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Old 07-20-2019, 03:07 PM   #1
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Red face Long Distance Boat Ownership

OK gang, I am considering a trawler in the PNW. (My all time favorite cruising grounds is BC north of Yuculta Rapids). But since I am a Zonie (resident of Arizona) that means that I must leave the boat up there unattended for periods of time, like all winter. Anybody have experience with long distance boat ownership? What do I need to be careful of. What have your experiences been? Do you leave the boat in the water all year or haul her during periods of disuse? What about the maintenance aspects?
Your collective and august thoughts are welcome and should be an informative thread.

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Old 07-20-2019, 03:15 PM   #2
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I could argue to have a superb partner... or better yet, a joint venture.

Find someone that owns the boat you want and make a deal to use it. Share an interest in it for a period of time.

I'm not a fan of partnerships, for the most part, but had a number of them. It's better if one person had control and final say and the other had the right to use, with the optin that either could dissolve the deal with a reasonable notice.

Owning your own and leaving it unattended and unused for months (of even weeks) at a time is a recipe for disaster... unless you have someone that has an interest in it or an unusually expert custodian (rare).

I've done all of the above, but really don't like long distance relationships, unless necessary so the GF doesn't find out about the other GF <g>....

Just sold a boat I had in partnership and it was a high maintenance boat. We both came to the table with the idea that we would both pay more than our share and worked out very well.

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Old 07-20-2019, 03:22 PM   #3
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Southeast Alaska but live in NJ

My buddy and I, both living in NJ have owned a number of boats in Southeast Alaska for over 15 years now. We only get to have fun up there once or twice a year for only 1-1/2 weeks at a time, so we realize doing what we do is a real luxury. We have always kept our boats stored inside and secure. We depend on locals to do small maintenance projects, which always prove frustrating to get done on a timely basis. Our big mother boat is a 30' Sisu Downeast lobster boat. We also have a 21' aluminum jet boat and 3 Mokai's, which are 12' roto-molded plastic kayaks with 7 horse Subaru jet engines. We usually put the Sisu in the water immediately arrival, then fuel up and groceries and head out of town. We would never leave either of our bigger boats in water for fear of sinking with a bilge problem. I can't imagine anyone with half a brain doing what we do, but it works for us and we would not do it differently.
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Old 07-20-2019, 03:46 PM   #4
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I used to live in Tucson and bought a boat that was north of Seattle with the intent of moving it to LA. I kept it in Seattle for about 5 months before running it to LA. We kept it in LA for a couple of years then moved it to San Diego. At the time I had virtually unlimited Southwest Rapid Rewards free tickets so it only cost me $5 to fly round trip from Tucson to Seattle. So it was cheap for me to travel. We did keep the boat in San Diego for about 7 years. It was only 420 miles each way so it was a piece of cake to run to the boat. I am not sure that I would leave a boat in Seattle while living in Arizona for long term. If I were to do it, I would want a covered slip to keep the rain off the boat and help prevent leaks. I would find someone that I could pay a nominal fee to go aboard the boat every week and check it. I would put several wifi cameras on the boat so I could remote monitor it. Also put a system that would be able to check high water, voltages, security and etc. Good luck owning a big boat while living in Arizona can be tough but it can be made to work.
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Old 07-20-2019, 05:25 PM   #5
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If I were to have a boat in the PNW and lived a long distance away from it, I would dry store it.

It will be safe out of the water here in the NW since we don't regularly get huge wind storms. Service and winterize the boat in the fall and there will be nothing to worry about till spring.

There's another thread about moorage and dry storage in the PNW on the forum currently.

We leave Sandpiper in a boathouse for 2 to 3 months in the winter when we go south. It is serviced and winterized at the end of the season. We leave a dehumidifier running in the boat all winter.

We are at a yacht club where members watch each others boat during absences.
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Old 07-20-2019, 05:46 PM   #6
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Why own one? There are a whole bunch of great boats you can charter up there. No fuss, no muss and cheaper too, all-in. That's what we did when we lived in Dallas. It also gives you the freedom to go to other cruising grounds year around. If for some reason you just have to own a boat, I'd suggest putting it in a top rank charter fleet like Northwest Explorations.

"There's the Right Way, the Wrong Way, and what some guy says he's gotten away with"
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Old 07-20-2019, 06:03 PM   #7
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We are in Texas have done the long distance boat thing the past few years. First in Florida and now the boat is in the Bahamas. I canít say itís the best way to own boat because we donít get much boat time compared to most (and itís expensive), but itís a way to see more areas of the world I guess. Flying back out to the Bahamas next month for some boat time in fact.

