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Old 04-04-2014, 02:44 PM   #1
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Centralized Maintenance

At what point in ownership would it be beneficial to consider the cost of retaining a membership in an onshore company that would handle boat specific maintenance scheduling.

Things change over time, we move from the bare john-boats to a motor boat and on up the ladder to complicated vessels, vessels that seem to consume an awful lot of man hours just to stay current in their "ready" status.

Is there really a better way?, if so, might something along these lines be one to be considered.......??


April 2011 - Making sense of the systems | VesselVanguard

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Old 04-04-2014, 02:57 PM   #2
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To me this is very much an individual thing dependant on both the complexity of the boat and the skills (or lack thereof) of the captain. I would guess that we have on this forum mechanics or the equivalent down to office worker with little to no mechanical skills and everywhere in between. The important point is to know your limitations and take on only those things that you are confident that you can do well and leave the rest to the qualified individuals that do. Look over their shoulder when they are doing it and you may come to the conclusion you can do it yourself next time. Just my opinion. I hate spending money to have someone do something I can do myself but I know when to quit and ask for help.
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Old 04-04-2014, 03:00 PM   #3
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Frank, Is it possible you are in the wrong boat?? For me, the maintenance and repair portion of boating is at least somewhat enjoyable. And I like the fact that I'm not depending on another individual or company to handle these chores (at least above the waterline). I get to do it the way I believe is best and it helps to keep boating somewhat affordable.
A friend of mine had larger Gulfstar with several systems onboard that I don't think I could ever wrap my head around. A pair of large Detroits push it, which is more in unfamiliar with 😎.
However, on my old Present, I have handled several necessary engine, AC, electronic and general maintenance issues with a pretty high success rate. Tractor engines and basic starting/ house battery set ups help me as well.
What was your last boat? Was it a little easier to maintain?
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Old 04-04-2014, 03:32 PM   #4
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You know, having someone do all the maintenance sounds pretty appealing, and I'm sure there are yards/companies out there that do an outstanding job.

The PO of our current boat bought it new and moved it into a "full service" yard who was paid to maintain it. He hardly used the boat, it is a 2005 and when we bought it last year there were less than 200 hours on the mains, 130 on the genset. The plastic covers were still on the mattresses and the oven racks were still in cardboard.

On the other hand, the pencil zincs had never been changed and I've found numerous other spots where basic maintenance was ignored. Nothing major, but I'm glad I didn't pay someone to keep the boat up to the standard it was in when we bought it.

I'm pretty sure the yard told the PO they were doing everything the boat needed but they were just hitting the high spots. He wasn't clued in well enough to know what was going on.
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Old 04-04-2014, 03:43 PM   #5
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1. Understand the needs of your boat and its equipment

2. Do what you can do and that pleases you

3. Charge the rest out to professionals

4. Enjoy using your boat

If for any reason(s) you can't follow those four simple rules for "Pleasure Boat" ownership... Sell It!

IMHO (and experience)...

YRMV!

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Old 04-04-2014, 03:50 PM   #6
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Not hired maint.

I would still get to do all the dirty work.

The initial set up includes listing EVERY piece of equipment aboard (new-old and original) its' OEM, serial #, mods ETC.. They take that info and nudge you on due date Maint. Also providing a searchable data base containing original equipment manuals, maint. manuals of each and every piece of equipment you listed. I can look forward 30 / 90 days for planning, or I can look back to print records of each and every thinga-ma-bob within the confines of the hull.

You're right....it is beginning to sound like happy hour might be delayed a few minutes.
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Old 04-04-2014, 03:56 PM   #7
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Start

We all need to go back to my original post and reread the first paragraph.
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Old 04-04-2014, 04:14 PM   #8
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When does it make sense to outsource your boats maintenance schedule.

Never, unless you have a VERY large boat.

Yes there are re-occurring maintenance items but I cannot for the life of me think of an advantage to hiring a firm to keep track of the schedule.

