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Old 03-20-2015, 03:45 PM   #1
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Use it or loose it

The title of my thread is a little mis-leading however ....

I am nearing a time when a four letter word in my life called work won't get in the way of what I really want to do. And that is to do some cruising for weeks at a time. My current arrangement allows me to store a 27' foot, three and a half ton express cruiser on my property (land) in an enclosure and when I want to go into local water just drive 60 minutes and I am there for a few days. When not used my boat needs very little and costs very little not use it. The batteries are kept up with a charger, the water and waste tanks are emptied before I take the boat out of the water and a ritiual I do is to fill the fuel tank before I park the trailer. So non-use is confined to keeping the sun off of the boat and trailer, keeping the insurance and license fees paid. The boat needs very little maintence, upkeep or repairs when NOT used. If you notice I live a good 6 hour drive from a US saltwater acess. Sooooooo

Stepping up now to something that could cruise for weeks would need to be slipped on the West Coast. For much of the time remain unused waiting for that four letter word in my world to wind down it's influence. I also believe (may be in error) that the entry cost for this vice may be lower now than some point in the future. So if I bought a yacht in the next year or so, some money may be saved over waiting when the market really gets going and the price of things heats up. And I wouild have a new place to go a few times a year. However that isn't necessarily my question.

My question involves non-use of a trawler (or any larger yacht) for maintence and upkeep. Doing the routines I currently do now I would asume still apply batteries, tanks and such. However if I only was only to be at the trawler 2 to 5 times a year wouldn't upkeep still be needed on some level? Water is a harsh environment. Or better asked, What type of maintence or upkeep should be done or expected even if the yacht isn't used?

What I don't want to do is buy now and then have a major pain a few years from now because upkeep or maintence was not done. I did discover the hard way a long time ago, maintenance is a far easier thing than repairs.

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Old 03-20-2015, 04:23 PM   #2
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Spend way more on the boat and way more on the cost to store the boat only to use it 2-5 times per year? I would ask myself a few questions...


1) how much more will I be spending to store and maintain a larger boat?


2) How long until you can use the boat for extended periods of time?


3) How much will the cost of a larger boat increase over that (q#2) time?


4) How much money could I save in that same time if I didn't buy a larger boat?


If the value appreciates slower than the increase in cost then it makes no sense. You are basing this on the assumption that there will be a dramatic increase in boat pricing in the relatively near future.
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Old 03-20-2015, 04:29 PM   #3
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There is a rather large difference between two and five times a year. If you're only going to use a boat twice a year, charter. No reason to own. The boat will suffer from lack of care. It will cost you more than chartering. If five times a year, depends on how much each time. If that is ten weeks then might make sense to own.

You can get yacht management companies to do what you're currently doing on your boat at home for the one hours away. Obviously another cost. Non use doesn't have to be neglect, but it typically is. In the case of engines and generators twice a year wouldn't be enough.

I'd look at a few charter companies in boats that you're interested, then look at cost of owning and maintaining. Compare. Charter rates do vary a lot. I'm just going to use a number of $5000 per week. So lets say you charter twice a year for two weeks. That's $20,000. Sounds like a huge amount. But dockage for the same boat could easily run you $15,000 a year in some places, $8,000 in others. Insurance, property taxes if applicable. And this is before maintenance. You're not there so are you going to spend half of every trip catching maintenance up or going to pay for it? And the boat will depreciate. Let's just say you buy a $200,000 boat. By the time you add slip, maintenance, expenses and depreciation together it's going to cost you far more than chartering would. And it would worry you a lot less. Also, you can go different places, experience different boats, really learn a lot about what you like and dislike.

I see a lot of unused boats in Fort Lauderdale and know some yacht management people. I see the costs just pile up. One other thing common with many of them. The manager will point out things needed to be done and while not using it they'll say no as they don't want to spend on it. Well, I know one boat the owner hadn't seen in 4 years. Had paid for the slip and a monthly management fee. The batteries were kept charged, the engines run, boat washed as needed, hull cleaned as needed, everything watched. But anything optional ignored. Now he decides to use it and to fix a few things. Very expensive one time expenditure.

