First boat - 1997 Bow Rider 190?

McVouty

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Aug 4, 2023
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Howdy!

First post here...

My wife and I are thinking of getting a first boat and she's very keen on a '97 190 Bowrider that a neighbor is selling. He bought a larger boat (I think a much newer 270 Sundancer). He's owned the 190 for 22 years and says that it has mostly been in fresh water here on Cape Cod. I think he always trailers the boat whenever he uses it and leaves it in his driveway year round. There is a boat shop and small marina nearby where he get most or all of the service and winterizing performed. He says the engine was replaced about 10 years ago with a 5.7 Mercruiser (w 4 barrel carb) that now has 200 hours on it. Overall it seems in pretty nice condition for being 26 years old. It fires to right up and sounds like it runs, or at least idles, very well. The interior is worn but intact.

He's asking about 8k for it including a good condition tandem trailer which I think is pretty reasonable.

Is this a good first boat to consider? We have 3 young kids and I'm thinking a V8 powered stern drive boat may be a bit much for a first one. It seems to me that a simpler outboard powered vessel with fewer horsepower might be better for a novice but maybe I'm wrong about that. We'll probably go out for a test on a pond this weekend.

It seems like I stumbled across the right forum...Thanks in advance for any advice!

Ethan
 
It’s awesome that you know and hopefully trust the neighbor. Even though the power is there, you don’t need to use it. I think it’s a fine first boat and you’ll appreciate the power when you’re ready for it.
 
Generically, it would be logical to think that perhaps a smaller boat would be better to gain some experience with, but in this case, I think all the other parameters outweigh that concern.

First and foremost, I think you are over estimating the difference in difficulty of operation between this 190 and something smaller. Sure, having something smaller and a little experience may well sound preferable, but there are definite advantages of to 'jumping in with both feet' that I think you are overlooking for no other reason than your current lack of experience.

Not necessarily in any order of importance:

1- In my opinion, there is a very large advantage to knowing the long term history of the boat that adds value. (see #2)
2- If you start smaller and then upgrade, you will have made corrections and upgrades to that first boat over time that you will not re-coup and could have spent on this one along the way. It's always preferable and far more satisfying to spend your available boat dollars on upgrades than on previously overlooked maintenance. (see # 1)

3- You didn't say how young your three kids are, but in any case, the more notable part is the family's fist boat. There is a larger chance that everybody will be enthusiastically counting down to the next day on the water if you have enough elbow room and power to thoroughly enjoy yourselves while you are out. Five people could/can justify additional room to maximize their enjoyment of your time on the water. Cramped quarters is not conducive to attaining that end.
I've seen times where the initial boat acquisition was to small and soured at least part of the crowd to the whole process. I've also seen times where quite the opposite of that happened, and the desired/impending upgrade was nearly immediate (and at times complicated by the reality that 'we just bought a boat'). The only time I've seen anybody wish they'd bought a smaller boat had to do with unanticipated maintenance expenses involved with having a MUCH LARGER boat and was almost always associated with the difference between having it in a slip, or on a trailer.
Obviously, you would not be fitting that profile.

4- Experience will come with time and use regardless of the size boat you start with. IMO, a 19' Bowrider is not so large that it precludes itself from consideration by an means. The biggest thing to remember is to NOT do something stupid that gets you in trouble (which is true no matter how small you start). And that the faster you go, the quicker that trouble can be in your face, so to speak.

It looks to me like you are plenty thoughtful and intelligent enough to do that, or you would not have made such a post.
I see no reason to discourage your moving forward as you propose. The CSOB in me though. has to say that if he's asking eight, he very likely would take seven and half. Then you could get some new canvas or something. :)
 
Sounds like a nice first boat.

make sure you check the transom, floor, and stringers for rot. Tap on the areas with a small hammer and listen for a “hollow” sound.
 
Very nice first boat. Where are you located on Cape cod. I boat out of Bass River
 
Wow, thank you so much for the quick replies and especially Yendor for your lengthy response. All good points, especially examining maintenance records.

Normally I stick with the principle that nobody ever regrets buying the good one. Meaning, in this case, that the good one is the 190 and the lesser one would be to buy a smaller boat with which to learn on. And yes, while 200+ hp does seem a little much initially I would bet that in no time I would get use to it and anything less would then feel severely lacking. I have a good amount of experience with fun road vehicles but next to none with boats. And, to me, at least half the fun of owning such things is working on them yourself, so I'm game to get my hands dirty and learn a bunch of new stuff.

The one thing I left out in the original post is that we don't live in Cape Cod, my wife's family does. We actually reside a good distance away and are here only for summers and holidays. Storing the boat on their property is no problem, but realistically, I'm thinking that given the short amount of time per year we'll be able to use it, at least for now maybe renting something is the way to go. Yea, that's cash that could be put to purchase, but the no-strings, no-responsibility approach is definitely appealing.

Scott, we are also on the Bass river in South Dennis, near Kelley's Bay.

Anyway, I'm sorry if I wasted anybody's time. There is a chance I'll get impulsive as I do with my many other hobbies and pull the trigger on it. And if I do, I now know where to go on the net to dig up the necessary knowledge.

Thanks!
 
Thanks . I boat there a lot and go to Hyannis harbor alot
 
Wow, thank you so much for the quick replies and especially Yendor for your lengthy response. All good points, especially examining maintenance records.

Normally I stick with the principle that nobody ever regrets buying the good one. Meaning, in this case, that the good one is the 190 and the lesser one would be to buy a smaller boat with which to learn on. And yes, while 200+ hp does seem a little much initially I would bet that in no time I would get use to it and anything less would then feel severely lacking. I have a good amount of experience with fun road vehicles but next to none with boats. And, to me, at least half the fun of owning such things is working on them yourself, so I'm game to get my hands dirty and learn a bunch of new stuff.

The one thing I left out in the original post is that we don't live in Cape Cod, my wife's family does. We actually reside a good distance away and are here only for summers and holidays. Storing the boat on their property is no problem, but realistically, I'm thinking that given the short amount of time per year we'll be able to use it, at least for now maybe renting something is the way to go. Yea, that's cash that could be put to purchase, but the no-strings, no-responsibility approach is definitely appealing.

Scott, we are also on the Bass river in South Dennis, near Kelley's Bay.

Anyway, I'm sorry if I wasted anybody's time. There is a chance I'll get impulsive as I do with my many other hobbies and pull the trigger on it. And if I do, I now know where to go on the net to dig up the necessary knowledge.

Thanks!
You are never wasting anyone time on here. Most are old retired boaters that love to discuss knowledge and opinions. And got nothing better to do. Ask anything you want.
My opinion, my first was a 180 SR bowrider brand new ‘86. I sold it in 5 WEEKS. Moved to a 21 SR with a cabin. 2 very young children, did not feel safe.
1. Got rocked horribly by large boat wakes.
2. Got caught in summer storm, just wow.
3. No place to pee for the girls.
Bowriders are about the most useless style unless on a VERY small pond in your backyard.
 

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