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  #1  
Old 01-01-2013
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Question Equipment lifespans

I am trying to create an Excel worksheet that will help me evaluate upkeep costs on different boats I am interested in. I can look up prices for various items and materials online and of course labor will vary depending on how much I can learn to do for myself vs having to contract out. I expect that outside labor should decrease as I learn more about systems and their repair. The question I have applies to how often I can reasonably expect specific things to fail or require attention to prevent failure. With that in mind, let me establish a likely scenario to work with and go from there.

I would be a single live-aboard, primarily coastal cruising along the U.S. east coast from lower Canada to some destinations in the Caribbean. No racing, conservative sailing and assuming typical rough weather events that Iím sure will be unavoidable. As far as the boat, letís assume that everything starts new. I realize I wonít be able to afford that but it gives a relative starting point for equipment longevity. Iím looking for your opinions and experience with reasonable usable life expectancy of these types of gear and equipment;

Standing Rigging
Running Rigging
Sails
Ground Tackle, especially chain and nylon rodes
Lifelines
Electrical items like wiring, nav & lighting systems, etc.
Solar systems
Batteries
Electronics including chartplotter, AIS, SSB & VHF, Radar
Refrigerator
Stove/oven
Water heater
Cabin heater
Engine
Paint
Deck gear such as winches, blocks, and tackle

I understand that even new equipment can fail prematurely and unexpected events can damage or destroy even good equipment. Letís face it. $hit happens. I know I canít expect a specific amount of safe life out of all these things so what Iím asking for is a conservative estimate of how long each of these things can be expected to give safe performance under the conditions I outlined above. If you can think of anything I might have overlooked, feel free to add to the list.

Thanks to all.
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Old 01-01-2013
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Re: Equipment lifespans

I figure my running costs at about $225/ft/year. Don't know how that scales up (or down) for others, and for me that includes slip fees, replacement gear etc.
I never keep a running total though, I like to have a boat
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Old 01-01-2013
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Re: Equipment lifespans

I guess I'm not sure what you are trying to compare. It seems to me that given a pretty tight range of boat sizes, the upkeep costs would be about the same. Replacing a sail on any 27' boat will be about the same. Replacing running rigging on two boats of the same displacement will be about the same, etc.
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Old 01-01-2013
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Re: Equipment lifespans

Let me start off with the fact that I'm not cruising, and haven't. What I've done is read and researched a LOT.

Starting new, most of the items you have listed should last 20 years, after all there are boats out there cruising conservatively that have say stoves, fridges etc.. that are 25 years plus old now.

Items that take use - sails, rigging, etc - expect to inspect yearly and perform minor maintenance on them; then at 5-10 years start looking at replacing. Batteries - 5-7 years if you take care of them, less if not, more if more.

When it comes to electronic's it really a toss up - the 25 year old Datamarine depth and speed stuff on my Irwin work just fine - and they are going in the 'sell on ebay or give away' bin immediately so I can replace them with full up sonar.
My ST60 wind transducer died a premature death at 2 weeks old when a bird dropped a branch on it - others last the life of the boat. That's one side of the $hit happens factor, the other side is the 25 year old Irwin I just bought doesn't even have a wind transducer because you really just don't need one.

One fact I've learned from my research - your budget will grow to meet your limit.
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Old 01-01-2013
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Re: Equipment lifespans

Quote:
Originally Posted by chucklesR View Post
your budget will grow to meet your limit.
Truer words were never spoken!
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Old 01-01-2013
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Re: Equipment lifespans

It depends on how fast you are victimized into buying replacements.

Most people when buying a boat (or house) say "ok, I'll renew that, or change that, or get better that..."

But if you don't think that and don't change nothing you might find you save lots of money.

When I looked at my boat for the first time nearly 5 years ago she needed immediately new genoa sheets and a new mainsail as she had UV damage and I could rip the sail with my fingers.

I changed the sail 15,000 miles later and I replaced the genoa sheets 30,000 miles later.

Doing a depreciation analysis is a good idea, but you need to factor in "x" your propensity to replace stuff that is still fine.
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Old 01-01-2013
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Re: Equipment lifespans

Sounds like very good thing to do and MUCH better than taking someone's general figure. You can figure basic equipment depreciation just like a business would do with equipment (except the tax implications).

