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Old 22-01-2015, 02:16   #31
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Re: Maintenance On Your Boat

Part of the issue with reputations of service people is unrealistic expectations. And the fact that if you (the pro) were the last to work on something, whatever goes wrong next is your fault, even if totally unrelated.
I feel that, especially those who voyage to remote areas, need to be practical people, and to have put significant effort into learning the systems on their boat.
The fact is, if you don't open the raw water intake, and the motor seizes, it is NOT the mechanics fault!
Any yes, it can take a whole day to run a new cable to that capstan winch on some boats. if you don't want to pay for a day, you have to do it yourself.
Like most things in business, communication is the key!
All of us could do better sometimes.
That being said, I feel that the work I do on my boat is done to a better standard than I would get from the average "professional", many of whom work on boats, but don't actually use them much.
And, like Matt above, I enjoy it. And I'm now doing pro service work for local boats, and have been recruited by Navico as a "pro staff" contractor. So I can see both sides of the story.
One last point - I've seen some excellent owner maintained boats, and some disasters. It all depends....
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Old 22-01-2015, 06:05   #32
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Re: Maintenance On Your Boat

I don't do diesel overhauls, sails, paint work or hi tech electrical stuff but pretty much everything else which seems to keep me very busy at times. Recently I needed all my fixed ports re glazed which turned out to be a job from hell. I needed a shop to be able to dissemble all the metal extrusions, remove the lexan and clean everything so I cut a deal with the local installer and I paid him to glaze them for me if he would allow me to use his shop to do 80% of the grunt work. I enjoy problem solving and constantly learning new stuff so all in all I like the problems, makes up for not working.
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Old 22-01-2015, 06:36   #33
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Re: Maintenance On Your Boat

I do everything myself....

The problem is that at LEAST 50% can be accomplished cheaper when done by a professional... considering my time and material...

At least we learn which tasks we prefer not to repeat...
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Old 22-01-2015, 06:48   #34
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Re: Maintenance On Your Boat

I've done everything, with the exception of build the dodger and Bimini, an sails. I can sew but lack the space and machine for this type of stuff.


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Old 22-01-2015, 07:09   #35
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Re: Maintenance On Your Boat

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Originally Posted by SimonV View Post
No, moral of the story is know your neighbor.

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You missed the point entirely.
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Old 22-01-2015, 14:24   #36
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Re: Maintenance On Your Boat

The most satisfied boat owners are those that can repair their boat. It gives them the ability to be confident in their adventures and the knowledge that they will never be held hostage by a dishonest marine repairman--money and time. If you're sailing from Labrador to Baffin Island and your lift pump fails, what do you do when there is no one that can fix the problem within a couple hundred miles? If you're stateside and the lift pump fails and a marine mechanic tells you falsely that you need to replace your injection pump and injectors at a cost of $2000. and you have the perfect window to leave tomorrow, what do you do? Anyone with reasonable intelligence and the ability to learn can/should repair their own boat. Practice makes perfect.The dividends are unending. Good luck and good sailing.
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Old 22-01-2015, 14:31   #37
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Re: Maintenance On Your Boat

It is true that if you account for your time, it MAY be cheaper to employ a "pro". But, for this to be accurate, you must be in paid employment, at a higher rate that the the "pro" charges, or at least nearly so. Of course a pro, specializing in that particular field, should be faster than you! Materials should be similar, unless you ^^%$ something up!
There are times when a pro makes sense for some people of course, otherwise there would be no business for them, and therefore no pros!
Many cruisers are retired (or unemployed, or have independent incomes), so what they do have is time....
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Old 23-01-2015, 23:29   #38
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Maintenance On Your Boat

It's also good to pass the cheer around ,to the people that want to help you out, and make a living from small business.
Good community economics!


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Old 24-01-2015, 00:17   #39
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Re: Maintenance On Your Boat

Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyingCloud1937 View Post
Now this is a funny-fun-Topic.
As a "PMSG" Professional Marine Systems Guy.
I can tell you story after story of what PO's did wrong.
WOW, this may be the real TROLL thread.
Lloyd
If only the answer was so easy!

