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Tuesday, May 03, 2005

What You Need To Know Before You Sell Your Boat

What You Need To Know Before You Sell Your Boat
by: James "Doc" Lewis

As the owner/operator of a full service boat
detailing- yacht maintenance business I can't
help but chuckle sometimes at seeing the extremes
that otherwise bright, intelligent, successful,
people will go to in a misguided attempt to save a few dollars.

One of the biggest mistakes that we see is that
people will decide to sell their boat without
first having her completely detailed.

According to Rob Scanlan, a well known and
respected Master Marine Surveyor;

"Detailing a boat is the single most important
investment of time, energy and money a seller
can make because a clean and shiny boat sells
faster and for a lot more money. I strongly
recommended that a seller enlist professional
assistance to do a quality job." (Email) (Web site)

We at BoatDocs1, do a lot of work here on the Emerald Coast
with local yacht brokers and know what the standards are for
a "ready to show" boat. These professionals know that the
cosmetic appearance says everything to the prospective buyer
as to the overall care and maintenance that the previous owner
has given the yacht. Add to that the universal wisdom about
first impressions and it's not hard to see the importance of
this vital first step.

Even if you intend to do most of the work yourself we can
offer the expertise to assure that your time and money
are spent wisely. Our trained eyes will often pick up the
little details that only a prospective buyer would notice
and likely balk at.

Here is an outline of the standard procedures we use
when preparing a yacht to be put up for sale:

1. Thoroughly Wash and Dry the Boat

Note: For this part, pay attention to everything you see
and unless your memory is a lot better than mine, make
notes on a piece of paper for later.

Wash and chamois-dry your boat top to bottom including transom.
clean Isenglass and other ports/windows
wipe down and dress all aluminum/stainless
clean and dress vinyl seats
wipe down fly bridge and cockpit
vacuum exterior carpet
clean and dress nonskid
2. Stand Back and Survey the Boat

Note: Bring your list and organize it with the following outline

Put yourself in the buyers shoes, be critical, the buyer will.
a) Is it shiny? It's the first thing most people notice.

b) What about the smell? People have a way of getting used
to almost anything. Get a second opinion and see the hint below.

c) Is all hardware intact and presentable? Just because you've
used that broken table for years and are rather fond of it, to
anyone else, it's just a broken table.

d) What about dings, any damage to the fiberglass? Aside from
the fact that broken gelcoat can let water into the core of
the lay-up and delaminate the fiberglass, it just plain looks BAD.

e) What about rust? You are probably thinking right now;
(what's a little rust on a boat?) Let me tell you. A little
rust on a boat is a sure sign that the owner let's little
things go by unnoticed and if there is one thing there are
always more. What about oil changes? I wonder if he flushed
out the outboard after use? The object of this little
exercise is to make the boat look like you are conscientious
and a stickler for having everything perfectly "SHIP SHAPE."

f) One more little tip that you have probably already thought of.
Take a look around the boat and remove EVERYTHING that isn't part
of the boat.


Engine controls, compass, life jackets, flare kit, and a first
aid kit ARE part of the boat. Knick-knacks, fishing tackle,
cutesy wall plaques, and half full paint cans are NOT part of
the boat-and look tacky. A few cleaning supplies, in their own
locker is probably all right as long as they're kept neat and

g) Make a list of things that need attention, and get it taken
care of. A few dollars spent now will pay back in spades when
the time comes to show your boat. Anything that isn't right will
stick out like the proverbial sore thumb, be noticed and start
the price spiraling down. (if it doesn't just send them scurrying
off shaking their heads)

Hint: If you are not a woman reading this and don't have a wife
of your own, ask your mother or sister, or see if a friend will
loan you his for a few minutes. For some reason women can smell
things that a man would never notice. You may think that men buy
boats but in my experience they buy the boats their women like.

Along this same line, pay particular attention to the cabin and heads.

3. Prioritize the Job

With your list you are in good shape to decide what needs to be done
and whether or not you want to do the work yourself or have it done by a professional.

Most of the professional yacht maintenance companies we are familiar
with, would be happy to take a look and give you an estimate of what
it will cost to have the work done right. We can do part of the job,
for example the compounding/polishing and will gladly help you choose
the best wax to finish the job yourself.

What about those little chips and dings in the gelcoat?

Many books have been written on fiberglass repair and it isn't the
intent of this article to cover the subject in any depth but many
small repairs are well within the reach of a fairly skilled
do-it-yourselfer. Like anything else though, if you have never
done it before, "consult an expert."

I've been building and repairing in fiberglass since I was 14 and
while the first wooden boat I glassed was water tight and lasted
a good many years, it was far from pretty. The small investment
you lay out for expert repair now will pay big dividends when your
boat sells at the price you want.

In the Emerald Coast region the standard fees for compound/waxing
run between $15.00/ft. and $18.00/ft. for the topside (rub-rail up)
which includes a thorough cleaning and treatment of the vinyl,
windows, isenglass, and metal. In other words, for the price of
doing the "hard" part we'll detail the entire topsides and leave
it in "ready-to-show" condition. Hulls (rub-rail down) run about
$8.00/ft. but, of course, the boat must be out of the water in
order to do it. (This walking on water with a hi-speed electric
buffer in hand is still beyond me, but I'll let you know;-)

Fiberglass repair runs from $45.00 to $65.00 per hour and in
general as with most everything else, one gets what one pays
for. The up side to this is that when approached in a professional
manner the dents and dings of ten years hard use can be repaired
and made to look like new in an amazingly short time.

All too often we have seen people save $300.00 or $400.00 on a
detail only to loose $Thousands$ on what their boat could have
sold for. Then too, our local marinas are clogged with many
examples of boats with "For Sale" signs which were never given
the least bit of attention to make the passer by want to stop
and think, "Hey, I wonder what it would be like to call that boat
mine." Some of these boats have sat for years when all they ever
really needed was a little T.L.C.

I remember, years ago, someone saying something about
being penny wise and pound foolish? Let's not let them be
saying that about us.

About The Author

James "Doc" Lewis has been "messin about in boats" for as
long as he can remember. He is owner/operator of BoatDocs1,
a full-service boat detailing-yacht maintenance business
serving the Emerald Coast region of Florida. To learn more
about boats and keeping them looking their best visit his
web site at:

You are welcome to distribute this article via Email or on the
Internet. The only provision is that it be published in it's
entirety including this resource box. Related articles can be
found at
©2004 BoatDocs1

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Things You Should Know About Tents

Choosing Your Tent

Here are a few hints when choosing the tent just right for you or your family.

Tents that are advertised as one person are rarely big enough for one person.

Two person tents are usually comfortable for just one person, a three person tent is comfortable for two people and so on.

If you do not pick something large enough, you will find yourself cramped , claustrophobic and uncomfortable.

Pick something that will give you a little room to move and some space for some of your gear as well.

Pick something that will give you a little room to move and some space for some of your gear as well.

Each person needs about 3 by 7 feet to stretch out. You will need extra room to dress etc.

Remember, if the weather is not good, you will be stuck in whatever you have picked..

You don't want to be sitting cramped and hunched over feeling miserable.

In deciding on what you need, decide whether you will be summer or winter camping, and whether you will be backpacking .

Tents are not waterproof. They are made of breathable ripstop nylon. It allows your sweat and breath to evaporate.

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