Boating is an expensive hobby that I love. But spending that money not to boat is something I'd have a hard time doing.
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Old 03-20-2015, 04:33 PM   #4
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If the value appreciates slower than the increase in cost then it makes no sense. You are basing this on the assumption that there will be a dramatic increase in boat pricing in the relatively near future.
I would say that's a very dangerous assumption, especially in the case of used boats. Generally boats depreciate. Just holding value is great fortune. If you buy a boat today that is 15 years old, don't compare a 15 year old boat in five years, compare a 20 year old. Then throw in the fact that in all likelihood there would be a brokerage fee, so that's another 10%.
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Old 03-20-2015, 04:38 PM   #5
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Greetings,
Mr. S. Please tell me what brand and model of boat is appreciating. I'll buy 2.
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Old 03-20-2015, 04:45 PM   #6
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What about a BIGGER boat you could comfortably cruise on for weeks at a time, that comes with a trailer and a big tow vehicle so you can pull it out when not using it?

Interesting boat...

http://m.yachtworld.com/boats/2007-n...ates-yw2759944
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Old 03-20-2015, 05:50 PM   #7
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I wouldn't advise buying a boat for occasional use 6 hrs away form home. I doubt you'd save much by buying early after factoring in the cost of storage, insurance, maintenance, etc. There are always values on the market...it just takes research and timing.

I bought my boat 5 years before retirement to use it and make sure it's what I wanted to do before pulling the plug on my career. What I found was that as a 7.5 kt boat, it was the right boat for retirement but not the ideal boat for a working stiff. I was able to use my boat every weekend if desired and it sat about an hour away from home. If I could only use it every other month after a 6 hr one-way drive, I wouldn't have done it. Just learning to operate it safely takes time and practice. I took lessons to meet the insurance requirements when moving up from my runabout. Without regular use, I would have forgotten all I learned.

All boats in the water are in varying states of decay, but they are all trending in the same direction - down. A boat's natural tendency to rest on the bottom cannot be delayed forever even with proper maintenance and might come on quite rapidly without attention and maintenance.

My recommendation would be to wait until you can use the boat often and/or get to the boat easily. Many here travel long distances to their boat slips but are able to go more than 2-5 times per year.
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Old 03-20-2015, 05:50 PM   #8
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What about a BIGGER boat you could comfortably cruise on for weeks at a time, that comes with a trailer and a big tow vehicle so you can pull it out when not using it?

Interesting boat...

Search new and used boats for sale - YachtWorld.com Mobile
I kind of have this situation now. Not necessaarily a trawler however the boat I have now works for inland waters and I have had it in waters outside of S. CA.

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Old 03-20-2015, 06:16 PM   #9
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I see a lot of unused boats in Fort Lauderdale and know some yacht management people. I see the costs just pile up. One other thing common with many of them. The manager will point out things needed to be done and while not using it they'll say no as they don't want to spend on it. Well, I know one boat the owner hadn't seen in 4 years. Had paid for the slip and a monthly management fee. The batteries were kept charged, the engines run, boat washed as needed, hull cleaned as needed, everything watched. But anything optional ignored. Now he decides to use it and to fix a few things. Very expensive one time expenditure.
The above situation is not exclusive to FL, or trawlers or even salt water. It is also not some thing I would want to duplicate as it has been done. Walk into any marina and that boat you describe is there!!

Nor am I looking for an appeciating asset that floats. While it may exist somewhere it would not be my goal in any purchase. I would be buying because I want to use that asset at some point. Little now and a lot later. I have seen the cost to rent a slip and that seems to be the largest expense.

My question with out getting to dollars is to what upkeep would be advisable to do on an annual basis or what might be expected to be done by some one.

