Greetings all, I have two friends who are looking at #1 purchasing a new boat and #2, upgrading the one he has. There are also folks out there wanting information in regards to purchases etc. I wanted to post what I had written here to get your take on its content, maybe add, change or subtract some information etc. I thought it would be nice to have some BASIC information on boats to be used as a tool to help other guys out. Please leave a comment on what you think. A PROPER TOOL FOR THE PROPER JOB: As any "REAL MAN" will tell you, it pays to have the proper gear when trying to tackle any project. This is true in anything you build of course and with that in mind, I will attempt to explain my mindset into why I chose the gear I use and how it has worked out. My disclaimer here is that my knowledge base could easily fit in a thimble and I ALWAYS listen to other opinions, ideas and suggestions no matter who you are. Seasoned Pro or Newb, you all carry weight in my book. In this first section, I wanted to discuss boats. It takes very little effort to realize that there are a million different opinions of brand, style, outfitting & appearance. Go against one persons opinion and you can bet you will be flamed and relegated to their scrap heap of "know nothing" wanker who can't even bait a hook. On the other end of the spectrum resides the guy who owned a 12'skiff and is wanting something bigger. Maybe inside their budget or one that will handle the likes Neah Bay. What I have found out for starters is that EVERYONE has questions and there are no easy answers. THE LEAP OF FAITH: Put in 6 months of research, 200 TUBE videos, 20 friends who own (or owned) boats and it all come down to this. No matter what you do, it will take a leap of faith. It was a major leap for me as I owned some smaller boats in the past and although I had a general grasp on reality, I quickly learned that operating a larger vessel soon resulted in slamming into docks, dealing with wind like never before (larger sail area) and realizing that it is extremely tough trying to launch and recover the thing by yourself. My current boat is a 2015 RH Boats 22' Pro Cuddy. It has a 200HP 2016 Yamaha with a 9.9 LS Yamaha Kicker. I have a rear helm installed so steering from inside or outside is no problem. I am 100% Garmin (discussed on a later blog) and my gear is top notch. From Scotty Downriggers to the Brutus pot puller, this is one bad ass fishing machine. I have NEVER been more in love with a boat than this one. FISHABILITY: I fished for years on I/O vessels and other fiberglass hull boats owned by others. The weight gives you added stability in rough water which is great. Other than that, there was nothing but problems on my friends boats. From having a I/O engine cowling protruding into your fishing area, to small back decks I found it very hard to be comfortable fishing. With an inboard motor, it seemed to me that he was always repairing the engine or outdrive. Seeing the issues people had, I decided early on to go with a outboard. I have never been happier. There are tons of fiberglass boats out there that offer great fishability, I just couldn't find it in the boats I had fished on. With these problems, I decided early on to go with an outboard type motor and as much back deck space as I could afford.. The increased weight of fiberglass, towing considerations and fuel capacity had me leaning towards aluminum hulls. Considerations in regards to salt water on an aluminum hull kept popping up but to me, why spend your children's inheritance on something only to not take care of it. If you are not cleaning the boat properly after a salt water trip, it will eat your fiberglass boat almost as it would an aluminum vessel. After 2 years now, I have ZERO PROBLEMS with corrosion. Salt water mitigation should always be priority ONE no matter what material it is made of. ALUMINUM WELDING: I fish with a great group of our nations veterans ( www.boatingforheroes.org ) and had the opportunity to fish on a 26' RiverHawk (RH) Pro Cuddy. I helped out on this boat while fishing with my 17' Alumaweld TALON. This to me is when the larger Aluminum boats really started to shine. I can honestly say that after 1 year of fishing on the 26', I was sold on this type of vessel. There was nothing that I didn't like about these types of boats. Here's why! These boats have large, unobstructed back decks. I can put 6 people onboard and be very comfortable. On the 26', it can accommodate 8 with no problem. The hull, gunwale thickness is awesome. Gone are the days of thin aluminum "oil canning" when taking waves. I have taken waves over the top numerous times, been pounded with chop that would bust a kidney and they just flat take it. NO PROBLEM! So I think there is very little difference between fiberglass and aluminum in regards to toughness. WEIGHT! The 22' Pro Cuddy by RH Boats weighs in at a meager 6500lbs with full tanks and all gear. THAT'S IT! I tow this boat with a F-150 and have zero issues. Hauling it over mountain passes has never been an issue. A fiberglass boat of the same size probably would not have happened even with a tow capacity of 12.500lbs. Again, there is a trade off here. Riveted hulls? GONE! We've all seen a riveted aluminum skiff where the rivets leak. This type of hull doesn't exist in larger aluminum boats that I am aware of. The welding on some of these boats is phenomenal however, one must look closely at the quality of the weld. Saving a couple of bucks on a boat only to have issues with the welds saves you NOTHING and may even cost you your life. I looked closely at some of the welds on different brands and some had small sections welded with big open spaces. Is this by design? Or is it an attempt at cost savings. Please chime in on this one. CHINES: How well does the boat you are wanting handle the water? If two guys are fighting a fish on one side of the boat, will it be leaning sideways or remain stable? I chose the boat I am using because of its stability under fire. It has what I call a "reverse chine" where the design of the hull uses the water to its advantage. It's not a welded on rail but a "V" shape on the hull to channel water. On plane or trolling, it stays level. Maneuverability with this design is first class. Dodging a last second dead head log reminds you of steering a smaller skiff. It's just not an issue. Secondary is gear layout: From Downrigger mounts, antenna & radar mounting, fish box location, live wells and massive storage the design of the boats being manufactured gives them all a very high score in fishability. One should never have to go fishing and be forced to "fight their boat". As I get older, I find that comfort is the aim point. Example... a nice floating seat or a small heater inside. These are all things that each new boat owner outfits to his or her liking. And to me was a BLAST to do. Customization is cool. Finally, Always remember that you eat with you eyes before you eat with your mouth. If you are pulling a boat to a lake or up to your #1 spot, why not be the guy people are looking at and saying "Dang, I wanna fish on that". We all do it… we all have that desire to be "king of the marina". Whatever brand you buy use your hard earned money to make a statement. Why just float around when you could actually scare the fish out of the water? Roy "Gilligan" Hyland Skipper 'Lady Lori' Boating For Heroes www.boatingforheroes.org Your thoughts?