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Old 15-04-2012, 23:26   #1
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Living Aboard a 2001 Sea Ray 310

Hey guys, I'm new here, and am choosing to live aboard. There aren't many choices where I live in terms of marina's and dealers to shop around, and my budget is tight, so I don't think I can ship my boat to my location.

I've been reading about what to look for, what to consider, etc when choosing a boat to live aboard. I've decided cruiser (probably not physically fit enough to sail, and I live near a river), newer (don't have too much time to be handy), and about 31-35 foot.

A dealer nearby has a 2001 Sea Ray 310. From what I've read it seems that it's okay... I think space-wise, since I'll be living by myself it'll be "cozy"... I suppose I don't mind the tight spaces.

I have 3 questions for everyone:
1) Is there any red flags with this boat, esp since I'm considering living aboard.
2) For a twin engine cruiser like this, what can I expect of maintenance costs? I've read (even on this forum) 5-10% of purchase cost, but it seems maintenance costs would ramp up with age where as purchase cost goes down with age.
3) Is $80,000 seem just right, a steal, or a rip off for this boat?

Thanks for all of your help.
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Old 17-04-2012, 07:14   #2
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Re: Living Aboard a 2001 Sea Ray 310

Welcome you came to a good place to start your boating experience.

From your post you seem to have limited knowledge "of boats", especially mechanically. I cannot tell about you boat skills, "cozy" as you say she is - she is still a big and potentially powerful boat that can be very difficult to single hand.

A buddy of mine had a Sea Ray 270, it is an older model but I think the 310 is the upgraded model. He took care of his boat, daily. In the end he replaced engines 3 times, I helped him. We rebuilt his generator twice and need I talk about the cost of fuel to go out for a weekend run around Pensacola Bay and Beach. She road and handled well but it took a very experienced Captain to handle her alone when docking in brisk currents and winds, anybody can do this when all is calm.

After 5 years he decided to get rid of it. He could not even get people to come and look at the boat, he tried to "GIVE" it to me but hey I had worked years on that boat, I certainly had my fill. He eventually "Gave" it to another "Friend", I think they are still talking.

Tell me do you think 80K is too much for a boat that is 11 years old that probably needs work? It is a buyers market, things are tough, boats everywhere for sale. Take your 80K and consider what you could do with that even if "you had a boat transported in" - due to limited selection where you are. You could do very well with that amount of money for a LOT of boats, good boats.

My best suggestion, based on your post, is to go find a surveyor who is well respected and talk with him about what you would like to do. This is the person who can tell you best what you are getting into as you should hire him to Survey the boat you are interested in. From your post you suggest money is tight, while I appreciate that hiring an "EXCELLENT" surveyor is money you may wish not to spend, the Surveyor can save you from financial devastation and most importantly loss of your dream.

We all started, for the most part, where you are now and it takes careful planning with education along the way.

Good Luck
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Old 17-04-2012, 07:41   #3
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Re: Living Aboard a 2001 Sea Ray 310

As I am a power boater preparing to convert to a sail boater I may be able to offer some insight. Firstly, $80,000 is to much for this boat IMHO with fuel over $4 a gallon. Your responses here will be different if we know wether you plan to be in fresh or salt water. Shipping a power boat of this size will be much easier than a sailboat and will broaden your selection. You will also find much more enjoyable living space in a aft cabin or trawler. Do you really want 2 engines to maintain? You mention not being physically fit enough to sail so you may also not want or have the need to pound waves at 30 knots. If you plan on cruising while living aboard fuel consumption will become a Huge factor. Will be interested in other responses as I have not completely ruled out power for my upcoming(3 years) one year cruise.
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Old 17-04-2012, 12:39   #4
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Re: Living Aboard a 2001 Sea Ray 310

Thank you diverdr and Pat for your responses.

There's two camps I've been toggling between. In one hand, I want to spend more to have a boat that's in good condition (or at least I thought), or spend less since this is the first time I've lived on a boat and is thus less of a financial obligation even though it could be older and may need more maintenance.

I am getting from your posts that given the age of the 310, I'm not really doing myself a favor in equating a 2001 boat as requiring considerably less maintenance than a well maintained 1976 Aft Cabin (there's a 1976 Marrinette 37' Aft Cabin Cruiser for $35000 I found locally).

My living plans are to live on freshwater, a river close to or on the Ohio River. The waters usually are calm, except when boaters fly by at top speed too close to the marina. I'm looking to take advantage of the calm waters since I'm new to this (never docked a boat before....). The river is usually calm, although every now and then it picks up speed.

