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Old 04-28-2017, 12:12 PM   #1
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Previously sunk boat

Hello All.

Hoping to tap into the knowledge on this group -- I tried to search the archives on previously sunk boats, and while there were a few comments on it, I couldn't find a conversation on it.

I have two basic questions:
  1. How can you identify a previously sunk boat
  2. What work would need to be done for you to purchase

How to Identify a previously sunk boat
Obviously, everything is asked for personal reasons.... We are still looking for our next boat, and one of the boats in the area has had a ton of work done to it, much of it cosmetic. But the pictures of the genset (very rough) and engine room (single blurry pic) show that the mechanical condition is not great. Plus the upgrades include things like "all new electronics" and "rewired".

I do intend to drive up and take a look in a couple weeks, but was hoping to have a few specific things to look for. Of course, there will be a formal survey, haulout, etc before the purchase is finalized, but I'd rather catch big problems before spending real money on those things. And I'm also not sure that this vessel has sunk in the past -- it could have just been a normal refit.

Purchasing a sunk boat
Assume, now, that we do identify that the boat has sunk in the past, and that it occurred in salt water. Now what? Obviously repairs would range from simply drying out, to a complete rebuild -- and the truth is somewhere in between.

Also, for the sanity of the discussion, I think we should assume that if something is replaced, it's completely replaced and done well.

So what would need to be done for folks here to consider purchasing it?
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Old 04-28-2017, 12:32 PM   #2
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Preferably the previous sinking is disclosed before you look at it. A bore scope is cheap enough to justify owning one and looking behind fuel or water tanks for water damage is a good start.

So long as it was rewired and appropriately repaired(assuming the owner disclosed the previous sinking) and it passed a thorough survey I'd buy. However if I discovered the sinking without disclosure personally I'd walk regardless of "deal" offered. A refit cannot replace previous owner integrity.
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Old 04-28-2017, 12:35 PM   #3
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Look to see if the Hull Identification Number is still there. It should be on the upper starboard side of the transom. Then talk to your insurance agent to find out if this boat is insurable.

Add in a new engine, new generator, probably new air conditioners, pumps, and anything else with an electric motor, and probably mould growing on soaked wood. So you can see that even if the boat was free, it is still too expensive.

Bottom line is that I wouldn't touch this with a ten foot pole.
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Old 04-28-2017, 12:56 PM   #4
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If the bore scope finds dead fish this boat just might have been sunk.
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Old 04-28-2017, 12:58 PM   #5
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Insurance wise, we can consider offering coverage on vessels previously sunk (partial or total) with proper documentation of what happened and repairs completed.
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Old 04-28-2017, 01:03 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CPseudonym
A bore scope is cheap enough to justify owning one and looking behind fuel or water tanks for water damage is a good start.
Yup, I have one too. Other than discoloration, is there anything specific I can look for?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rossland
Look to see if the Hull Identification Number is still there. It should be on the upper starboard side of the transom. Then talk to your insurance agent to find out if this boat is insurable.
This is a great idea. I will ask for the HIN even before I drive up.

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If the bore scope finds dead fish this boat just might have been sunk.
Hahaha. That is awesome, and I'm stealing it if I ever go see this boat in person.
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Old 04-28-2017, 01:16 PM   #7
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Some years ago I inspected in detail a sunk at the dock Tolly 48. Every inch of wire, all electric powered devices, genset, engines, instruments, batteries you name were replaced. The boat sold for a good price. It was an insurance deal with a reputable yard doing the work.

