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I am planning to buy a 17' -18' used boat this fall or winter. I'm looking at Key West, Boston Whaler, or Parker.

What I want is a boat that will work for fishing on the bay (mostly around the BB or outside mouths of rivers) I do not want to get involved in major trolling out in the bay. LTJ is my 1st choice but will do some minimal trolling with bucktails, spoons, and hoses as well as bottom fishing. Hauling the boat will a serious concern - I don't want to buy an 8 cylinder truck just to tow my boat - thus a 17' - 18' boat

Focusing on the boat...any suggestions/comments pro or con? I appreciate any feedback. If anyone is willing, I would love to "HO" with them to see how any of these boats handle. Goes without saying a good "HO" helps with fuel, bait, launching fees, etc.

Thanks - Chuck (aka Bayhead)
 

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I have a 21ft key west. I recommend you check out the key west boat owners forum. Any problem I have had with my boat has beer. Addressed my the plant manager Tom Marlowe. With that being said those were all cosmetic issues.
 

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I am planning to buy a 17' -18' used boat this fall or winter. I'm looking at Key West, Boston Whaler, or Parker.

What I want is a boat that will work for fishing on the bay (mostly around the BB or outside mouths of rivers) I do not want to get involved in major trolling out in the bay. LTJ is my 1st choice but will do some minimal trolling with bucktails, spoons, and hoses as well as bottom fishing. Hauling the boat will a serious concern - I don't want to buy an 8 cylinder truck just to tow my boat - thus a 17' - 18' boat

Focusing on the boat...any suggestions/comments pro or con? I appreciate any feedback. If anyone is willing, I would love to "HO" with them to see how any of these boats handle. Goes without saying a good "HO" helps with fuel, bait, launching fees, etc.

Thanks - Chuck (aka Bayhead)
A Boston Whaler is a great boat but very expensive and hold their value. They will beat you to death in rough water. I prefer a deep V and a flared bow.....just like my Key West!.........Gary
 

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I am planning to buy a 17' -18' used boat this fall or winter. I'm looking at Key West, Boston Whaler, or Parker.

What I want is a boat that will work for fishing on the bay (mostly around the BB or outside mouths of rivers) I do not want to get involved in major trolling out in the bay. LTJ is my 1st choice but will do some minimal trolling with bucktails, spoons, and hoses as well as bottom fishing. Hauling the boat will a serious concern - I don't want to buy an 8 cylinder truck just to tow my boat - thus a 17' - 18' boat

Focusing on the boat...any suggestions/comments pro or con? I appreciate any feedback. If anyone is willing, I would love to "HO" with them to see how any of these boats handle. Goes without saying a good "HO" helps with fuel, bait, launching fees, etc.

Thanks - Chuck (aka Bayhead)
You've narrowed your choice down to a kind of interesting group. Your biggest issue is going to be finding a used one of any quality. Used center consoles are in extreme high demand and relatively difficult to find. I wouldn't spend too much time debating brands when considering a used CC, you'll find yourself boatless for a long time. Find one of quality and pull the trigger. Condition is everything.

With that said, if you were considering a new one, the price differences between BW, Parker and Key West are extreme. If you want to spend boston whaler money, save yourself the trouble and buy an Everglades. Key West is probably the best buy of all the mid range boats and is made basically the same way as a whaler...foam filled, unsinkable. Other brands in that price range can't say that. They make a good boat.

Parkers are a little more fishy, comparably priced. Good boat as well. The pilot houses they make are incredibly poor riding. They'll beat the living daylights out of you. Their smaller center consoles are nice though. I'd take the Key West over the Parker, but it's a pretty close race.
 

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Have had a 19' outrage boston whaler for 12 years found it in florida . The boat rides great it does not beat you to death only if you run 3' sea's at 25 knots . Owned to many small craft to remember in my life.and in my opinion outrage is the only one you will ever need.If you find one that has some age make sure the fuel tank has been replaced anid floor of boat is solid or you have alot of work to do.
 

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HOW MUCH DO YOU WANT TO SPEND??? thats the big question.

i agree with others, you picked an odd three- all very different from one another. first, decide if you want a "frilly" boat, meaning do you want built in coolers, seats and the like. seahunt, key west, sailfish, hydrasports, tidewater, etc all are built like this. some like them, some dont. parker (their 18 is a great boat), privateer (i have one), some maycrafts and chawks are simply open utility boats. carolina skiff (had one of them for 12 years) and similar are open as well. more floor space the better for me. whalers (operated a 18 for 3 years, and owned a 17' for 3) are great boats, but have very little space inside and little availabilty to customize due to their construction.

for the most part, i would ignore most comments such as "that boat will beat you to death". all boats (especially the size you are looking at) can and will do that if they are not operated properly in anything but a small chop. deeper vees do help the ride in a chop at speed, but you pay for that with the higher HP's to run them. flatter bottom boats can fish in a chop, you just need to temper your expectations and slow down a bit.

i love my 18 privateer, but my 19 carolina skiff was a workhorse for many years, and is a great little bay boat. if its too rough for me to fish, i dont want to be out there anyway- in any boat. best part is both boats run economically with a small 50 4-stroke on them and are a breeze to tow and launch. i could/can launch either on a dirt ramp without getting my bearings wet.

