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bayview 02-09-2015 11:50 AM

There must be a better way to advise newbies
Recently several new people have asked questions as they start their search for a boat. In many cases they seem to be new boaters unfamiliar with everything and ripe for fleecing.

I wish we could do something general to help them get into a suitable boat. Often their price expectations take them to the poor condition end of things but they don't see to know how to tell. They just cant ask nor can we answer enough questions to prevent them for getting hosed.
Any ideas how we could do something less random than just answering questions??

Don't say ask a broker because all these boats are listed by somebody.

Donsan 02-09-2015 12:00 PM

Dummy Book on how to buy a trawler???:D

Well, you asked.

ksanders 02-09-2015 12:02 PM

That's how people learn, ask questions, get answer, evaluate, then ask more questions.

Sometimes it might sound like new folks have no clue, but they'll learn, just like the rest of us learned.

The best advice is to be patient, be nice, and if you find yourself in a situation where you are frustrated, choose not to participate in that thread. Remember when you were new at this, and always treat people like you would want to be treated if the situation was reversed.

bayview 02-09-2015 12:55 PM

My point is there is so much to learn and folks don't even know the right questions. I got screwed on my first boat a zillion years ago. Fortunately I can fix stuff and had all winter to work on it.

CPseudonym 02-09-2015 01:03 PM

This thread has had nearly 10,000 visits since I started it as a sticky thread at the top of the General Section.

I encourage you old hands to contribute your best advice there just refrain from making it a discussion thread for the sake of keeping it readable for folks. Beyond that Kevin offered great advice above.

Nomad Willy 02-09-2015 01:18 PM

Perhaps a "sticky" could be put up w a list of things to check on a boat that would start w the biggest money pits that newbies can fall into. Decks, blisters, cabin window leaks, exhaust smoke colors and you can imagine all the rest.

Another "problem" can be not knowing what boats are availible .... buying a run of the mill cruiser and then seeing a trawler and saying "wow I wish I'd have known about those". Extreme example of course. Listing to a noisy mechanical transmission shift and then having the BW experience. Or "you mean those two old engines take 28 quarts of oil"?

Perhaps an ongoing thread like "interesting boats" more or less like "frequently asked questions". Someone w a lot of time like maybe bayview could go back and make a list of 100 or so questions newbies have actually asked and of course provide answers. bayview where did you go?

Delta_JimS 02-09-2015 01:20 PM

Yes, tough beginnings is unfortunate. I think it would be helpful if there were some more basic books to read as Donsan says.

I started with a reasonable technical electro-mechanical background but now realize how superficial my knowledge of boats was; much more of it now learned by personal experience. Although, I knew enough to get a well recommended surveyor to tell me what I did not know. Much of the simpler, time-intensive work I have been able to do myself.

There are several good technical books on boats as have been recommended on this site, but not any I know of that are directly written for the Newbie.(Marin? where are you?)

I am in the camp of Patience. Go see and Experience as may boats as you can and ask questions - but with an open mind. A picture of this boat world should begin to come together. In time you will be able to filter the truth from the BS. You cannot rush this process.

Try to find someone with significant years of "hands-on" experience to help you. Most boaters are more than willing to help if you are sincere and appreciative. Again, keep an open mind.

Magnawake 02-09-2015 01:20 PM

If there's one thing that would have helped me decide, is to go to a marina and try to find a person willing to help you. What I mean by that is, help them do bright work, engine maintenance, clean stuff and generally talk about the ups and downs of boat ownership. That could encompass, slip fees, insurance, hull cleanings, and general run of the mill things you throw money at. Then there are topics such as navigation, anchors, and other stuff to just talk about while doing chores. Thats what would have helped me out in a big way. I know everybody has different opinions but seeing it first hand is great.

CPseudonym 02-09-2015 01:22 PM

Hey Eric, those top two paragraphs look like they would fit right into the existing sticky thread ;)

psneeld 02-09-2015 01:33 PM

See...can't even agree on this topic....