My boat is typical of boats here on TF, and has probably almost the same systems as everyone else. I keep track of things using a maintenance log book. I suppose you could use an excel file but I cannot fathom anything more complicated.
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Old 04-04-2014, 04:16 PM   #9
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Greetings,
To answer your question from MY perspective. That point at which loss of the disposable income paying said company to do "maintenance" would not be noticed. A point, I might add, I will never reach.
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Old 04-04-2014, 04:17 PM   #10
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RR-we use Vessel Vanguard on a 58', twin engine boat. I find their system extremely helpful. It cuts out a tremendous amount of paperwork and recordkeeping. I don't have to worry about manuals, they have them all. I don't have to worry about scheduling routine maintenance or spending a lot of time trying to prioritize projects. Manual updates, service bulletins etc for everything on the boat. Equipment lists with model, serial nos all in one place. I still do all the work,, but getting emails on tasks due to be done, telling me whether critical or not, is worth the money. The initial setup cost can seem a bit high (around $700), but the annual cost ( about $200) is reasonable to us. I can't offer a size at which a system like VV might be viable, I guess it just depends on each person.
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Old 04-04-2014, 04:28 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Right rudder View Post

At what point in ownership would it be beneficial to consider the cost of retaining a membership in an onshore company that would handle boat specific maintenance scheduling.

Frank
At no point in ownership (for most boaters) if you follow steps 1 - 4 in my post # 5.

Way I see it (i.e IMHO)... Owner/Captain of any boat should be very closely in touch with his/her own craft. I'd feel amiss of I did not have my knowledge of and log book records up to date on my boat's needs and services performed.

I would not want an email or phone or tweet (heck, I don't do tweets anyway - lol) telling me it's time to change my fan belts, check my zincs, clean my bottom, change my oil, cleanse my water tanks, evacuate my holding tank... etc.

But - - > That service you describe might be purchased by some boat owners not wanting to be close in touch with their craft. Might make a good biz where boat owners pay a monthly/yearly premium! Go Get Em - Frank!
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Old 04-04-2014, 04:32 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Right rudder View Post
At what point in ownership would it be beneficial to consider the cost of retaining a membership in an onshore company that would handle boat specific maintenance scheduling.
I personally wouldn't spend the money. Scheduling is the easy part. Every owner, IMHO, should understand their boat and systems. If you know the systems, you know when to change filters, lubricants, zincs, anodes, etc.

The maintenance needs on the same vessel will also change with geographic location, hours of annual use and how the vessel is operated.

If you were in a partnership maybe.
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Old 04-04-2014, 05:14 PM   #13
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Kinda funny...when I suggested someone update a "current" Ford Lehman manual..a lot of people thought it was a great idea.

I think that's where this company sees itself...as a repository of info (which you pay for) and they provide you with up to date info on your boat and systems SO you CAN maintain it PROPERLY.

I have seen on here plenty of times where people have bought an older boat and have no paperwork to go by, only what a bunch of uninformed marinas, mechanics, books, and internet posters tell them.

If this company does this...it could be a boon to many (if reasonable)

Inspiration

VesselVanguard was conceived and created by Don Hyde, an experienced sailor and technology entrepreneur. As the owner of an Island Packet 485, Don experienced the frustrations of assimilating the full range of details found in 35 pounds of manuals in order to maintain his boat at the peak of performance and functionality. The design for this simple yet innovative service results from exhaustive interviews with owners, manufacturers, dealers, brokers and service personnel. The increasing complexity and sophistication of today's boats requires greater adherence to the manufacturer's suggested maintenance schedules. VesselVanguard makes this entire process simple and assures optimum performance both on the water and at the dock.
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Old 04-04-2014, 05:33 PM   #14
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This is not for everyone, but I am beginning to keep up with boat maintenance wit an iPhone app called NoteMaster. I use this app for a lot of other information as well, and really like the ability to build a folder and add files. The biggie for me is the ability to add pictures or website links within a file.
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Old 04-04-2014, 07:34 PM   #15
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Art-you are wrong in presuming that using a service such as VV implies we are not "close in touch" with our boat. We are as "close in touch" with ours as you are with yours. We maintain meticulous records of everything on the boat. Our maintenance and ops logs are maintained by us using VV. We do virtually all our own work-on a boat considerably more complex than yours. We find VV very useful for a variety of reasons. One short example, in the case of an engine issue, if you are asked what work has been done on your engine in the past 12 months and when, where and by whom was it done? Do you have the work order? How long would it take you to go through your logs and detail everything? It takes me about a minute and a half to have a complete printed log, with all available detail for any given system on the boat. If you have a part go out, how long does it take you to find the part number, model number, serial number, place and date of purchase? Where can you get a replacement quickly? Again, it take sme about a minute and a half. For the many complex systems on a decent sized boat, something like VV is a great resource, A database of virtually the entire boat, instantly searchable.

