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Old 25-07-2017, 15:45   #1
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Is there opportunity here?

Hi all,

Seems most of the marinas I visit have a good number of very neglected boats. Some are all but abandoned - and some are actually abandoned.

The picture attached is of a boat that sunk quite awhile ago (hey, the mast is still standing) and another one just sunk a few weeks ago.

Seems the owners just abandon the boats and eventually, many if them sink. The marina owner really isn't doing much more than collecting a check every quarter, and apparently, not even doing that very well. (The marina is for sale BTW) I asked him about the sunk boat, and after a bunch if back story, said that he'd have to call a guy in with a crane to pull the boat out, a backhoe to crush the boat and a roll-off to load the pieces into. Apparently, he wait til he has three derelect boats to make it economical.

Long story not short enough - is this an opportunity disquised as derelect boats? Could some energetic, enterprising, upbeat guy (heck no, not me!) Make a profit out of derelect, abandoned boats? I would think there HAS to be money in this somehow.

Thoughts?

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Old 25-07-2017, 16:05   #2
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Re: Is there opportunity here?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ValiantV View Post
Long story not short enough - is this an opportunity disquised as derelect boats? Could some energetic, enterprising, upbeat guy (heck no, not me!) Make a profit out of derelect, abandoned boats? I would think there HAS to be money in this somehow.
Attachment 152636
Plenty of money to be made there. It isn't even all that hard. Just go out and buy yourself a crane, backhoe, and truck.
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Old 25-07-2017, 16:09   #3
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Re: Is there opportunity here?

A lt of legal issues, if it really was a good opportunity others would already be doing it
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Old 25-07-2017, 16:10   #4
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Re: Is there opportunity here?

Guess I was thinking something more upbeat and earth-friendly than filling a hole in the ground with a bunch of broken fiberglass bits.

Maybe the question I should have asked is "Can this boat be saved?"
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Old 25-07-2017, 16:17   #5
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Re: Is there opportunity here?

I think the opportunity, if any, is to find the boats that will possibly end up being abandoned, and try to scoop them up at a low price before they deteriorate significantly.

Boats seem to end up abandoned for a number of reasons - health, financial difficulties, loss of interest - and with many compounding issues, like the family/friends want nothing to do with it. When you spend some time at a marina or club, you start to figure out what boats aren't being used, what owners are bored, unhappy or having other issues.

Just in our little yacht club (200 boats), there have been a few recent transfers, illnesses and deaths, and I hear of boats that are available, though they haven't been formally put up for sale. I know of one case this year where the family of a deceased sailor told the club to just give away the boat (it was pretty far gone, or it would be resting at my slip by now )

So I think there might be a small but viable business in finding such boats that can be resold after putting in some cosmetic work and being patient.

Regarding derelicts, I dunno, you might offer a free removal service to marinas, then strip them before chainsawing and dumpstering the bare hulls, if they're beyond hope.

[edit] that boat in the picture could probably be refloated without requiring a crane, but you'd still need pumps or flotation bags.
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Old 25-07-2017, 18:06   #6
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Re: Is there opportunity here?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ValiantV View Post
Guess I was thinking something more upbeat and earth-friendly than filling a hole in the ground with a bunch of broken fiberglass bits.

Maybe the question I should have asked is "Can this boat be saved?"
Yes, it probably can be saved.

And after you've spent $10,000* on restoring it to a seaworthy condition, it will be worth $2,000*


*Numbers will vary drastically depending on the individual boat - but the ratio of cost/eventual value won't vary much at all.
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Old 25-07-2017, 18:16   #7
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Re: Is there opportunity here?

There is always money to be made doing the jobs that nobody else wants to do. The problem is having the ability to do that job yourself.
If you have the equipment, the knowledge, permits, licenses, and can do it for a price that is attractive to the marina.... Have at it.
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Old 25-07-2017, 20:12   #8
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Re: Is there opportunity here?

as someone whos rescued a derelict from the chainsaws, gutted, ground-out the glass (inside and out) and is well past 80% of the rebuild i can tell you with a high level of confidence that no, there is no opportunity to make money here. you only take on a project like this if you have the skills, tools, space, time, stamina and desire to build exactly what you want and be willing to say f**k-all to resale potential. if you can tic every one of those boxes then yes theres your boat.

my .02
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Old 25-07-2017, 20:30   #9
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Re: Is there opportunity here?

Perhaps there is an opportunity, but as I see it that would only be if the boats were free and complete and you had the location and means to part them out.
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Old 25-07-2017, 21:48   #10
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Re: Is there opportunity here?

I had a skipper that sold his small keel boat. The new owner didn't register it. He got a call a couple years after from a marina just asking him to taking it away. It was still in his name. He cut it up, sent the keel to a recycling center and made a bit of money. Pretty rare I think.
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Old 26-07-2017, 06:22   #11
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Re: Is there opportunity here?

If you take a boat worth a couple hundred dollars in parts/salvage, perhaps and spend hundreds of hours in sweat equity, plus prices of new or "usable used" items to get it seaworthy and you might have a boat worth a $couple hundred +1, but the total cost of ownership can be many, many times more than the market value of the product.

