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Old 27-02-2012, 12:29   #1
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What To Expect ?

I have heard a few times on here that boats are all about sailing from one repair to the next and how boats are always a race to keep it maintained. I plan on living aboard in about a year although I'll most likely be stranded in a slip until I can graduate and move about like all you cool folks. My question is how bad should I expect repairs and maintenance to be? I'm fine with doing necessary upkeep, I just want to know that I'm not going to wake up waist deep in water if I don't check every inch of the boat every day. You guys make it sound very intimidating Thanks for all of the responses!
- Trey
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Old 27-02-2012, 13:03   #2
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Re: What To Expect?

I'd say I spend at least 2-3 hours a day swabbing the decks, polishing the brass, re-oiling the bright work and patching up canvas. Of course, that's when I'm at dock. At sea it takes up much more of my day.

Okay no, but really things do break down more on a boat than with a house more likely. The environment is a lot more harsh. High humidity and things are jostling around a lot. On the flip side there's less stuff to break, at least on a smaller boat.

On my 32ft boat a couple hours each weekend keeps things running and clean. I have the occasional longer project, but that's more in line with the "redoing the bathroom floor" type of stuff you'd do if you owned a home.
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Old 27-02-2012, 13:16   #3
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Re: What To Expect?

Read one of Tom Neale's liveaboard books. He's has years of livaboard experience. Also learn everything you can about the workings of your boat including water system, engine, deck gear, etc. To get an idea of the cost of replacement parts, check Defender and West Marine. Have backup parts for critical systems. The more maintenance and repair you can do yourself, the less $$$ you will spend.
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Old 27-02-2012, 13:26   #4
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Re: What To Expect?

Thanks for the quick responses! I'm going to be restoring our little 25' Tiara this year so that should allow me the opportunity to know er' in and out and hopefully since she's smaller there will be less things to break like you said Lauder. Aside from the obvious "is there a gouge in my hull?" what kind of a mini check list do you guys go through every day or is it more of a "if somethings wrong, you'll know" type thing? Thanks for the book reference Amapola, I'll definitely check that out. Thanks again everyone.
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Old 27-02-2012, 13:58   #5
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Re: What To Expect?

It's a bit of a mix between general maintenance and "things go wrong". A diesel engine needs periodic running to keep happy, so that's something you'll do every now and then. Along with checking filters, changing oil and so on. Seacocks can freeze up so every now and then you have to open/close them to keep them working properly.

Water tends to collect in the fridge and that needs cleaning out. Decks need scrubbing every few weeks, more if a bird takes roost nearby. I have a composting head and dump the urine twice a week and clean the solids every couple months.

Mold/mildew crops up all the time especially around the galley sink. That gets scrubbed every few weeks and the whole boat needs a good cleaning inside every few months. The bottom needs cleaning along with a zinc check but in a marina a diver does that for about $80 a pop in my area.

I also have a 30 year old boat and things break. My fridge compressor needed a bit of a rewire because the connector that controlled the thermostat rusted loose. I had a hose get loose and run my fresh water pump now and then so I had to track that down and re-secure it. The clasp that holds my dodger to my cockpit came free in a storm and I had to sew that back on. My stern light is out and I need to replace it. I broke the cover on my main circuit panel putting away stuff in my lazarette and I want to replace the whole thing.

And there are always new projects you run into and want to do. I have a list of 30 I'd like to have done by this summer. When I'm done with those I'll have 30 more things I'll want to do by next summer.

If I owned a home it'd be no different. My garbage disposal would need fixing, that crack in the drive way would need filling, the tree in the back yard would need trimming, I'd want to build an enclosure for the back deck patio, put screens on the gutters, maybe move to a more efficient water heater, install that new surround sound entertainment center, re-carpet the living room to match the furniture, etc etc.

It's your home and you want to improve it.
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Old 27-02-2012, 14:21   #6
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Re: What To Expect?

LauderBoy's post above sounds like me. I always have a list, but I'm only working on number one. Functions is more important than pretty, but I try to take care of both. I try to do one thing for the boat every day, but when a problem arises, for me a recent search for the cause of a raised engine temperature, work can be long and difficult. My boat is 39 years old and, if you discounted the things I've replaced, it would be an empty shell. My work saves me money, but the main reason I toil is to keep my ability to be independent.
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Old 27-02-2012, 14:33   #7
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Re: What To Expect?

problem with working on a boat is many times you are either on your knees or upside down or 50 feet up .. using one hand when you need two .. on things you can't see very well and in places you can't fit. things in a house are almost always easily reached and serviced and less expensive
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Old 27-02-2012, 14:39   #8
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Re: What To Expect?

