220SD on SW FL intracoastal: Yay or nay?


New Member
Jan 30, 2014
Boat Info
'03 220 Sundeck
Merc 5.0 Alpha
Hello from long time lurker now on the market for a family boat to be used on greater Sarasota intracoastal waters. Can't wait!

SR 220SD is perfect for us, but the I/O is a little scary. We are used to freshwater outboard. I have read sooooo many CSR and other source input about saltwater corrosion and maintenance needed, so will not dwell on that. However, all that reading has me nearly talked out of buying a saltwater boat at all!

We would trailer store and flush after every use. I also understand the manifolds, etc replacement and other PM that will be needed. Our priority is family fun on the water and not wrench time.

So, my questions:

1.) If I found a mid 2000s (2003-2007) dry stored 220SD with merc 5.0 alpha with all maintenance records, assuming correct maintenance was done, and flushed after each use, could I typically expect 5 years of family fun with minimal headaches?

2.) Even though I see many I/O boats on the water, should I stay away from an I/O due to shallow waters in intracoastal? (we will want lots of sandbar/beach time with our kids).

I understand and respect the debate of I/O vs outboard, but trying to minimize my risk and optimize our leisure time.

Thank you!
I cruise the ICW around FT Myers Beach, Sanibel, Pine Island. If you use your head and the depth alarm on your GPS you will be fine. As far as buying a salt water boat, if it is maintained (as with all boats) should last a long time.
I was born and raised on Anna Maria Island and cruised extensively from Tarpon Springs to Sannibel in a Chris Craft 23 I/o. My family and I had wonderful times. If you take care of it, five years or more before you have to replace the risers is infinitely doable. Be sure to rinse like hell with fresh water after use. Don't miss a weekend on Caladesi Island near Clearwater. It has one of the best beaches in the world.
watch the shallow water - you will be fine. Have spent a fair amount of time - one of the great boating areas.
One of if not the best boating areas in FL. We had an I/O with no trouble just got to watch the depths. If you don't have a scratched skeg here you don't boat very much:) Regular flushing and good maintenance should last a good five years + for the risers as someone else mentioned. Good luck enjoy!
Thanks for your insight!

We are now part of the Sea Ray family with a 220SD. Can't wait to enjoy the salt life! Now we need to find the best beach, sand bar and fish platters to try. Cheers to all!

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