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Old 05-30-2013, 11:19 AM   #1
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Boat Rot – Used Boat Buys! Repair or Walk Away??

Boat Rot – Used Boat Buys! Repair or Walk Away??

Boat rot is an interesting cost and effort factor regarding used boats for purchasers:

When has rot simply become too much to deal with in a boat? Each boat purchaser will have their own level of rot-acceptance regarding when to walk or when to purchase at a specific price. Here are a couple accounts of my recent experiences regarding Boat Rot...

In last two years I walked away from purchase/ownership of two boats due to rot. First was a 45’ one-off fiberglass yacht that had too much rot in superstructure, transom, and chine logs. One was a wood 42’ GB that had too much rot in bow stem area, gunnels, and decks. I could have had both boats for a song... the very old gentleman who had lived on the 45’ yacht for years loved it so much that at conclusion of my review he even offered it to me for “free”. After my thorough inspection (multi hour personal survey on each boat) I decided to walk on both!

It would be good for new boaters looking to purchase used boats to hear accounts of when to buy and when to walk-away due to Boat Rot.

I’m confident that there are hundreds of first hand stories here as well as when-to-purchase guidance form we who have decades of boat buying, repairing, and boat using experience.

IMO there is a fine line regarding when to buy or when to walk-away regarding costs as well as efforts for Boat Rot repairs. I look forward to hearing others’ Boat Rot experiences and levels of Boat Rot acceptance before purchase.

Happy Boating Daze! - Art
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Old 05-30-2013, 01:06 PM   #2
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The Eagle had rot under the 4 salon sliding windows, and the Portuguese bridge so the sales price was reduced. I talked to the surveyor that told me it was not structural and if I fixed the leak and stopped the rot, it would have to be repaired right away. Three years later I cut out the rot, and replaced and I copied exactly what I took out. The rot in the Portugues bridge was repaired about 5 years later because stopping the leak required refastening and caulking the front deck. Since the rot was not structural, and we reduce the price it was not a walk away issue. However if it was structural it could/would have been a walk away issue.

To me fixing/repair a boat is sort of like a dirt house except you are using epoxy/fiberglass rather than plaster and wall board. Once you have mix the epoxy with a additive into a past its applied and sanded the same as plaster. In my younger day I figured it some one could do it, then I could do it, and if I screwed it up then I would pay someone to fix it.
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Old 05-31-2013, 06:13 AM   #3
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For most folks the question is weather the rot is part of the boats structure or not.

Replacing a rotten deck is a common TT requirement , but requires some specific skills, and loads of time.

Repairing doors , windows or other non structural jobs can be done with minor learning / skillset requirements.
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Old 06-04-2013, 09:41 PM   #4
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I debated this much at time of purchase over 6 years ago. There are 4 spots on the deck that had elevated moisture readings. The PO dropped the price over 30% when we went over the report. I decided to go ahead with the deal because the other aspects of the boat were very positive. I have planned to repaiIr the decks, but have not got around to it yet. The boat is now stored under cover and at least there isn't additional moisture getting in. I may get to it this winter. I have read everything I could get my hands on regarding wet cores and have a pretty good understanding of what is involved. Not a real easy job, but the good thing about a 30 year old trawler is I am now more concerned about functionality than looks. I plan on doing the repairs and then painting all the decks. The non-skid may not be an exact match, but who cares.
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Old 08-27-2013, 11:40 PM   #5
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I have some wood rot all over.thinking about using the west system s to repair it all.good luck on yours.mh deck was already glassed its everything below it.once done I should have a nice looking chb trawler.
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Old 08-28-2013, 12:28 AM   #6
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The time has come. We have been investigating for over a year now and have finally picked 12 boats to look at over the next several days starting this week.Yes it will be lots of traveling from Vancouver Island through Vancouver and then down the coast IN 5. My wife do all the investigating and the right Master stateroom and Galley goes along way towards the short list. Yes I know. A happy wife is a happy life .I check the mechanics and engines along with nav equip.We have read this forum for a long time and have learned a lot from all of you. THANK YOU GUYS. The list goes on from 37' Europa 40' Kha Shing 39 CHB 44 Gulfstar. 40' Marine Trader and so on. Yes a collection of boats. It will be interesting and a learning experience. Any advice you have will be well received. From owning lots of real estate in the passed I have learned not to fall in love with the item. At least not to show it. Have a great week and will keep you informed.
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Old 08-28-2013, 12:34 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Guinness View Post
The time has come. We have been investigating for over a year now and have finally picked 12 boats to look at over the next several days starting this week.Yes it will be lots of traveling from Vancouver Island through Vancouver and then down the coast IN 5. My wife do all the investigating and the right Master stateroom and Galley goes along way towards the short list. Yes I know. A happy wife is a happy life .I check the mechanics and engines along with nav equip.We have read this forum for a long time and have learned a lot from all of you. THANK YOU GUYS. The list goes on from 37' Europa 40' Kha Shing 39 CHB 44 Gulfstar. 40' Marine Trader and so on. Yes a collection of boats. It will be interesting and a learning experience. Any advice you have will be well received. From owning lots of real estate in the passed I have learned not to fall in love with the item. At least not to show it. Have a great week and will keep you informed.
Sounds like great fun! Only recommendation I can provide is for you two to also review one or two Tollycraft.
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Old 08-28-2013, 12:47 AM   #8
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Thank you for the info I will find Tollycraft to look at while down South. It will be a fun and exciting trip. First step toward becoming an owner.
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Old 08-28-2013, 01:35 AM   #9
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Cost versis final value

