Talking shop

What you can do to make sure your next
boatbuilding job is smooth sailing

By Michael Crowley

Talk to fellow boat owners who have been through a similar project that you may be planning, who have been to that yard and can say what happened that they didn’t expect — that cost them money.” 

That’s Ted Long’s advice to fishermen considering a big repair job on their boat or building a new boat. Long is the owner of Fashion Blacksmith in Crescent City, Calif., a shop that does all kinds of repairs but specializes in sponsoning and lengthening fishing boats. 

Indeed, many things can go wrong when building a new boat or on a repair job, which can lead to a sour relationship between the boatbuilder and the boat owner.

Often the breakdown results from the boat owner not understanding the process of building or repairing a boat and sometimes from letting his enthusiasm for the boat get the best of him. The first instance can lead to a case of buyer impatience.

Tom Day at Hard Drive Marine in Bellingham, Wash., says he’s “seen it happening, heard of it happening and experienced it happening.” Buyer impatience often comes about halfway to three-quarters of the way through a building project on a new boat when construction appears to slow down. At the start of the project the boat’s future owner puts down a fairly large sum of money that allows the boatyard to purchase materials and equipment. 

After that the boatyard and owner are on a payment schedule. When you are handing over large sums of money, it’s only natural to want to see your investment generating some activity. 

The early stages of building a boat usually go fairly fast, and there is plenty of activity to be seen. However...


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