Standing Rigging- 15-20 years if you take care of it.
Running Rigging- 7 yrs.
Sails depends on use, probably 6 yrs
Ground Tackle, especially chain and nylon rodes chain 8-10 yrs
Lifelines- type?
Electrical items like wiring, nav & lighting systems, etc. forever except bulbs
Solar systems- 15 yrs
Batteries- 5 yrs
Electronics including chartplotter, AIS, SSB & VHF, Radar- I'd figure 10
Refrigerator- 20 yrs
Stove/oven- 20 yrs
Water heater- 20 yrs
Cabin heater- 20 yrs
Engine- diesel 15 yrs if you maintain
Paint- every year bottom, 10-15 yrs topsides
Deck gear such as winches, blocks, and tackle- none should ever wear out. Plastic sheaves may get brittle and need replace at 15 yrs.

How stuff is treated is really the big factor in how long it lasts. Of course even a near-miss in a lightning storm can set you back a long way so better figure a hefty contingency.
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Old 01-01-2013
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Re: Equipment lifespans

Thanks for the responses! I've seen a lot of questions about the cost of owning and cruising a boat on this and other forums and have concluded that with all the things that vary between boats and individual wants/needs, there is just no way that anyone can accurately answer that question for another. That's why I was asking about the usable lifespan of systems and various pieces of equipment. I'm thinking if I can identify everything that could be considered a major purchase, list them all in my worksheet, and establish a life expectancy, it would not be hard to change a few numbers depending on the specification data for any given boat I'm looking at and let Excel spit me out monthly/yearly/lifetime replacement costs. I would then factor in what I can do myself vs what I need to hire out and end up with a workable maintenance cost.

I've heard it said that cost goes up exponentially with length or numbers that equate to a percentage of the boats initial cost, but neither of those rules give me any number I would consider as accurate. I can see only certain things that are proportionate to boat size, such as sails, rigging wire diameter, or paint quantity to name a few. I would suggest though, that the same chartplotter could be used on any size boat. A mega yacht needs no larger a radio than a 25 footer. Using the information you are all so graciously providing from real world experience, adding only the equipment that I will likely be using, and plugging in the real time cost of that equipment, I should be able to get fairly close on maintenance cost on any boat that I'm researching.

Can anybody think of anything I may have overlooked? I avoided mentioning the cost of things as varnish, engine oil, grease, cleaning supplies and such since evry boat will need those types of things and they can be accounted for as a fixed cost. As far as slip fee's, I figure that will vary depending on whether I'm working to fill the kitty or cruising on what I have. I will be figuring those in with my near and long term goals. Frankly, I don't even have my boat yet. That is why I want to be able to establish a working figure for maintenance. Better to KNOW that I can afford the boat BEFORE I buy!

Keep the replies coming! I'm sure I'm overlooking some costs that may not be so apparent.
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Last edited by Dean101; 01-01-2013 at 06:20 PM.
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Old 01-01-2013
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Re: Equipment lifespans

Quote:
Originally Posted by smurphny View Post
Sounds like very good thing to do and MUCH better than taking someone's general figure. You can figure basic equipment depreciation just like a business would do with equipment (except the tax implications).

Standing Rigging- 15-20 years if you take care of it.
Running Rigging- 7 yrs.
Sails depends on use, probably 6 yrs
Ground Tackle, especially chain and nylon rodes chain 8-10 yrs
Lifelines- type?
Electrical items like wiring, nav & lighting systems, etc. forever except bulbs
Solar systems- 15 yrs
Batteries- 5 yrs
Electronics including chartplotter, AIS, SSB & VHF, Radar- I'd figure 10
Refrigerator- 20 yrs
Stove/oven- 20 yrs
Water heater- 20 yrs
Cabin heater- 20 yrs
Engine- diesel 15 yrs if you maintain
Paint- every year bottom, 10-15 yrs topsides
Deck gear such as winches, blocks, and tackle- none should ever wear out. Plastic sheaves may get brittle and need replace at 15 yrs.

How stuff is treated is really the big factor in how long it lasts. Of course even a near-miss in a lightning storm can set you back a long way so better figure a hefty contingency.
That is something I definitely need to think about. Since you mentioned lightning strike, on a boat what type of systems would that most likely affect besides electronics? Would the actual wiring possibly end up fried as well? How about battery and charging systems? I have not experienced a lightning strike.

My thought had been to keep in reserve enough money to completely replace the entire rig with sails as well as repairs for a collision or grounding. That amount will vary with the boat that I buy.
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Old 01-01-2013
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Re: Equipment lifespans

Actually, Dean, you might factor in oil and filters because its probably near $200 per year.
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