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Old 08-28-2013, 05:12 PM   #21
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Your surveyor is correct ! No insurance company will cover fuel tanks like that. Its extremely unlikely that they'll cover gasoline in a bladder either and as someone else mentioned welding in place (if you can find someone to do it ... unlikely) will be more expensive than you'd think.

Soft decks will not hurt anything but the value of the boat, same with the blisters.
The fuel tanks however are a deal breaker.
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Old 08-28-2013, 08:42 PM   #22
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Quote:
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Blisters are cosmetic, per his surveyor. I've never seen a boat sink from blisters, especially in the North West. Most blisters are actually in the bottom paint rendering them nothing more than an eye sore for the first 10 minutes after taking it out of the water. Blister issues are mainly scare tactics from yards who want costly repair jobs. Someone will have to show me pictures of boats that sunk or had to be scrapped due to blisters before I change my mind.
There are blisters, and blisters. Generalization is unsafe, even if this case is cosmetic, though 100 in number would bother me.
Adelaide, I can`t meet your standard of proof and understand you may disregard this, but:
1. On my boat some blisters were ground about 1/2 inch deep before water intrusion was eradicated.
2. A shipwright told me he has had to grind through a hull to eradicate a blister, forming up a repair inside. I`ve no reason to disbelieve him.
3. An older sailboat, presenting at a yard I trust, had osmosis penetration deep enough to wet the interior. The furniture was glassed in, the cost of repair, including removing/replacing the furniture, made the boat not economically repairable.

There may be yards which "scare" people into unecessary repairs, but IMO, there are blisters which need repair and it is unsafe to assume otherwise in all cases.
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Old 08-29-2013, 06:09 AM   #23
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If the tanks have to be replaced talk with someone who has done it. The time, expense of removing everything in the engine room is enormous. What is worse however is the number of mechanical electrical items which don't work after they have been removed and replaced. My simple Yanmar 27 hp engine has never worked correctly after our fuel tanks were replaced and I have spent a thousand dollars in mechanics trying to figure out why.

Thus if the fuel tanks must be replaced - be prepared.
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Old 08-29-2013, 07:23 AM   #24
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Blisters are cosmetic, per his surveyor. I've never seen a boat sink from blisters, especially in the NW. Most blisters are actually in the bottom paint rendering them nothing more than an eye sore for the first 10 minutes after taking it out of the water. Blister issues are mainly scare tactics from yards who want costly repair jobs. Someone will have to show me pictures of boats that sunk or had to be scrapped due to blisters before I change my mind.
Mine might have come close...the hydrolysis problem was at least 1/2 way through the laminates on a 5x5 foot section underneath the starboard fuel tank spanning more than 2 ribs. The serious damage may have come when the boat was out of the water and the weight of the fuel tanks may have exceeded the strength of that section and started to crack ribs. Another few winter freeze thaw cycles on this severely delaminated area was disturbing.

The only way to find a problem like mine is hull coring or grinding...I just happened to get there because of my "cosmetic" blisters as described by the surveyor and I decided to strip and barrier coat.

My estimation is there are other 1980's vintage boats out there where there is a much bigger problem than the owners know...but a fresh coat of bottom paint keeps everyone happy.
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Old 08-29-2013, 09:41 AM   #25
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Well, heres what my surveyor is saying

"Each opening into the fuel tank must be at or above the topmost surface of the tank." A clean out plate is certainly an opening.

The reasoning is obvious: if the fitting or opening leaks, there is little chance of fire or explosion if the fitting is on the top of the tank above the fuel. On the side of a full tank there could be a problem.
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Old 08-29-2013, 09:43 AM   #26
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Looks like a walk unless the seller is going to come down enough for me to replace tanks. I think all prospective buyers are going to have this issue and when it comes time to pay for insurance it also might continue to be a problem.
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Old 08-29-2013, 10:57 AM   #27
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Looks like a walk unless the seller is going to come down enough for me to replace tanks. I think all prospective buyers are going to have this issue and when it comes time to pay for insurance it also might continue to be a problem.
I think walking away is a good idea.