I don't plan on actually cruising often. It will be my domicile, and I would maybe go out for a little bit for a few hours (down the river) every 3 weeks or so. Most of the time I'll stay docked. My plan is to every few months go a little further to get practice of planning a voyage. By 2013 or 2014, I'd like to try to take it down to the Gulf of Mexico (if I feel confident enough). The long term goal (2017ish) is to detach from my job momentarily to cross the Atlantic or circumnavigate the globe in a trawler after I've learned the ropes.

Speaking about getting to the Gulf of Mexico, I calculated the fuel usage and speeds for the 310 Sea Ray and got some interesting results. I currently am about 1250 miles away from the Gulf, so a round trip is 2500 miles. Given the fuel consumption at different rpm's and the average speed and cost for fuel, a round-trip voyage that takes 72 hours in total at about 30 knots would cost roughly $12,500, where as a voyage that takes 432 hours in total (18 days) at about 5.5 knots would cost roughly $4,300. Just some interesting numbers I found. This of course assumes slow-moving rivers and probably a number of other simplifications.

I'm starting to lean more towards the 1976 Marrinette given your feedback. I still have a fear of the head. I've heard horror stories...

Any other feedback would be appreciated! Thanks again for helping a newbie out.
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Old 17-04-2012, 13:07   #5
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Re: Living Aboard a 2001 Sea Ray 310

I definitely think an Aft cabin is the way to go, also a diesel engine(s). With what looks like will be occurring with marine gasoline fuel regarding ethanol additives, that would be a real concern for me if I was using gasoline as my primary engine(s).

One thing for sure is the journey of discovering the best boat for you is certainly as much fun as the destination. One thing I learned for every boat I missed that I really wanted, another appeared that better fit my needs.

There are some really neat aft cabin trawlers around.
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Old 17-04-2012, 13:21   #6
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Mid Size Power Boats

I like David Pascoe's book Mid Size Power Boats. While I do not agree with some of the things he says, he does discusses a lot of good things and it will get you thinking in the right frame of mind.

Boat Purchase: Mid Size Power Boats - Buyers' Guide Book by David Pascoe, Marine Surveyor

If you have not used Yachtworld.com to see what you can get for 80K you need to, figure the prices listed for the boats are some where between 15 to 30% higher than what will close the deal on a purchase. Do not over look getting a Surveyor before a purchase.

Boats for Sale, New and Used Boats and Yachts - YachtWorld.com
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Old 19-04-2012, 08:29   #7
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Re: Living Aboard a 2001 Sea Ray 310

Thanks for the boat links Pat, I've checked them out, and I might buy the Buyer's guide.

I checked out the 1976 Marrinette 37' Aft Cabin Cruiser recently and overall it looked like a good boat. I still have to get a surveyor in. However, I did notice a few things when I was peeking around.

The boat is currently out of water. However, there seemed to be a mild smell of mildew, and in the shower and toilet you could see the black dots of mold. Secondly, there was a little water in the bilge that was black (this is an aluminum hull boat, is this bad?) Thirdly, I looked inside of the hull and saw what I thought was pieces of hull flaking off. It's an aluminum hull so I didn't think aluminum corroded and flaked off like that, like you would see with iron or steel corroding. Is this normal, or is it an insulator that's flaking off?

I think the main concern I had was the mold smell. I'm not sure if it's a normal boating thing, since it's in water and there's moisture, or if it's a red flag that it wasn't maintained and there could be mold lurking everywhere. I know for buying a house/apartment it's a red flag.
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Old 19-04-2012, 09:11   #8
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Re: Living Aboard a 2001 Sea Ray 310

I know the buyers guide is expensive, compared to other books, but it is 1/10th of 1% of what you were talking about spending, so from that perspective it is truly a drop in the bucket. I hope you noticed all the excellent articles that are a free read on his site, they are worth you time to STUDY.

I have never been involved with an aluminum hull though I had a friend who loved his Chris Craft Roamer, it had been in his family for a I think 3 generations of users and he converted the gas engines to diesel and is very happy with the boat. Sailors generally like aluminum because it is strong and light however it has its unique needs, just like everything else. I think repairs to the hull for example can be more of a challenge since it takes a specialized skill to weld if needed but how often will that happen particularly with the plans you describe. I think that is more of a concern for the person who is going off the beaten path and may need help that may not be readily available. Here in the U.S. it is a non issue. I know nothing about painting them, hull or whatever but I am sure folks will pipe up here.

Regarding mold that is an issue that is generally related to how wet the boat has been, condensation vs how well it has been ventilated while in storage on the hard or in the water, so it is not like the mold problems of a home. You will find many people use humidifiers and such to deal with such issues.

The fact that the boat is out of the water is good that it allows you to easily see hull, shafts and such. On the other hand depending on how long she has been there seals can dry out and parts break because of non use. Kind of like a motorcycle, not using it is bad for the bike.