PM me if you want to take a ride, but decent privateers are sometimes hard to find.

If you have the $$$, this is a perfect 18' bay boat-
https://easternshore.craigslist.org/boa/5140689016.html
 

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No interest in Maycraft?
I have to second this. I would strongly recommend you check out the Maycraft 1900. I bought one in 2010, and it is hands down the best small-medium center console I have ever ridden or fished on. May sound like BS, but just check them out. It rides good without trim tabs, but I put a set of Bennett 120's on it 3 years after I bought it, and it is phenomenal, the boat has a very sharp entry bow, high, and with a strong carolina flair. It knifes through chop like a catamaran, and the high bow retains plenty of buoyancy. I can fish less than 2 foot depth, and have routinely had it 25 miles offshore in the gulf with 4 good size guys on board, and never once felt worried. With tabs all the way down, it knifes through 3 ft chop. It also tows great with a small SUV.

Again, anyone might call BS, but you owe it to yourself to check them out. If I had it all to do over again, I'd buy it again in a heartbeat, and you can find them brand new for around 20k. With a 115f yamaha, you can expect at least 4.5 mpg at 26-28 mph cruise. I plan on keeping the boat forever.

If you have any detailed questions, please feel free to PM me.

Mike
 

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As an aside to my earlier post, if you do consider a Maycraft 1900, I would personally steer away from a T-top. I've never ridden one, but my feeling is the extra weight, wind drag and higher center of gravity would detract more than benefit. I have an 8 ft bimini on mine, which I mounted further forward than normal, so that there is about 5 feet open from coverage on the stern, to retain the ability to cast from the stern without having to contend with the bimini overhead. The arrangement also allows about 5 feet of unrestricted casting on the bow, while still giving great shade from the rear console seat to the front console seat. I might sound like an evangelist, but I speak from my own satisfaction with the boat.
 

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Generally you get what you pay for. After the 2003 Wash. boat show I purchased a 2020DC Key West package. Included a 130 Honda and a Venture trailer for
$26, 995. The DC is dual console or full windshield. At the show the similar sized Grady was 50K wiith no motor or trailer. The Key West has been worth every penny and there's no way that Grady is twice as good.

I've never been aboard a Whaler or Parker, but if money wasn't an issue I'd prefer either on a rough day. On a calm day the KW is perfect.
 

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I run a Key West 186 CC, a 19', with Yamaha F115 that suits my needs, not unlike yours. Bought it new eight years ago. One of the things I liked is that it was one of the lightest rigs for its length, no problem towing with a Class 2 setup (3,500 lb), lots of family cars can handle that. Like someone said, though, finding the used inventory might be tough, and the price may not be hugely compelling vs. new.

Parker is a lot heavier in this length range, which is a trade off. Whalers have their fans for sure and you pay for that. Nothing wrong with May-craft if you want to go the no frills route. I thought I got a pretty good set of features for what I paid with the Key West, without getting into unnecessary bells and whistles.
 

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This is a good thread. There are a lot of nice boats that I would consider "mid-range" (sea hunt, sportsman, tidewater, etc.), IMHO, the Key West shines above them all, and it really isn't close. It's the only unsinkable one, the fit and finish is nicer, the ride is better, the company stands behind their product, and from what I see, they are always appropriately powered. I see a lot of those sea hunts riding around that are obviously underpowered. remember, what you have on the back is the most valuable part of your boat. The Key West 189FS is a sweet little rig, and doesn't break the bank.
 

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As a follow up to my KW report since the concensus isin favor of the KW, pay close attention to what trailer it comes on. I bought my rig right from the delivery truck so I know the package was directfrom KW. My 20' boat came on a single axletrailer with an 1850# capacity. The dry weight of the boat/motor was 1795# Add 60 gal. of fuel, a battery, ice chest w/ice and drinks and fishing gear........ See where I'm going with this? The dealer said not to fear, the trailers always allow wiggle room. After two blowouts and a wheel sheering off all the lugs and eating a fender I've heavied up to high load rate radial tires. So far this has been a good match.
The boat is still a bargain.
 

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I have owned (bought new) Boston Whaler Montauk a quality boat but a terrible ride. If buying for the name buy Whaler if for the ride or dryness then something else, maybe a cat.
 

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As another factor, I believe it is a coast guard, or other regulation, that all boats under 20 feet are required to have positive foam flotation.
 

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Why not consider a Triumph, the worlds toughest boats? http://www.triumphboats.com/

Since it has a ropolenet hull, it is softer riding than a Whaler or other fiberglass foam filled boat, but every bit as functional. With a V6 truck you could tow their 17" or their 19" model.

Shot me a PM if you are interested in a test ride.
 

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My BW just turned 42 years old today. It's a 17 ft. It can be towed with just about any small suv. There is not a 17 ft. Boat that will not bounce your ass all over the bay in a 3 ft. Chop if driven to fast.

Back during the gas crisis in 1974 I towed my Whaler with a Dodge Colt with 4 sp manual and 1800 cc four cylinder engine. Launched and retrieved at Sandy Point and other ramps.

You'll be happy be with any of the three boats you mentioned.
 
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