Chartering a boat would be cheaper I think. Probably what we should do, and maybe we will sell the boat after cruising around more of the Bahamas. I thought we might cruise to the Caribbean but wife probably not up to that, and frankly maybe Iím not either.
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Old 07-20-2019, 06:15 PM   #8
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In the water or on the hard as an absentee owner?....I'd want to be hauled out. For me, it would be a much higher comfort level and a lot less worry when the boat is high and dry..
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Old 07-20-2019, 06:19 PM   #9
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For the time being we have a long-distance relationship with our boat. We keep it in Sidney, BC and live in OR. We typically drive up once a month and take the ferry to Victoria. It is a nice getaway for us.

Being from AZ, you'll want to keep it in a place were you can fly in easily (Victoria airport is just a couple of miles from our marina). Another consideration is good access to local service. We keep it in the water ready to go year round. We do have video cameras (Blink) that we can check over the internet and have someone locally that can check on the boat.

All in all, it is working well for us. Of course, chartering is cheaper and more logical but having your own boat ready to go whenever is priceless.
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Old 07-20-2019, 07:45 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Comodave View Post
... Good luck owning a big boat while living in Arizona can be tough but it can be made to work.
Sunchaser lives in Az,keeps a DF on Vancouver Island. I think they are out cruising now,works for them,and has done for years.
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Old 07-20-2019, 08:47 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by BruceK View Post
Sunchaser lives in Az,keeps a DF on Vancouver Island. I think they are out cruising now,works for them,and has done for years.
Tom and gsholtz may be in the same marina. Vanisle in Sidney.

There are other marinas in Sidney, which has the biggest concentration of boats on Vancouver Island. Westport, Conoe Cove, Vanisle, Sidney-North Saanich, Royal Vic, Cedar Grove, North Saanich, Marina Park, Blue Peter, and outside of Tsehum Harbour, Port Sidney Marina.
Many boats whose owners are away all winter, as the winter conditions here are quite benign. Snow is an occasional visitor in the winter, as are low temps, but most of the time the worst is the drizzle, as it allows the boats to slowly go green.
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Old 07-20-2019, 11:16 PM   #12
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At my marina in Comox it is estimated that 10 percent of the boats are Alberta resident owned. So flight from Alberta or Arizona, not much difference. All manners of boats in desirable locations like the Med are foreign owned. Julie Andrews used to send her yacht through the Panama canal and she would fly into Campbell River and meet up with it. John Wayne too.
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Old 07-20-2019, 11:16 PM   #13
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We cruise the Great Lakes in the summer months and live in Texas. The high cost of winter storage (heated for most larger boats) is obviously the routine. So is the high cost of summer slips. Then there's travel/hotel expenses in the Spring and Fall, which pile up quickly if you undertake a time consuming maintenance project at haul out or prior to launch....either that or pay ridiculous fees to inept yard staff. I budget $16K per year for slip/storage/travel/insurance for a 44' (48'OAL for slip and storage fees).
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Old 07-21-2019, 12:57 AM   #14
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We spend a little more than half time in AZ.,we keep our boat in a covered slip in southern Puget Sound. I installed a boat command to monitor the AC, battery condition, bilge pump activity and a security system. Being under cover and being able to check the boat removes alot of anxiety of long distance boat ownership.
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Old 07-21-2019, 06:33 AM   #15
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As Bruce mentioned, we live in AZ and keep boat in BC. Many from AZ do the same. We have a dedicated boat watcher., also required by insurance.

The cruising grounds in BC and AK are pretty spectacular. The vessel best be well found, exterior kept clean and shipshape and crew dedicated to enable maximum BC or AK storage enjoyment.

But, unless the vessel is really used, Iíd not recommend long distance ownership. Anywhere for that matter. Sad to see unloved vessels molding away.

Before buying the boat, recommend you spend considerable time checking out marinas and talking with ownerís about space and foreign ownership. Lots of non boating issues to consider and become familiar with.
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Old 07-21-2019, 09:12 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by caltexflanc View Post
Why own one? There are a whole bunch of great boats you can charter up there. No fuss, no muss and cheaper too, all-in. That's what we did when we lived in Dallas. It also gives you the freedom to go to other cruising grounds year around. If for some reason you just have to own a boat, I'd suggest putting it in a top rank charter fleet like Northwest Explorations.
Amen. Your situation doesn't fit one for enjoyable boat ownership. Here's what will happen with your long distance ownership. You will use the boat far less than you estimate and it will cost you far more. Go with charter.

