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Is there any point repairing/restoring a poorly maintained boat?


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Ok, backstory is that I’ve been looking for a boat to live on for a while (about a year) , finally have found one with the benefit of a transferable mooring (rare, I know) in a place that I like. Lovely jubbly, everything was going well until the pre-purchase survey turned up an array of issues, which I’ve been told would come up about £30k to put right. My budget for a boat in reasonable condition is £50k which is a little (£5-10k) below the asking price for this one but it looked like the sellers were willing to be flexible due a desire to seek ASAP and as even they weren’t sure what the pre-purchase survey might turn up (ha!). Anyway back to the point, survey’s in and we’ve been told by a boat-builder that the boat’s pretty knackered due to poor maintenance and could probably even be sold “for scrap”... I believe at one point he even used the word “expired”. Although he said all the repairs (which included a basic refit, which is about all the ‘customisation’ I’d have wanted anyway) would come in at £30k, he said most people don’t bother with that works that extensive/expensive. I didn’t ask why. 
 

The sellers have been very quiet about it all, possibly expecting me to pull out at this point but waiting for me to make my move.
 

Problem here is that I have an eternally optimistic disposition when faced with news I don’t want to hear, so when I heard all this I was not phased at all. In fact I actually think this puts me in a great position to potentially buy the boat at a very low cost and then spend much of the budget bringing it back up to tip top shape?? I’d be willing to do this as I do like the mooring and I’d hate to pass it up, and I feel as though I wouldn’t have lost anything anyway, other than the time the work took to be done - and it’d all be done professionally - and I’m not in a huge rush to move in. So why not?

 

What do you all’s think?? Am I missing something???

 

Any advice would be HUGELY appreciated.?

Edited by Willow86
I hate typos and needed to go in and make some spelling corrections
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I'm confused, you have a budget of 50k and this boat is over that at 55k-60k but somebody (not a proper surveyor?)  says it only has scrap value, but 30k would fix it????

 

.............Dave

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Buy the boat *on the mooring*, sell the boat, buy another to go on the mooring, 

 

If you don't think you can do that and have the sums work for you, leave it.

Edited by Sir Percy
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A lot depends on how big the boat is. 30k for repairs and a refit seems pretty good.  If it needs serious steel work, which my forty footer did, that cost me nine grand and I would assume your boat is half as long again.

What a boat builder says is irrelevant - they may just not want the work.  What matters is what the survey says.

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I wouldn't touch it.  I speak as one who has restored two boats which, had they not have been historically significant, would have been scrapped. 

Don't be misled by the £30K figure.  I can guarantee that this figure will be a huge underestimate.  Also a full scale renovation can take at least a year to complete. 

How much is the mooring worth?  Could you buy the boat for a song and then swap it for a better one at a later stage?

 

eta.  Ah, I see Sir Percy has the same idea.

 

Edited by koukouvagia
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Posted (edited)

.

...

1 hour ago, koukouvagia said:

I wouldn't touch it.  I speak as one who has restored two boats which, had they not have been historically significant, would have been scrapped. 

Don't be misled by the £30K figure.  I can guarantee that this figure will be a huge underestimate.  Also a full scale renovation can take at least a year to complete. 

How much is the mooring worth?  Could you buy the boat for a song and then swap it for a better one at a later stage?

 

eta.  Ah, I see Sir Percy has the same idea.

 

Ahhh... Ok, yes. This is kind of what I needed (but wasn’t keen) to hear. Thank you!

 

To answer your questions, 1. I don’t know how much the mooring is worth. I did ask on here a while ago and from what I understand, a transferable mooring is worth what somebody who really wants it is willing to pay? Does that sound right to you? It kind of makes sense to me - a little unfair (to a buyer) as it’s property that’s not outright owned by the boat owner (seller) but I have seen documentation from the C&RT to say that should they wish to sell the boat they may do so at a premium on account of the mooring being transferable, which is a rare benefit.

2. I have also seen documentation from the C&RT that says that a mooring agreement is specific to the boat and one could not, as a few people have suggested, buy a boat with a transferable mooring and then replace the boat. I also think that’s a little unfair but I see the logic - I just think that surely it should be allowed but with some kind of conditions which would deter people from abusing the option.