It has been said before that maintenance could run 10%/year of the boat's value.

I spend a couple of days a week working through issues, fixing things I find broken (or I break) and general cleaning. Part of this is learning how things work on this boat and making sure I'm familiar with all the systems. To date, aside from slip fees and insurance, some canvas work is the only thing we've paid for in 13 months of owning our boat.

It is funny how unexpected items become a priority and those on the list stay on the list, which never gets shorter!
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Old 27-02-2012, 16:14   #9
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Well my 25' Tiara is motor boat so no need to fix sails (lame, I know). Everything else seems like I should be able to get used to it. And for $80 bucks a pop I'll take my scuba gear out and scrape crud off of boats But you guys are right, I look forward to making this place my home and I'm sure I'll even come to enjoy working on her (or maybe that's just young naivety). Thanks again for the responses, let me know if you folks think of anything else I should know before attempting to get my see legs.
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Old 27-02-2012, 16:28   #10
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[QUOTE="Licencia"]Well my 25' Tiara is motor boat so no need to fix sails (lame, I know). Everything else seems like I should be able to get used to it. And for $80 bucks a pop I'll take my scuba gear out and scrape crud off of boats But you guys are right, I look forward to making this place my home and I'm sure I'll even come to enjoy working on her (or maybe that's just young naivety). Thanks again for the responses, let me know if you folks think of anything else I should know before attempting to get my sea legs.
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Old 27-02-2012, 16:30   #11
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Sea legs* Sorry, I do know the difference :P dang iPod...
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Old 27-02-2012, 17:25   #12
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Re: What To Expect?

No matter what people say, the age of a boat makes a big difference,the older, the more probs, many people out cruising full time are on older boats! The ten percent thing is nonsense, as a boat ages its value decreases, but maintenance costs increase.

At one point i had a 24 ft motorboat, its yearly berthing costs were easily equal to seven percent of its value, never mind a penny on maintenance, yet if the boat had been new then the berthing costs would be 2% of its value and the maintenance costs virtually nil. In the three years i owned it , i perhaps spent six percent of its value in maintenance. If the boat had been new then the running costs would have been 2 percent to berth and probably 0.5% for maintenance.

its all relative!
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Old 27-02-2012, 17:34   #13
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Re: What To Expect?

I too am moving aboard this Summer, hopefully for good.
Ask yourself,would you go out of the driveway with flat tires,,or bald tires,,or bad brakes,,or wipers which do not work in a downpour?? the list goes on.
A boat is not a car, if you car stalls, chances are you are not going to drown.
Your Boat houses you, provides transport to exotic locales,and just requires some attention to detail like you would on your Treasured Corvette StingRay.
I am just a newby, but i have a background in transport Mechanics where lives depended on my detailed repairs.

So i guess it shouldn't be that unreasonable that a Boat requires a little Love every once in a while.
Good luck on your move to the sea.




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Originally Posted by Licencia View Post
I have heard a few times on here that boats are all about sailing from one repair to the next and how boats are always a race to keep it maintained. I plan on living aboard in about a year although I'll most likely be stranded in a slip until I can graduate and move about like all you cool folks. My question is how bad should I expect repairs and maintenance to be? I'm fine with doing necessary upkeep, I just want to know that I'm not going to wake up waist deep in water if I don't check every inch of the boat every day. You guys make it sound very intimidating Thanks for all of the responses!
- Trey
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Old 27-02-2012, 18:20   #14
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Re: What To Expect?

I figure if maintaining the boat costs less than the combination of maintaining the house plus the car, then it all works out.

But really the costs are more about how well you maintain the boat, less to maintain than to repair, and how hard you use it.
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Old 27-02-2012, 18:29   #15
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Re: What To Expect?

Kind of what I was thinking Don. I'm hoping that the cost of a slip and maintaining the boat won't be bad, especially since I won't be able to leave the slip much because of school so hopefully that keeps the wear and tear to a minimum.
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