By Eric Smith | Shining Waters Marine
What is better for storage on land, cradles or boat stands?
This is a question we have been asked a few times and is also a hard question to answer. So I will weigh the pros and cons and let you decide what’s best for you.
Cost: Generally, a wooden or metal cradle cost more to build, they are also more difficult to transport when changing boat yards. Stands on the other hand can often be rented from your boat yard by the season and therefore no up-front costs.
Maintenance: Both stands and cradles do require maintenance, usually a coat of paint every couple of years for metal cradles and metal stands. And for wood cradles, maybe a coat of stain and of course check for rot each year. Stands are easily loaded into a truck or trailer and taken home for paint or greasing. Cradles would need to stay at a marina and the maintenance done there.
Boat Maintenance: Stands are easily moved by a qualified person, so sometimes painting your bottom becomes easier as you can move your stands around to get at missed spots, cradles inevitably, have the same spots year after year that you just seem to miss being able to paint. Cradles are sometimes harder to maneuver around when working below your waterline.
Repairability: Wooden cradles would be the easiest to repair if you are handy with wood. Metal cradles very rarely need any repairs as they are very durable but if needed, a welder can be called. Boat stands, if they are ever bent or need to be repaired, we recommend just replacing that stand completely.
Stability: Cradles that properly fit your boat are the most stable, they usually offer a larger support area for your boat (depending on the build) and if the cradle is built properly leaving your mast up for the winter is fine. Some stand manufacturers recommend always removing your mast. Stands on the other hand if not placed correctly can damage boats, they are designed to support the boat and only take a little weight so the majority of the boats weight is on the blocks under the keel. Stands on loose ground should also have plywood under the legs to prevent them from sinking. Stands have been known to pull out from under a boat if covers are secured to them. The constant shaking will eventually loosen a stand which could result in that stand falling over and the boat with it.
You need to evaluate what your needs are and decide which works for you. If you are unsure, talk to your yard manager at the marina and they can help you make an informed decision.
By Chris LeBlanc | The Boat Shop Ltd
What do I need to know before purchasing a pre-owned boat?
Doing your due diligence before purchasing is one of the most important steps in purchasing a boat. Selecting the right boat can make or break your entire boating experience. Most horror stories we hear about boat ownership can be traced to a lack of understanding at the purchasing stage. Seeking unbiased advice from someone who has extensive experience with many different types of boats will go a long way toward helping you make the right choice.
You’re not just buying a boat, you’re buying all of the potential costs to use and maintain it. An expert can help you understand the often-forgotten aspects of boat ownership including: spring preparation, proper engine service requirements, correct storage methods, essential safety gear, safe towing and launching, and all corresponding costs. Once you believe you’ve chosen the right boat, having a mechanical inspection and/or marine survey performed is essential to help determine if you’re getting a good boat at a good price. You wouldn’t buy a home without an inspection and you shouldn’t buy a boat without one.
How do I know what style of boat is right for me?
Most bad experiences in boat ownership stem from a lack of understanding which features are important for how you want to use your boat. It’s important to take into consideration: how you’ll be using the boat (cruising, entertaining, overnight stays, watersports, fishing, etc…), where you will use it (fresh or salt water, inshore/offshore, shallow water areas, etc…), what temperatures/weather conditions you will operate in, how long you anticipate owning the boat, overall hull quality, and future resale value. Consulting an expert you can trust will help you narrow down your search and ultimately select the right boat for your needs within your budget.
What should I do once I’ve bought the boat?
Even before you buy the boat, finding a service/maintenance facility that you trust is very important for your ongoing boating enjoyment. A good facility will have the knowledgeable staff who can help to keep your maintenance on track. They can also assist with adding things like electronics, accessories, safety gear, sources for insurance, etc… that you need to have fun and be safe on the water.