Planning on a survey is great - that means out of the water, on the hard, as she is now and in the water. You will probably need two surveyors, welcome to boats. One who will focus on hull and related mechanisms as well as electronics, though that seems to be becoming specialized now. Another surveyor who will take oil samples and evaluate the engines and transmissions. If you find a well respected surveyor he can guide you to the engine and tranny guy.

It sounds like you are very enamored with Marinette or you just can't wait to get on the water, certainly I understand both emotions. Do yourself a favor, spend some time looking at Yachtworld or some other sales service and most of all go look at least 2 other boats that interest you. Consider traveling to a place where there are many boats for sale and you can spend the day talking with the owners or brokers and you will pick up a lot of information.

I would not buy this book out right but maybe you can find a broker who will let you look at his or maybe your library has a old copy.

PowerBoat Guide Offers Free Online Access to 2012 Edition

You could probably find an old one, say 2002 or older for cheap on line through amazon, Abe's books or Ebay. You don't need a new one since you are not buying new. The nice thing is the book helps you understand the different classifications of powerboats and the many different layouts available.

I have managed to avoid the old adage " The happiest day of a boater's life is the day he purchases his boat and the day he sells it" This always sounded like the times in between were not as sweet to me. I think you avoid this by taking the time to clearly understand what you are purchasing and most of all how it fits for you
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Old 19-04-2012, 09:54   #9
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Re: Living Aboard a 2001 Sea Ray 310

It really depends on what you want. In a planing boat, the Sea Ray is one of the better "non yacht" boats. A 30 foot Sea Ray should have a lot of room and an aft cabin right? I know newer boats like that are listed for quite a bit of money, but I would assume that you can get it for much less. The dual engine boats below that size are not selling at all from what I can tell. Key question is really will this boat be at the dock mostly .....or if not can you afford fuel? Can you afford to run it at 20 gallons per hour? If not you need a trawler. As far as your question about a '76 boat vs '92 boat... no comparison, the 76 will have hugely more issues than a '92. A '92 might have fresh water pump, hot water heater type of issues etc, but a '76 will likely have bad fuel tanks, rotten floor supports, rotten transom (if I/O drive) etc etc. On a reasonably equipped '92 in good condition, you should only need to spend money on electronics... if it doesnt have them already.
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Old 19-04-2012, 11:59   #10
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Re: Living Aboard a 2001 Sea Ray 310

CPT O -

I realized I did not answer one of your direct questions clearly. I do not know what to tell you about your observations of the aluminum hull in the bilge but like you, I am suspicious of everything till I am satisfied I at am at the bottom of the cause of the problem and the cost to repair it.
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Old 19-04-2012, 12:19   #11
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Re: Living Aboard a 2001 Sea Ray 310

The way you plan on using the boat, why not just pick up a houseboat.
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Old 19-04-2012, 12:48   #12
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Re: Living Aboard a 2001 Sea Ray 310

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tingum View Post
The way you plan on using the boat, why not just pick up a houseboat.
I agree with you particularly with the idea that you are talking about a boat that is MEANT to be lived on vs one that is designed to be occupied a couple weeks at a time. So I think boats designed from the beginning as a liveaboard means they are designed to be showered in regularly, designed in such a way to resist mildew. Their general gear is a step up in quality and design.
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Old 19-04-2012, 14:46   #13
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Re: Living Aboard a 2001 Sea Ray 310

Not to mention if you are from Louisiana like I am, you could cook a Gumbo in the Galley. If you can't have 3 pots going at once in the galley then it is not big enough, at least not for me.
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Old 19-04-2012, 15:07   #14
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Re: Living Aboard a 2001 Sea Ray 310

You may want to look at a diesel powered trawler; economical, roomy, and available widely at moderate prices.
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Old 24-04-2012, 12:15   #15
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Re: Living Aboard a 2001 Sea Ray 310

Thanks for all the feedback everyone. It's really helping me avoid pitfalls. After considering the care of the aluminum hull since I'll be docked all of the time, I've decided to not go with that. In fact, I went to a boat show this weekend and am probably more torn than ever. I so a number of boats that fit my living needs and style (including several tugs and trawlers), but not my budget

I've found another boat locally that was fairly roomy and had a better sticker price (as compared to the going price of the same boat on yachtworld). It's a 1998 Silverton 322 going for $60k. It was in decent condition and I think I'm going to take a second look this week.

@Tingum Good point about the houseboat, and the reason I'm not considering them is that I'm not particularly attracted to them. I think functionally they're great, but I can't imagine myself coming home everyday to something I don't like looking at. It's superficial, I know. I've read other concerns with piloting a houseboat down a fast-moving river, and often times the river I'd be on picks up a strong current.
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