In 40 years of sailing boats and 20 years of owning boats I have seen dozens, if not hundreds of examples of shoddy, dangerous, and useless repairs done by "professionals"

Following are a few of the recent examples in which I have been very closely involved:

- a professional outfitter was called back to a brand new boat, twice, to deal with a marine head that was very hard to pump dry. He found no reason for the problem and dismissed it a issue with a PO not knowing how to flush the head. Two days after the last visit the holding tank exploded because the vent was clogged with material from the factory.

- six months later the other head, which was not used very often and with a much larger holding tank, exploded for the same reason. The "professional mechanic" never bothered to check the 2nd vent!

- Professional boat engine mechanic orders two new short blocks and when they arrive they are the wrong model. The mechanic had removed the old engines and knew exactly what he was working with.

- Professional diesel mechanic installs wrong injectors in an almost new diesel being cared for under warranty

- professional marine starter and windlass motor rebuilder "forgot" to put the in seals around the drive shaft on a windlass - a year later the motor was crumbling inside

- a professional rigger did such a horrible splice (twice!) that the halyard broke twice - with the splice at the top of the mast

- a professional diesel mechanic installed the wrong alternator drive belt and it failed within hours of leaving the dock

- a professional boatyard guy installed the wrong nut (metric rather than SAE) on a threaded prop shaft and then did not install the cotter pin - the prop fell off the first time the engine started

- a professional boatyard guy installed a Maxprop so that selecting reverse drove the boat forward

- I watched a professional rigger convince a naive new boat owner that all his NEW halyards needed replacing because they were a year old and sun damaged - on a 42' boat

- A professional outboard mechanic brought a friend a 4-stroke that had been repaired but left laying with breather tube down and the cylinders filled with oil

- a professional diesel mechanic cleaned a perfectly good heat exchanger bundle in the wrong acid bath and all that was left was the frame

... etc

Hiring a professional these days guarantees little about the quality of work, skill of the mechanic, or experience of the mechanic

I am no professional mechanic but I know who to blame if there is a problem. And, more importantly, I am never in a rush, I can spend all the time I need to research the problem and the repair, and I can make sure the parts I order are correct and needed.

IMHO!
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Old 24-01-2015, 10:54   #40
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Re: Maintenance On Your Boat

It surprises me that so many boaters assume that they can easily do their own electrical or mechanical work on boats and do it so much better than people who have training and experience in these matters. I wonder how they feel when people assume that their jobs or professions don't require any special skill or training. I mean anybody can remove a gall bladder or practice law, right?
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Old 24-01-2015, 11:13   #41
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Re: Maintenance On Your Boat

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Originally Posted by rwidman View Post
It surprises me that so many boaters assume that they can easily do their own electrical or mechanical work on boats and do it so much better than people who have training and experience in these matters. I wonder how they feel when people assume that their jobs or professions don't require any special skill or training. I mean anybody can remove a gall bladder or practice law, right?
I'm with you !
I have literally thousands of photos dangerous disasters on boats "upgraded and extremely well maintained by knowledgeable captain".

I re-wired a 37' boat from scratch a few years ago. All new shore power system, three new battery banks, one of which was a 24volt bank with a series/parallel switch so it could charge off the 12v alternator, installed two battery chargers and an inverter, galvanic isolators and more. I have taken many ABYC and other marine electrical courses and have a pretty good idea of what I'm doing.

but ........ I called in an ABYC certified marine electrician to double check everything before hooking up the batteries and plugging into shore power. He found one error, I had installed the relay for the series/parallel switch incorrectly and the thruster would only run in one direction.

I spent 20k on that project and was not about to risk my life or my wallet without an experts blessing.
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Old 24-01-2015, 12:33   #42
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Re: Maintenance On Your Boat

"It surprises me that so many boaters assume that they can easily do their own electrical or mechanical work on boats and do it so much better than people who have training and experience in these matters."

