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Old 21-09-2015, 00:05   #1
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Specific Risks of Getting an Ex-charter Boat?

Hi All, long time reader, first time poster! We're a family of 4 with two girls aged 4 and 6 currently who are putting out plan into motion to be on the water within 24 months.

Based on research here, reading of many blogs and books, etc we've decided on a Cat in the 38-40 foot range. Still trying to decide on 3 vs 4 cabins, but looking for a boat that has had 5-6 years of depreciation to make the purchase price more palatable.

Question for today is this: I've heard some folks passionately discourage buying a used charter boat, but why exactly? What specific wear and tear and damage should I be looking out for? Considering that I have two energetic kids, I'm expecting my family to inflict some wear and tear as well, so why not get a fresh-out-of-charter boat, refit what needs fixing, and enjoy the cost savings?
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Old 21-09-2015, 00:24   #2
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Re: specific risks of getting an ex-charter boat?

The ex charter boat will have ten times the wear and tear on it that an owner part-time coastal cruiser would put on the same boat given the same period of use. High engine hours and just generally beat up by users without a vested interest in the boat.

Example: I'm surrounded by charter boats for most of the summer, I've yet to see more than just a couple use a snubber on the anchor chain. I see them all the time with ripped sails, which is why the charter company routinely has the charter guests unfurl the sails a the end of the week, so that they can be checked.

I'd just prefer to buy from a private owner who cared properly for the boat, instead of one that was repeatedly beat up by charter guests, then patched up each week by the charter company. And who knows how many times charter boats are run aground with out anyone reporting it. We see them running through the shallows all the time. The charter company doesn't dive under the boat and check after each charter, and I seriously doubt the user will fess up.

We have a Bavaria 44 anchored only 40ft off our stern right now, in a basically empty bay. Six idiot men onboard... do you think they're treating the boat the same way you would? There's plenty of room here for 100 boats, and these knuckleheads drop an anchor right next to us. The reason they do things like this... They really don't give a a schit, which is also the way they treat the boat.
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Old 21-09-2015, 03:59   #3
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Re: specific risks of getting an ex-charter boat?

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, amiller.
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Old 21-09-2015, 04:47   #4
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Re: specific risks of getting an ex-charter boat?

Kenomacs key words were "buy from a private owner who properly maintained....."

I swear I have seen non charter boats just as screwed up or worse than ex charter boats and many times in poorer condition. Another thing I see is sometimes private owners get so emotionally wrapped up in their vessel they do t see the obvious problems. Leaks are painted over or ignored, etc etc. And that attachment drives a higher price too
You can typically get a much better deal on ex charter boats and this sometimes justifies the price. The things to really look for are the hidden damages on any boat. These can be hard to find. The obvious stuff is well... Obvious.
As for 4 cabin vs.. I prefer a 4th cabin its great for storage and guests etc. Ours is a huge pantry and alot of totes can fit there. A large head or shower is nice but not as useful as that 19th cabin. I don't like the 4 cabin 4 head boats. Is prefer 4 cabin. 2 Head.


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Old 21-09-2015, 04:54   #5
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Re: specific risks of getting an ex-charter boat?

Ok I'll offer the"other view".

We bought our ex-charter Lagoon 380 4 years ago & we love it.

Have spent the time getting her ready for us to travel & live aboard. Solar, redone most electrical, replaced refrigeration, added freezer, new sails, Bimini, anchors, RIB, all lighting LED, changed engine oils every 50 hours for the first 150 hours, added water maker, replaced tramp, upgraded electronics etc etc.

We had her thoroughly surveyed before purchase which I attended. She definitely had not hit anything despite what people say. Had the rig surveyed, all good.

Motors have done nearly 8000 hours. Oh bugger they all say. I read so many posts on here about people re powering after a few hundred hours. Yet my mechanic who is used to working on all the farm machinery around here says it is just run in. They purr, don't use much oil & still rev to manufacturers specs with no smoke.

We have thoroughly enjoyed doing all the upgrades & most of the maintenance ourselves. To the stage we know every inch of her & where every wire goes.

