Feedback on setup for permanently moored boat for parents

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New member
Jul 29, 2023
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Duchess, NY
My parents live on a protected piece of saltwater on the coast of Maine (Eggemoggin Reach). They kayak some, but want to be able to walk down to the water, hop in a small boat, maybe with 2-3 other people, and tool around the area. 90% of the time, trips would be 2-3 ppl, less than 6 miles round trip, less than 3 hours, never out of protected areas. Being able to carry 5-6 ppl total would be a bonus. They are not adventurous risk takers, and will chose their days (they like it FLAT). They've got some tough parameters though:
  • They have no dock, and won't build a dock
  • There is a big tidal range
  • They aren't going to trailer it to a ramp someplace else for regular use.
  • They'd like to leave it in the water or be able to pull it up on the shore (but they are in their early 70s, so muscling something big and heavy over the seaweed and rocks isn't great)
  • They prefer electric engines (and aren't speed demons) but this isn't a hard and fast
  • Ideally they only have to put it in and take it out at start and end of season
  • They will do best if it is relatively trouble/maintenance free.
  • $5k budget
Potential solution: So here is what I'm thinking, but I am concerned it might have problems I haven't thought of.
  • Hull: Used aluminum V or semi V hull boat. Either 12', w/ 55thrust trolling motor, and limit to 3 ppl, or 16' w an outboard, and possibly a trolling motor as backup for more ppl
  • Mooring: Set up an outhall/clothesline mooring to keep it in safe water at dead low, but be able to pull to shore to get in and out.
  • Bildge pump on a battery w/ solar panel and battery tender (i set these up for electric fence on my farm all the time, so this feels easy to me). Possibly use the same battery for the trolling motor.
  • Possibly one of those nifty wave activated bilge pumps (drainman) as backup.
  • If 12', keep it upside down all winter, w/ trolling motor and battery in the basement, and pull it in by hand at end of season. If 16', ask a friend w/ a truck to trailer it to a nearby ramp in the spring, and then pull it in the fall.
There are a lot of used options for the above well within budget in their area, and I assume that we'd need to spend some money dealing w/ whatever issues we inherit, but could still keep it under 5k. I'm handy and like a project, but didn't grow up in a boat yard.

  1. Will aluminum be ok sitting in the water all summer? Anode mounted to hull a good idea?
  2. Are the bilge pumps a good enough way to keep it from filling up while sitting there?
  3. Issues w/ bird poop? Would we need to tarp it between uses, or put something on it to keep the birds off? Doesn't need to be pristine, but we don't want it to become a guano mine.
  4. Is there a better way to do this? Anything else I'm not thinking of? Thanks all!
Maybe an inflatable with a trolling motor or small electric motor. At that age I can see it becoming a problem trying to care for it or use easily. The best time I have ever had with my boat is when I could just get up and walk down to the dock and get in and go.
A dock is really the best option when leaving a boat in the water all season. It sounds like they would need at least 16-17' if they wanted to have other people out in it and probably 18-20' to make any real trip with 4 or more people. They could moor it and use a dingy to go retrieve it but pulling up to the beach will most likely result in people getting wet feet to get into the boat. You would want the bottom coated if staying in salt water all season. And lugging gas to a moored boat won't be fun either, I can't see an electric motor situation working for a 6 mile round trip with 5-6 people. The best solution would be a dock but I could see a pontoon boat working in that situation especially since you wouldn't need to worry about a bilge pump and could pull it up to the beach and possibly have people get on without getting wet feet. My boat stays at a dock from Apr through Oct and I have to make sure the bilge pump works right (leaves and twigs can get in the way of the float switch or clog the pump so you need to keep an eye on it) and also have to move the floating dock in or out depending on the river level.

Here's our dock a couple of years ago when the river was up about 6-8' above normal.

When my wife and I visited Maine for our honeymoon, I noticed a lot of towns had public docks that residents were constantly tied up to and some of those boats looked like they hadn't moved in years. Do your parents have anything like that they would want to use nearby instead of building a dock?
The only way you could have it a lift with a roof over top, or a garage type housing with a lift to keep the boat out of the water. Otherwise, you/ they will have to give in to something....not cheap, but will get the hob done.