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Sport Fish Advice - Operating Cost?

Discussion in 'General Sportfish Discussion' started by TheBigWhit, Jul 7, 2010.

  1. TheBigWhit

    TheBigWhit New Member

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    I need some advice. My wife informs me we are in the market for a boat. She is bored with my enjoyment of back country fishing and wants to enjoy the Bahamas and a "comfortable" boat.

    We started looking at 35' range boats and quickly realized our late middle aged bodies (and dogs) would prefer an air conditioned convertible salon during the heat of the day. Now we are looking at a 50' Hatteras and a 54' Bertram in the late 90's to mid 2000's.

    I always liked the looks and ride of Bertram but my wife likes the room in the Hatteras. I always thought Hatteras were designed to make the largest wake possible. Buddy Davis is my favorite but a broker friend tells me they are inconsistent and problematic. I have been out of offshore boats for 20 years and need some current advice.

    My questions are 1) what is a realistic cost to operate and maintain boats in this range and 2) what is the better boat in that date and size range?

    The used market looks like we can buy a decent boat for an incredible price right now and I am inclined to do so once I get a handle on cost of ownership. Any advice is greatly appreciated.
  2. PropBet

    PropBet Senior Member

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    Is Everything!
    For as early as you are in the process, (mind you, this isn't necessarily a bad thing) figure roughly $1,000 per foot per year. This will of course be influenced by amount of use, type of use, maintenance, or lack thereof, smaller issues growing to larger ones, insurance, crew (if applicable, plan on at least a Captain for the first year unless you have your license and are insured as Captain yourself.) etc. etc. That should get you in the general ballpark for a budgetary figure.

    I can't speak to the two boats you mentioned specifically. I'm a fan of both, but have owned neither. Others in the forum are well versed on both boats.

    Spend good money on a very thorough survey from a highly regarded marine surveyor who comes recommended to you *not* by your or the selling broker, but a trusted / recommended 3rd party.

    You won't hurt yourself by using the search function of the forum to dig up similar conversations that others have asked in the past which may lead to some additional reading and education.

    Best of luck to you, and welcome to the forum.
  3. Mark I

    Mark I Member

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    No direct experience either but both have good reputations in those year ranges. There are 3 members of my club who have Vikings in that size and age range and they are also fine boats you may want to consider.

    I'll second the survey point.

    Good luck.
  4. Kafue

    Kafue Senior Member

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    Welcome to the Forum BigWhit.

    You will find an enourmous depth of advice on boating on this forum....is that the right way to express this?
    Anyway, having owned quite a few boats over the years I still am not as qualified as the least member on this forum to give you advice, BUT, Mate....
    Hang on TIGHT to that wonderful wife of yours!!!
    Your first few sentences are just soooooooo sooooooooooothing to most of us here;

    "I need some advice. My wife informs me we are in the market for a boat. ":D

    Good luck and go gently buying someone elses dream in this market.
  5. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    What is your price range? How long and far are your trips going to be? Do you plan on fishing, or just cruising. Are you on a time schedule or can your trips be more planned around weather? How mechanically savy are you, and do you plan on doing any maintanence yourself? I am located in Ft. Laud, e-mail me and I might be able to better advise you.

    You might be better off looking into boats built in the late 90's early 2000's with better engine technology etc and slightly smaller. A 45' Cabo express comes to mind, vikings as well, and a few others....
  6. Ormond Bert54

    Ormond Bert54 Senior Member

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    I have a 1984 54' Bertram and I'm amazed by the number of systems on the boat. Just about all of them required attention to one degree or another. Now that the refurbishment work is just about complete, I expect to spend in the neighborhood of $50k to keep her in great condition. Add fuel, slip, insurance, note that that.

    One observation is that ... it's typical for a surveyor to overlook several systems he simply didn't know how to operate or didn't operate for one reason or another. Of course, each of these items that are overlooked could be a $5-$10k issue. For instance ... refrigerated fish boxes, seawater system, air conditioning and heating systems, holding tank level lights, engine alarms and idiot light systems, fire suppression systems, high water alarms, charging systems, all the through hulls and water pumps, fuel tanks and gauges and on and on. It could take a surveyor two full days (if not more) to thoroughly verify the operation of all of the systems on the boat.

    If I had the budget I would be inclined to take this approach for a future purchase ... find a seller claiming the boat is in bristol condition ... then carefully verify the complete operation of each system over a period of 2-3 days or reduce the price further for replacement of that system.

    My final surprise of my boat after replacing 3 flat screen TV's and sound systems, running wires etc was to open the KVH Satellite TV dome only to learn there was nothing inside ... of course the solution is some where in the neighborhood of $5k.

    Bringing the boat from seemingly decent shape to bristol condition can be hundreds of thousands of dollars so .... finding one in bristol condition could save you big bucks if the initial purchase price doesn't scare you away.