Also thank you for pointing out the timescales involved. I’d imagined 3-4 months, not a year. I wouldn’t want to have to pay the mooring fees and all those overheads while the boat is at a boatyard being seen to for a whole year...

Edited by Willow86
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2 hours ago, dmr said:

I'm confused, you have a budget of 50k and this boat is over that at 55k-60k but somebody (not a proper surveyor?)  says it only has scrap value, but 30k would fix it????

 

.............Dave

No, sorry, maybe I was a bit all over the place. The person who advised me on the condition of the boat was the boatbuilder, present at the time of the survey. The surveyor has provided his recommendations in a report, which I have. I have a budget of £50k for a boat, plus £10k for basic repairs. The sellers had indicated that they’d be willing to lower the asking price to closer to £50k but this is before we’d all received a copy of the survey. I imagine (hope) they’d agree that the extent of the repairs needed somewhat changes their position.

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1 hour ago, Arthur Marshall said:

A lot depends on how big the boat is. 30k for repairs and a refit seems pretty good.  If it needs serious steel work, which my forty footer did, that cost me nine grand and I would assume your boat is half as long again.

What a boat builder says is irrelevant - they may just not want the work.  What matters is what the survey says.

Yes, I also wonder if perhaps the boatbuilder really doesn’t want the hassle. You’re right about the size of the boat, and there is quite a bit of steelwork required - patching up redundant outlets in the hull, etc. I should and will speak directly with the surveyor before doing anything else. Having never owned a boat before though it’s so helpful getting insight from this community. Thanks so much!

 

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7 hours ago, Willow86 said:

patching up redundant outlets in the hull,

 

Its far from best practice but I don't see redundant hull outlets ABOVE the waterline on a live-aboard with permanent mooring a particular problem. When I bought our boat the hire feet had filled a redundant outlet with a silicon like sealer (nowadays  it would be Stixall). It took the surveyor's very sharp eyes to spot it. Apparently it had been watertight for several years. That would be a DIY job. Depending upon what is actually inside the hull it might even be possible to cap them with a threaded plug or cap. Owning a boat on a budget is  a very steep learning curve and  for  arguably the majority of boaters  budget means DIY. Ensuring the hull is safe and other welding s not a DIY job for most people but given time and patience altering the internal fit out certainly is.

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7 hours ago, Willow86 said:

Yes, I also wonder if perhaps the boatbuilder really doesn’t want the hassle. You’re right about the size of the boat, and there is quite a bit of steelwork required - patching up redundant outlets in the hull, etc. I should and will speak directly with the surveyor before doing anything else. Having never owned a boat before though it’s so helpful getting insight from this community. Thanks so much!

 

 

If it's a case of you want the mooring, therefore, you have to buy this particular boat, it seems your bargaining power is limited. 

 

 

  • Greenie 1
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As long as you can make the money work, do the work, it's very rewarding at the end of it, you'll have something unique to you, you'll know the boat literally inside out and should be worth more than you paid...

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If the mooring is going to carry so much weight in the decision, throw as much money at it as you can live with. You may have a chance of beating the price down, if the seller is desperate to be rid of it, and/or if the seller finds other interested buyers being put off by the extent of the overhaul needed. 

 

 

Edited by Higgs
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I would walk away from it. With a budget of £50k I would be looking for a fairly new boat in good condition. As has been said earlier unless it is a 'historic narrow boat' or the hull/steelwork is in very good condition it is never worth it. Many inexperienced people don't understand what really constitutes value in a boat. I think these days it is false economy to buy an old boat unless you have lots of free time, experience and skills in the various disciplines relating to boat building. Costs can escalate and poor workmanship will cause you endless grief. You can't really add any value to an old boat especially once you have reached the overplating stage so you really are tearing up money. If I wanted to live on a boat I would go for a new or fairly new one even if it meant borrowing some money. These sort of boats are 'MOT' failures and treated accordingly.

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8 hours ago, Willow86 said:

1. [...] as it’s property that’s not outright owned by the boat owner (seller) but I have seen documentation from the C&RT to say that should they wish to sell the boat they may do so at a premium on account of the mooring being transferable, which is a rare benefit.

2. I have also seen documentation from the C&RT that says that a mooring agreement is specific to the boat and one could not, as a few people have suggested, buy a boat with a transferable mooring and then replace the boat. I also think that’s a little unfair but I see the logic - I just think that surely it should be allowed but with some kind of conditions which would deter people from abusing the option.