Admittedly, not for everyone, but we find it a very useful tool in maintaining the boat and well worth the cost.
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Old 04-04-2014, 07:53 PM   #16
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Quote:
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Art-you are wrong in presuming that using a service such as VV implies we are not "close in touch" with our boat. We are as "close in touch" with ours as you are with yours. We maintain meticulous records of everything on the boat. Our maintenance and ops logs are maintained by us using VV. We do virtually all our own work-on a boat considerably more complex than yours. We find VV very useful for a variety of reasons. One short example, in the case of an engine issue, if you are asked what work has been done on your engine in the past 12 months and when, where and by whom was it done? Do you have the work order? How long would it take you to go through your logs and detail everything? It takes me about a minute and a half to have a complete printed log, with all available detail for any given system on the boat. If you have a part go out, how long does it take you to find the part number, model number, serial number, place and date of purchase? Where can you get a replacement quickly? Again, it take sme about a minute and a half. For the many complex systems on a decent sized boat, something like VV is a great resource, A database of virtually the entire boat, instantly searchable.

Admittedly, not for everyone, but we find it a very useful tool in maintaining the boat and well worth the cost.
Point Taken!

Not knowing how often you use your boat, but feeling that many (maybe most) boat owners use theirs on a relatively limited basis, e.g. dependent on geographic climate, family needs, employment requirements, and the like... I'm not sure at what level of "use-frequency" I feel it would become financially efficient and/or personally-time-saving enough to join VV.

I'm sure VV works well for you and many others. Not needed for me at this stage of the game!


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Old 04-04-2014, 08:13 PM   #17
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Reading the banter back and forth regarding this service, it does sound nifty, but I still don't see the need.

Possibly its because of my personal background with maintenance, equipment, and computers, or possibly its because of just being old fashioned, I just do not know.

What I do know is that I keep a set of hard copy manuals for every system onboard where I need them. I also keep a fairly good but not 100% complete set of manuals on my server.

I know that My boat is just as complex as any boat here. It might not be as large or as expensive as some, but except for active fin stabilizers I've got every system anybody else has and a few that are not very common at all.

I guess that I feel that I can keep my head wrapped around my boats systems without needing yet another computer program to do it.

I dont know. I could buy a program. Heck, I could write an access database if I wanted to. I just prefer seeing the last oil change date written with a sharpie on the filter, and a handwritten log book entry.
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Old 04-04-2014, 08:46 PM   #18
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I think a lot depends just on the complexity of your boat or boats and on your personal inclinations. We do use vessel management software. But it requires total commitment and a good bit of up front work just like most software systems. Coming from a business career, it's just my natural inclination to use such systems.

One issue in selection too is whether a cloud, web or desktop system. The one fear I have on cloud and web systems is how much you can depend on the software company being around five years from now. So, I'd suggest one that has been around a few years already.

Prior to tablet computers, I might have hesitated a bit. My concerns would have been having the information where you needed it. But now it's very convenient. While putting dates on filters has worked for centuries, we like having automatic reminders on all maintenance. Also, like having all spare parts aged and warnings there with expiration dates of certain things like impellers.

I would say definitely not for everyone and a very personal choice.
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Old 04-05-2014, 06:28 AM   #19
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Probably a great idea ,IF you have no interest in the job.

I would expect the vessel and engines would last longer as too many owners have and read read Da Book ,
and then decide it is wrong and do not follow the mfg recommendations.

EG ,,,Oil changes are required on CALENDER time or engine operating time,many owners just use engine hours.

Changed out the anti-freez lately?
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Old 04-05-2014, 08:17 AM   #20
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" Also, like having all spare parts aged and warnings there with expiration dates of certain things like impellers"
BandB, that's a great idea.
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