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Old 28-09-2020, 13:55   #1
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Boat Yard Scams?

I've been looking hard at used sailing yachts for a while primarily in the 35-45 foot range.

Too often I come across a guy who is selling an unfinished "project" typically claiming that way more money has been spent than he is asking now. Too often the story I get suggests someone who was overly optimistic or overconfident. But lately I've begun to suspect even another wrinkle and I don't want it to happen to me.

A guy buys a boat in obvious need of repair, manages to get it towed to a yard who sets it up "on the hard" and they immediately start sanding and mending the hull. This seems to happen before the rudder is repaired, rigging estimates, re-power, etc. The hull work, given the hours of effort, seems to be charged reasonably as are the storage fees for the first two or three months.

Then before you know it, there are additional thousands of dollars, an engine removed and waiting for parts, packing, transmission, keel bolts, sail repair... OK, you get it. Together these easily exceed any reasonable expectation of selling price, but not the "It will be worth $50-$75k when completed." As if to add insult to injury, the yard now wants perhaps $600 per month on the claim that the customer agreed to that after the first X months and is not "cooperating" on getting the repairs completed.

The "scam" question is: Doesn't the yard know where this is likely headed? Do they get legitimate "approval" for the hull work or just simply start as soon as the boat is out of the water on the theory that there would be no further work needed if the hull is not sound? Does customer "approval" come simply by having the boat pulled out of the water?

Am I paranoid? Is there a way to avoid what appears to be common practice?
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Old 28-09-2020, 14:12   #2
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Re: Boat Yard Scams?

The yard owners have likely been in business long enough to know what the boat needs better then some guy named Joe who just bought his first boat. Of course there are scam artists in that business to, but they wont last long ripping people off. Of course you need to be entirely aware of what is being performed and proposed.

They dont want neglected boats clogging up the yard and they don't want money materials and labor tied up in a dispute.

You are not paranoid, you are reasonably concerned. Just get a statement in the contract that all repairs must be approved in advance and if the yard uncovers additional work, then you must approve any new action/work needed.
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Old 28-09-2020, 14:46   #3
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Re: Boat Yard Scams?

There's a simple solution. Don't be the guy that buys a "boat needing repair" without knowing what repairs are needed and how long they are going to take.


No "boat yard owner" is going to start doing hull or any other repairs without the approval of the owner if they want to get paid for their work.


The "common practice" is dreamers buying a piece of cr*p and giving the yard owner an "open ticket", not yard owners doing unauthorised work.
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Old 28-09-2020, 14:58   #4
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Re: Boat Yard Scams?

the yards I am familiar with are well versed in agreements and contracts. they will spell out exactly what is being done and the cost of it. most of the time they have the experience with what needs to be accomplished.
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Old 29-09-2020, 06:38   #5
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Re: Boat Yard Scams?

Quote:
Originally Posted by StuM View Post
The "common practice" is dreamers buying a piece of cr*p and giving the yard owner an "open ticket", not yard owners doing unauthorised work.
Yeah, this. ^^^^^^^^ Totally!

Some guy who doesn't know anything about boats buys a complete wreck (naturally, without a survey), deluding himself into thinking that $3,000 and three weeks in the yard will turn it into a first-class world cruiser. Eight months and $30,000 dollars later he realizes his dreams were just a little bit off. And then he blames the yard for his own shortsightedness and lack of research.

My guess would be that at least 90% of the time, when you hear some guy complaining about a yard ripping him off, it is the scenario above.
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Old 29-09-2020, 06:52   #6
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Re: Boat Yard Scams?

“You suspect.....” ???

You pose an imaginary scenario as though it was true and then ask if you are paranoid.

I think we should limit our comments to that last question
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Old 29-09-2020, 07:03   #7
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Re: Boat Yard Scams?

99.9% of the time people buy a crap boat and think once itís painted that the other problems do t exist any longer.

A yard will only do work authorized but the owner, sone owners want the work done in the wrong order, others have no idea what things cost.
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Old 29-09-2020, 07:05   #8
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Re: Boat Yard Scams?

It's not a scam. A Dreamer buys a boat. The first thing all dreamers do is start to wash and buff the boat. They want their dream to look as beautiful in reality as it does in their imagination.

Next they start going through systems, addressing what they can and hiring the yard to do what they can't.

Pretty soon the dreamer realizes that he overestimated time and cost. The owner might attempt to do more and more on their own.

Eventually the dream gets a For Sale sign hung on her.
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Old 29-09-2020, 07:16   #9
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Re: Boat Yard Scams?

I'd noticed a small clean looking boat sitting in the yard for months so when I went in for bottom paint I asked about it. "You can have it if you want it" the yard manager said. "Guy bought it with out survey and spent over a year fixing everything above the waterline. Then pulled it and when he saw the encapsulated keel was flaking off fiberglass abandoned it. I advised him to make minimal repairs and sail the heck out of it until it failed again".
It took them most of a year to get it out of their hair.
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Old 30-09-2020, 12:22   #10
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Re: Boat Yard Scams?

>"You can have it if you want it" the yard manager said.

I'd be very leary about taking it. You're not going to have a title. Any fixes you do could be lost if the owner shows up.

I believe in each state, although not the same in every state, there will be provision for mechanic's lien and/or abandonment. Processing such, as I have heard, is lengthy, legalistic, subject to error, and costly.

Do these things go to boat heaven? What happens? --WB
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Old 30-09-2020, 23:52   #11
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Re: Boat Yard Scams?

There are two sides to this story.

Yard owners are plagued with enthusiasts who put their boats into the yard and then becoming discouraged just give up and walk away and stop paying their storage fees. It then takes the yard owner all sorts of problems, legal and practical, to get rid of the offending boat and retain the use of there rentable property.
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Old 01-10-2020, 00:02   #12
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Re: Boat Yard Scams?

It does make it complicated with title. In the UK most boatyards have contracts whereby you have to pay the bills and the monthly storage otherwise the boat is theirs. Credit is extended only up to the value of the boat. The moment the few months is up the boatyard puts it on eBay for the required price, and if it doesn't go drops the price until it does.

In the UK and nz (don't know about other countries) buying a boat is like buying shoes - you pay for it and it's yours. The only think you need to do is check the register than there's no debt secured on it and make sure you get a receipt.
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Old 01-10-2020, 01:59   #13
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Re: Boat Yard Scams?

Wayne it's just the way thing's often work out with boats. The secret is if you are not interested/capable of doing a fair bit of the work stay away from a project boat. Or be prepared to get hit with some big bills. Trust me, all the boatbuilders I know would rather a happy customer than some angry client arguing over the bill.
It seems to me half the time I am doing a survey I am trying to make the buyer understand just how expensive his new toy is going to be to repair.
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Old 01-10-2020, 03:09   #14
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Re: Boat Yard Scams?

Gonna be a long thread LOL
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Old 01-10-2020, 04:41   #15
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Re: Boat Yard Scams?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayne Bostow View Post
Am I paranoid? Is there a way to avoid what appears to be common practice?
Yes.

Not to say a yard has never scammed an owner but 99% of the time, it's the new inexperienced owner doing stupid things and then gets frustrated and tries to blame the yard.
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