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Old 27-04-2016, 20:09   #1
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Boatyard RANT

This Spring I put in a work order to have my mast unstepped so I could renew the wiring, put a new VHF antenna and change the lamping to LEDs.

The weather has made it difficult to work, but I got the new wires snaked, a new LED deck light installed and when I went to relamp the old tricolor/anchor light I could see it was ready for the dumpster... although it did work.

The problem would be mounting it. Forwhatever reason the top of the mast is sloped about 15 so to mount a light plumb it needs a 15 wedge. The old one was some sort of plastic and was showing cracks... and... it gave way.

I came up with a design which was 2 channels bolted together the bottom one bolted to the top of the mast... and cut to level (15) and the bottom bolted to it and then the light(s) and windex installed on top plumb.

Needless to say this took more than a week to get the materials and fabricate them. It came out perfect.

The last thing was to replace a working incandescent steaming light with an LED bulb. It too had to be ordered. Everything was done except the last bulb so I notified the yard that it was ready to step as of Friday and at noon on Tuesday if I replaced the steaming lamp with an LED.

I had sent an email to the manager telling him I want to be present when it is unstepped and stepped. They pulled the mast when I wasn't there. TYPICAL.

I took the clevis pins home to Ospho clean them and would bring them for the restep... I was to be there of course... I didn't have to leave them on the boat. On Monday I called the yard and they cancelled for Tuesday claiming bad weather. Fine. I'd have the LED def by early Weds... this AM.

It's an hr's drive to the yard. I waited for the rush hr and departed just after 9:30 and underway about 10 miles into the trip (hr + OAL) I called the yard to tell them I was on my way. It was 10:31

I was told they couldn't find the clevis and cotter pins. Of course I had them with me. I told them I would be there is less than 45 min.

As I got to the last traffic light I called the Chandlery and asked Matt to LITERALLY hand me the LED as I drove by on my way to the mast. It was like passing the baton in a relay. I didn't lose a second.

When I arrived at the mast it was on the horse. No one was there but another sailor and HIS mast was on other horses waiting to get his stepped.

The crane operator yard guy told me that it would be done. It was 11:20 in the morning... WHY???????????????????????????????

No answer he drive off in his cart. I put the bulb in and waited till 12:30 or so and went to town for a bite. I was gone 1/2 hr. Came back... nothing. Pins were all sitting there in a container next to the mast.

I went to the office and asked the very nice admin gal... what's with the yard. Why can't they do ANYTHING as I ask? And why can't they step my mast?

I went out and saw the crane guy. He told me that someone had put gas in a diesel truck and that a boat was needing work on a dripless shaft. HA???????????????????

I went back and told the gal that the guy was bummed out and didn't want to do may mast because of the truck problem HA??????????????????

The owner heard me and came in. I was now pretty pissed. I demanded to know what was going on. He left to talk to the yard manager. It was not after 2. I followed over to the other building and found the two of them. The owner told me he couldn't step my mast because there were no lights... HA????????????????????? this was complete 100% rubbish

I then told him about the feck up they did last year... I asked again WHY can't they step today... we got 3 hrs before they close... They insisted not today... tomorrow. I told them I could not be there because I had a DR appointment. They wouldn't budge. I told them I called at 10:31 telling them I would be there in 45 min. He didn't tell me not to come. But there he told me HE had called me... a BS lie. My phone showed who called who. And it also showed when I arrived because I had witnesses and a call log to the chandlery. WTF?????????????????????????

Then the owner says he's dropping the mast on the deck and my boat as to leave tomorrow... don't want your money (I had already paid in advance except for the mast stepping.)

I told the manager he had to apologize for accusing me of lying because I called him not he called me at 10:31. The owner got in his car and left.

I went to the office and wrote and signed a statement that they were not to touch my property unless I was there.

There are many boat yards.... they are all similar in how they do business. I am finished with this one.

