Mid Size Power Boats

Mid Size Power Boats

A Guide for Discriminating Buyers

by David Pascoe

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Chapter 3

Old Boats, New Boats and Quality

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Table of Contents

Service Life of Pleasure Craft
The Economics of Older Boats
Estimating Costs
Approximate Service Life of Boat Components
Selecting the Right Boat for Projects

New -vs- Used Boats

Depreciation of New and Used Boats
Quality and the Mid Size Market
Old or New, Which Is Better?
What Does Quality in Boats Mean?
Foreign -vs- Domestic Builders



There is a very common notion amongst some would-be boat owners that they can beat the high cost of boating by buying a much older boat and fixing it up. It's a notion of which I want to disabuse anyone who holds it.

The sort of person who comes to this line of thinking is usually one who desires a much bigger boat than he can really afford. He's also usually a person who is good with his hands, has a number of skills that can be applied to boat restoration, and thinks he is capable of fixing up an older boat at a cost he can afford.

He's also usually a person who has little experience or involvement in what owning an old boat is all about, because if he had, he'd know better. Possibly he has had some experience in home renovation or restoration of old cars or other such projects. But more often than not he has little such experience but very grand notions that he can find himself the proud owner of a larger boat at considerably less cost than everyone else.

The truth is that very old boats typically will end up costing nearly as much as new ones, if not more. It is no different than restoring old homes; it's usually cheaper to build a new one than to restore an old one.

As mentioned elsewhere in this book, one reason why boats are so expensive is a function of the hard environment in which they exist.

It is necessary that superior quality materials and engineering expertise be utilized to withstand that environment. And because of cost considerations, boat builders are always juggling the issue of longevity and quality versus price, with the former usually losing the battle.

While the hull and structures of a fiberglass boat may last a very long time indeed (though the way boats are being built nowadays casts some doubt on this), the machinery, systems, hardware and numerous other components certainly have a more limited life span.

It is the cost of replacing or overhauling engines, the various other systems, equipment, and finish items, when added to the likes of upholstery, interior and enclosures replacements, that the cost of fixing up that old gal begins to approach the cost of a new or at least much newer boat.

Then there is the issue of labor hours. A typical forty footer requires about 3600 labor hours or more to build it. This equals 90 man-weeks, or one man nearly two years. That does not include design time nor the time involved in the myriad support operations. Since restoration includes undoing and then redoing, there will be more time expended than for the original construction.

Obviously, anyone who works full-time for a living can't begin to devote the time needed to complete such a project. This leaves the only viable option for such a project the hiring of various contractor services, which raises the ante in terms of cost. Yet another thing to be considered is whether such skilled people are available at reasonable cost. In many, if not most areas they are not.

There are those who have tried to use labor from the building trades to perform marine work, but the results usually aren't up to marine standards.

None of this is to say that restoration projects aren't economically possible. They are, but only when both the size and age or condition of the vessel serves to keep the cost of the project down. That is to say, the boat isn't too big or too run down.

Note: In the following discussion, the presumption is that all restoration work is done to a standard of equal or better than the original standards.

cover art: Boat two bows Mid Size Power Boats
- A Guide to Discriminating Buyers

Soft Cover
512 pages
Publisher: D. H. Pascoe & Co., Inc.
Published: 2003
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0965649636
ISBN-13: 9780965649636

Price: $24.50
In Stock



David Pascoe - Biography

David Pascoe is a second generation marine surveyor in his family who began his surveying career at age 16 as an apprentice in 1965 as the era of wooden boats was drawing to a close.

Certified by the National Association of Marine Surveyors in 1972, he has conducted over 5,000 pre purchase surveys in addition to having conducted hundreds of boating accident investigations, including fires, sinkings, hull failures and machinery failure analysis.

Over forty years of knowledge and experience are brought to bear in following books. David Pascoe is the author of:

In addition to readers in the United States, boaters and boat industry professionals worldwide from over 70 countries have purchased David Pascoe's books, since introduction of his first book in 2001.

In 2012, David Pascoe has retired from marine surveying business at age 65.

On November 23rd, 2018, David Pascoe has passed away at age 71.

Biography - Long version