Those things "ignored" that you mention above are the unknown for me. I was in the automotive field for years and scheduled maintence is rather easy to know and anticipate. My current boat I do all of that upkeep and maintence and it is rater easy. Moving up 20 feet I am pretty sure is an all together arrangement. I know boating is expensive so we are talking about pitching larger bills in the water. I can estimate the cost what I am looking for is an idea of what could be expected to be done over the course of a year, in S Cal. Because a trawler in places where water gets hard on land is not my kind of living. I don't like white stuff in the air or on the ground.

As to current usage of a trawler, I don't see it more than a couple weeks out of any given year and a couple of weekends because of my schedule. I used to live near the Puget Sound and that location or any other close to a marina is different. Like the 3 best features in Real Estate. With that said doing work on the boat, while that has some attraction to me cuz I like to tinker, my family would be with me and they don't. So on those limited times I would want to not be doing upkeep and certainly don't want to fix broke. In all likely I would contract out the maintenance for this.

Chartering has another attraction to me. It would be a way of cruising and not being married to one specific trawler. So I could do several different makes over time and then figure out what works for me.

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Old 03-20-2015, 06:20 PM   #10
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I took lessons to meet the insurance requirements when moving up from my runabout. Without regular use, I would have forgotten all I learned.
I didn't know lessons were even available.

At the risk of forgetting (I do a lot of that lately - seen my keys?) what lesson might be available?
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Old 03-20-2015, 06:48 PM   #11
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I didn't know lessons were even available.

At the risk of forgetting (I do a lot of that lately - seen my keys?) what lesson might be available?
All sorts of lessons from Power Squadron to Maritime School and Captain's licenses.
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Old 03-20-2015, 06:59 PM   #12
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The above situation is not exclusive to FL, or trawlers or even salt water. It is also not some thing I would want to duplicate as it has been done. Walk into any marina and that boat you describe is there!!

Nor am I looking for an appeciating asset that floats. While it may exist somewhere it would not be my goal in any purchase. I would be buying because I want to use that asset at some point. Little now and a lot later. I have seen the cost to rent a slip and that seems to be the largest expense.

My question with out getting to dollars is to what upkeep would be advisable to do on an annual basis or what might be expected to be done by some one.

Those things "ignored" that you mention above are the unknown for me. I was in the automotive field for years and scheduled maintence is rather easy to know and anticipate. My current boat I do all of that upkeep and maintence and it is rater easy. Moving up 20 feet I am pretty sure is an all together arrangement. I know boating is expensive so we are talking about pitching larger bills in the water. I can estimate the cost what I am looking for is an idea of what could be expected to be done over the course of a year, in S Cal. Because a trawler in places where water gets hard on land is not my kind of living. I don't like white stuff in the air or on the ground.

As to current usage of a trawler, I don't see it more than a couple weeks out of any given year and a couple of weekends because of my schedule. I used to live near the Puget Sound and that location or any other close to a marina is different. Like the 3 best features in Real Estate. With that said doing work on the boat, while that has some attraction to me cuz I like to tinker, my family would be with me and they don't. So on those limited times I would want to not be doing upkeep and certainly don't want to fix broke. In all likely I would contract out the maintenance for this.

Chartering has another attraction to me. It would be a way of cruising and not being married to one specific trawler. So I could do several different makes over time and then figure out what works for me.

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A seldom used boat first requires the vast majority of the same maintenance of a frequently used one. Most users change fluids on a time rather than usage hours basis simply as they reach the time first. Typically most things are annual. Impellers, belts, all basically the same as more used. Boats still need washing, bottoms still need cleaning. Frequency of painting the body will actually worsen with non-use.

In addition you're talking someone to start and run it periodically, you're talking about maintaining the batteries.

I'd estimate the maintenance costs of a boat to be 70% fixed and 30% based on hours of usage.

Then you're adding a cost since you do the maintenance now and with infrequent use wouldn't want to sacrifice family time to do it. Raising your cost of maintenance significantly.

You're also looking at a lot of additional systems. More heads. Perhaps or perhaps not an extra gen. Maybe a watermaker. Navigation equipment you may not be familiar with. Twice the length in boat will be 4 times the work. So you can't compare to today even if you were able to use it regularly.

