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Old 08-04-2012, 05:32   #16
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Re: A moral dilemma

Sell him the boat. It is not as if you are giving the keys to an intoxicated person. He is an adult, and needs to find his own way. You won't be making any difference anyway as your refusal to sell him your boat will have little effect on the life choices he makes from here on out.

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Old 08-04-2012, 05:37   #17
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Originally Posted by GordMay
In Canada, an operator's card is required; though not very hard to acquire.
I agree with all the previous posters, on both sides of the argument. I suppose that's why it's called a dilemma.
Then we may have an answer: if this sale's taking place in Canada then it'd be the equivalent of selling a car to someone without a driving license - even car salesmen check your license and proof of insurance before they allow you to drive off the forecourt - shouldn't the same obligation apply to boats? It does for scuba-gear and VHF-sets (at least in Europe), for example.

"By day the hot sun fermented us; and we were dizzied by the beating wind. At night we were stained by dew, and shamed into pettiness by the innumerable silences of stars."
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Old 08-04-2012, 05:41   #18
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Re: A moral dilemma

Here is the flip side: 4 years ago, I purchased my first boat, a 22' sailboat. I knew nothing of sailing other than a fundemantal knowledge of physics and airfoils. I always wanted to sail and now was the perfect opportunity and thought sailing would be fun and relaxing. I paid the seller cash, hitched it up, went to the house, pressure washed it, and went to bed. I remeber going to bed dreaming about sailing for the first time the next day.
The next day I headed down to the lake with my new 1977 22' sailboat. Stepping the mast was a challenge, but not as much of a challenge as launching from a trailer (first time). Launched and all set to go. I'm a book smart kind of guy so i did plenty of research before I bought the boat. So, after studying the rig and lines, i formulated a plan on how to get underway. Weather forecast said the wind would be 20 knots. "Great! it's a sailboat and needs wind"
I"ll skip all of the details. But I successfuly single handed my boat for about 2 hours from launch to recovery I was able to navigate at will, alone, with no other experience. When I arrived at the dock my hands and knees were shacing badly, my adrenaline was off the chart...I remeber thinking "I really screwed up buying this boat becaise the past 2 hours were not fun nor relaxing."
Later that evening the seller called me. He asked how everything was going. I said: "Not good, I went out today and that boat scared the s^&t out of me." In disbelief, he said the wind was 25 mph, and that he had been sailing for 10 years there is no way he would have gone out. I told him that explains why the ride was not for or relaxing. He agreed.
That was 4 years ago and I've sailed 3 to 4 times a week since. I am on my second boat a 26' , have instructed 6 friends to sail, I've done all my own maintenance, and am almost finished with a total bare hull refit of my 26'.

The point of all this is, from the eyes of the fellow that sold me my first boat he was faced with a similar delima. I too asked a million questions. Except for what is the ideal wind speeb. Laf laf.

let the buyer exercise his free will if the boat is sound, and sell it. If the boat is NOT sound and his novice prevents him from seeing the boat as a new artifical reef then best to not sell it to him.
"Can't run from the wind, all you can do is trim your sails and deal with it"
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Old 08-04-2012, 05:42   #19
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Re: A moral dilemma

Originally Posted by knottybuoyz View Post
That's a big part of it, 32 yrs in the Coast Guard. I've seen the results of reckless operation a boat a few times.

He seemed more concerned with the capacity of the holding tank than how many fire extinguishers were on board.


Well thank God Rick at least has a conscience, and making a sale isnt the only thing on his mind.
fire extinguishers can be added more easily than a holding tank can. With a family I would be asking those question first knowing that I can add fire extinguishers later. It is not up to the buyer to tell the seller what his intentions are. He is there to find out about the boat. How do you KNOW FOR A FACT that he hasn't already thought about the fire extinguishers and was more worried about the tankage. It is only your opinion or illusion or judgement that he seemed more concerned about one or the other. everybody has a list that they deem important. you list is one thing his is another. Look at people who drive a hummer. they were not concerned about gas milage when they bought them,,,,,that was low on there priority list. Maybe tankage is high on his list but not on yours.

sell the boat,,,,,, but you can always make recommendations mentioning that they are based on your experience and you want to make sure that he and his family HAVE A SAFE AND HAPPY TIME.
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Old 08-04-2012, 05:48   #20
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Re: A moral dilemma

U say 'young' but that's something that varies from your point of view. Bunch of young fellas in their 50s at my club. Whippersnappers.

I wouldn't sell to a teenager but u say this guy has a young family. So he's what? mid- to late-20s? Has a job? All those responsible things?

I wouldn't worry about it. I'd recommend he take courses, along with his partner, BTW. Of course, he's required to pass the PCOC. And I'd sell him the boat.

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Old 08-04-2012, 05:55   #21
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Re: A moral dilemma

Take him out on a sea trial and let him take the control, you might be surprised at how quickly he catches on or he might realize the boat is not for him and you will both be better off.
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Old 08-04-2012, 05:57   #22
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Re: A moral dilemma

In my surveying days I use to encounter owners who didn't want me either onboard or to do the survey that their insurance company had requested.

This usually lead to a 15-minute lecture about how un-necessary the insurance survey was, etc, etc.

Since I didn't want to listen to a 15-minute one sided speech, I would politely interrupt and say the following:

"Look, I don't care if your boat sinks, or catches on fire or crashes into something - we can easily replace your boat - it's only money.

But what if your wife or children or grandchildren were on board and got injured - or killed? I'm just trying to prevent that."

Always worked - they shut up and started paying attention to what I was doing and how they could fix the deficiencies (there were always deficiencies).