I spoke with the manager on the way home from my car. He apoligized and said... he was about to call me about the mast when my call came. HA?????????????????? some excuse. But he was caught by the phone log.
He said he would step it on Friday.

I wrote an email telling them I needed the weekend to wire the lighting, install the new VHF and test it and would be out of there ASAP...

What is it with these boat yards? Don't they ever learn from the mistakes? Do they ever pay attention to what their customers say in writing in drawings? I sent them a haul and block drawing. Ignored and they broke my speedlog transducer last year.. hauling the boat when I wasn't there of course.

And this is only SOME of my complaints of this yard.

Nice people... pretty incompetent in management and running a boat yard.

I need a new winter storage yard in western LIS... any suggestions?

Rant over
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Old 27-04-2016, 20:56   #2
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Re: Boatyard RANT

the problem is it is your pride and joy......but to them it is just another job
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Old 27-04-2016, 20:59   #3
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Re: Boatyard RANT

Tongue lashings and arguments aren't the answer. Bad karma. That only angers people and causes resentment. The net result is that they bite you in the ass when you're not looking. If you really want to get good results from the boat yard, tip the yard guys well. An occasional $20 to the yard worker or $50 to the foreman along with a smile and a "thanks" gets you a kiss instead of a bite.

As for a marina recommendation: You wrote Northport and Southern Westchester with your signature. If I lived in Westchester I wouldn't want to keep a boat on Long Island, or vice versa. The bridge traffic can be murder. Where do you live? Are you looking for more of a do-it-yourself yard or full service? What are your depth and mast height restrictions?
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Old 27-04-2016, 22:11   #4
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Re: Boatyard RANT

Last yard I was in I found myself in the middle of pretty serious ordeal between the manager and his old rigger. Ended up almost putting the boat into serious jeopardy. The yard really has the upper hand when it comes to what's happening on their property, while the boat owner often only has his word and a sense of fair play. You can't have everything on paper or a stenographer following you around everywhere.

I tried to be the middle man in a business dispute between the yard owner and his old employee, who was an excellent rigger which the yard owner was very sore to lose. Trying to manage egos and business relations with a history = pretty dumb.

Good luck. Like with petty officials in a foreign country, a smile on the face and a twinkle in the eye!
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Old 28-04-2016, 04:11   #5
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Re: Boatyard RANT

Thanks for the replies. I do tip the guys, not the manager. The place has gotten bad reviews from other sailors... One I know even did sub contracting for them but seems to have had the last straw and left.

The yard foreman guy... below the 2 at the top... who actually DOES work runs the lift, the crane, moves boats and IS a sailor.... complained to me about his bosses...and said if it were his yard things would be different. Of course workers can't complain to their bosses or they are out of work.

What I don't get is their whole "work schedule" bit. Much of it is driven by weather.. some of it driven also by tides. Clearly they don't know / couldn't how long every work order will take... It seems that they bill after the fact, not provide a fixed price aside from the $x/ft for things like painting or waxing, or slip rental...

My take is that the work situation is pretty fluid and they have a bunch of work orders and absent customers who expect to show up and find the work done... or the occasional DIYer who wants to be involved or is working on other projects on the boat. My take way is their rule #1...never do work on a boat when the boat owner is present.

When I took the pins they couldn't step the mast when I wasn't there. So when I DID arrive with them... with plenty of time... they STILL refused to step it... despite my email which stated I wanted to be present for step and unstep.

++++

My boat is actually... the only "thing/property" I own... was my home, is my summer home... so it's not a pride and joy thing to me.

You should not have to bribe anyone with tips. When I offered to pay (tip) one guy who cut aluminum he refused saying he was doing it on their time. But his boss told him to do it. When I have had someone do me a favor on their time without the boss's knowledge I have given them $20 for 5 minutes worth of work.

++++

The travel time is less than 1 hr and as much as 1.5 hrs when there is traffic. The drive is pleasant. The harbor and town are lovely. I prefer to moor out East where the sailing is "better", but that's a 2hr drive. So it's a compromise. Winter storing there means I don't have to make a second trip to get my car and this takes a day no matter where I have store... aside from the same harbor.