Maybe we were lucky, but the big plus was the initial purchase price. We would still be saving instead of moving aboard this week, renting the house, & heading off for who knows how long.

Also with large charter companies it's all dollars & cents, unlike most private owners. No emotional attachments or trying to recoup all the money they spent in ownership. The boat has made its money & they want to sell it to purchase a replacement for the fleet. They repaired all items listed on the survey as they have their own maintenance staff or use contractors.

I say, choose wisely, have a clear understanding of upgrade & maintenance costs, have the boat thoroughly checked by a "competent" surveyor & you can save big time & be out there way sooner.

Yeah the finish might be a bit more worn, but because your purchase price was sooooo much lower, then your selling price when you want to sell can be more realistic also.

The way some people talk on here, if you buy an ex-charter boat you must be stupid.

See you out there!

Dave


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Old 21-09-2015, 05:47   #6
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Re: specific risks of getting an ex-charter boat?

To use the automobile analogy,
Ideally you want an automobile that was only used by the little old lady to drive to church on Sunday.
If you buy an automobile out of a rental fleet, it may be more beat up than normal for the miles.
Note, there are very, very few little old Ladies that only drive on Sunday, and there are many, many ex rental cars sold, that are sold as not being ex-rental cars.

If your buying a one owner boat it's possible to tell it's heritage, maybe not so much after the first owner.

But either way, it's a machine, hopefully you know enough about the machine to be able to determine how it was used / maintained.
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Old 21-09-2015, 06:26   #7
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Re: specific risks of getting an ex-charter boat?

I had an ex charter boat I was considering. IMHO the savings offset the wear and tear. Most charter companies maintain the boats well and do most needed repairs. They would do new bottom paint and service and new sails for the one I wanted. Make sure it has only been through a first tier charter and not been in a second tier. Usually if it is 4 or 5 years old, it has only been in a first tier charter. Get a good survey, probably someone not local to the area where the charter company is located and book the savings.

Some things are impacted by age more then others. Standing rigging should be replaced after 10 or 15 years no matter what the boat was used for. So a 5 year old boat vs a 15 year old boat has many thousands of built in savings. And charters probably had no negative impact on standing rigging. Running rigging maybe got some hard use, so look it over closely. Engine hours are usually higher, but then oil changes have been done on a regular basis by most decent charter companies. Maybe get an engine oil analysis along with the survey if the hours are excessive.

I have chartered a few times and I always treat the boat very well, so I would certainly consider an ex charter boat.
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Old 21-09-2015, 06:51   #8
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Re: specific risks of getting an ex-charter boat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by amiller View Post
Still trying to decide on 3 vs 4 cabins....
This seems to be maybe the only sure agreed upon issue with buying an ex-charter cat - it'll almost always be a 4 cabin version. If you're OK with this you're over that hurdle.

Dave
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Old 21-09-2015, 08:16   #9
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Re: specific risks of getting an ex-charter boat?

I bought an ex-charter boat as well.

I would do it again in a second as the value can't be beat. You also don't have to deal with an existing owner that has emotional ties during negotiation.

A couple of things not mentioned.

1. Count on replacing/upgrading most of the electronics. Charter boats are pretty Spartan for electronics and you will want more when cruising.

2. Charter guests use a boat differently than a cruiser, so some items may have more use than normal. E.G. Shower pumps, most cruisers shower outside, but not charter guests.

3. Expect some cosmetic damage. Broken trim pieces, chipped or scratched floors, broken cabinet latches, ect..

4. You will need to install a complete power system. Most charter boats have the bare minimum for solar/wind and its not suitable for cruising use.

A charter boat can be a great value if you have the DIY skill and patience to deal with the little items (little but time consuming). If you plan to hire everything out, then a charter may not be for you.

P.S. We are a family of 5 with a 40ft cat (4 cabins).
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Old 21-09-2015, 08:39   #10
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Re: specific risks of getting an ex-charter boat?

Good used "Owner" boats are definitely more rare than Charter boats, but could be worth the wait. Other than extra wear and tear, another consideration is equipment. Charter boats are stripped down, to minimize what charter guests can break.