You learn something from failed surveys.

You might consider, on an older boat, making friends with your surveyor. Figure out how to pay him to "just look over" a boat that you are considering an offer on.

I would think that you could hire a surveyor for that kind of service for much less than a full survey. He could catch things before you get big bucks invested in a full survey, haulout, etc...
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Old 08-29-2013, 12:47 PM   #28
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I just spoke with insurance and they said, as long as we see it as an acceptable risk they will carry. He wants to see the survey but didn't say that they wouldn't. Maybe what I'll do potentially is use this to negotiate down and begin enjoying the boat?? It's close to what we're looking for and has a lot of the systems we are looking for as well. In addition the surveyor said it was in better shape than most in this vintage. Leaves me to believe if I correct the issues then she would be a good start for the next five years. I am going to look at a few more this weekend and make a decision after this weekend. Sleep on it a few more days.
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Old 08-29-2013, 01:22 PM   #29
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I too would not be comfortable with the inspection ports in the tanks. Prior to making an offer on the boat, perhaps have the current owner speak to the vendor the did the work to see what (if any) role they choose to take in the remedy of this situation (that they caused).

If you do choose to proceed, it would be wise to do so with am immediate plan to replace the tanks. Gasoline is not a substance to take risk with and while there may be other solutions - replacement of the tanks is by far the best one. Get a shipyard price for that work, but also get a schedule and duration - as the boat will be out of service for that repair. With these numbers in hand - begin your negotiation and prepare yourself with your own compromise limits .

As hard as it is to walk away from this sake - particularly seeing as you're invested in it - you need to be prepared to do so. his is not only your safety - it's also the safety of everyone else on the boat, and near the boat.

Here's hoping you can reach a suitable comprise...
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Old 08-29-2013, 04:26 PM   #30
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I would have guessed that a 32-year-old turn key gasser 34 Tolly Convertible would be in the 35-40K price range. Subtract the soft deck, inoperative equipment and fuel tank issues, I'd be uncomfortable with anything above the low-20Ks.

There are so many good boats out there with motivated sellers. Now's the time to be a buyer. Maybe I'd chalk it up to a $1500 lesson and move on all the wiser. Next time, you'll be better educated to spot the problems and identify new ones before sinking $$ into a haul out.
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Old 08-29-2013, 05:53 PM   #31
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Yeah, right now I have a quote about $6k just in labor and add another $3k for tanks. So your right on the money to the $20s. It's sad that something as easy as a fuel plate/access would cause such an issue. Well the ball is in the owners court and we'll see what he is going to do. I am however looking for plan B as I don't think he is going to take the hit to what he feels is his bottom line.
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Old 08-29-2013, 06:27 PM   #32
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If you walk away from this boat find a Surveyor like mine. If I see a boat that I may be interested in, he told me to call him and he will come out and take a look at it and he will tell me if it is worthy of a full survey. If it's not, we go get a cup of coffee and I pay him a few bucks for his time. It's a lot less painful that way. And less painful than when I used to see him in his previous occupation 30 years ago. He was my Chiropractor!

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Old 08-29-2013, 07:32 PM   #33
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Getting a lot harder here,
He's willing to drop down to $25k or he will install new tanks.
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Old 08-29-2013, 08:44 PM   #34
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I'd take the boat and hire a welder to repair the tanks. Yes, it can be done safely.
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Old 08-29-2013, 09:58 PM   #35
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After much thought - and some sleeplessness (which I am sure everyone can relate to) I have offered the owner just over $20k to take on everything that needs attention and move the process along so it becomes my problem and not his. We'll see what he does. I am going to grind down the faux teak deck and renew the deck while repairing the soft/moisture spots, either have the tanks welded by an experienced welder or put in new tanks.
Replace carpet
add new GPS
fix the laundry list of items found on the survey
add canvas top and back
and hopefully enjoy the heck out of the new boat!!
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Old 08-29-2013, 10:41 PM   #36
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Hi Bshillam.