That is going to change. I will store perhaps on the north shore, west end of LIS next time. The draft is 6''3". I prefer to do all the work myself... all I want is storage and access and parking.

If they are cooperative and pleasant they are very very expensive and still pad the bills. I don't know if they are getting rich.... but I don't see boat yards going out of business.
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Old 28-04-2016, 05:18   #6
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Re: Boatyard RANT

Try Manhasset Bay Shipyard
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Old 28-04-2016, 06:30   #7
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Re: Boatyard RANT

I work as a marine service manager. Did you show up angry, and demanding? Did you show any understanding and flexibility? Boat work is not an assembly line, and when you ask to be present, you need to be flexible with the time. Stuff happens. Would you want them to rush your job, and make a critical mistake? I bet they did not handle things the best they could. But did you? This time of year is very busy for those in the business, and the stresses are high. Demands and pissed off customers, because a schedule was not met, only add to the stresses.

The yard is dealing with many owners of expensive, essentially one of a kind property. They often cannot know how much money or time it will take to do tasks, even the ones that seem to be the simplest.

In review, try to take a deep breath and work with them. If after you are done, you want to try another yard, then by all means you should do so. He said she said squabbles never help get things resolved.


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Old 28-04-2016, 06:45   #8
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Re: Boatyard RANT

Think about it this way: your mast was not ready to be lifted and you had demanded to be present but were not there when the work day began. It's reasonable for any yard at that point to assign projects and get equipment dedicated to other projects. They can't wait around for you. Your mast lifting has now gone to the bottom of the list. If the necessary people and equipment are free later, and you finally show, and the mast is actually ready, then they will do it.

If you are going to demand to be there, make sure everything is ready the day before, and show up fifteen minutes before the work day starts. Now you are a priority. They can get your mast up quickly, get you out of their hair, and get on with the million other jobs everyone wants done immediately. And never underestimate the power of donuts and coffee.
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Old 28-04-2016, 06:57   #9
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Re: Boatyard RANT

Vjm said it much better then I did.

Chris
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Old 28-04-2016, 07:03   #10
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Re: Boatyard RANT

Having worked a little in the boat repair field, I know what it's like from that side, so I have to agree with Chris above. It's humans, and stuff happens.

The problem is that most boat-owners, if they're not retired, have massively busy lives and their boat work has to be shoehorned into their crazy schedule. Trouble is, the owner isn't always realistic about how long things take, and of course Murphy. And each and every customer of the boatyard has these unique and often unrealistic expectations, which makes boatwork less than fun, and yardworkers grumpy...

Unless the equipment is going to be rigidly booked and scheduled ("boat X has an appointment with crane mast from 10 AM to 11:30, firm"), and the owners penalized financially for missing the appointment, not being ready, or misrepresenting the task... then we have to accept that boatwork scheduling is often a fluid dance that has to react to every change and glitch. Best idea is to plan and schedule conservatively, with as few dependencies and contingies as possible, and with padding so that the slip of a day or two doesn't wreck other plans.

[edit - yeah vjm nailed it]
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Old 28-04-2016, 07:11   #11
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Re: Boatyard RANT

I think it's amazing you got the job done within a calendar week of proposed.


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Old 28-04-2016, 08:18   #12
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Re: Boatyard RANT

What about the other side...?

Anyone who believes boat work runs on a schedule that is accurate and remains accurate, beyond the next 15 minutes, especially in the spring in the NE, is simply being a bit unrealistic. Demanding to be on-site when work is done only serves to move you further down the list.

I have a customer right now who wants to be there and unfortunately my schedule does not work like that, especially in the spring. If I finish a job sooner than I planned for I move onto the next one. If the job, who's owner demanded to be there, is next in line, and he's not there or can't be there when I can, he moves further down the queue.

