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Old 16-01-2018, 12:28   #1
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Costs/getting into live-aboard - Boat Fix-ups

I have some questions regarding the rudimentary costs of ACQUIRING the boat.

Now, real quickly, the marina where I would be staying already has boats for sale! (The marina seems to have taken the title to them and are hence, the sellers in this case.) It is my belief that these were either abandoned or the marina took them as collateral for failure to pay slip fees(?) As such, these boats are in pretty poor condition. I believe these were also previous live-aboards; they were not kept very well -- missing cupboard doors/hinges, missing knobs, missing upholstery, etc.... However, they are being sold at rock bottom prices and still, if nothing else, appear to be okay for remaining in the slip; in the marina and can be slept in comfortably.

Some of the costs that I am wondering about are:

--Hull inspection: I am not only interested in the dollar amount (the average, knowing locations and individual shops will ultimately dictate price) but what all a hull inspection actually covers: is it just the portion of the hull that is in the water? Or, would a hull inspector inspect the entire structure?

--Bottom Cleaning What's the highest price you've ever heard of/encountered for this?

--Bottom paint: Typically how much would a reasonable/good shop charge for this? More specifically, is it by the foot? Hoisting fees?

--Hull paint: Typically how much would a shop charge for full service? (Hoisting, Stripping old paint off and applying new coat, plus waxing and finishing?) What about the upper decks and top surfaces? Are these painted? And if so, what would one reasonably expect to pay? By the way, the boats I am considering are all fiberglass, mono hull sailboats. All of which seem to have fiberglass top and upper decks. Also, if one of the serious contenders turns out to good for restoration, I would want to totally change the color of the hull paint.

--Restoration: For this, it's not so much a dollar figure (as costs vary depending on what I want/am able to do.) What I'm wondering about, is suppose it is determined that the boat is structurally sound, what about the various aspects of restoration? Removing parts (screws and hardware, components, etc...) and then replacing them during the process: how would I be able to tell if doing so would incur new damage or make existing problems worse? Again, I realize this one is a generalization and there are all kinds of unknown variables still to figure out.

--Powerplant: From what I can tell, none of the boats I am considering currently have motors. Assuming I was able to restore the boat and get it to running, working condition, how would I know what size motor to get? Is there a rule of thumb for something like this?

--Registration vs. Documentation Would there be any advantage to getting the boat doc'd vs simply paying the registration? All the boats available to me in my price range all have registrations that are several years past due.

Thanks!
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Old 16-01-2018, 12:42   #2
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Re: Costs/getting into live-aboard - Boat Fix-ups

Unless you can do the work, buying a boat w/o a motor, long time between haul outs, needs paint, etc., would cost more than a similar boat in good condition.
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Old 16-01-2018, 12:46   #3
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Re: Costs/getting into live-aboard - Boat Fix-ups

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Originally Posted by Lepke View Post
Unless you can do the work, buying a boat w/o a motor, long time between haul outs, needs paint, etc., would cost more than a similar boat in good condition.
I think I can do some of the work myself, but painting the hull, the bottom and getting a hull inspection, etc... I would definitely have to outsource.
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Old 16-01-2018, 13:32   #4
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Re: Costs/getting into live-aboard - Boat Fix-ups

Registration vs Documentation

I would recommend research at the DMV for any boat that you were getting serious about placing an offer. There can be back fees due.

Good luck in your choice.
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Old 16-01-2018, 14:41   #5
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Re: Costs/getting into live-aboard - Boat Fix-ups

Hull inspection: This is called a survey, and the boat will need to be removed from the water to be done properly. (It is not necessary*) Surveyors usually charge by the foot and do the entire boat, not just the hull.

Bottom Cleaning: Can be done in the water by a diver.

Bottom Paint: If the yard allows you to do it yourself, you can save some money, but it can be a very dirty job. The cost of bottom paint is $150-300 per gallon on average. Size matters as to how much paint you need. *When the boat is hauled out for a survey, the yard can pressure wash most of the growth off. This will help tell you how much work is required for painting the bottom.