In most cases wood rot in a fiberglass boat is not a death sentence. However it is very easy to put more money in a wood boat than can ever be recovered. Many marine yards are very reluctant to haul wood boats for fear they will be stuck with the disposal costs. A 40' plus boat can easily cost 20 k to get rid of in Ca with dump and hazardous waste fees. The salvaged running gear and deck hardware seldom recover the expense of disposal. Each plank that is rotten is an 8 hr minimum to replace. Fasteners and caulking ca run into the thousands of dollars. Repairing boats always takes longer than expected. The reason for wood boat restoration has to be driven by the pleasure of owning a piece of floating art. Often a fully restored wood boat ca be purchased for a fraction of the cost of doing the restoration. I would be very careful when looking at wood boats. When I look at a wood boat I see hours of labor, even if it's in perfect condition, it will take hours of maintenance to keep it that way.
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Old 08-30-2013, 01:02 PM   #10
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First, a really great post Art. Not many would even think about posting something on this topic, I know I would not have. LOL. It is great you are thinking outside the box, again unlike me.

After reading the post's on here I can add this, from my times of buying run down vessels.

I believe it comes down too, money, time and someone's skill set. If someone has a little cash and the time (let's say on the weekends) and has the skill set to do many of the repairs, I believe that person would take a pretty beat up vessel if the price is right. I know I have in the pass.

My first 65 footer was an old shrimp boat that I paid 2 k for. She was pretty beat up deck was pretty much rotted out, the power plant was whipped and knocking ( single screw) and alot more needed to be repaired, so you pretty much get the idea how bad she was.

To make a long story short, I seen what the vessel could be like, with a little hard work and a little cash. I truned that beat up vessel into a nice liveaboard for myself. It took me 3 years to get her ship shape, and I did most of the work my self. Sure I had some friends help here and there as well and I picked alot brains on different things, but I enjoyed it and I had some fun doing it as well.

In the end, I had about 10 K into the vessel and 3 years of my time. IMO it was money and time well spent. I sold her for 15K after 2 year of cruising her after I fixed her up and 5 years living on her.

To me the best part is, that, she is still cruising around the Great lakes even today, just becuase I seen what she could be and had the skill set, the time and the cash to trun her back into the fine vessel she is.

To me some people will fix up an old car and trun it into Classic. Vessels are no different to me. As the old saying goes. "One's man's junk is another man's treasure!"

That's just my thought on this.

In any case.. Again Great post Art.


H. Foster
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Old 08-30-2013, 01:53 PM   #11
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First, a really great post Art. Not many would even think about posting something on this topic, I know I would not have. LOL. It is great you are thinking outside the box, again unlike me.

After reading the post's on here I can add this, from my times of buying run down vessels.

I believe it comes down too, money, time and someone's skill set. If someone has a little cash and the time (let's say on the weekends) and has the skill set to do many of the repairs, I believe that person would take a pretty beat up vessel if the price is right. I know I have in the pass.

My first 65 footer was an old shrimp boat that I paid 2 k for. She was pretty beat up deck was pretty much rotted out, the power plant was whipped and knocking ( single screw) and alot more needed to be repaired, so you pretty much get the idea how bad she was.

To make a long story short, I seen what the vessel could be like, with a little hard work and a little cash. I truned that beat up vessel into a nice liveaboard for myself. It took me 3 years to get her ship shape, and I did most of the work my self. Sure I had some friends help here and there as well and I picked alot brains on different things, but I enjoyed it and I had some fun doing it as well.

In the end, I had about 10 K into the vessel and 3 years of my time. IMO it was money and time well spent. I sold her for 15K after 2 year of cruising her after I fixed her up and 5 years living on her.

To me the best part is, that, she is still cruising around the Great lakes even today, just becuase I seen what she could be and had the skill set, the time and the cash to trun her back into the fine vessel she is.

To me some people will fix up an old car and trun it into Classic. Vessels are no different to me. As the old saying goes. "One's man's junk is another man's treasure!"

That's just my thought on this.

In any case.. Again Great post Art.


H. Foster
Good input... Great story... Mr. H. Foster!

Your thinking OOTB is always a pleasure to read

In minutes we head toward many days aboard our fun boat.

Hope you and your Admiral have plenty fun this weekend aboard your "new" craft!

Happy Boating Daze!

Cheers!! Art
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Old 08-30-2013, 02:47 PM   #12
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My thinking was...if the only thing I could afford to buy (with liveaboard plans) at the time was an 80's, middle of the road repair wise, Taiwan Trawler....then I knew at that point it might just be a throwaway boat after I lived aboard/cruised for 20 years. When I say middle of the road...she needed far more work than the average boater would be willing to tackle...but I had the time and skills to get he back to reasonable shape and safe cruising.

After 20 years, it will be a 50 year old boat of questionable building techniques and depending just how far I am willing to keep grinding, repairing and glassing hidden wet wood will determine what she is worth by 2033.

If she's still cruising, pleasant inside, and states still allow liveaboards with reasonable marina slip pricing...I just may find someone willing to pay half of what I have in her (even in today's dollars adjusted).

I doubt I could find a more inexpensive way to live except renting a single room, in the middle of nowhere and not have a boat to cruise on. So if she truly is a throwaway boat after 20 years...I come out ahead...if I get half back...the old geezer will have plenty of beer money to splurge with...
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Old 08-30-2013, 03:56 PM   #13
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Psneeld.

Great input and I agree with your way of thinking. You could drop just as much cash into a house over 20 years and you sure as heck can't take your house out on a cruise!


Art: To funny that you knew!!! LOL... We are heading out in a few hours as well. Long weekend is long cruising time. The new to us Vessel I doing well and oh yes we are enjoying her.

I hope you and your Admiral have a great long happy cruise as well.

Cheers and happy cruising.

H. Foster
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