I've been playing tag with a guy since last fall. Job would have been done in 6 hours if I'd not had to schedule my work schedule around his schedule. Now he's antsy because it's spring yet he still demands to be there. I have owners with boats costing 12X what his does yet they have no issue with me doing the work while they work to pay the bills.

I don't tell my accountant I want to watch over his shoulder as he does my taxes, or my chef I want to watch him while he cook my food, why do folks assume that this is okay with marine techs? I know many of them are bad but try giving them a detailed description and specs of exactly what you want in-writing and see if that helps..

Another one is when owners insist on supplying their own product for me to install.

This is simple:

**Sure I will install it but you get to deal with the manufacturer directly for warranty and no you don't get my certified installer extended warranty on products you supplied. I know I am robbing you blind by making 3.4% on that electronics package I now have to stand behind even when the manufacturer messed up, not me. The margin on this stuff does not even cover a simple phone call consult let alone one re-visit to the vessel.

With the horrendous QC these days by the electronics manufacturers perhaps customer supplied is actually best.. Now I get to charge customers by the hour to swap out piles of e7d's due to defective & recalled screens instead of doing Raymarine's work at no charge to the customer.... Reimbursement for my time yeah right, ha, ha, ha......... How's that insane/highway robbery 3.4% looking now, yep nowhere near enough....

Don't even get me going on the counterfeit Victron product from Alibaba/China that did not work, and the owner asked me to deal with Victron, when it was not even a Victron product....

**When the parts are incorrect you're still paying for my time only to find out you ordered the wrong parts. While you wait for the correct parts I will move onto the next job and when that job is complete I will then come back to your job, if of course all other time constraint schedules have all been met.

I type this as I sit here waiting for Fed-Ex to get a package here by 10:00 am because the customer ordered the wrong part, even after giving him the actual part# in writing. I was to start this job at 7:45am and would have had I been the one supplying the parts. The time from 7:45 to 10:00 am is not free, it's not my problem the parts ordered were incorrect.. Oh and yes Fed-Ex is now 18 minutes late....
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Old 28-04-2016, 08:20   #13
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Re: Boatyard RANT

Quote:
Originally Posted by vjm View Post
Think about it this way: your mast was not ready to be lifted and you had demanded to be present but were not there when the work day began. It's reasonable for any yard at that point to assign projects and get equipment dedicated to other projects. They can't wait around for you. Your mast lifting has now gone to the bottom of the list. If the necessary people and equipment are free later, and you finally show, and the mast is actually ready, then they will do it.

If you are going to demand to be there, make sure everything is ready the day before, and show up fifteen minutes before the work day starts. Now you are a priority. They can get your mast up quickly, get you out of their hair, and get on with the million other jobs everyone wants done immediately. And never underestimate the power of donuts and coffee.
Rubbish... They had set up another mast to step and could have done that one. I called them at 10:30... and there was no specific time set to do the work. If there was they SHOULD have informed me by phone the day before when they told me they were not doing it on Tuesday.

They have no rigger. The yard foreman was not launching or hauling boats... He told me he was bummed out and didn't feel like doing it. They have 95% power boats and are shedding customers like crazy... Wonder why? They are disgusted at the performance and the BS.

They might have other jobs... like getting the wrong fuel out of their the truck. They mentioned they had to work on a dripless shaft. How many men and how long would that take. If they jumped on to it.. when it was done they could and should have jumped back to my job.

AND the yard foreman is the only one who works the crane and he doesn't do mechanical work PERIOD. He moves boats on land and in the water. Hauls and launches.

The manager who I spoke with at 10:30 when I was on my way there and no more than 45 minutes away SHOULD have told me then that they would not do it that day and explain why and when they would.... at an date when I was free to be there.

Please don't justify their stupid behavior including lying.
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Old 28-04-2016, 08:29   #14
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Re: Boatyard RANT

A boat yard causing damage by doing something other than the way specified by the boat owner is responsible for all damages due to the failure to follow instructions.

But if you specify something stupid and they go through with it, they are responsible too...
That could lead to them not doing anything in order to avoid liability and to protect their workers.