Hull Paint: Since I once painted boats in a yard, I can tell you it is extremely expensive if you cannot do it yourself. In the cheap yard I worked in, it was $7000 for a 40' monohull 15 years ago.

Restoration: There is not good way to answer your question. Either you know what you are doing, or you do not.

Powerplant: It is rare for a boat to be missing the actual engine. It is more common that they are not running for one reason or another. If the actual engine is missing, you can usually look up the boat manufacturer's engine of choice. Then you need to figure out the correct transmission ratio and propeller diameter and pitch for whatever engine you drop in.

Registration v. Documentation: personal choice. Research the pros and cons of both.

One major item to keep in mind: most marinas want you to carry liability insurance. Most underwriters will not insure a boat like what you are looking at until it is restored and passes a survey. Depending on the boat, there are a few who might provide liability insurance with some strict limits.
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Old 16-01-2018, 15:53   #6
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Re: Costs/getting into live-aboard - Boat Fix-ups

--Hull inspection: for survey and haulout figure $1000-$1200.

--Bottom Cleaning. My 34' cost about $110, but if you have a nest below it could be $250 or more. Note the haulout for survey may include a pressure wash

--Bottom paint: $1600 to $2000 and up Runs about $35/foot ish

--Hull paint: $10K. Myself I'ed take 80 grit to the topsides and call it good. No worries docking then....

--Restoration: The skys the limit. DIY with a bucket and cleaning supplies and a sander and varnish and paint for not too much. Foam can get spendy. Get bed in a box for v-berth foam.

--Powerplant: $10k for engine, $10k to install. Possible to DIY for $5k with used diesel or rebuild. I rebuilt my yanmar 3gm30f for $1300 complete with blonde labor and a few friends to hoist it up and down.

--Registration vs. Documentation Issue is any late tax and registrations. could be $$$. Plus use tax (sales tax). Property tax is roughly 1% a year and dmV sticker is $34 ish (could be $20 ish without muscle sticker for two years. If only in salt water you can exempt the muscle sticker fee.

When I purchased the boat I had it hauled to survey and had bottom paint done at the same time. Saved one haul out that way. ($450 ish)

NEVER buy a wood boat, unless you're a master shipwright. Most marina's in the SF bay area will not take a wood boat. Some do, but it's getting harder.

When I purchased my boat it needed 100% new electrical and 100 new plumbing, but had a good engine. I did the electrical and plumbing myself. I'm an engineer and learned from my shade tree mechanic dad.

You're FAR better finding a boat with a solid working engine. There ain't no such think as a cheap boat.

Also before buying a boat make very sure you have a slip to put it in. or at least a mooring ball.
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Old 16-01-2018, 21:06   #7
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Re: Costs/getting into live-aboard - Boat Fix-ups

--Powerplant: $10k for engine, $10k to install. Possible to DIY for $5k with used diesel or rebuild. I rebuilt my yanmar 3gm30f for $1300 complete with blonde labor and a few friends to hoist it up and down.

--Registration vs. Documentation Issue is any late tax and registrations. could be $$$. Plus use tax (sales tax). Property tax is roughly 1% a year and dmV sticker is $34 ish (could be $20 ish without muscle sticker for two years. If only in salt water you can exempt the muscle sticker fee.

When I purchased the boat I had it hauled to survey and had bottom paint done at the same time. Saved one haul out that way. ($450 ish)

NEVER buy a wood boat, unless you're a master shipwright. Most marina's in the SF bay area will not take a wood boat. Some do, but it's getting harder.

When I purchased my boat it needed 100% new electrical and 100 new plumbing, but had a good engine. I did the electrical and plumbing myself. I'm an engineer and learned from my shade tree mechanic dad.

You're FAR better finding a boat with a solid working engine. There ain't no such think as a cheap boat.