With two weeks and two weekends a year, you will never financially justify owning a boat. If you own one it's simply because you want to own it. But don't try to spin anything in the direction of saying it's a wise financial choice. It would be like buying a house in Florida and letting it sit empty and unused because you hope to move there one day.
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Old 03-20-2015, 07:33 PM   #13
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I wouldn't advise buying a boat for occasional use 6 hrs away form home. I doubt you'd save much by buying early after factoring in the cost of storage, insurance, maintenance, etc. There are always values on the market...it just takes research and timing.

I bought my boat 5 years before retirement to use it and make sure it's what I wanted to do before pulling the plug on my career. What I found was that as a 7.5 kt boat, it was the right boat for retirement but not the ideal boat for a working stiff. I was able to use my boat every weekend if desired and it sat about an hour away from home. If I could only use it every other month after a 6 hr one-way drive, I wouldn't have done it. Just learning to operate it safely takes time and practice. I took lessons to meet the insurance requirements when moving up from my runabout. Without regular use, I would have forgotten all I learned.

All boats in the water are in varying states of decay, but they are all trending in the same direction - down. A boat's natural tendency to rest on the bottom cannot be delayed forever even with proper maintenance and might come on quite rapidly without attention and maintenance.

My recommendation would be to wait until you can use the boat often and/or get to the boat easily. Many here travel long distances to their boat slips but are able to go more than 2-5 times per year.


Everyone has said about the same.

YOur costs will never be recovered, no matter what the boat market does in the next 5 years.
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Old 03-20-2015, 08:14 PM   #14
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wait until you retire. The costs and problems of keeping a boat so remote from your home for so little use is too high and the boat will only lose value as you wait for retirement. What you have sounds like a good deal for occasional use.
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Old 03-20-2015, 08:24 PM   #15
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I could not imagine being 6 hours from my boat and only being aboard 2-5 times a season. I would spend more time aboard catching up on maintenance then cruising. Not to mention the constant worry of something happening, are the batteries charged, did I accidentally switch the bilge pump off, etc.
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Old 03-20-2015, 08:57 PM   #16
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Use it or loose it

We went from not owning a boat at all and (as a couple) not spending any time on a boat, to buying a large 42' trawler that was way more than we needed, but everything we wanted. Why? Because we both knew our best times had been spent near the water, and I had out many days at sea on commercial fishing boats. We did two things first. We did an extensive power squadron course, followed that up with on-water training and courses: women and boating for the admiral and me practising docking with one of my fishermen over a bunch of days. We then did two bare-boat charters in Desolation Sound. We concluded that this lifestyle was something we'd like to try. The first year we had our boat we put in almost 6 weeks. The 2nd year, 8 weeks. This year we have a 3 month trip planned. The biggest surprise has been all the time (and money and worry) I put in on her getting her ready. It's been a steep learning curve for this rookie!

All of this time we got on LOTS of boats. Probably over 100. Started looking at CHB 34's, then 38' Europas, then 40-42' Europas. But I always liked the wheelhouse on the semi boats I had been on and when I got on a KK42 it was love at first sight. And yes, I got on 3 of those. My wife had just had some major surgery on her ankle and it would be 4-5 months before she would be able to get on one but I knew (knowing her) that she would be smitten too.

As I said we got on LOTS of boats over 2 years but the common theme was so many of these boats were not being used. For example there was one 4-year-old North Pacific Trawler 39' that had
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Old 03-20-2015, 09:19 PM   #17
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I agree with what has been said above. We live 4 hours drive away from our boat but we make a real effort to get up to it every 2nd week year round. This does not alway work out but at least we can go boating all year here in New Zealand. If we did not get up to the boat as much as we do, then I would really have to question whether it was a worthwhile thing to own.
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Old 03-21-2015, 12:00 AM   #18
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I guess I have not been clear on my question. Forget about costs or if it worth it that is value decision and only I will be able to make a value decision for me.