Very good records were kept and available to a purchaser once a serious intent was demonstrated. Unless a thorough set of rebuild records by a reputable yard can be demonstrated on a sunk vessel, I'd do as previously suggested, be leery and prepared to run.
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Old 04-28-2017, 01:55 PM   #8
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1- Look for the waterline scum in hard to get at places. Smells funny. Rust where there shouldn't be.
2- I would not have one if it was given to me except as a free, near derelict liveaboard sunk in a clear lake. Life is too short for an endless project boat.
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Old 04-28-2017, 04:08 PM   #9
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My current boat sank in the early '70s in salt water. It sank because some bozo left it to go ashore without any knowledge tide ranges of Canada. At low tide it rolled on it's side and later flooded thru ports and doors before it could right. It was rebuilt including new deck cabins. I have never found any sign of the sinking.
In my yard business, I also salvaged several, mostly commercial boats, almost all in salt water. Everything that can absorb water has to be removed. Insulation, cloth, carpet, any wood interior. If not it becomes obvious, smell, mold. In some cases -not running at the time- engines were rebuild, but not all. Running engines had to be replaced because of hydro lock, heat/chill damage. Rebuilt engines lived a normal life afterwards. Transmissions often didn't take on water, but were flushed and rebuilt. Electrical was completely redone. New panels, wire, switches, sockets, and so on. All connections are suspect and are replaced with the wire. Generator ends flushed with fresh water and then rebuilt.
If you're ever in a sinking situation and think salvage is possible, if you can, shut down the engines early to avoid drawing in water and to cool off.
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Old 04-28-2017, 04:35 PM   #10
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I think 1/2 the second hand imported boats that end up on the Australia market are flood/ cyclone /sunk and re birthed . A few years ago I self inspected a imported Mainship 40 and found a cup of white beach sand under the bow bunk LOL
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Old 04-28-2017, 05:56 PM   #11
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I think 1/2 the second hand imported boats that end up on the Australia market are flood/ cyclone /sunk and re birthed . A few years ago I self inspected a imported Mainship 40 and found a cup of white beach sand under the bow bunk LOL
Half? I doubt it. Some, maybe, but not very likely. Five years ago with a strong AU$ there were lots of imports, mine included. It was a once in a generation opportunity - very good exchange rates and a buyers market at the time. But importing is not cheap when you ship it. No one would import a boat like that in. It would readily be seen to be water damaged, and then they would not even be able to recover the shipping cost.

I read a few days ago that cyclone Debbie has resulted in 2000 damaged boats in the Whitsundays. Not all will have beach sand in them, but some will. And before that there was cyclone Yasi, which left a lot of water damaged boats as well. Plenty of local boat available with water damage, no need for far fetched imaginings!

Caveat emptor! We have some brokers that don't enquire much into what it is they are selling, beyond establishing that it wasn't stolen. They then say 'to the best of their knowledge..' and have disclaimers about liability for past history, date of manufacture etc. I looked at 2 GB 42 in Australia with incorrect advertised years. Easy to detect from hull numbers. The brokers pleaded 'the owner said....'
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Old 04-28-2017, 11:01 PM   #12
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My uncle owned a boat hauling business and a shop to maintain the fleet of truck/trailers during the boat hauling season. Every year he purchased a 45 - 50' hurricane salvage boat or two in the Gulf and hauled them back to his truck shop. Most were water damaged, so they were flushed and pickled. During the slow winter months his mechanics would completely strip the boats out and go through the engines, running gear and refit them. I don't know if he actually made money doing it, but it kept his shop busy so they didn't have to layoff shop personnel.

They were very nice boats when they were done. If done right, I wouldn't be afraid to own one.
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Old 04-29-2017, 12:48 AM   #13
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My uncle owned a boat hauling business and a shop to maintain the fleet of truck/trailers during the boat hauling season. Every year he purchased a 45 - 50' hurricane salvage boat or two in the Gulf and hauled them back to his truck shop. Most were water damaged, so they were flushed and pickled. During the slow winter months his mechanics would completely strip the boats out and go through the engines, running gear and refit them. I don't know if he actually made money doing it, but it kept his shop busy so they didn't have to layoff shop personnel.

They were very nice boats when they were done. If done right, I wouldn't be afraid to own one.
A buyer of junked and sunk and other near derelict vessels, basically anything he can get a good deal on, is one who owns his own boatyard. It's in a seasonal boating area and these boats are his winter work. They just do as many as they have time for. His target is to sell them for what he paid plus what he would bill for the work done if it was for customers. He sometimes can't do that, but enough that winter turns out to be profitable.

On the lake if you wanted bottom paint or any painting, the dealers would only do it during the winter but had great prices on it since it was so labor intensive.
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Old 04-29-2017, 02:54 AM   #14
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A sunken trawler/cruiser would never be on my shopping list.

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Old 04-29-2017, 10:53 AM   #15
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A sunken trawler/cruiser would never be on my shopping list.

Meh....

A little pressure wash and she'll be fine.
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Old 04-29-2017, 11:44 AM   #16
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Yup. That'll buff out...
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