Click for Lurssen Click for Westport Click for Nordhavn Click for Cheoy Lee Click for CL Yachts

Risks of Buying a Boat That's Been Sitting

Discussion in 'General Yachting Discussion' started by Nick Mace, Oct 19, 2016.

  1. Nick Mace

    Nick Mace New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2015
    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Boston
    Hi everyone:

    Sorry if this has been covered somewhere. I looked but didn't see it anywhere.

    My question is, would a boat with twin diesels, sitting on the hard for 2-3 years (likely not winterized) be almost certainly inoperable? And would a boat sitting in the water (salt) we even worse?

    The back story is that I'm looking to buy a liveaboard, but a "starter liveaboard" if you will. Meaning, I don't want to pay a lot for that muffler, until I know that the lifestyle will work for me. At which point, I would upgrade to a more permanent vessel. So, I'm hoping to find a 40-50' aft-cabin or there about in the 15-20k range to get started. I've found a few, but all have been sitting. Would these issues cost huge $$ to fix, and thus defeat the whole idea? I know that I'll receive a ton of "get a survey" and "run away fast" type of responses, so if we can keep it fairly specific/productive, that would be awesome!

    Thanks in advance everyone!
  2. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2005
    Messages:
    13,608
    Location:
    Fort Lauderdale
    Any 40-50' aft cabin motoryacht that you're going to buy for $15-20k is going to cost huge money to get right and maintain.
  3. Nick Mace

    Nick Mace New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2015
    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Boston
    Thanks, Capt. J. But again, if we could keep the responses specific and informative, that would be a huge help. Please don't misunderstand, I'm very grateful for the response, but I'm really hoping to push the ball forward here.

    That being said (and keeping my plan in mind to "upgrade" once I'm sure of the lifestyle), any specific needs that are likely for a boat in that condition would be great to know about.
  4. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2004
    Messages:
    9,354
    Location:
    Satsuma, FL
    Lets try this again. What are you looking at? Condition, equipment and time out of service.
    It's hard to read your mind or understand what you wanting in our responses.
    There are more to issues than a bout sitting for a while. Quality of mfg is a start; tined wires or cheap chines copper, Black iron tanks?
    Plastic or other material for any tankage?

    So fill us in on WTF your talking or looking at.
    It could be Time Out for all we can guess.
  5. Fishtigua

    Fishtigua Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2007
    Messages:
    2,813
    Location:
    Guernsey/Antigua
    Why not buy a smaller boat in good condition and see if you liked the lifestyle first?

    If I was moving into the housing market for the 1st time, a large tumble-down 100 year old wooden home wouldn't be my first option to see if I liked the area.
  6. Nick Mace

    Nick Mace New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2015
    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Boston

    I've kicked that around, and it may be the direction I need to go in. My thought is that a smaller than ideal boat may turn me off to the whole thing (I'm in Boston, MA, so winters on a smaller boat would be interesting). So, I figured if I could find a larger one for relatively cheap, for a year or two, all the better. To run with your analogy: If I can find a cheap starter home, it'd be better than a condo in a crammed apartment building.
  7. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2005
    Messages:
    13,608
    Location:
    Fort Lauderdale
    Whatever you're going to find in the 40-50' range for that kind of money is going to need A LOT of money to maintain. Also, living on a boat in Boston in the winter is going to be a nightmare on any size. No water on the dock, no pumpouts, your groceries and you have to walk to and from land on an icy dock, etc. etc.
  8. MM3

    MM3 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2016
    Messages:
    12
    Location:
    New York
    Lazy friend of mine once decided they wanted a puppy and bought a lab. They complained about the constant energy, the hours of training, and the restrictions a dog placed on their lifestyle.

    Do yourself a favor - find a condo with a water view.
  9. dennismc

    dennismc Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2009
    Messages:
    1,158
    Location:
    Vancouver BC
    I doubt you would ever get insurance on that and therefore no Marina will take you.
  10. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2005
    Messages:
    13,608
    Location:
    Fort Lauderdale
    Do you realize that one marine a/c unit is $3500 installed a 40-50' will have 3 of them,maybe 4.....plus a $1000 a/c pump......So you're looking at $13k in a/c equipment alone. Batteries are $2k a shot and last 2-3 years, and yes you need to replace them. Toilet systems also $2k a system. And on and on......a $15-20k boat can EASILY become a $50k expense the first year......Do you think any of this stuff is going to work on a $15k 40-50' boat? I second the buying a condo with a waterview thought.
  11. Bglad

    Bglad New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2010
    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Excellent explanation to give perspective...
  12. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2013
    Messages:
    6,491
    Location:
    Fort Lauderdale
    No you wouldn't. Not if you couldn't afford to repair the roof, to replace the furnace, to replace appliances, to pay the exorbitant utility bills due to it's poor insulation.

