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Old 08-04-2012, 05:55   #1
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A moral dilemma

I have a chance to sell our 25' express cruiser (not an easy sell nowadays) to a fella with a young family. He has Zero, absolutely Zero experience with boats of any kind. Spent two hours yesterday explaining every system of the boat and how to operate it. He didn't even know what a bilge blower was for.

He seems adamant this is the boat he wants.

I really don't believe this is an ideal first boat for this guy. I'm afraid he'll hurt himself or his family with it. The boat is powerful enough that if operated improperly it could be dangerous. If he's going to operate it where he says, a large but shallow lake with plenty of good ole' Canadian Shield granite outcroppings the first thing I can see him doing is ripping the outdrive or props off it it.

He hasn't taken any boating courses and doesn't have a Pleasure Craft Operator Card and has absolutely no idea what he's getting himself into.

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.
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Old 08-04-2012, 05:58   #2
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Re: A moral dilemma

Good post, this is going to be interesting to follow.
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Old 08-04-2012, 06:00   #3
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Re: A moral dilemma

I know what your thinking. A friend sold his motorbike to a young guy who was killed a month later, and he never forgave himself.

On the other hand, where do we draw the line in interfeering in other peoples lives?

I cant help you with your dilemma, that if for you to decide, but I know what a toughie it is
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Old 08-04-2012, 06:02   #4
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Re: A moral dilemma

Paraphrasing the good Doctor from Jurassic Park:

"Stupid will find a way."

You won't stop him, you will only force him to find some other means.

Easy for me to be glib, I'm not in your boots.

Good luck.
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Old 08-04-2012, 06:07   #5
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Re: A moral dilemma

Maybe if you insist he takes insurance, that will shift the onus. Maybe insurance is compulsory for the lake? They will insist he has experience.

At least if he looses the boat he is covered and if he has more experience, he is less risk?
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Old 08-04-2012, 06:10   #6
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Re: A moral dilemma

your opinion on what he might or might need or want is yours. How do you know that he will not become a sailing legend after buying your boat. As a seller you should keep to the facts not opinion. There is nothing wrong with doing that. your opinion of the guy is one thing but how do you know he is not playing stupid just to get some of you rknowledge. More salesman talk there way OUT of a sale then you can imagine.

As for the person who sold a motorcycle to the guy he should not feel guilty. The guy would have bought a motorcycle from someone else. You can always suggest at the sale that he take a safe biker course.

If the sailboat is as advertised you should NOT feel guilty about selling it to him.
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Old 08-04-2012, 06:13   #7
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Re: A moral dilemma

He's not a little boy and you aren't his mother, but we are all in this together and need to take care of each other - it's not just about him, it's also about his family and everybody else out on that lake too. If I was in your shoes I would tell him to first take whatever boating courses you have available and to get a Pleasure Craft Operator Card (I don't know what that is but it sounds like a good idea), then reconsider the boat purchase. That seems about the best you can do. Remember if he had shown up on your doorstep with a handful of cash and kept his mouth shut everything would be the same except you wouldn't know about it. Thank you for caring, most of us feel for you and appreciate and respect your concern.
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Old 08-04-2012, 06:15   #8
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Re: A moral dilemma

I would suggest to him that he take a course, the Power Squadron courses are very good. A persuasive chat about safety, knowledge, etc. might go a long ways. His having to obtain the boat operator's license here in Canada may trigger some warning bells on his lack of experience and knowledge when he attempts the test...if HE does the test and doesn't have someone else do it online for him.

It's a tough call, but I think personally, I would feel ok if I explained all of the above to both he and his wife, and how important it is to have this knowledge on the water. Then, it would be up to him. Perhaps if you even went so far as to provide him with dates and times of available courses, might help even further.

It is a tough call....one only you can make, but....there's always a but.....in my case, I would feel ok about the sale if I talked with both of them about the importance of having some marine knowledge provided through a course.....and I would probably offer to take them out in the boat for a half day to provide some guidance for that particular boat, and perhaps some insight into some navigation requirements. Would you have an extra handbook for the operators license that you could show them so that they could see boating is much more involved than just getting in and turning the key? The handbook might open their eyes as well.

Good luck with your choice, myself....the boat would be gone, but an offer to help out as pointed out above would go with it.

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Old 08-04-2012, 06:15   #9
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Re: A moral dilemma

Sell sell sell, if its a good boat and you know it sell it to him, better to be a newby with a good boat than a newby with a bomb. You are not offering warranty so do it. Who knows you might make a friend.
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Old 08-04-2012, 06:16   #10
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Re: A moral dilemma

Why not sit down with him and tell him honestly your concerns? Then you can gauge how you would feel about moving forward and the buyer would be made aware of the need to operate safely.

Personally, if I were buying a boat and the seller was deciding whether or not I was qualified to buy his boat I would walk. It would be as if I were buying a car- which has every bit as much potential for danger as a boat, and the seller wanted to give me a driving test. If you are a member of the governmental agency that oversees the licensing and regulation of watercraft then perhaps you have a reason and the credentials to determine who is fit to operate a boat.

Tell him your concerns, suggest boating classes but in the end, I wouldn't play babysitter. Personal responsibility is just that- personal.
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Old 08-04-2012, 06:16   #11
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Re: A moral dilemma

In my opinion, you do not have a moral obligation to refuse to sell to him.

You probably do have a moral obligation to warn him explicitly and maybe in writing about the dangers you see.

You become culpable, in my opinion, if you feed any self-deception you think you see in him, in order to make the sale. In my opinion, if you refrain from that, if you thoroughly warn and disclose, and if after that he still wants the boat, it's perfectly ok to sell it to him.

But you might want to check with your priest, rabbi, or whatever spiritual adviser you might have. All of these are just other people's opinions. At the end of the day, it's between you and your own conscience.
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Old 08-04-2012, 06:26   #12
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I completely agree with CaptainKJ on this one. Unless the item you're selling is restricted and requires a license to own or operate then I wouldn't worry too much.

I was a hapless fool when I excitedly bought my first boat and some years, qualifications and sea-miles later - I still am!

Take the cash and make your recommendations: if you don't then somebody else will, but most likely without recommending any sailing schools at all...
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Old 08-04-2012, 06:27   #13
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Re: A moral dilemma

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mimsy View Post
If you are a member of the governmental agency that oversees the licensing and regulation of watercraft then perhaps you have a reason and the credentials to determine who is fit to operate a boat
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.

I don't think there's any deception on his part and there's certainly none on mine. He seemed more concerned with the capacity of the holding tank than how many fire extinguishers were on board.

I think I'll send him a kindly worded e-mail outlining my concerns and a few recommendations. If he's still willing to buy the boat I'll sell it to him. Really, it's none of my business what he does with it after the money has exchanged hands.
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Old 08-04-2012, 06:30   #14
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Re: A moral dilemma

Quote:
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.
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Old 08-04-2012, 06:30   #15
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Re: A moral dilemma

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cavalier View Post
I completely agree with CaptainKJ on this one. Unless the item you're selling is restricted and requires a license to own or operate l...
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.
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