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  1. #5
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    Re: 17 ft Tracker Safety

    Thanks all. Yeah it is just those o'dark 30 departures duck hunting that make me think about safety. Life jackets and smart decisions is my motto. I have run boats for 20 years but the delta can be a scary place. Was in a 24 ft wakesetter in the main channel on a strong ebb with west wind 4 ft swell close together. No fun. Stay Safe.
    DB

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  3. #4
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    Re: 17 ft Tracker Safety

    I can say this for sure, I just recently bought a new 18' Crestliner for the reasons you mentioned. I bought an 18' G3 w/ a 60hp Yamaha 4 stroke back in 2004 and it was the greatest boat I ever owned and now I can "go fast" and go out on the big lakes and reservoirs (like Clear Lake, Lake Tahoe and San Luis for example) without fear. WOW! Was I ever disappointed. When the wind would kick up, be prepared to get wet while I try my best to get back to the ramp before we swamp that boat. We live about 1 1/2 hrs south of San Luis and my wife and I got frustrated so often to show up at San Luis, pay our entrance/launch fee and then drive down to the ramp and just stand there wondering what were we thinking. Sure, there would be those nice, big deep V's out there on the lake and we had white caps lapping at the ramp and the dock would be heaving from the swells. We were not launching out boat into that. We took the G-3 all the way to Tahoe a few years ago and never even got in onto the lake. I still have that G-3 but it's now stored alongside the larger deep V Crestliner that we feel very safe in and since we purchased it in April, it's been to Tahoe, San Luis, Havasu and out onto the ocean at Morro Bay 4 times, with no issues whatsoever. Just don't take risks with the smaller boats. They certainly have their uses on smaller waters but for those large bodies, it can be very scary.

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  5. #3
    Senior Member Waterdog's Avatar
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    Re: 17 ft Tracker Safety

    I don’t think anyone can adequately answer your question. There are too many variables. Some of the variables include velocity of the wind, direction of the wind, the current and tidal current if any, the height of the waves, the timing of the waves, the distance from one wave to the next, the depth of the trough, the body of water - big lake, little lake, the delta, the sloughs of the delta, big break area, Rio Vista area, San Joaquin area and so on and on. Also how loaded your boat is, the size engine you have etc etc.
    The nice thing about the Tracker is it’s a fairly stable platform while anchored up duck hunting. John boat style boats are some of the best boats for duck hunting. But they are generally lousy rough water boats. They do best in calmer water, sheltered water (like the sloughs), rivers, smaller bodies of water. That doesn’t apply to some of the larger duck hunting boats specifically designed for duck hunting.
    Ive been duck hunting my whole live, in every kind of boat imaginable and every kind of conditions imaginable. I’ve come back in storms with waves coming over the bow, a number of times I had real fears I wouldn’t make it back. So bottom line only you can determine what conditions you can safely use the tracker. In general I’d say calmer conditions with winds 15 mph or less.
    The best duck hunting mostly takes place in the worst, most stormy, windy weather. Because of that I’d say stick with your V hull boat mostly for duck hunting. Sounds like that’s a better and safer duck hunting boat. I use to duck hunt around Grizzle island , Honker bay, San Pablo bay in my 18’ Alumaweld V hull. I’ve been in 3 to 5’ roller waves out there. Just plain scary. It was designed for and set up for fishing but I made it work for duck hunting. Many a time that great rough water boat saved our a$$. Any lesser boat would have swamped and we may not have been here today.
    So on the calmer days use your tracker. On days you’ll have stormy windy weather set your Vhull boat up for hunting and use that boat.
    Lastly every time I go out I think of an incident that happened several years ago. A father, his son and sons friend launched out of Big Break at 0 dark o’clock to go duck hunting. It was dark and windy. They made it about half a mile when the waves swamped their boat. The son and friend drowned. The father was found clinging to a piling somewhere out there. They were not adequately prepared and their boat was inadequate for the conditions.
    Finally a couple safety tips when hunting big water from a boat. Use the biggest, best rough water boat you have. Never hunt alone, always hunt with a partner. Have a charged phone in a waterproof pouch and have a vhf radio. Leave in writing where exactly you’ll be hunting, your route and the time expected return. I could leave a very lengthy safety list (I use to teach hunter safety) but those 3 are tops in importance.
    Use common sense, be well prepared and use the safest boat for conditions you can.
    Hunting, Fishing and Labrador Retrievers and at the end of the day a glass of Buffalo Trace Whiskey- Life is Sweet.

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  7. #2
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    Re: 17 ft Tracker Safety

    That’s a question only you can answer in my opinion. Boats can typically handle rougher water than folks think. It generally gets wet and uncomfortable well before you would get swamped. That said, somethings happen all of the sudden.

    I wouldn’t be worried about your rig in most lakes and rivers in reasonable weather. Some exceptions would be the main delta and lakes with big open spaces in a stiff wind. Clear Lake, Eagle, Pyramid etc, are prone to wind waves that could swamp a boat. The Delta in particular adds current and boat traffic as issues. A 30’ cabin cruiser throwing a 3’ wake is very common.

    Time on the water is the best teacher. Get out on good days and bad ones. You’ll get a feel for what it will handle and what you’re comfortable with. Best option is to go with another buddy boat. Minimum would be to take a buddy in your boat, and make sure your safety gear is working. Bilge pump and life jacket tops on the list. Other tip I’ve forgotten a few times is if you get caught unexpectedly by weather, waiting it out is sometimes the best option.

    The idea is to have fun. If the weather makes it uncomfortable, you’re not having fun anyway, so there’s nothing wrong with calling it at the boat ramp and having breakfast instead. Congrats on the new boat, should be a blast.

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  9. #1
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    17 ft Tracker Safety

    I recently purchased a 17ft aluminum tracker John boat style. Setup for both bass and duck hunting. My question is with the low freeboard what do you all consider safe swell and wind conditions in these type of bass boats? I ask this for a few reasons. First of all I also have a deep V aluminum I can take out when it's rough. So I'm not ever going to push the limits. But I want to know what my tracker can handle so I can cast and blast more efficiently. I will accasionally cross the main channel so I am just making sure I'm safe.

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