Aluminum Skiff for Pacific NW And Boat

I'm a first-time boater interested in purchasing a boat for trailer use in the Pacific Northwest (Portland, Oregon). We are a family of 5, and use the boat for fishing and light recreational boating. Fishing interests include Salmon and Sturgeon fishing on the Columbia and Willamette Rivers (Large rivers, ocean going freighter traffic), perhaps some fishing and crabbing in the Puget Sound and some Oregon bays, lake fishing in Oregon mountain lakes. We're not interested in waterskiing, but it would be fun to pull the kids on a tube or wake board on a hot August day. We're not likely to use the boat more than 10 weekends a year. A friend suggested that we purchase a "16-18 foot aluminum deep-v skiff" with a "tiller control 25 horse four stroke outboard". He suggested it would be possible to get such a boat with a canvas top, trailer, accessories for under $7500 that "will last a lifetime." Does this sound right? Any suggestions on boat/engine brands to look for?

-Too small for your family of five and too small for some of the waters on your list.

-Suggest you get a copy of "Outboard Boater's Handbook" edited by David R.Getchell and available through Amazon.com. (approximately $20.) It's a very practical and complete discussion of small boats with excellect analysis of the capabilities of aluminum skiffs (sizing, powering, maintaining,...)

-I would use 18' as a minimum, and look for something in more of a high-sided Deep V. It will be safer, dryer, and probably more comfortably configured. I have a 19' welded aluminum Deep V I use in rivers, large lakes, the intercoastal, and occasionally the gulf. Last Forever? Mine's a '68, used in salt water all its life, and solid as a rock.

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