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Old 04-07-2013, 03:59 PM   #1
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Under Used Boats

Who in their right mind buys a boat and pays for monthly berthage and insurance all for the privilege of letting it sit in the slip and not use it? I currently only use my boat 2 to 3 times a month and feel I can use it more if I tried. Still can't help but notice most folks seem quite content to allow their boats to decompose. More money than brains perhaps?

I would take some pictures of these things but find the subject to depressing to waste my time snapping a photo.

This is perhaps the wrong place to ask a question like this but I've tried talking to the owners of said boats at the dock and they never seem to show up for me to ask...
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Old 04-07-2013, 04:14 PM   #2
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For the 12years we've been on our dock there was a GB36 in a shed boathouse across the way the same vintage as our. It never moved and was never even visited by its owner during that entire 12 years. Yet the moorage was paid and the insurance (our marina requires insurance).

The boat was put out of its misery last year when the boathouse burned and took all 20 boats inside with it. I've been told that this same owner has an equally neglected/abandoned GB32 in the other basin. Pays the bills, has nothing to do with the boat.
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Old 04-07-2013, 04:49 PM   #3
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I'd keep a fire watch on that second shed!
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Old 04-07-2013, 05:13 PM   #4
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You never know. It could be;

- health issues,
- owner dies and spouse can't bare to sell it,
- major family issues,
- a once held dream fades away,
- etc...

My dad bought his first boat in his late 50's and had to sell it shortly thereafter because of health complications. It broke his heart. I told him it was better to have dreamt and lost than to have never had dreamt at all, but it didn't help much.

Could be simple negligence, or there could be a sad story behind it.
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Old 04-07-2013, 05:36 PM   #5
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It's a dream. I know about dreams, I shoe horses servicing dreams. No one dreams they will be too busy to use it, that it will cost so much to keep and use, or that their dreams will change over time. Next thing you know you have cut down all the trees for fences and barns and then you decide you like dogs better :-) Hard to put back the trees, you have a lot invested, and you sit and look at your investment unwilling to admit it was a mistake. I bought a 15 year old boat with 46.5 hours on the original engine...
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Old 04-07-2013, 05:53 PM   #6
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my marina in Olympia WA has many boats that I never see leave their slips. Most of them are in covered moorages which are not cheap. I have chatted up the staff at the marina and they tell me the owners keep mailing in their monthly payments and maintain insurance as required. I spotted one that has not been registered since 2003. My boat was one of these when I bought it. Though it had been registered and kept under cover, it never went anywhere. Reportedly it had been a dream of grand parents to use with the grand children but alas the grand children wanted a go fast boat for the local lakes instead.
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Old 04-07-2013, 06:16 PM   #7
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I tried to buy a vessel in which the owner had bought into a payment plan that 10 years after purchase still left him with substantially more debt than the vessel was worth in the current market. With more debt than value it was impossible for him to sell the only collateral he had for the lien holder. Stuck... I am sure that is the story for more than one boat owner. Even keeping them on the hard is expensive some places, as much as a slip.
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Old 04-07-2013, 06:20 PM   #8
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We used walk by a little San Juan 24 sailboat every time we went to our first sailboat, which was at least once a week. This little yellow hulled boat literally had a garden growing in the cockpit, let alone moss growing everywhere else on it. Some of the plants were a foot high! It never moved in two years, nor did we ever see anyone on board. (I used to pull a joke on first time visitors. When we were halfway to our own boat, I'd stop at this one and cheerfully say "Well, here we are!" You should have seen some of the looks on friend's faces...) Anyway, I had a friend who was a fan of San Juans and wanted to know if the owner - who OBVIOUSLY didn't give a sh*t about the boat (or so I thought at the time) - would be interested in selling. I asked the harbormaster who replied he was never going to ask the owner that question again. Last time he did ask on the phone the guy absolutely ripped into him, swearing and yelling "It's my damn boat and it's NOT for sale to anyone!!!!!!" Come to find out the guy had kept the boat there for years and always sent a check for a year's moorage every January, and never did come to visit it...
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Old 04-07-2013, 06:29 PM   #9
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I think it's a case of friends saying "you can afford it now - you should buy a boat!" Great idea, go out and let the salesman talk you into the most boat you can afford. Now you're a boater.

Some find out that they like entertaining on the boat and it becomes a floating condo. Others just never figure out what to do with it. It's probably rare that they suddenly become "real" boaters. The kind who live to go cruising. But I'm sure it happens.

Nothing against using the boat as a trophy of success, or a floating condo. To each their own.
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Old 04-07-2013, 06:40 PM   #10
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Most boats in my marina rarely if ever leave berth. This includes a couple of sloops where the mainsails are left uncovered on the boom. carelessly, as if left in a hurry. There are boats with what could be a decade's accumulation of bird droppings. Some boats are in disrepair and are slowly "dissolving."