So, my advice to you is to mention/stress what could happen to the wife and kids if he buys the boat without knowing what he's doing and some accident occurs.

If he still wants to buy it, you've done all you can.

However, at the end of the day if you are still uncomfortable, just say "No Sale" and send him on his way. Somebody else will eventually come along.
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Old 08-04-2012, 06:10   #23
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Re: A moral dilemma

I'll pipe in here. As a young farmer with only a general dream - to travel by water - I had tons to learn to be a competent boater. I ended up taking power squadron piloting and advanced, and bought unlimited towing at one's suggestion, but I still punched inlets on "nice" days with wind against current, and chose offshore over ICW most of the time, and often with my family on board. They always had a blast and forgot the lively offshore jaunts after time in paradise.

Besides a lot of throw up down below, I never really ran aground, except in explorer mode while cruising up creeks at low tide where sailboats never go. (trying to get at the oyster beds)

Perhaps you can make it a requirement of the sale, even if not enforceable it will make the point and clear your conscience. Anytime one sells a boat to a stranger there is some risk they will make some mistakes. Are you in a position for it to not matter whether it sells or not? Then you could require him to get some formal instruction before purchasing, with the chance he may walk away. You might offer to train him some for $$ or trade. Look for the win-win and I'm sure something will make sense, even if it means referring him away. A brokers business is to screen buyers to some extent, but hard to imaging them turning away a guy ready to buy, because he's never owned a boat and doesn't know anything.
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Old 08-04-2012, 06:32   #24
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Re: A moral dilemma

throw in a couple of life jackets,and a copy of the darwin awards..............

it's a free market,caveat emptor!
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Old 08-04-2012, 06:36   #25
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Re: A moral dilemma

Well remembering my early boating days.

I took a couple of Power Squadron courses, and still didn't know what I was doing when I bought my first big boat, until I got out there a few times.

Not any fault of the courses, just that NOTHING beats experience. Until you do it you don't even know what questions to ask.

I would give the buyer as much of your 35 years of Coast Guard experience as he lets you. That title alone would get MY attention, (even now).

We were all young and stupid once, most of us lived through it.

I would caution him on speed, (it sounds like this is a fast craft). Point out the granite outcroppings. Give him the Power Squadrons phone number. Make sure he is aware of the wake laws, and liability. That boats don't have brakes, etc...

I think Ferrarri dealers are often faced with the same moral delima when a teenage boy shows up with his dad's checkbook. You know 9 out of 10 that car is going to end up wrapped around a pole, no matter how blue in the face you get trying to convince him to drive safely, and at the speed limit.

One of the things that really helped me starting out, was going out with an experienced Captain onboard.

If you offered to take him out a few times, (before or after the sale), and gave him a rundown on boating procedures, and safe and unsafe areas of the (lake/bay?), and a few boating rules of the road. I'm sure he would appreciate it. Taking a new vehicle out for the first time is always daunting.

And I believe that would satisfy any overview of due diligence. At least he will have a good idea of what he needs to learn. And you didn't just kick the bird from the nest and hope it flies.

(And you can phrase it that, "you have fond memories of the boat, and to humour an old man would he mind if you came along to insure 'She's in good hands' "). That way it's not as if you are acting like his parent, or disparaging his abilities.

In the end, after you've done what you can, you can only take responsibility for your own actions. He will have to make his own path, and find his own fate.
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Old 08-04-2012, 06:55   #26

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Re: A moral dilemma

Many of these answers are way to long. Its simply not your call. Your think he's unskilled or dumb. Maybe he would take it so slow and safe that he would end up a better seamen then you. Its for sale, he wants to buy it. I dont think its up to you to judge people after a 2 hour meet or for any reason. Whats next on your list? religion, sex, race? Girls cant learn to boat, to dangerous. atheist- I cant sell my boat to
someone who thinks the bible is silly farce.

Not your call to make.
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Old 08-04-2012, 07:07   #27
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Re: A moral dilemma

Suppose your prospective buyer did not ask any questions and spun a good yarn about his experience. Then after you sold him the boat, he sailed it in conditions beyond his abilities, and it grounded and a crew member was injured. Would you be responsible for not doing a more diligent job of assessing his qualifications?

I think rather than trying to subjectively assess buyers' qualifications, an ethical approach might be to offer one or two "free" sailing lessons to any buyer, which they would be free to decline or accept. But I think your moral responsibility ends at clearly explaining the condition and features of your boat and the hazards of boating to the buyer.
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Old 08-04-2012, 07:11   #28
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Re: A moral dilemma

I stopped reading all the long replies.

Sell him the boat! You not selling yours just means he buys a different one. In the end the only thing changed is you still have a boat you would like to sell.
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Old 08-04-2012, 07:17   #29
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Re: A moral dilemma

Just sell it!

My 12 YO Nephew learned how to motor my 40er in 15 minutes better then my wife has in 10 years. And by the end of a one week he surpassed me on all the electronics.

Just insist he get his card. At least he'll get the basics, which is a lot more then some out there in the past. His wife will give him s**t if he screws up.
Faithful are the Wounds of a Friend, but the Kisses of the Enemy are Deceitful! ........
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Unprepared boaters, end up as floatsum!.......
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Old 08-04-2012, 07:31   #30
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Re: A moral dilemma

Originally Posted by knottybuoyz View Post
...I guess the dilemma is, do I sell it to him (take the money and run) and wish him luck or refuse to sell it to him and maybe save him or his family some grief.
A broker refused to sell us a new 43' Sailboat for cash because we did not own a boat at the time.

We later paid cash for a new 46' sloop from someone else.

We are 3/4ths the way around the world on our circumnavigation on a 53' ketch.

You tell me who was morally right????


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