Originally Posted by 2savage
After owning maybe 25 boats from 12 feet to 36 feet there's not much I can't fix. Electronics
etc. I'm an accomplished wood refinisher and can do gel coat too. Diesel
trouble shooting and general systems fixes such as water
systems are also run of the mill for me. Oh, and I was a sail maker for twelve years. Currently I am rebuilding the steering system on my C&C
34/36+ and this job includes pedestal removal
and sourcing Edson steering parts
that are no manufactured. I'm also rewiring the compass light and swapping out an old Silva compass for a Ritchie with appropriate adapter plates. All new fastenings from Edson.
I'm sort of retired but prefer to work on boats and when my own restoration
is complete (in a few weeks) I want to seek out others who need work done but do not want to pay yard prices.
What is the need? I'm in Western Long Island Sound
My background, besides some general boat
system experience, also includes electrical/electronic (20+ years in a different field) and one marine
. Obviously, different part of the world than you.
I have worked professionally on boats, but these days I mainly do other work (software) that's more steady and pays better. I do hope to do some part-time boat
work as part of retirement
Some answers, based on that:
1) if you're good there's screaming demand, depending on the area. A few years back, I worked part of a season assisting one of our area's busiest boat electrical
guys. In-season there's no lack of work. He's younger than me, but he's bunged up his knee and can no longer do all the crawling around the job requires. He called me earlier this month because of all the work he's turning down.
2) it's a tough way to make a living, especially in the north. During the season it rocks; out of season - crickets, unless you can score some refit
work from a wealthy owner, hopefully with heated storage
. You have the costs of truck, inventory, tools, accounting, insurance
. If you aren't charging
yard prices, how will you cover that overhead? And it's usually physically demanding work.
3) the dangers of being a jack of all trades. It's always great to know more, but efficiency and quality comes from specialization. Is the person who can do immaculate fg repairs
also able to engineer
or troubleshoot a complex networked navigation
system? My choice has been to concentrate on what I'm good at, and leave other work to those who are best at that.
All that being said, I think there should be lots of different opportunities.
- Staff or contract position at a sailing-school - great idea
- position with a chandlery as their in-house install/fixit guy
- make contact with all the different service providers in your area; let them know you can jump in to assist when they're busy
I know one guy who simply calls himself a 'boat guy'. He's available to do all sorts of stuff, like launch/haulout prep, polishing and detailing, fuelling, boat moves, etc. He gets all his business via word-of-mouth. He has minimal overhead, and I suspect most of his work is cash under the table. I can't recommend this, but he seems happy enough.
Good luck, and build that network.