The way that opening rant comes across, I could easily believe you specified something they didn't think was safe.
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Old 28-04-2016, 08:37   #15
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Re: Boatyard RANT

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maine Sail View Post
What about the other side...?

Anyone who believes boat work runs on a schedule that is accurate and remains accurate, beyond the next 15 minutes, especially in the spring in the NE, is simply being a bit unrealistic. Demanding to be on-site when work is done only serves to move you further down the list.

I have a customer right now who wants to be there and unfortunately my schedule does not work like that, especially in the spring. If I finish a job sooner than I planned for I move onto the next one. If the job, who's owner demanded to be there, is next in line, and he's not there or can't be there when I can, he moves further down the queue.

I've been playing tag with a guy since last fall. Job would have been done in 6 hours if I'd not had to schedule my work schedule around his schedule. Now he's antsy because it's spring yet he still demands to be there. I have owners with boats costing 12X what his does yet they have no issue with me doing the work while they work to pay the bills.

I don't tell my accountant I want to watch over his shoulder as he does my taxes, or my chef I want to watch him while he cook my food, why do folks assume that this is okay with marine techs? I know many of them are bad but try giving them a detailed description and specs of exactly what you want in-writing and see if that helps..

Another one is when owners insist on supplying their own product for me to install.

This is simple:

**Sure I will install it but you get to deal with the manufacturer directly for warranty and no you don't get my certified installer extended warranty on products you supplied. I know I am robbing you blind by making 3.4% on that electronics package I now have to stand behind even when the manufacturer messed up, not me. The margin on this stuff does not even cover a simple phone call consult let alone one re-visit to the vessel.

With the horrendous QC these days by the electronics manufacturers perhaps customer supplied is actually best.. Now I get to charge customers by the hour to swap out piles of e7d's due to defective & recalled screens instead of doing Raymarine's work at no charge to the customer.... Reimbursement for my time yeah right, ha, ha, ha......... How's that insane/highway robbery 3.4% looking now, yep nowhere near enough....

Don't even get me going on the counterfeit Victron product from Alibaba/China that did not work, and the owner asked me to deal with Victron, when it was not even a Victron product....

**When the parts are incorrect you're still paying for my time only to find out you ordered the wrong parts. While you wait for the correct parts I will move onto the next job and when that job is complete I will then come back to your job, if of course all other time constraint schedules have all been met.

I type this as I sit here waiting for Fed-Ex to get a package here by 10:00 am because the customer ordered the wrong part, even after giving him the actual part# in writing. I was to start this job at 7:45am and would have had I been the one supplying the parts. The time from 7:45 to 10:00 am is not free, it's not my problem the parts ordered were incorrect.. Oh and yes Fed-Ex is now 18 minutes late....
This is not an accurate assessment of MY situation.
I do not expect a minute by minute schedule.
I do expect things get messed up because of weather and emergencies and other problems.
I was there for an entire day from 10:30 on for a mast lift which takes 20 minutes.. hand tighten 4 shroud turnbuckles and one forestay. The boat was already along side. The mast had the lift harness attached.
They didn't have other projects that needed the crane... OOOPS they did... another mast that they set up that morning next to mine with the sailor there waiting for his to be stepped. They could have done his first... no biggie.

The rest of your post about ordering parts and so forth is completely off topic and has nothing to do with stepping a prepared mast ready to go in.

This was a case of their simply not wanting me to be there when they did it...because they had 6hrs to do it while I was there and the crane was not used nor the travel lift. The yard foreman who runs those machines.... decided he didn't want to... and or was told not to by the two guys above him...thw owner who counts money and schedules parties and so on and the yard manager who appears to me to be not terribly competant.

I sent this drawing to them.... in email... gave a hard copy and yet they still managed to put the slings in the wrong place and destroy my B&G thru hull for my speed impeller.

I am calling BS. I ran a woodwork business. I am an architect. I deal with costumers and sub contractors for 42 yrs.
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