My next-door berth neighbor has a 43-foot motorboat, and I have only known him to take the boat out once in two years. His wife is wheelchair-bound, and she moaned in pain getting off the boat. I see him every few months when he visits/washes his boat. Yeah, age, health, etcetera issues keeps people away from their boats, and the dream is hard to abandon.
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Old 04-07-2013, 09:27 PM   #11
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For some guys it's a badge of honor. For some it's a dream, for others a get away. There's a 53' Hatteras in our harbor that was stretched to 57'. I know the owner, he's a heck of a nice guy. His partner doesn't like to boat, she'd rather spend time at home, so it's his man cave. It's requires at least two crew to move it (I love to volunteer when he needs crew). It goes out two times a year - 4th of July for an overnight, and in September it moves up the island to serve as a jump off point for fishing expeditions. It doesn't get 6 or 8 hours a year on its bottom - but it is GORGEOUS. He dotes on the boat, scrubs, polishes, upgrades this or that with the latest. The boat doesn't often leave the dock but the owner gets a lot of satisfaction from it.
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Old 04-07-2013, 09:33 PM   #12
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There are many reasons for not using a boat. Hopefully these reasons are not related to health, but it happens. For us, it's use it while we can!
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Old 04-07-2013, 09:37 PM   #13
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Last I checked its a free country. If someone wants to buy a boat and pay for moorage and assist a marina while keeping their boat afloat... So freaking what?!

Too much time on your hands if you're worried about what other boaters are doing. Just sayin.
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Old 04-07-2013, 10:10 PM   #14
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Blue Heron, I see your point. But then you're missing the point. So I guess it's kinda pointless...

I don't think anyone here is spending too time worrying about it. It's just a shame that otherwise beautiful boats are sometimes left to rot at the dock. Just simple as that.
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Old 04-07-2013, 10:29 PM   #15
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I, too, have shared concern for owner and vessel when eyeing a long-ignored boat locked in its slip. It reminds me of dashed dreams, unkept promises and missed opportunities. To me it's sad for vessel and owner, but makes me appreciate what I have every day.

Carpe diem!!
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Old 04-07-2013, 10:30 PM   #16
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why dont these folk rent them out and at least pay for the marina fees? Youre not using it anyway, and if for some reason it starts on fire, sinks, ect...you have insurance. Engines like to be ran. Not running an engine is a hell of a lot worse on it then running it......or am i just an idiot here? lol
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Old 04-07-2013, 11:22 PM   #17
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Kind of strange reading this thread. My wife and I have been boat owners for our entire married life, 48 years this August. Up until four years ago, we were sport fisherman/cruisers.

Back in 2000 we retired and moved from the NE to Florida and we still fished/cruised etc. Fours years ago we bout our first trawler and three months later my wife was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Since then things have been sliding away from us.

The smart thing is to sell the boat, but boat ownership has never been about being smart. I am struggling to find ways to safely get on the boat and get underway safely. I can handle the boat without a crew, not a problem. The issue is, I can't predict what she will do next.

It breaks my heart that she is sick and I am rapidly loosing her. It breaks my heart that we can't enjoy the boat .

Guess my boat is one of those sad stories.

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Old 04-07-2013, 11:25 PM   #18
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I can care less about how other folks spend their money BH. Heck, stack it in a pile and light it on fire if it makes them happy. Morbid curiosity caused me to start the thread and ask the question. I totally understand the well maintained dock queen example, heck I understand poorly maintained dock queen's too. The owners are getting use from them at the dock.

What I lacked understanding is the situations that lead folks to essentially abandon their boat in a marina. Every one of us has seen them. Health issues, deaths and broken dreams make as good of sense as anything else to me. As far as that line of logic goes every one of us with a used boat is essentially riding around in someone else's broken dream to some extent. Or perhaps a dream they outgrew and decided to chase another one.

In my case broken dream sums up the previous owner of my boat well. They spent a year in a yard pouring money into it then life happened and they lost their mobility less than 6 months after completing it. 6 months after that I bought the boat.

I completely agree with you Al, it strikes me as sad for both the boat and owner.

Edit: Wow John, just read your post above. I'm sorry for what you are going through. That has to be tough.
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Old 04-07-2013, 11:50 PM   #19
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There also may be hope on the part of a boat owner whose life has changed to the point where using the boat is not practical or possible that things might return someday to normal where the boat can once again be used. So they hang on, paying the necessary bills while they struggle with the new hand they've been dealt. A month can become six can become a year can become three years in the blink of an eye..

To us, we see an abandoned boat. To the owner, the boat may represent a hope that someday the current challenge will be overcome. Selling the boat may seem to them to be an admission of defeat, that life for them will, in fact, never return to what they perceive as normal.

So while it's a shame to see a boat sit neglected and unused, perhaps it is filling a role of providing a sense of hope that helps keep the owner going through difficult times. In that regard, then, the boat may still be adding value to the owner's life..
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Old 04-07-2013, 11:56 PM   #20
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That's another great perspective Marin and one I had not considered. Thanks for that.
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