My question is what kind of maintence is needed on a regular basis? Surely the knowledge base here can give me some idea about what care needs to go into a vessel in Southern CA water. I assume none of you maintain your vessel as you feel like it. Some one stated above, 70% is fixed and the other 30% is usage based. So the 70% should be done no matter what usage level. What the heck is done in that 70%?!!!!! I know it needs to get hauled to clean the bottom at some point. How often? What other things need to get done on a regular basis? Not broken things either as things will always break and there is no schedule for that. I have yet to find a list of items that need to be done on a regular basis in this industry. The car or truck you are driving there is all kinds of data and lists online with a schedule based on usage levels.

Does this better state my question?
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Old 03-21-2015, 12:31 AM   #19
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Maintenance is always required. Not the major things like zincs and anti-foul, but smaller issues that if left become bigger issues. I find that i have always got a few jobs to do each time I am on the boat. Salt water is not the nicest of environments and you will be continually dealing with corrosion.
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Old 03-21-2015, 12:42 AM   #20
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I guess I have not been clear on my question. Forget about costs or if it worth it that is value decision and only I will be able to make a value decision for me.

My question is what kind of maintence is needed on a regular basis? Surely the knowledge base here can give me some idea about what care needs to go into a vessel in Southern CA water. I assume none of you maintain your vessel as you feel like it. Some one stated above, 70% is fixed and the other 30% is usage based. So the 70% should be done no matter what usage level. What the heck is done in that 70%?!!!!! I know it needs to get hauled to clean the bottom at some point. How often? What other things need to get done on a regular basis? Not broken things either as things will always break and there is no schedule for that. I have yet to find a list of items that need to be done on a regular basis in this industry. The car or truck you are driving there is all kinds of data and lists online with a schedule based on usage levels.

Does this better state my question?
As to cost, you introduced it into the equation. As to maintenance, you already stated "doing the routines I currently do now I would asume still apply batteries, tanks and such. However if I only was only to be at the trawler 2 to 5 times a year wouldn't upkeep still be needed on some level?" so I assumed you knew routine maintenance and all that would still be required. All engine maintenance.

It better states your attitude but I guess also the only part of the question you want answered. I thought you were an experienced boater and knew what elements went into maintenance. As to date and lists online nearly every engine manufacturer has those schedules available as well as manuals. It will depend on what boat, what engines, what generators and what other equipment.

Regular running of the engines was stated earlier as part of the maintenance as was charging and maintaining the batteries. Cleaning the boat and bottom washing. How frequently is subject to preference but no different using or not using. And no, it doesn't have to get hauled to clean the bottom. That's often done by divers. I would haul it annually though to check all running gear, check and replace anodes as needed. Every few years bottom painting.

I stated the 70%. Oil and fluid changes. Generally most things will require annual attention at the very least. Same thing with generators. Some form of keeping your water clean so regular checking and perhaps chemicals. Same with holding tank. If you have a watermaker, it.

I'm looking at a Yanmar schedule right now. Check the fuel system monthly, replace the filter annually (it's 250 hours or annually, whichever comes first, as are the other items I'll mention). Check the fuel injection annually. Change the engine oil and replace the filter every six months. Inspect/Replace anodes annually. Check all hoses and impellers regularly. Service turbochargers and exhaust systems annually.

Everything mentioned on engines basically applies to generators too as they're engines.

Caterpillar lists alternator belt, water pump impeller, cooling system, air cleaner, engine mounts, sending oil samples for analysis, primary and secondary fuel filters, hoses and clamps, sea water strainers.

You can add regular checks on things like all the bilge pumps, making sure the shore power is hooked up and charging the batteries as it should, checking for any leaks or water, making sure no one's intruded. Personally, I'd want someone to at least be looking at my boat weekly. Now the marina might provide that service, but certainly monthly.

You have a boat that you maintain now. The one not being used is very little different. The 30% that does vary by hours used is more along the lines of rebuilds and major work.

For more specific detail, just pick the boat you're considering, see what engines and generators it has and google that brand and maintenance schedules. For anything that doesn't have hours and time as factors, I'd assume anything listed as being done every 250 hours, should at least be done annually.
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