    Will certainly be comfortable for the family and dogs:)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Mike
  7. TheBigWhit

    TheBigWhit New Member

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    Thank you. One unanswered question on Vikings, what year did they start building good boats? I delivered one from Miami to Port Jefferson in 1980ish and she came apart on me in bad weather off Jersey. I mean the entire frame and stringer system broke away from the hull. I got around the corner to Red Hook and did not have to swim but that was only by the grace of God. Very poor glass work and evidently they only had heavy roving and no mat in the yard that day. I have also heard the newer Vikings are very nice boats but unsure of that transition period...
  8. TheBigWhit

    TheBigWhit New Member

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    Thanks, I do have the greatest woman in the world! She drags me to Bass Pro "just to look at fishing stuff" and recently informed me I need a new vehicle and suggested a Freightliner M2 pick up truck ("I will look cute in it"). She plans to dust off the old Internationals this weekend and replace line so they are ready... It took half my life but so worth the wait...
  9. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    if a surveyor doenst' spend two days checking EVERY system on the boat, he didnt' do his job. it's that simple.

    every surveyor i've hired, either for own boat or customers, has checked every single system, incl. all gauges, alarms, sat TV, etc... although obviously when a surveyor notes "sat tv not tracking properly" you dont' know if it's going to be a $100 or $5000 fix...

    back to the original post, i think you are making the right decision by stepping up to a mid size sportfish instead of a 35'ish something smaller, more open boat. Larger CC (Intrepid and co) are very popular in so fl and make great day boats but if you intend on spending more time on board and going to the bahamas then it's hard to beat a 45/50 sportfish.

    personally, in the year range you're mentioning i'd pay close attention to construction and would not assume that the early Ferreti era Betrams are as solid as they used to be or as Hatteras (and Vikings) of the same vintage. I believe Hatteras was still using solid bottom and cored sides vs all cored bottom/sides which to me is a deal killer.

    That said, when you're looking at any used boat, the maintenance history and how the boat was operated is as important if not more as the badge on the sides of the boat.

    dont be afraid of looking at slightly older boats, especially if refitted and/or repowered.

    as to operating costs, it really depends so much on upgrade history, your own usage... and luck. most people use 10% of purchase price as a ballpark figure, it's often less than that but it only take a couple of bad surprises to quickly go over.
  10. TheBigWhit

    TheBigWhit New Member

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    Hi Capt J, 1) We started at $200K and rapidly went to $500K 2) Keys and islands trips probably once a month with a few ICW dinner trips with family thrown in 3) Lots of fishing/diving and perhaps an ICW cruise to my old stomping grounds on the Chesapeake some day 4) I never tempt foul weather anymore 5) I can turn a wrench but no desire to do a top end on a smoker. Part of the larger boat direction is due to my 6'4" and 300# frame. I'm not petite but my wife is! Already priming her to do the work on the outboard side of the engines but that is not selling so well yet...

    How do I find your email address?
  11. TheBigWhit

    TheBigWhit New Member

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    Mike, thank you, that is great advice. A dummy Sat Dome, now that is LOW. That kind of deception never entered my mind but that is why I asked for experienced advice. Excellent. BTW, that is a beautiful boat...
  12. saltysenior

    saltysenior Senior Member

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    has anyone ever heard of a bad hatteras???:D
  13. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Yes there have been a small few of them that have had major issues resulting from the build quality. I know of one personally that was majorly wrong in regards to how it sat full of fuel, and also had issues getting onto plane which Hatteras did remedy eventually. The early Bertrams were built well also and had a great track record as well.

    As for your $500k price, you can get into a fairly late model sportfish that has more modern equipment. A 50' Viking is a nice 3 stateroom boat, the 45' cabo, 50 Hatteras SF, a 54' Hatt if you can find one in your price range is an awesome riding boat but they may be a little higher.

    Another option is finding one that needs a lot of work and redoing it. I just ran a 1979 53' Hatteras SF that was a repo and the buyer paid $35k for it. He put $5k into it to get it running, but the boat was pretty right after a little digging. Both generators ran, one was around 7 years old. Both 12v71TI's had 300 hours since majors. I ran it 250 NM, without any major issues. Granted it needed another $40k to make it pretty darn nice. Granted, for that starting price, you could repower one with new CATS, paint the entire boat, and redo the entire interior and still be in it for $250k-300k
  14. Rum Runner J

    Rum Runner J New Member

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    Hi Bayside, I am new to this site. I am looking at a nicely maintained and sharp looking 50 Bertram. I was wondering if that 50K a year figure on maintenance for your BEAUTY plus fixed costs held up for you. Just looking to make sure I am budgeting properly to be able to enjoy the hell out of this thing if I end up buying it!
  15. RT46

    RT46 Senior Member

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    50k a year seems about right to keep and maintain a 5o SF.

    you can do it for less, but it will eventually catch up with you
  16. NEO56

    NEO56 Member

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    Hi Big Whit...Welcome to YF! Just one question...does your wife have a younger sister?
  17. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    No, to the OP I'd be looking at Vikings and Hatteras...if you can get into one of the 2000+ Hatteras 54's they are a great riding boat.....
  18. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    The percentages are very much more on your side when looking at used SF if you do look at Viking and Hatteras. While neither one is perfect and you can find some older very abused boats and some engines in need of rebuilds, the odds still are just a great deal more in your favor with them.
  19. NEO56

    NEO56 Member

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    To the OP (Original Poster)(for the benefit of BigWhit) Although it's a bit out of your price range, take a look at Mikelson's. They are a semi-displacement hull designed by Tom Fexas (God rest his soul) lot's of freeboard, very beamy, huge amounts of storage below the Salon and very fuel efficient. Both Owners of the Company own 50's and they routinely run from San Diego to Cabo on one tank of gas. They make a 43 as well. The flybridge is huge for this size boat, and they have adopted a K.I.S.S. principle when it comes to systems. You can check the brokerage listings and sometimes find a 43 or 50 that won't break the bank. The lines are classic which some people feel dates the boat. One of the things I like, that your wife and dogs will appreciate are the stairs up to the flybridge. Anyway worth a look.

    Disclaimer: I am not, nor have I ever been associated with Mikelson Yachts, I am a non paid spokesman.:D
  20. RER

    RER Senior Member

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    Do you understand the OP date is from 2010?