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Old 06-08-2015, 08:15   #1
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Is this "typical"?

I purchased my first boat Cape Dory 25 last fall and opted to keep it at the previous owners marina in RI.


The marina appears to outsource all work to independents on site.


At the end of season I had an independent on site remove, winterize, and store the outboard and placed an end of year service request with the marina which included installation of a winter cover with door.


A winter visit revealed that the door was never included with the cover and after bringing this matter to the managements attention they said they would look into it and later insisted that the yard manager "confirmed" that the door had been put on. It had not and after going back and forth they acquiesced and refunded my $40 fee.

At this year's spring put in I requested that the boats bottom be painted, waxed above the waterline, (which is outsourced to the same people who were responsible for the cover/door) and for the rigging and outboard to be installed (coordinated with the individual) who winterized and stored the outboard.

The mast was stepped and the rigging (another independent) was done in a timely fashion (and incidentally confirmed they were unable to finish installation of lazy jacks during the off season because no cover door was present) but the boat was never waxed as requested- I did not follow up.

It then took 2 weeks (of lost use of the boat) after put in for the the person who serviced the outboard and store it for the winter to service and return the outboard to the boat.

After a few weeks of use it became clear the outboard was stalling at idle and after being entertainment for the dock 2 weeks ago Sunday, I asked the person who previously serviced the outboard if he could take a look the motor.

I received an email 2 days after my first request indicating that the motor was off and he was looking into it but additional phone and email requests for status follow up have not been returned. Last weekend was lost to sailing and I find myself unable to make plans for tomorrow/ this weekend. It is a short sailing season on the northeast.

Should I consider taking my business to another marina or are expectations for timely, professional service unrealistic?
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Old 06-08-2015, 08:34   #2
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Re: Is this "typical"?

I'm afraid expectations for timely, professional service are pretty unrealistic. That's why most of us do our own work, even the ones that can afford not to. Its also one of the reasons so many join clubs. Most marinas are crooked right to the core.

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Old 06-08-2015, 09:00   #3
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Re: Is this "typical"?

I'm not quite as cynical as FamilyVan with regard to marinas and marine service providers, but expecting schedules to be met and all work to be completed as promised, unfortunately, often leads to disappointment. There are some valid reasons - weather delays, personnel absences, parts availability, etc., but mostly it is poor management and paying attention only to the squeaky wheel.
As FamilyVan states, doing most the work yourself can minimize these disappointments, but that also cuts into sailing time. One of the reasons people turn in work orders rather than doing the work is they want their weekends for sailing, not boat work.
There are a lot of quality shops and marinas in your area, you just have to seek them out. However, there is generally a price for quality and timeliness, because that requires the vendor to practice good management and customer relations, stock parts, and maintain a professional staff.

Having said all that, since the marina's subcontractors have repeatedly failed you, I would take my business elsewhere. You have lots of options in the Newport, RI area.

Good luck,
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Old 06-08-2015, 09:02   #4
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Re: Is this "typical"?

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Jeff.

Yes, you should consider taking your business to another marina.
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Old 06-08-2015, 09:37   #5
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Is this "typical"?

Jeffsoley, I've generally had good experiences at the boatyards I've used. (Generally but not always.)

I've found it is worth my time to be there and watch when the work is done. I always say I just want to learn by watching and I mostly find cooperation. I'm sure more attention is given because I'm watching and I have caught some mistakes.

If they won't let you watch go elsewhere.


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Old 06-08-2015, 09:47   #6
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Re: Is this "typical"?

Thanks for the feedback. As a busy, self-employed physician it is hard for me to believe the experience I have received. The marina has my credit card for auto charging of slip and work fees which have totaled in the thousands (and they essentially called my a liar over the $40 charge I disputed) and I promptly (the day I receive invoice for work) have paid all the contractors who I have had contact with as I understand cash flow of a small business. This latest issue of not being updated on the status of my work has really got to me. It is one thing to say "sorry I am booked and wont be able to get to it until..." or "how about having so and so look at it instead" and quite another to take the outboard off the boat and go missing in action for 2 weeks. I would have left the outboard on the boat and sailed into the slip if I knew ahead of time.
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Old 06-08-2015, 09:58   #7
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Re: Is this "typical"?