    In the price range you're looking, the boat is going to have many issues, that you can't afford to fix. So, it's going to worsen in condition, not improve.

    You can live in it over the winter in Boston, but your cost of keeping it warm is going to be far more than a small condo or apartment would be, probably three times as much. Plus on the boat you will have monthly slip fees which will be nearly equal to what an apartment would cost.

    I'd suggest you keep the idea in mind but work toward it by renting an inexpensive apartment and saving more money.

    The last person I knew with a similar quest in Boston, purchased a nice older boat and she fixed it up herself. She had many times what you're talking about in her boat and it was a Hatteras. She spent one winter on it in Boston. She then sold the boat and moved to San Diego. She loved the boat as she used it on the trip from Louisiana to Boston. All was great. She was very familiar with winters in Boston. She wasn't familiar with winters in Boston on a boat.
  13. Lepke

    Lepke Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2015
    Messages:
    113
    Location:
    US West Coast. Cruise NW Passage to Alaska.
    There are many boats around that are cheaper with mostly cosmetic issues, but be careful. Mine was one. It sat for 6 years in salt water with little maintenance for 20 years. It had the engines, the room and size I wanted. Diesels are not damaged as easily from sitting as gas engines. Maybe the oily fuel protects. Other than a couple days of checks, light fuel cleaning, everything started and ran fine. The boat is wood, but with a copper bottom, so no marine damage. Lot of work on decks, cabin paint, etc. But the price along with my abilities (shipwright, mechanic) made it a bargain.
    I never stay at marinas catering to yachts. All you do is pay more for more trouble and too many rules. If you scout commercial and private docks you may find dockage for half or less than marinas. Or docks catering to commercial boats. Yes you need liability insurance. Full coverage if your going to finance. These guys insure classic boats including boats under renovation: https://www.hagerty.com/Insurance/Classic-Boat-Insurance I don't use them now because of where I range, but they are a good place to start and they insure US & Canada to 25 miles out.
    In Boston, insulation will save you money. My boat is 83' Monk design and I have several ways to heat. A boiler for hydronic heat if fuel is cheap, a pellet stove (with a water coil that heats the boiler), a wood stove (also with a coil), a diesel stove (coil) and electric if I'm running a generator. I live and stay in mostly cold or comfortable climates so don't use much ac. I am retired and am not bound to any place, but stay at a private dock in the winter for about $400/month. Generally I live on $3000/month that covers all expenses including fuel and maintenance. I haven't been married for years so don't have to spend on unnecessary bs. When I bought the boat, much of that went into rebuild and repair. Now I cruise a couple thousand nm a year. I mostly anchor or stay at fishing ports. I carry a small i/o for supply runs.
    It can be done cheaply if you have skills and learn where to buy. Leaving behind the unnecessary frills of marinas saves a lot.
  14. Charleston

    Charleston New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2016
    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    Charleston, S.C.
    . . . it'd be better than a condo in a crammed apartment building.
    Man o man, you don't know what crammed and jammed is until you live on a boat, rubrail-to-rubrail with other liveaboards in a marina. It can be a ghetto, with the drunk next door yelling at his wife, etc. Even cheap condo walls are better soundproofing than boats. And picking up and moving in winter isn't easy, with ice, winterized engines, etc. You did plug the exhaust lines too, didn't you? Otherwise, open exhaust valves will let some cylinders get rusty bores. And frozen toilets - do you know what a poop grenade is?
  15. Al Arreguin

    Al Arreguin New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2017
    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    Chicago
    My friend you have no idea what your going into. Buy a big old boat that has been sitting you better have wheel barrels full of cash. Buy a condo
  16. Beau

    Beau Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2010
    Messages:
    2,276
    Location:
    Beaufort, NC
    Did he/she ever buy that boat back in 2016?? I'd like to read that outcome.
  17. Al Arreguin

    Al Arreguin New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2017
    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    Chicago
    We likely scared him right out of boating.
  18. 30West

    30West Member

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2016
    Messages:
    240
    Location:
    Holland, Michigan
    Did him a favor then.
  19. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2004
    Messages:
    9,354
    Location:
    Satsuma, FL
    Did us a favor then.
  20. 30West

    30West Member

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2016
    Messages:
    240
    Location:
    Holland, Michigan
    Maybe. After working in the marina industry, I figure the people who spend foolishly on boats probably support the industry for those of us who spend less foolishly.