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Old 10-06-2015, 11:50 AM   #1
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How do you spot a land pirate?

Pirates are everywhere, and I'm not speaking of the seagoing type. I'm speaking about the guys who try take advantage of people with little or no boat experience. I've gotten pretty good at recognizing these folks over the years after having suffered a few times. My first boat purchase I was pirated by the seller and by the "marine mechanic". A 17' Glastron with a 110 Force outboard does not make a great blue water fishing boat. And yes, you actually DO need the tilt to work.

Today, after listing all the issues I spotted doing a cursory visual inspection of a pirate's 38 Conquest for $35k (no bimini, so no shade on upper helm, no electronics, non-operational genset, non-working head, one working battery, questionable engines, 110v fridge, broken stove, soft spots on deck, a fantastic beard on the hull,etc) and telling him any offer I did make would be contingent on a survey, what do you think his response was?
Pirate, "I don't believe in surveys. They just cost you more money. Then they start picking apart the boat and finding problems. Don't get a survey, this boat is fine. I drove her here from New York"
Me, "That was six years ago, you said you've always been connected to shore power and only left the dock once two weeks ago when a guy wanted a sea trial." When I asked about starting it up and taking her out, he said I would have to pay for the gas and his time because it takes awhile to clean up after it runs.
Pirate, "I'll take 30."
Me, "It will take 30 to get her into cruising shape"
Pirate, "There's nothing wrong with her. You're too picky. You can't get a good trawler for this price" (he doesn't know what my budget is)
Me: "I'm not insulting you with a lowball offer"
Pirate: "You are perfect for this boat, I'll work with you."
Me: "How about 10K, no survey"
Pirate: *click*

Let's hear your land pirate stories!
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Old 10-06-2015, 01:23 PM   #2
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Greetings,
Mr. 86. Welcome aboard. Was quoted $15K for a paint job. $28K later, still not done. Verbal contract and a hand shake. Obviously I fail in the spotting department...
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Old 10-06-2015, 01:53 PM   #3
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Pirates are everywhere, and I'm not speaking of the seagoing type. I'm speaking about the guys who try take advantage of people with little or no boat experience.

Especially women. Those clowns are even worse than garage mechanics!
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Old 10-06-2015, 02:59 PM   #4
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Don't get me going on the grand theft that Tampa Bay Buccaneers season tickets amount to.
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Old 10-06-2015, 03:13 PM   #5
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Don't get me going on the grand theft that Tampa Bay Buccaneers season tickets amount to.
Yea, Dolphins just as bad. LOL
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Old 10-06-2015, 03:15 PM   #6
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How do you spot a land pirate?

"Hi, I'm a yacht broker, can I help you??
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Old 10-06-2015, 03:32 PM   #7
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Peg-how true. But some broker will be in for a shock when my 16 year old daughter gets around to buying her first boat in a few years. She already knows more than half the mechanics I know! And she just keeps learning.

And, she also knows a helluva a lot about football!
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Old 10-06-2015, 05:03 PM   #8
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My kinda gal!
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Old 10-06-2015, 05:21 PM   #9
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Slogan of Pirates United, "There's a sucker born every minute."

You can't do anything about pirates or dishonest people in any business except refuse to be victimized. Know the people and companies you're about to do business with. Run fast at the first sign of trouble, not the fourth. And, a verbal contract is worth the paper it's written on. Put everything in writing. When there's follow up, verify what was agreed by email. With honest people this prevents misunderstandings due to poor communication. With dishonest people it gives you some recourse. Contracts don't have to be complex, multiple page documents. They can be quickly created just putting the agreement on paper. Still the best recourse is not to deal with them.

Dealing with mechanics, brokers, marinas, or any others is not "Pleasure boating". Too often we look at it as part of pleasure boating. It is business. Hard, cold, facts of business. Conduct all your business like you would other businesses. I deal regularly with people I really trust, but I still do it in a business like manner.

This isn't just boating. People buy used cars from Craigslist ads every day, meeting the seller on the side of the road somewhere, so they don't know how to reach them after. People appear on daytime court shows every day saying "He said it was in good condition" yet their Bill of Sale clearly reads "Sold As Is. No warranty."

I had a friend looking at a very nice boat a few years ago. The boat ran 42 mph (lake so we used mph). The guy promised him it would run 60. Guess I was bored but I had my friend return and tell him he'd take it if he'd put that in writing. The dealer, of course, said no, saying sometimes they varied. So he asked if he would put 50 mph in writing and he declined.

Anytime someone tells you a survey is a waste of money, he's telling you the truth. Doing anything further with him on that boat is a waste of money.

I see people just toss aside their good judgement when it comes to the pastime they love, boating.
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Old 10-06-2015, 06:35 PM   #10
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Whats worse than a land pirate? A whole community of them colluding to take your bootie. I was really surprised at just how close bids were here for several things I was considering farming out.

