Friday, January 22, 2010

Boat Show

Jeff loves boats and water and hanging out on the lake and fishing. For the most part, this "lifestyle" is foreign to me. Yes, my dad had a boat when I was a kid. I went fishing once or twice. I went to the lake with friends occasionally. But this wasn't a consistent part of my life. Since I started dating Jeff, I have learned all kinds of things about boats, fishing tackle, and vacationing at the lake.

Since we got married, we have started having "the family conversations". This included planning for the house and possible future vehicles, but has also included discussion about boats and what sort of boat would be best for us as a family. He wants something he can fish on. I want something I can stretch out on, read a book, and drink a coke. We agree that we would like something the future munchkins can swim from. And it seems that the best solution for us is a pontoon boat.

We have looked at a few when we want to kill time at the Bass Pro Shop. And recently we've started to seriously keep an eye out for what we like and about how much something like that would run us. We certainly won't be buying one anytime soon, but it's a major purchase so it requires a little forethought and planning!

Jeff makes three annual pilgrimages to the BJCC - the RV show, the car show, and the boat show. Last year we went to the RV show together. His friend Joey got to go to the car show with him this year. But I was determined to go to the boat show! I was actually looking forward to the whole thing, even though I know Jeff was dreading it just a little because apparently the salespeople would be swarming like vultures on a couple. (I don't see what the big deal is, but he can't stand it!)

I am not sure what I was expecting, but the show was really nice. There were a lot of dealers, a lot of boats, and a surprising number of people for mid-afternoon on Friday. I can't imagine how crazy it was tonight after work and what kind of a circus it will be tomorrow! The sales people weren't really over-the-top pushy. I'm guessing most of them saw us as young and therefore broke and not serious customers. Only one was really trying to sell us pretty hard. And ironically, his boat came away being our favorite!

Even though we knew we want a pontoon boat (and there were a slew of them!) we specifically want a pontoon boat that isn't too big (probably 21 feet or less) but is comfortable, with fishing chairs and either a textured floor or snap-in carpet. This is harder to find than you might think. For every boat we saw with the fishing package on it, we saw half a dozen that didn't. And there were plenty of nice boats that we liked, but that was one feature that is essential to us.

We did find a few that met our criteria. Some were clearly less expensive than others and lacked a few of the nicer features to get that way. Our favorite was from a company named Avalon, which neither of us was familiar with. It had a lot of great features and we could both be comfortable on it. The price was not bad either. We walked away with quite a few books from the various dealers with all the different options available. It will take us a while to sort through them!

We did not buy a boat, but there were certainly some very good deals to be had for those that were interested in making a purchase! We are probably still several years from buying a boat, but when we decide we are ready to make that purchase we will be very well informed! Although we certainly don't want a used boat, we are thinking that a model that is a year or two old would definitely be a worthwhile purchase. We may lose the option of customizing quite as much as we might want, but the price difference would probably make it worthwhile!

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