

Dive shops in the islands charge $100 to $150 for a two tank dive, no HP fills and O2 fill is $32. If your SAC are decent they are calling the dive when you have more than 1,500 2,000 psi left due to tourists. The other pain in the side is they don't left you go off on your own to take photos!!! :) :D :P Lastly they are lunch driven. They go to the same sites, end the day and go grab lunch and happy hour. (not all and probably none, just feels that way).

Related to the original post anybody use liquid cooling of the computer(s)? If you don't need airflow in the case you can waterproof a PC. I do have ideas on building a PC to meet these demands minus the liquid cooling. Never used it and the thought of a leak...

There is a 50/50 chance we may wind up there as residents. I'll be down there next week. Co-op of a Beneteau Flyer 12 or Jeanneau 42S would be top end, with a RedBay 6.5m would be the low end. Having a dry A/C cabin would be nice. We visit both the USVI and the BVI enough that we know the grounds and can stay ashore if no sleep aboard capability. So the 8.4E is right in the middle.

I don't mind cold water diving, wife a no go! I am a sailor at heart but sailboats don't get you from site to site fast enough. Towing a 6.5m from a sailboat could work but is something I cannot afford.

--Chris

Edited by dawktah, 03 November 2007 - 06:26 PM.


#15 dawktah

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Posted 03 November 2007 - 06:29 PM

As my brother said with flying, boating is the same, you'd never do it if you try to justify the expense. Life is short play hard!

#16 Dan Schwartz

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Posted 04 November 2007 - 08:18 AM

Airflow (or more accurately, cooling) is critical to the life of semiconductors & other electronic components: Every 10 degrees C increase in temp cuts the life in half.

While you're at it, take a vacuum cleaner hose and get the dust bunnies out of your PC case: Dust, dander & fur are especially good thermal insulators. :)

Thanks for the replies!

[cut]

Related to the original post anybody use liquid cooling of the computer(s)? If you don't need airflow in the case you can waterproof a PC. I do have ideas on building a PC to meet these demands minus the liquid cooling. Never used it and the thought of a leak...


PS: I didn't pull that 10 degree C figure out of my ass -- It came out of Mil-Std-217C, from my reliability engineering work at RCA; and me writing the software to perform the MTBF calculations from scratch.

Err, motor sailing? Just get enough horsepower to push at a good clip, in case you have to outrun a storm; and a swing keel to get into shallow water.

Thanks for the replies!

[cut]

I don't mind cold water diving, wife a no go! I am a sailor at heart but sailboats don't get you from site to site fast enough. Towing a 6.5m from a sailboat could work but is something I cannot afford.


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#17 dawktah

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Posted 04 November 2007 - 03:56 PM

Dan I meant liquid CPU and Chipset cooling. Like these http://www.newegg.co...e=Water-Cooling

#18 ce4jesus

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Posted 04 November 2007 - 05:10 PM

As my brother said with flying, boating is the same, you'd never do it if you try to justify the expense. Life is short play hard!


Exactly what I stated above in less words. As an financial investment it would be hard to find a worse one than a saltwater boat. But as an investment in enjoyment they're hard to beat. I guess if I were in the buyers market for what you're looking for there's a few things I'd insist on one thing.

1. Air Cooled closed cooling system for the engine, if its an inboard. 3 275HP outboards would get you going as well.
2. Leisure boat with a small RIB for diving. Its going to be tough finding a good dive boat that's also got good accomodations. Dive gear can be tough on a boat as are divers. Good leisure boats are going to have the nice little touches that will make overnighters great.
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#19 dawktah

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Posted 24 November 2007 - 06:42 PM

I may have found a good boat. Not big enough for a compressor or sleep aboard, but will do for now. More details to come. New release.

--Chris

#20 kriptap

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Posted 25 November 2007 - 01:18 PM

No wonder Dan got banned, what a tool...drive a small boat to the BVI's