 

 

1. Perhaps it's the way that you've worded it, but I think you might have misunderstood - the *boat* is the property that the *boat owner* may sell at a premium...

 

2. Is this documentation specific to the mooring in question? In any case, I think might be worth confirming the situation in respect of this particular boat and mooring, with CRT. What would CRT's reasoning be for not allowing the replacement of a boat that is at end of life?

 

I have a boat on a transferable mooring. Other owners on the mooring have replaced boats in such a way with CRTs knowledge. It does happen, so you ought to check.

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If this is a straightforward run of the mill not very interesting boat that you see all over the system, a sort of Ford of the boat world then I wouldn't bother. It will have a ceiling value that no amount of work will ever increase. If it is a genuine historic boat or something by a very good builder then I would probably leave it for people like Koukavagia and if I had the energy, me. Much depends on the amount of replating below the waterline. If you have to replate acres of steel, refit the interior, repair loads of other stuff then you will be looking at years of work. Talk to a genuine surveyor.  Many boatbuilders are not especially knowlegable about boats (Yes, really)

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11 hours ago, Willow86 said:

What do you all’s think??

 

Its your 1st boat, and assuming you know nothing about boat construction and maintenace, turn around, keep your hands in your pockets and walk swiftly away.

 

Any other course of action will inevitably lead to another wreck of a boat being abandoned and rotting, bankruptcy and madness !

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With a budget of £50K I think you could get a boat pretty much ready to live on.

The boat you are talking about sounds like a sack of rat droppings to me.

The desirable mooring is disappointing,but with some detective work,I am sure you will find a suitable mooring.

If the boat in question does turn out to be a "scrapper" then you may be able to get another boat in that spot.

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I think I know the boat. If it's the one I think it is,  it is on a private marina canalside mooring and NOT on a CRT mooring.  It is an ex working boat on a pretty expensive (for the area) garden mooring. If you are serious about the boat go the usual route and put an offer in subject to INDEPENDENT survey. Not some pet surveyor possibly with connections to a boatbuilder/welder.  Get it into a drydock, looked at, then make an informed decision.  Asking for advice on here without giving details is pointless. 

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I have to agree with Joe Bourke. Make an offer subject to an independent survey. With the survey in your hand you have a valuable bargaining tool. Mad Harold has it right too, for £50k you could easily get something that's ready to live on in excellent condition. Plus don't forget that a budget of £50k with £10k extra isn't going to last very long. A friend once suggested that instead of buying a boat I should dig a hole in my garden and go and throw a £20 note into it every day. He said that would end up costing me less. In the end I bought a boat and loved every minute of ownership.

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If it needs significant steelwork  ie replacing bottom and sides, that's probably about ten grand. I wouldn't bother about redundant outlets, why would you? They aren't going to leak, though might be draughty. If you think it needs internal refitting, then you don't really like the boat anyway - they're all the same apart from what's inside, just a tin box with furniture and windows.

Moorings are rarely secure, you can be booted off for any number of reasons.

Some surveyors have weird ideas as to what they should be commenting on. The one who we wasted money on on my last house purchase marked it down for the colour of the paint in one room and the council estate half a mile away. All you need to know is: will it keep floating, will it explode or catch fire & does the engine work.

It's a boat. What else matters?

Edited by Arthur Marshall
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In my opinion it is not worth repairing an old boat, unless it has some historical value.

 

When my boat was in dry dock for blacking in 2019, it had to be unceremoniously removed to allow an old Springer, which was in their painting dock to be put in the dry dock as it was sinking.

 

Apparently the owner had bought it for £5k "as seen, no survey" and thought it was a bargain.

 

He did up the interior and then booked it in for a £5k paint job.

 

Whilst it was in the paint dock it began to sink, so my boat was removed from the dry dock and the sinking Springer was put in there for inspection.

 

It needed a new bottom and overplating up to the lowest rubbing strake, £15k's worth of steelwork repairs.

 

After some time the owner finally agreed to the work.

 

So his £5k "bargain" ended up costing him £25k plus whatever he spent on doing up the interior, and because of its type and age he could realistically sell it for £10k-£15k.

Edited by cuthound
Clarification
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