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mrjigger

young kids and tiller boats

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Currently I own a dual console boat. I am thinking about downsizing my boat to a 17 1/2ft tiller boat.

Right now I have two young boys. A 3 year old who can't get enough of fishing and a 3 month old who hopefully will like to fish as much as his big brother.

I am a little worried about what I will do with my young kids while driving the tiller motor. Currently I just place my 3 year old between my legs and drive with the wheel.

I don't want to start the debate again about Tiller vs. Console boats. I am aware of the plus and minus of each. Just curious for all of you with younger kids and tiller boats, what do you do with your kids while driving down the lake at a pretty good speed?

I am just thinking it might be harder for me to hold on to him while driving the tiller versus the wheel. And don't really trust him yet to sit in his own seat while going faster. Afraid he would fly out of the boat if we happened to hit a decent wave.

I am thinking the new boat will have a new yamaha 75 FS. Would a steering system like the new Titan system help this possible problem. At least if I had to let go the motor would not jar to one side or the other. The steering system would lock it in place.

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I have been taking my little twirps out for a few years now. My daughter is 6 and my son is 3. I have a 16' Alumacraft Tiller with a 40 horse johnson. When driving across the lake I will put my son between my legs and my daughter can sit whereever she wants. I only go as fast as they feel comfortable. I can go wide open with my boy but about half throttle with my daughter. They both like looking over the sides at the waves so I usually go slow enough for that. And of course we all were life jackets all the time while on the water....

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I used to run a 16' tiller with a 40HP motor. I've got a 6, 2 and 1 year old. I travel with one my lap and the other on a cusion on the the floor (wait a while for the youngest to come along). I've just had too many incidents that have made me decide to switch to a counsel. A good example is when a pleasure boater sends a massive wake your way, it's really tough to hang on to the kids without risking turning the tiller too sharp.

I think it's fine for smaller lakes, but on bigger water, wiht bigger boats - it's alwasy the other guys I'm worried about - not to mention freak weather things as well.

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I think the same safety rules apply to both. Life jackets on, slow down, stay out of rough weather. I don't know that one or the other would be automatically safer - its much more dependent on the operator.

Anyway I had a console boat until last summer, and my boy just rode on my lap. Now I have a tiller again, and he still rides on my lap. I for whatever reason feel more comfortable with the kids in the tiller, maybe because the older one loved to yank back or lean on the throttle control when I had my hand on the wheel. With the tiller I have throttle and steering in one hand and out of his control.

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thanks for the replies everyone. I still have not made up my mind yet. I used to have a smaller 16' tiller before I bought my 18' dual console boat I have now.

I loved fishing out of that tiller. I just feel it is so much easier to control the boat with a tiller model.

Because of various reasons, mostly gas prices, I am thinking of downsizing.

I used to fish Mille Lacs quite a bit. But since my son was old enough to come in the boat, I find myself fishing mostly small to midsize lakes now. The largest lake we probably go out on is the Whitefish Chain by Crosslake.

Any others out there with small kids and tiller boats that can give me some advice.

Thanks for the help.

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My 2 pennies..

I had a tiller, it was fine and dandy, and I loved it. But I upgraded due to a few reasons related to kids and family. (4 yr old and a 6 yr old in boat)

1. More room. When the are sick of fishing, they can color or play board games. (bonus for dad and mom)

2. They are getting to age they and their friends and babysitters like to tube and stuff.

3. Safety. I feel, and they do also in the 'bigger boat'. We fish small and large lakes.

I know you mentioned gas prices, with the new 4 strokes, you can run a long time on a tank.

I was trying to think a bit down the road IMO. What if they want to water ski, tube more etc as they get older...wife wont let me have 2 boats smirk

Thats my 2 pennies. Hope it helps in some sort of way.

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I'll just ask you this......Iffin your young-un rides on your lap in a console, why can't they do the same with a tiller???

For what it's worth, having a young-un that loves to fish is a testament to the coolness of mom and dad.

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oh my boy loves to fish alright. He is 3 years old. The boat I have now has a kicker. I let him run the kicker one time while trolling raps and we actually caught a nice northern.

He was hooked right there.

Anyway, nuf bragggin about my kid.

The thing I am thinking might be a little difficult about having a kid on your lap while operating a tiller is that most of the time you have to have one arm reaching back to run the tiller. However, with a steering wheel, the kid is always on your lap between both your arms. I don't know, maybe I am making too big a deal about it. I am sure there are plenty of folks doing it. I just don't want to regret the switch.

That is where I think a hydrolic steering system might be nice. If you had to let go of the tiller handle, at least the motor would lock into place so it would not quickly jar to one side and whip the boat around.

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You could also have your son sit on the floor in front of you - a lot less chance of him flying out on the floor than sitting on a seat. Have him sit on your throwable cushion and it shouldn't be too bad...

marine_man

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One thing I thought of last night was either buying a shorter pedestal or cutting a tall one off so that his feet would beable to touch the boat floor.

I think that would help a ton. First off he would be sitting a lot lower, plus he would beable to use his legs to brace himself a little when going over a larger wave.

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I have 2 kids and I had a 16' tiller with a 25 hp motor. The kids are older now so I upgraded to a console with more horsepower.

When they were little I would have the older one sit in the chair closest to me and I would have the youngest sit on my lap with one arm around him and the other on the tiller.

I didn't take them out in the boat, without another adult, until they were 3.

Tillers are great for taking kids fishing because you have so much room. No consoles in your way.

Nels

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