As to partnerships, I've heard them referred to as marriage without any of the benefits. Marriages fail 50% of the time. Partnerships, I would estimate 85% of the time and that's when they're profitable. Partnerships in things that take money like boats, I'd estimate well over 90% failure.
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Old 07-21-2019, 09:53 AM   #17
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We are currently doing this with our Navigator we purchased in January 2019.
The boat we bought was/is in a charter fleet (Anacortes Yacht Charters). Our end game is to cruise to Alaska at least once and to only own the boat for 3-5 years.
Since we live in California near Morro Bay and wanted to go to Alaska it made more sense to keep a boat in the PNW.
To me the benefits of having a boat in charter made dollars and sense. It is not for everyone and there are some risks involved but insurance covers almost everything.
The major benefits are not paying sales tax as long as you form an LLC and follow the rules. AYC provides winter watch (for a fee). Access to a 60’ slip upon purchase. They have a maintenance/repair team so if you need something fixed/upgraded they can get it done pretty quickly. Yes it costs money and you have to manage some of it and watch the billing but they are reasonable if you can’t commit the time and air travel to do the work yourself.
You do have to accept that you will have to schedule your visits to use your boat and you do have to charter your vessel from AYC and pay the sales tax for your charter. It’s part of how you avoid paying the sales tax initially.
Our boat will generate roughly $40,000 in gross revenue this season. It won’t cover all our costs but will offset a major portion of fixed costs as well as the upgrades we did this year.
It is not without its issues but overall it has been a better way to our end result of getting to Alaska than managing the boat from afar.
AYC has roughly 60 vessels in their fleet. It is in their best interest to keep your boat in good shape and chartered. The main charter season is June-August. You can use your boat during that time but should really use the shoulder seasons for your multi week trips.
When we go to Alaska (maybe 2020 or 2021) we will likely have to limit it to late May through July or pull the boat out of charter for a year.
We originally were going to just charter a boat for the trip to Alaska but the cost was just too high and that we would want to do more than just one trip.
Anyways that has been our experience so far.
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Old 07-22-2019, 12:57 AM   #18
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I had never considered charter but:
We wanted to go to Alaska and after exploring all options, including shipping our own boat, we chartered through Crown Yacht Charters.
We had a great owner who delivered the boat to Ketchikan. That way we had time to get to Glacier Bay before the haul back to Anacortes.
But the reason I am posting is that we got all the WA State sales tax back as we were only in Washington State for one day (Roche Harbour to Anancortes).
Worth considering if you are looking at a long haul charter.
All we had to do was ask.
Even for boat owners chartering is under rated way to get to go boating exactly where you want to.
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Old 07-22-2019, 09:38 AM   #19
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We have done long distance boating for several years.

Before we bought our "first" FL boat, we did an excessive amount of charters. Have seen both sides: remote owning vs Charters.

So much depends on your situation there is not a simple answer. Charters are nice in that you show up - cruise around for a week or so - then leave. None of the headaches of ownership. But, very different being on someone else's boat versus your own.

Short weekend trips, or going to the boat at the last minute is not very feasible when you are remote.

Our trips tend to be 11-14 days on the boat. I am able to do what I need to working, so that's not really an impact. Last year was over 100 nights on the boat, this year will be the same or higher.

I think you need to zero in on how much time can you spend on the boat?

If you are able to make the time part work, then the second discussion would be the "How to deal with remote ownership".

If you find you are going to have just a couple of weeks during the season - maybe charter is the route.

(We have also used NW Explorations several times. #1 charter company we have ever dealt with )
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Old 07-22-2019, 09:59 AM   #20
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There are plenty of boat owners that only spend time on their boats seasonally.

I know several people that spend winters in Hawaii, and summers on their boats in the PACNW.

Here in Alaska most people walk away from their boats in late October and do not go back to them until April. Some are local, and some are remote. Most have a hired boat watch company that checks on things.

The key to this kind of boat ownership is to avoid neglect. Boats take labor hours to keep up. The exterior in a damp location needs to be kept clean so that moss and or alge does not grow. Interiors need to have fresh air to keep from getting stale, plus systems need maintenance.

I believe that the successful distance boat owners are seasonal stay aboards. They arrive at the start of their “season” and unlock the boat, perform maintenance, and actually use the boat.

I just do not think it works out for folks trying to use long weekends, and a couple week long vacations during their working years.

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