Assuming that you want all of the creature comforts on board, you can get them for a fraction of the cost to install on a used owner boat. Most of which, you do not want to install yourself, because the work is highly specialized.

Examples include: air conditioning, diesel generator, 120 volt ac electric, water maker, extra freezer, etc. This partial list is easily $50,000, plus a lot of work.
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Old 21-09-2015, 08:40   #11
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Re: specific risks of getting an ex-charter boat?

Get a good survey . Even then they will miss a few things. They are usually fairly reasonable to fix . Plan on getting all new electronics and then figure up cost and add 30%.
I bought a charter boat and really like it. I am still below cost of a private owned boat .

But be ready for the high cost of having work done . Also many very difficult people that work on boats . Also yards that do work are not always very honest .
I have had trouble with a yard in Ft Myers estimating then charging 80% above.
Long story but I learned a lesson that I willl never forget. and I will be very hard core about dealing with any one working on my boat.
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Old 21-09-2015, 08:44   #12
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Re: specific risks of getting an ex-charter boat?

Just a foot not there are very many good and honest people that work on boats and several good yards . You just have to watch who you hire and be very careful. You will quickly learn what to do and who is trust worthy.
Listen to fellow boater and ask questions on this forum. A ton of good info and people here are very helpful.
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Old 21-09-2015, 08:45   #13
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Re: specific risks of getting an ex-charter boat?

Congratulations on deciding to buy a boat. One thing that I would like to point out is that when a charter boat is operated by her owner (like mine), very often the owner/operator will care for his/her boat with great attention and even love. I make a huge part of my income from my boats, so I maintain them meticulously and keep them in pristine condition. I've never bought a used boat in as good condition as I keep mine regardless of it being a private boat or charter. One other thing to consider is that charter boats in the U.S. are required to be operated by licensed captains who are required to have had education, training, and experience, so, at least in theory, the boats have been operated by professional mariners. In short, don't fear charter boats. Fear boats that have been neglected and mistreated.
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Old 21-09-2015, 08:50   #14
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Re: specific risks of getting an ex-charter boat?

If I were interested in buying a charter boat, I would take comfort in this thread in that even the naysayers were unable identify any specific problem that you would not discover in a survey.
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Old 21-09-2015, 08:51   #15
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Re: specific risks of getting an ex-charter boat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by amiller View Post
Hi All, long time reader, first time poster! We're a family of 4 with two girls aged 4 and 6 currently who are putting out plan into motion to be on the water within 24 months.

Based on research here, reading of many blogs and books, etc we've decided on a Cat in the 38-40 foot range. Still trying to decide on 3 vs 4 cabins, but looking for a boat that has had 5-6 years of depreciation to make the purchase price more palatable.

Question for today is this: I've heard some folks passionately discourage buying a used charter boat, but why exactly? What specific wear and tear and damage should I be looking out for? Considering that I have two energetic kids, I'm expecting my family to inflict some wear and tear as well, so why not get a fresh-out-of-charter boat, refit what needs fixing, and enjoy the cost savings?
After years of reading posts on this topic it's clear that private and ex charter boats can be a great buy or a nightmare purchase.

We looked at 125 boats globally in 80 days back in 2012.

We found only 3 boats we considered viable purchases out of 125. Plenty of private owners clearly have no concept of preventative or corrective maintenance.

The characteristics of good boats on our world tour always had:

1) Clean and well laid out engine bay
2) Smelt habitable
3) Log book with no gaps and correlation with engine hours and component condition. Check carefully to identify issues.
4) An owner who cared and was technically competent
5) were not in perfect condition but had visible and declared obsolete and maintenance items

We didn't find any competent marine surveyors during our search. (Our evaluation of surveyors was quite limited) I have 3 engineering degrees, 3 trades and over 60k hours of experience so wasn't too fussed. Our survey was for insurance purposes. I was not impressed.

Watch for cut and paste survey errors and deliberate survey omissions. Basically anything hard to access or outside of the surveyors area of competence.

Our broker was great. We were in Australia when we finally found our Liberty 458 in Seattle. Find a good broker. They are invaluable. We interviewed brokers on our world tour so were ready with ours when we found our boat.

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