I find more boats not being used because of personal reasons...not because they are POSs....or they were the wrong boat at the time for family, personal, financial or experience reasons.

The boat issues are usually pointed out by a surveyor.

Some people should buy big, some small, some sail, some power, some new, some fixerupers....etc..etc...

Trying to match a boat with a person I believe takes days and days of candid discussion....and possibly lots of reading though all the stuff tossed out right here and many other forums.

But thinking it's going to be done in one particular sticky or 101 thread...well....even particularly well written books often don't really apply 99% of the I have my doubts about anything other than status quo and hoping the new buyer is patient and tolerant, listens to suggestions, and studies their own life as much as boats.

The next best way to educate a boater...just provide links to all the Galaxy Girl threads in all the different forums and her blog.... :D

A legend is on its way to being born....

Marin 02-09-2015 01:48 PM

I learned to drive a car and bought a some from Austin Healey to Aston Martin to Land and Range Rovers to Ford pickup to BMW, learned to fly a plane and bought one, learned to boat and bought two, all without the aid of Al Gore's internet (it existed for some of that but it was pretty rude and crude compared its current state so played no role in my/our education or purchase decisions).

The same can probably be said of most of the more experienced boaters on this forum. And most of us probably made pretty good decisions.

Absolutely nothing has changed since then. Curiosity, common sense, logic, skeptisim, being a good judge of character and quality, and educating one's self are still the main tools for getting into any activity like boating and cruising.

But... what is changing I think is people's willingness to-- and even knowledge of how to-- use and apply those attributes. More and more, people want to have solutions handed to them on the internet.

The internet is a great research and education tool but it is no substitute for the other attributes I listed. But what's going to happen is that more and more people are going to ask the same old question: "I want to buy a cruising boat but I don't know anything about them and I want to buy a good one I can live on and cruise the Great Loop/Inside Passage/Carribean and my budget is $20,000 to $50,000. What should I get?"

How many times is one willing to give the same, very complex answer? Few to no people are willing to search a forum archives; they want an immediate new answer.

I used to try to answer these folks. I don't anymore, or at best I might offer an observation on a single point. So far as I'm concerned, they can do what I did and figure it out on their own, using all the tools I mentioned earlier. The internet is certainly one of these tools. But advice from people I don't know, can't see, can't talk directly to, and have no way of judging if they actually know what they're talking about is advice I will not act on.

We have had hundreds of issues come up with our boats over the years, some of them fairly serious. With the exception of the Grand Banks forum which has a couple of shipwrights and a former yard owner I happen to know, we have never asked an "I've got such and such a problem" question of a boating forum. Because we've long since learned that every question, no matter how simple, generates multiple answers and opinions.

We've found it is much, much faster to pick up the phone or send an e-mail to the people we have learned ourselves to be experts. Or if we don't already know who they are, we know how to find them. Most of them are professionals: electronics, diesel, electrical, fuel, woodworking, fiberglass, etc.

We just decided to have new seat and seat back cushions made for the main cabin in our PNW boat. So we started asking people we know who have had this kind of work done within the past few years who they used. We looked at upholstery on boats that had just had it redone and compared the work of different shops in the area. My wife asked members of the sewing club she's in for upholsterer recommendations.

And we were led to an amazing upholstery expert in Yakima, across the mountains from western Washington, who has won national awards for his custom car work. People trailer their bazillion-dollar custom cars from all over the country to have him do the upholstery. Some of these people own boats and after they see the kind of job he does on their cars they bring their trailer boats to him, or in the cases of big boats/yachts, have flown him to the vessel to make his patterns.

And the added bonus is that this fellow's prices are well below the "marine" upholstery shops in the Puget Sound area. But... we still had to check him out. So on Saturday we took our cushions and drove three hours east across the mountains to meet him and see his work.

A couple of hours with him in his shop confirmed what we'd been told.