We often advise folks against a fixer-upper unless there is a compelling reason, I would doubly-advise against taking on a total basket case like these.

Sometimes, leaving a hulk to rot away is the least expensive thing to do.
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Old 26-07-2017, 07:19   #12
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Re: Is there opportunity here?

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A lt of legal issues, if it really was a good opportunity others would already be doing it
Though the "lot of legal issues" may have some merit - but probably not as much as one may think. On the other hand, "others would already be doing it" is the bread and butter of innovators and inventors.

Seems like most if not all of the replies here say "no opportunity". Pretty much the same encouragement Edison, Bell, Wright bros, and NASA got before they proved the skeptics wrong.

Sure, if this is a run-of-the-mill production boat with no real demand, it's unlikely to be worth the effort to "restore" it. Then again, that same boat may be in demand for parts value. What's a mast or boom go for these days? I've heard it said that a boat that has lost it's mast is "beyond economical repair". The mast alone has to be worth many times it's scrap value to somebody who needs that mast. Also heard of several folks selling old lead keels for just shy of $1,000 in scrap value. I would imagine the stainless also has some scrap value.

On the other hand, if this is a rare, unique, or "famous" boat - might be worth quite a bit - even in terrible condition. I've been away from the "muscle car" scene for several decades, but back in the early 80's, the 426 Mopar Hemi was so rare and sought-after that bare blocks from blown engines were going for 4 figures.

Yes, I realize that a deck that has been underwater is likely junk because the core is prolly soaked. Then again, there are some boats with solid decks aren't there? Besides, if the entire core is trashed, there may well be some way to replace it that isn't "conventional". Perhaps some kind of "foam in place" technique.

I suppose the high cost and low value of trying to fix up a boat this far gone is largely because there are SO many boats that are unwanted that haven't gotten quite this bad. I suppose that just speaks to our disposable society where someone can take a $50,000 investment and allow it to degrade to a $10,000 disposal liability.

Anyway, just looking for other's experience and constructive ideas. After all, history is full of successful, famous, and wealthy folks who ignored the naysayers and imagined above and beyond the conventional, pessimistic line of thought.

It's just sad. Second only to dead animals on the road, seeing a once-proud boat abandoned, scuttled, and left to the elements is pretty depressing sight.
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Old 26-07-2017, 07:35   #13
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Re: Is there opportunity here?

I thought about this briefly. I see no way to make money at it. I think the real question is more.....

"How do we stop this boat from costing the community more and more?

The community being the combination of the boating community, marinas, local home owners, and local government.

Not that I expect it to happen but I submit the way to approach this issue is to have the local government pass the necessary laws to impound abandoned boats, to go after the owner for costs, to hire contractors to remove them and properly scrap them. Leaving hulks around for decades does no one any good and is expensive to all, including the environment.

I know of one boat, an active live aboard, that will shortly become a derilict, if it doesn't sink first. The marina won't haul it because it will never go back in the water, it has no value, and will be a thorn in his side for many years. He is a decent fellow and won't evict the elderly couple.

It's a cunundrum. Someone is gonna get stuck with a big bill, it's just musical chairs at this point. And it's not just a marine issue, it's also a community support/medical support issue.

This requires a community response. Just one particularly thorny circumstance.
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Old 26-07-2017, 07:56   #14
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Re: Is there opportunity here?

Living near Philly, we see the derelict US United States, a historic ship, rotting in the harbor - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SS_United_States
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Old 26-07-2017, 07:56   #15
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Re: Is there opportunity here?

Hey Hpeer,

Not sure what this (or any) abandoned boats cost the "community" - or even how we define who those people are.

Not gonna mention names for reasons that I hope are obvious, but this one lays squarely in the lap of the marina owner/operator.

The marina itself is run-down and available for sale. Speaking of "lack of opportunity" a fellow sailor in the area speculated that in addition to the $1,000,000 purchase cost of the marina, it would take another million to revamp the place - dredging, new piers, plumbing, wiring, bath/shower facilities. Prolly not a great investment when the area is getting about $150 per month for a 30' slip.

Anyway, the marina owner is pretty much phoning it in. No maintenance to speak of, facilities are deplorable, derelect boats, etc. I'd guess that he doesn't even go after folks who fall behind on their rent and I haven't even seen a contract - so not sure what kind of teeth he even has legally.

Then again, some of that may be a "culture" thing. Being from Chicago, you pretty much can't do anything without signing your life away, paying exorbitant fees, and being insured up the wazoo. Here, seems "lax" is the norm.

Someone also pointed out that allowing a boat to sink also has some pretty serious and immediate negative effects - crankcase oil, fuel, holding tank contents, etc - all into the water.

I cringe when I hear suggestions that "there oughta be a law" as laws rarely work the way they are intended. More likely, they will cost us all more in fees, deposits, insurance, paperwork, etc - and ironically - still not have the desired effect.

Maybe that was part of my motivation for asking the question: rather than look to the "authorities" to address this issue, how can we - boaters and sailors - address this problem before someone imposed a government "solution" upon us? Finding a way to turn this situation into an opportunity would be about as win-win as you can get.
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