Holes in the side of a gasoline fuel tank are, indeed, in violation of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFRs) that govern how the Coast Guard enforces safety issues in vessels. Should you be stopped for a routine safety inspection while underway, you will in all probability be cited for unsafe fuel storage, and probably escorted back to port ASAP. As pointed out by others, it is highly unlikely that an insurance company will issue a liability policy (much less property damage) for a vessel with an illegal fuel storage system aboard, particularly on a gas boat. Don't forget that the insurance companies require a copy of the survey before they issue the policy. Ever seen a gasoline boat blow up at engine startup as a result of a faulty fuel system? It ain't pretty.

Can you effectively repair damage to the existing tanks caused by the dingbats that "polished" the fuel (gasoline? Polish? huh?)? In my opinion, not a chance. Your response to "empty the tanks of gasoline. Fill with water. Weld. Replace gasoline" is not very realistic. Presumably the access covers are screwed or through-bolted to the tanks, with a gasket between. So, welding the perimeter of the cover to the tank is (theoretically) possible. But, how do you keep the gasket from frying during welding? What do you do about the through-bolts that still penetrate the sides of the tanks? You can no longer access the interior of the tank to extract the bolts. If the covers are screwed on from the outside instead of through-bolted, presumably the tank itself is drilled and tapped through. If you withdraw the screw and attempt to plug weld the screw hole, out comes the water!

If you only partially fill the tanks with water in the first place, stand WAY WAY WAY back when the welder comes close with his TIG or MIG welder. ANY void in the tank will be vapor-filled, and an absolute guarantee of an explosion when welding is attempted. And if you find a welder that is willing to weld on a gasoline tank while it's still in place in the interior of a boat, it's highly unlikely he's ever done it before. Again, stand WAY, WAY back, make sure you're heavily insured for worker's comp, and can stand the loss of your boat should it get blown to smithereens.

Are there other solutions? Yeah, you can always butch up something and convince yourself it's OK. Inserting a bladder into the tank is certainly possible, but finding one that will fit is not trivial. Having one made to fit is not inexpensive. Properly plumbing the bladder through the top of the tank is not impossible, but again, non-trivial.

Is an inexpensive boat with a substandard gasoline fuel system worth your life? If you are truly smitten with this particular boat, get several quotes from competent repair yards to replace the fuel tanks, and reduce your offer accordingly. If the seller refuses your offer, run the other way. Gasoline and bad tankage is a bomb waiting to go off.

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Old 08-29-2013, 11:19 PM   #37
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Thanks to all for your comments and suggestions. As it stands I have an offer on the boat at an amount I feel comfortable paying and still having funds to replace the tanks with newly built coast guard approved tanks. I have submitted my survey to the insurance company and will await their response. If the insurance company isn't willing to accept the risk then the owner will have the gas tanks installed. Either way I get fresh tanks in the boat. Everyone is right leaving them as is is simply not acceptable. I am going to have my entire family aboard the vessel and then some. I knowing take risks going out to the water. However taking risks with gas, propane, or any other type of flammable material isn't acceptable. PERIOD. I am glad to pay to have the tanks replaced and then have the opportunity to enjoy them for many years to come.
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Old 08-30-2013, 01:06 PM   #38
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Insurance is binding as of today, with the understanding the safety deficiencies will be corrected in short order! I have already scheduled appointments to pull the old tanks and put in freshly built tanks. I guess the benefit is that the new tanks will have a new sending unit which I needed! Anyhow - now starts the fun,
New gps for the fly, new carpet, new canvas (since it has none), some light mechanical, and so forth! Planning the first weekend get a away too.
I am so looking forward to having a boat again!
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Old 08-30-2013, 01:44 PM   #39
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Good for you and congratulations, just the beginning of a new journey! All the best!!
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Old 08-30-2013, 09:12 PM   #40
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I spoke to a 30 experienced marine heavy welder with Misner Marine, my life long friends dad. He is now years retired but said about welding on a gas tank installed in a boat "you don't have enough money,.... really you don't" when pressed he said not even for a blank check.

You made the right decision, sleep well and enjoy your boat in good health.
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