Lots of big oil money around here and with it lots of big oil money prices.
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Old 10-06-2015, 06:40 PM   #11
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Greetings,
Mr. 86. Welcome aboard. Was quoted $15K for a paint job. $28K later, still not done. Verbal contract and a hand shake. Obviously I fail in the spotting department...
You? Mr. Cynicism himself? I am shocked!!
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Old 10-06-2015, 07:19 PM   #12
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Greetings,
Mr. jw. Cynicism? MOI? I'm gonna let that one slide for now and wish to comment on Mr. BB's post...
What about firms that demand either prepayment or the disclosure of your CC number before they even start a job? Pretty difficult to eject an incompetent mechanic when you could possibly be charged $$.
I ran into just such a situation earlier this year. Contracted a Ft. Lauderdale firm to service my Onan. I should have picked up on the fact that the "technician" had trouble removing one of the injector lines by wrenching in the wrong direction...I would have gladly escorted him off the boat BUT the firm would not have started the work without me supplying my CC #.
They tried to soak me for parts from a Yanmar engine. $80 for some sort of special Yanmar gasket goo. Ummm....not a Yanmar. "Ooops, an honest mistake" was the response.
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Old 10-06-2015, 08:05 PM   #13
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After getting my A/C checked out for premature shut downs, I yanked it by the A/C man's request so he could bench test it. He took it on a Thursday and it was promised by Monday. For 9 weeks that he had the unit, he wouldn't answer calls or respond to messages. Finally, I began looking for his truck in other marinas and talking to Dock Masters, etc.. No one had heard anything from the guy. Finally, he called me yesterday and brought back the unit today, saying it has a bad compressor. That could be, but the same tape I had on the control box, harness connections and remote thermostat was still there. What can I do but take it to another shop?
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Old 10-06-2015, 08:40 PM   #14
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After getting my A/C checked out for premature shut downs, I yanked it by the A/C man's request so he could bench test it. He took it on a Thursday and it was promised by Monday. For 9 weeks that he had the unit, he wouldn't answer calls or respond to messages. Finally, I began looking for his truck in other marinas and talking to Dock Masters, etc.. No one had heard anything from the guy. Finally, he called me yesterday and brought back the unit today, saying it has a bad compressor. That could be, but the same tape I had on the control box, harness connections and remote thermostat was still there. What can I do but take it to another shop?
I'm assuming this was in Sarasota. If so I'd be interested in knowing the name of this tech/shop. PM me if don't want post it in the open. Thanks
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Old 10-06-2015, 09:04 PM   #15
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Well, Monday morning quarterbacking is easy, but here goes. As to the guy requesting the credit card number and authorization to use it up front or full payment up front, I'd just keep walking. He already has the power over you without doing that in having a mechanic's lien on the boat. If it required some major expenditure for parts, then I might be willing to make a deposit but nothing more.

As to the person not showing up and not returning calls, I'm very reluctant to use one man shops. I want to see a physical presence that shows it's a true business, some place I can go if they don't meet their promises. I'd also want their commitment in writing. Call me and you can get a reasonable extension of time. I can't be guaranteed the people I use will always do it right or timely, but at least I do know where to find them.
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Old 10-06-2015, 09:50 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Serene86 View Post
Today, after listing all the issues I spotted doing a cursory visual inspection of a pirate's 38 Conquest for $35k (no bimini, so no shade on upper helm, no electronics, non-operational genset, non-working head, one working battery, questionable engines, 110v fridge, broken stove, soft spots on deck, a fantastic beard on the hull,etc) and telling him any offer I did make would be contingent on a survey, what do you think his response was?
Pirate, "I don't believe in surveys. They just cost you more money. Then they start picking apart the boat and finding problems. Don't get a survey, this boat is fine. I drove her here from New York"
Me, "That was six years ago, you said you've always been connected to shore power and only left the dock once two weeks ago when a guy wanted a sea trial." When I asked about starting it up and taking her out, he said I would have to pay for the gas and his time because it takes awhile to clean up after it runs.
Pirate, "I'll take 30."
Me, "It will take 30 to get her into cruising shape"
Pirate, "There's nothing wrong with her. You're too picky. You can't get a good trawler for this price" (he doesn't know what my budget is)
Me: "I'm not insulting you with a lowball offer"
Pirate: "You are perfect for this boat, I'll work with you."
Me: "How about 10K, no survey"
Pirate: *click*
I fail to see the problem. The owner simply had an unrealistic expectation of his boats value. That isn't exactly uncommon. Just because someone doesn't want to sell you something at the price you set, doesn't make them a land pirate. They might be an idiot, but that doesn't mean they are trying to cheat you.

Why were you making an offer on the piece of junk anyway?
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Old 10-07-2015, 12:12 AM   #17
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As to the person not showing up and not returning calls, I'm very reluctant to use one man shops. I want to see a physical presence that shows it's a true business, some place I can go if they don't meet their promises.
Well...I must be your opposite number. Dave "The Head Guy" does my plumbing. Dave White (ok he has a helper) my stainless. Jim all my woodwork and painting. Josh services my furnace. Mike is refurbing my dinghy at the moment. Steve installed the hydraulics for my AP. Ron steam cleans my carpets. All one man (or an assistant) shops. Most do everything out of their trucks.

But all of them have been recommendations from trusted boaters.


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Old 10-07-2015, 12:37 AM   #18
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Well...I must be your opposite number. Dave "The Head Guy" does my plumbing. Dave White (ok he has a helper) my stainless. Jim all my woodwork and painting. Josh services my furnace. Mike is refurbing my dinghy at the moment. Steve installed the hydraulics for my AP. Ron steam cleans my carpets. All one man (or an assistant) shops. Most do everything out of their trucks.

But all of them have been recommendations from trusted boaters.


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Old 10-07-2015, 12:58 AM   #19
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I have learned to go with recommendations from people I trust. Every great mechanic/specialist I have worked with has been a one man shop. Every one recommended by a close friend and experienced boater. Worst screwings were from really nice, friendly brokers.
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Old 10-07-2015, 07:52 AM   #20
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Well, Monday morning quarterbacking is easy, but here goes. As to the guy requesting the credit card number and authorization to use it up front or full payment up front, I'd just keep walking. He already has the power over you without doing that in having a mechanic's lien on the boat.
And what happens when the boat is gone the next morning? How do mechanics recognize the boaters who won't pay their bills? Nobody likes spending time chasing deadbeats.
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