In my opinion, that's what it takes to get a good result regardless of the quest: car, truck, plane, boat, or refrigerator. We bought a new set of binoculars yesterday. I'd gotten on the internet and done an extensive search, read reviews and comments on hunting forums and the like, and settled on a pair that would meet our needs.

Thank God I didn't order them. We decided to go to Cabela's to check them out in person as they carry that make and model and one of the stores had them in stock. Got there, checked them out, and they were very disappointing compared to other makes and models in the same price range suggested by the store's optics guy.

Bottom line for us is forums are fun and they are one source for ideas but they are no substitute for thinking smart and doing the legwork yourself.

Lobstah 02-09-2015 04:39 PM

I think you can file it under "You can lead a horse to water..."

Some people are just going to make bad decisions, whether its with regards to a relationship, a major purchase, a career...just doesn't matter for some folks.

As Ron White said: "You can't fix stupid."

People that are interested in doing research and making an informed decision usually do just that. They may still make a mistake...but hey, we all do that. Well...most of us anyway ;)

Plus...most of us know, there's really no such thing as the "perfect boat"...BUT, there's also rarely only ONE boat that meets our needs. I could pick half a dozen different boats within 20mi of my house and they'd all generally fit the goals we have for boating.

Also, when it comes to advice...if you read it, you've heard of it, but if you've LIVED it, you KNOW it. Kinda like the difference between the chicken and the pig. Both worked on the breakfast project. The chicken was involved, but the pig was committed to it. :)


BruceK 02-09-2015 07:20 PM

The surge of relatively inexperienced potential boat buyers is interesting in itself.
I doubt there is a "one size fits all" response. Funds, intended use, repair skills, locality, pet aversions, facilities needed, particular issues, so many variables.
"101" is certainly a useful read.
We all started on the learning ladder at some stage. All we can do is try to help, and answer best we can, patiently. Some newbies will be at the stage of not knowing what they don`t know(known unknowns, unknown unknowns, unknown knowns, etc, thanks to Donald Rumsfeld).

eyschulman 02-09-2015 07:36 PM

There are plenty of wordy people with experience here. Maybe one should write a book on how to shop for your first trawler. It would take some effort but considering the length of some our posts the talent is here.

RT Firefly 02-09-2015 07:40 PM

Mr. e. EXCELLENT idea! Maybe the mods could open a new thread to be used exclusively for chapters 1 through....
I consider myself a minor wordsmith so I'll start.


It was a dark and stormy night...

eyschulman 02-09-2015 07:43 PM


Originally Posted by RT Firefly (Post 306360)
Mr. e. EXCELLENT idea! Maybe the mods could open a new thread to be used exclusively for chapters 1 through....
I consider myself a minor wordsmith so I'll start.


It was a dark and stormy night...

And the Admiral was shaking her head from side to side saying no way.

BruceK 02-09-2015 07:46 PM


Originally Posted by RT Firefly (Post 306360)
Mr. e. EXCELLENT idea! Maybe the mods could open a new thread to be used exclusively for chapters 1 through....
I consider myself a minor wordsmith so I'll start.


It was a dark and stormy night...

Can`t wait to see how it ends! :)Harper Lee, you have competition.

markpierce 02-09-2015 07:53 PM

Best if one buys "small" to reduce financial exposure from a bad decision as well as to obtain first-hand boating experience. But that means getting into boats before one is elderly.

No Mast 02-09-2015 08:09 PM

Well, I volunteered to get TF shirts. Someone else is writing the book :)

Btw if you want a TF shirt please order soon so I can place the order with them.

RT Firefly 02-09-2015 08:18 PM

"There's no way you're going to fit THAT beer gut into a size small TF shirt." (this is the next line in the buyers guide, NOT a comment on your physique Mr. NM)
Maybe, Mr. e., since we have rude members interrupting (yes you Mr. BK and you Mr. mp), we should bracket our guidebook composition/entries with an * in YOUR fine contribution eg: *And the Admiral was shaking her head from side to side saying no way.* followed by mine *There's no way you're going to fit THAT beer gut into a size small TF shirt.*

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