Also before buying a boat make very sure you have a slip to put it in. or at least a mooring ball.[/QUOTE]

I need to clarify:

The boat(s) I am looking at are all outboard equipped. For instance, one is a Catalina 25. This one doesn't have the motor with it. It is likely that the previous owner took the motor before skipping out on the bill. Since originally posting this, I looked up some used ones on Craigslist and found a few to be reasonably priced. But my first priority would be to do the haul out and survey done.
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Old 16-01-2018, 21:21   #8
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Re: Costs/getting into live-aboard - Boat Fix-ups

One think to watch for is is there a minimum length for live aboard boats. Pretty much all of the SF bay area and parts of southern California have a minimum length requirement for live aboard. For some it's 30' for others it's 33 to 35 feet.

So if you're looking to liveaboard verify the liveaboard length requirements (and wait list times) before buying a boat. A outboard is not idea in the ocean. Can you use one yes. Should you????

When I got my 34' boat 11 years ago, I could get a liveaboard slip anywhere. Then minimum liveaboard length was about 30 feet. Now about a third of the marina's have a minimum length for liveaboard of 35 feet. One is 40 feet. This is in the SF bay area. Some marina's in southern california don't have a minimum. Some Do.
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Old 16-01-2018, 22:27   #9
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Re: Costs/getting into live-aboard - Boat Fix-ups

That's actually a great point! I will have to check with the Marina to find out about what if any the minimum live aboard length is. Incidentally, this particular marina might very possibly have no minimum for live aboard, because I can almost guarantee that these surplus boats they're selling were all previous live aboards.

With regards to the motor, it's mostly used to ferry in and out of the marina. And given it is a sailboat, if I were ever to get it to running condition, I would be opening and using the sails once out in the open.
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Old 16-01-2018, 22:37   #10
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Re: Costs/getting into live-aboard - Boat Fix-ups

Quote:
Originally Posted by Three Sisters View Post
Registration vs Documentation

I would recommend research at the DMV for any boat that you were getting serious about placing an offer. There can be back fees due.

Good luck in your choice.
Yes, thank you! I was going to ask about title searches and insurance as well. Thank you!
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Old 17-01-2018, 05:08   #11
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Re: Costs/getting into live-aboard - Boat Fix-ups

The question is, do you want to buy a project, or do you want to buy a boat?

The kinds of boats you are talking about are projects. BIG projects! It is going to take a lot of money, a lot of effort, and a lot of time to get them into condition where they can be actually used. If you relish the idea of such a project, then more power to you. If what you really want, though, is a boat that you can use, then you will be time and money ahead to save your sheckels until you can afford something that is less of a project and more of a boat.

Good luck, whatever you do.
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Old 17-01-2018, 08:01   #12
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Re: Costs/getting into live-aboard - Boat Fix-ups

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The question is, do you want to buy a project, or do you want to buy a boat?

The kinds of boats you are talking about are projects. BIG projects! It is going to take a lot of money, a lot of effort, and a lot of time to get them into condition where they can be actually used. If you relish the idea of such a project, then more power to you. If what you really want, though, is a boat that you can use, then you will be time and money ahead to save your sheckels until you can afford something that is less of a project and more of a boat.

Good luck, whatever you do.

Yes, indeed!
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Old 17-01-2018, 08:57   #13
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Re: Costs/getting into live-aboard - Boat Fix-ups

Quote:
Originally Posted by SoCalSailor78 View Post

--Powerplant: From what I can tell, none of the boats I am considering currently have motors. Assuming I was able to restore the boat and get it to running, working condition, how would I know what size motor to get? Is there a rule of thumb for something like this?
Boats without engines would be somewhat rare. You need to make sure if it has or had an engine, know what the boat is, and for the easiest course replace with the engine it came with. This is because you wouldnt have to refashion mounts, stuffing box, approximate shaft angles etc.
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Old 17-01-2018, 09:07   #14
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Re: Costs/getting into live-aboard - Boat Fix-ups

I'll 2nd the previous statements regarding cost to fix a boat (it's cheaper to buy in good condition than to pay a yard to do the work) and whether you are looking for a project or a boat. Based on your comment "i would definitely need to outsource [painting]", then you are not looking for a project. Bottom paint is one of the easiest DIY projects on the boat!

