Cheap Fleet Syndrome

I was sitting around yesterday evening sipping a glass of wine and contemplating my fleet of boats. There are four of them, two canoes and two kayaks. It occurred to me that I probably have less money in my entire fleet than many of you have in a single boat. I have less than $1600 spent on the boats including some modifications here and there.

Now I don’t pretend to have anything with the capabilities that many of you paddling connoisseurs insist on. But my boats have always served the purposes I have had for them. I am a quiet water paddler and spend my time on lakes and easy rivers.

Now that I am an olde pharte living on a limited budget there won’t be any more major purchases so I will continue to enjoy the toys that I have.

Just curious if there are many others out there with cheap fleet syndrome.

Well, I’m a bit over that with an average of ~$700 per craft (5 canoes - 2 kayaks) with an average age for 20 years.

When I see the various requests here from people looking for kayaks and not wanting to pay more than $300, I figure all modern paddlers want to be members of the “Cheap Fleet” club !

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Many times membership in the Cheap Fleet Club is just a matter of budget/necessity. It is a matter of stay low or go home. People just need to make sure they fully understand what they are getting and what to expect from it.

It is discouraging sometimes when I see a definite lack of support for people whose circumstances don’t allow for four digit price tags.

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a better question is what is your average expenditure per use?
I have 12 boats need no more but can spend four grand if necessary
The home is mortgage free and we have old cars
So what if I like fine boats?
We live on water so nothing is just a pretty model
To each his own

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My first kayak cost $250. Then I bought $1,000 worth of support equipment.

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I’d love to live on the water , regardless of the fleet.

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You seem to have taken offense from something I said. Nowhere was I critical of anyone who enjoys more and finer boats. Just looking to share a little comraderie with others who manage to enjoy their paddling on a lower budget. Sorry if I bothered you.

I’m sharing the camaraderie, Bill, as a certified member of the CFC (Cheap Fleet Club). First boat = $350 including paddle and cockpit cover. Second boat $450. Third boat $500 including 2 paddles, sprayskirt, paddle float. Then sold the first boat for $500, so I’m still in it for only $800. Now I bought a fourth boat for ~$500 (including the new hatch covers it needed) and expect to sell the second boat for the same or more. In any case my average over four boats is about $450 so I’m almost keeping pace with you. My last purchase is pretty sweet, and might look OK next to someone who can afford the 3-4K boats.

But, like Overstreet said, I’ve also spent about $600 on gear, and probably more than that on lessons. Which is why I need cheap boats!

I used to own a $300 beast of a heavy canoe. The previous owners had painted it flat black to use for “stealth missions” (adolescent boys). It turned out to be a great boat, other than the black powdery smears it left on every article of clothing it touched…

Ironically (or not) I later discovered it was made by Mid-Canada Fiberglass; the same company that made my other (and favourite but also heavy) sea kayak. The kayak cost more than $300, even used.

Yeah, the first of my fleet is also a $300 barge. It is a Disco 169 that weighs 95 pounds. Bought it over 30 years ago used. That canoe has done a lot of family outings and fishing trips with my three sons and a grandson, not all at once of course. Still use it whe me and the wife go out for a paddling picnic.

My buddy just sold a Blackhawk canoe that was a former national champion freestyle boat for $300. I had an Oscoda Solo 13 that was a fine little boat and cost less than $300 used. The problem with looking for good inexpensive used canoes is that you find them. :slight_smile:

Kayaks, too. I’m amazed at how many people seem to purchase new, expensive boats, use them a couple of times, garage them, and sell three years later for a fraction of the original price. But, it works for me!

@Doggy Paddler said:
Kayaks, too. I’m amazed at how many people seem to purchase new, expensive boats, use them a couple of times, garage them, and sell three years later for a fraction of the original price. But, it works for me!

Kayaks, ski boats, fishing boats, RVs, sports equipment, it is just the way people do things. Which is why “craigs list” and other services do so well.

I’ve evolved to where I build my own small boats. They start “cheap” then the cost just kind of grows. There was the sea kayak. Then the solo canoe. Now there is a skiff sitting in pieces in the garage. The count is up to 10 when the skiff is done. I actually gave a canoe away. It had problems. But the new owner uses some magic tape from that tv commercial and it works on his pond quite nicely. THAT is a cheap fleet.

I’ve built 2 canoes, one I donated and sold the other. I’ve also built 2 kayaks. Same story.

I have never bought a new kayak. Craigslist, offerup and FB marketplace have good used kayaks cheap, cheap - just have to wait until they show up. It’s relaxing to surf the used sites for a few minutes everyday to shop for the toy du jour.

Rental cottages that offer use of paddleboats tend to have cheap fleets.

I don’t, because I soon want to paddle something better, if for no other reason than that barges are especially bargey on a small person such as me.

Barges need love too.

My cheap fleet no longer has any braces in it. I flipped them all for non-barges. First one was a barge.