It occurs to me I was excessively harsh in my first response as I'm sure there are many good marina operators. So I should start by apologising to the good ones.

Having said that I really empathise with your problems Jeff.

I actually had a marina mechanic try to steel my boat a couple of years back. I was extremely busy at work and needed essential work done on my inboard. I placed the work order multiple times and checked for updates weekly. I repeatedly got vague answers. Then my brother actually heard the scum bag mechanic joking to a colleague about how he knew that sooner or later I would get frustrated and give up, at which point he would give me a wildly low offer for the boat to bail me out, then fix the engine and resell the boat at a significant profit!

After learning this, I smuggled in a third party contractor under cover of darkness and he had the boat running in less than 20 minutes. This was after the marina cheating me for 9 months. This was by no means a cheap marina and they were charging me storage the whole time to add insult to injury.

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Old 06-08-2015, 10:02   #8
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Re: Is this "typical"?

Take your business elsewhere. Yes, there are boatyards that treat their customers very well despite what the cynics will tell you.

Ask fellow boat owners in your marina who they take their boat to and why they choose that yard.
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Old 06-08-2015, 12:31   #9
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Re: Is this "typical"?

Just compare the condition of the yard and equipment, and the boss's car....
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Old 06-08-2015, 21:00   #10
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Re: Is this "typical"?

I agree with Familyvan, many marinas are crooked to the core.

No doubt the marina takes a cut from their independents.

Take your boat elsewhere. And tell your new marina owner about your adventures at the old place after you move there.
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Old 06-08-2015, 22:17   #11
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Re: Is this "typical"?

Taking a cut from the independent contractors is not crooked. Reality is most people won't complain about the contractor...as can be seen here it's the marina that gets the blame so of course they want some of the profit.

As far as this particular case, if there are halfway reasonable alternatives, move to a different marina. Do everyone a favor though and POLITELY let the marina know why you are moving. Preferably letting the manager/owner. Often times, they have no clue what is going on.
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Old 07-08-2015, 10:16   #12
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Re: Is this "typical"?

Marina's are not professionally run. They mostly run by the seat of their pants with unreliable help.

It is nothing to have a boat in for repairs all season. Wrong parts delay, delays due to various reasons.

Exactly right, you need to do most work yourself. That way you control the timeframe as well as the quality of that work.

I have been to several dozen marinas. All of then looked like a very run down business.

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Old 07-08-2015, 10:32   #13
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Re: Is this "typical"?

Quote:
Originally Posted by FamilyVan View Post
I'm afraid expectations for timely, professional service are pretty unrealistic. That's why most of us do our own work, even the ones that can afford not to. Its also one of the reasons so many join clubs. Most marinas are crooked right to the core.

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YEP. My experience has been if you must have someone else do it, don't have it done in your absence. Communications are terrible, work is often given to the least knowledgeable person, things are done wrong etc.
If you have work done show up a couple times daily to keep it on track.

Example: I laid up my 47 footer in florida one summer. I had the boat hauled at one of the big professional yards. I had to catch an airplane so left the yard manager with instructions to grind the top off a few blisters near the waterline ... just some BB size blisters scattered over maybe 4 ft x 4" area on one side...I showed it to him. I wanted them to dry out over the summer.
A month later I called and asked if it was done. He had completely forgotten about it. When I returned in September, the boat had been ground aggressively in a much larger area, probably went 1/4" deep and was above and below the water line. So to repair above the waterline and boot stripe would have required the boat to be painted!
The Manager and I had words for sure, in the end he had given the task to a new yard worker who really knew nothing about how to do it or what I really wanted done.
I ended up raising the bottom paint 5-6 inches, having no boot stripe to cover up the damage.
This is a typical story, not unusual at all.
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Old 07-08-2015, 11:15   #14
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Re: Is this "typical"?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffsoley View Post
Should I consider taking my business to another marina or are expectations for timely, professional service unrealistic?
Well yeah

I couldn't say it is "typical", but you contracted for a lot of work and they treated you as unimportant.
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Old 07-08-2015, 11:41   #15
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Re: Is this "typical"?

I'd say extremely typical
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