To directly answer your Q's.. I own a 1975 41ft boat and size matters:
Hull inspection: my survey was $750 and worthless. I would at this point, DIY a hull inspection unless insurance requires it. Read up! Get "Inspecting the Aging Sailboat" by Don Casey.

Bottom Cleaning: I payed $200 for a diver. If you are doing a bunch of projects like painting, then figure on hauling out and blocking for a month or 2... So no need to pay for this = $0

Bottom Paint: I have expensive paint that costs me almost $300 to do the job. You can DIY your bottom for $100-$200 with cheaper ablative paints.

Hull Paint: I was quoted $10,500 when a power boat scratched my boat. I got a nice fat check but just live with the scratches. You can DIY a Roll n Tip job with good results for, I'm guessing, $1-2k. It's all labor. If you feel you have to pay someone else to do this on a boat you are looking to buy, do not buy that boat unless money is not an issue.

Restoration: Yes, you will find 'surprises' as you disassemble and projects will grow in size. How many of these surprises you find and how much your projects grow has to do with how much experience you have dealing with this stuff. If you are new to boat systems and restoration, then figure your best estimate and multiple your cost estimate and time est by 3.

Powerplant: You don't 'need' an engine at all on a sailboat (see Lin and Larry Pardy's books). If you just want an aux engine to get in and out of slips/moorings, you can put in an electric motor and get that stuff used. Used engines are available as well. Again, this should be an DIY job if you are on a budget. Otherwise, cheaper to get a boat with a good engine than pay $15-$20k for a yard to do it.

Reg/doc: Insignificant price when considering the many thousands of other costs. You usually still need state registration with a documented boat. I don't think you would have to pay back registration for the previous owner's lack of payment but that's a state thing. I'm USCG Doc'd with RI registration (no sales tax) and it costs about $130/yr for registration fees.. I think I payed $85 for the Documentation to be switched to my name 5 yrs ago. Again, DIY it. don't use a documentation broker, or whatever they are called.
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Old 17-01-2018, 10:05   #15
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Re: Costs/getting into live-aboard - Boat Fix-ups

zstine

Thank you for the helpful info! (Especially the books) I will check into those.

The boats I am looking at are substantially smaller than 41'. One in particular that I am considering, is a Catalina 25'. The other is a W.D. Schock 27 (Santana.) From what I can tell, both the Santana and the Catalina don't have motors. And for the C-25, from what I gather, I wouldn't really need anything more than 10 horses.

I have already started browsing Craigslist to see what's available and to my amazement, there's plenty of used motors in good condition at a fraction of what you'd pay at a dealer either for a new or a used motor.


I was figuring since the boat is already in the water and doesn't have a trailer, I would have to pay to have the paint done. There is no hoist at this particular marina that I can tell. The neighboring marina DOES have shops with hoists and that's where I was possibly thinking of taking it should I decide to do this seriously. This would also mean that I might have to have the boat towed to the shop unless someone would be willing to allow me to borrow their outboard.

This marina, is mostly a boat graveyard and the boats I am considering buying are actually being sold by the marina itself. My thinking is that the previous owners abandoned them or couldn't keep up with slip payments or something. The slip fees here are incredibly low compared to anywhere else. So I am not sure what the deal is.

The other part that you're speaking to is cost vs. reward. My hopes would be to get one of these and get them into working condition - maybe sell it down the road in better shape and for more money. I should point out that from what I can tell, the rigging on these are actually pretty good. I should also point out that the exterior paint actually looks pretty good on these, relatively speaking. So, the need to repaint the hull isn't as great as the desire to do so and maybe to do some upgrades. But that's just me talking off the top of my head without having actually spent time on them.
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