I don't think anyone is claiming an amateur PO can do the work BETTER than a "professional" but they can do it for a far lower cost, in a time frame that suits them, and gain the really important experience that is essential when off cruising.

Jeez - It is not rocket science!

By the time I was 30 I had built several high performance race cars and a couple motorcycles from the frame up. I bet my life on my workmanship every time I raced them. In my 30s and 40s I remodeled several homes including a lot of plumbing and wiring. I built and installed electronics and computer equipment as part of my professional career, including high voltage power supplies and electrical equipment in an explosive atmosphere.

Why would I think the relative simplicity of a sailboat is a difficult maintenance or upgrade problem?

After rebuilding a desdmodromic valve gear engine that revs to 10,000 RPMs - what is hard about a simple diesel?

After installing a five-zone automated sprinkler system in a half-acre garden with a 50' elevation change - what is complicated about boat plumbing?

After building the frame and suspension of a race car that can pull 1.5Gs what is hard about the rigging on a sailboat?

After rebuilding a Bosch mechanical fuel injection on a early '70s gas engine why would I be nervous about my diesel pump?

After rebuilding many auto and motorcycle transmissions why would I not want to work on my diesel transmission?

I am not trying to denigrate the skills of most boat guys but I think it a little pompous to assume that an amateur PO mechanic is a fool and klutz.
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Old 24-01-2015, 12:45   #43
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Re: Maintenance On Your Boat

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[I]
I am not trying to denigrate the skills of most boat guys but I think it a little pompous to assume that an amateur PO mechanic is a fool and klutz.
The vast and I do mean vast majority of boaters do not have your experience or skill set, You know .... the ones that install automotive battery chargers ina gasoline engine compartment, the ones that bond the neutral/ground at their water heaters or cut the ground off their shore power cord to stop their worn out GFI's from tripping or running propane heaters in their cabins or wiring their hour meter so it runs whenever the battery switch is in the on position or the electrical engineer who didn't under stand why he could not have two 30amp cords running to the same 30amp breaker ....

I could go on all night I have thousands of photos of this stuff. I do 240 surveys per year and I meet one knowledgeable owner every year or two.
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Old 24-01-2015, 13:19   #44
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Re: Maintenance On Your Boat

Boatpoker, I'll agree that not all boat owners are skilled tradesmen... plenty of evidence for that, but there are quite a few with reasonable skill sets and the time to exercise them successfully and save considerable money.

I think the big area of contention here is the assumption that all so called "professionals" in marine trades are skilled and dedicated in their work. Without dredging through the files, let's just remember the photo that Smackdaddy posted of the professional wiring in the bilge of his Hunter... an expensive mess that required re-doing. I have seen too many such disasters sold to yotties by pros to trust them all that much. There are indeed some truly talented folks in the marine trades, but surely you don't believe they are all of that ilk, any more than all owners being idiots and klutzes.

There are a few posters here on CF who invariably suggest going to a pro when someone asks a question.l Sometimes it is for the best, for we've read questions that were so naive as to suggest the owner was not likely to succeed in his tasks. But there are plenty of successful outcomes... like Sailorchick's rebuild of her Yanmar for one.

I gather that you, in the practice of your profession, take photos of the disasters that you encounter. Do you take photos of the good installations too? Or do you just accept them without comment, and continue to seek out flaws? That's what most surveyors are hired to do, and that might be why your photo album is skewed as you report it to be.

At any rate, I'm sure that you will continue to find lousy jobs done by owners, and that some of us will continue to do our own work and survive the results of that work.
We may even ask some questions here on CF if we want to do jobs that fall out of our experience area. We may get good advice, too, surrounded by other ideas. Hopefully we will have the wisdom to tell the difference. If not, perhaps we will generate a disaster so that you can say "I told you so"! Me, I'll take the risk...

Jim
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Old 24-01-2015, 13:23   #45
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Re: Maintenance On Your Boat

We do everything ourselves. We think it's very important because we often find ourselves off the grid with no outside help available.
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