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  Topic Review (Newest First)
10-02-2013 07:27 PM
Re: $95.00 an hour. phew

Most yards will send you all the help you want at your disposal at their hourly rate. However, they aren't hired out as instructors. Its a real gem, if you find one interested in that.
10-02-2013 03:15 PM
Re: $95.00 an hour. phew

I just bought my first boat and I look forward to doing the work myself. I WANT to do the work myself. The problem is that I don't have a lot of experience doing handyman/plumbing/electric/mechanical work and while Forum posts and books are great, there is nothing like having someone who knows what they're doing there to make sure you don't screw things up.

I live and work in Silicon Valley in San Jose. Me and my friends we're all tech geeks.

I don't have the money to go to a yard and I don't want a stranger touching my baby. But I would like a trusted professional guiding me as I do the repairs myself. I guess that's going to be hard to find though as its like your local fisherman teaching you to fish. They would be essentially putting themselves out of business?

I suppose the best bit of advice I have received is to make friends at the docks with people who know what they're doing.
10-02-2013 06:59 AM
Re: $95.00 an hour. phew

Originally Posted by kentobin View Post
....He also commented that the worst customers were the ones who actually had money.
No doubt there are cheapskates in all walks of life. Sailors in general are known to have their fair share.

However, this swings the other way quickly. When a yard sees a 50+ footer come in, they typically lick their chops, assuming resources are limitless.
10-01-2013 10:58 PM
Re: $95.00 an hour. phew

I used to know a tv repair guy who went out of business 30+ years ago. He had a collection of tv's that the owners wouldn't pay for after he repaired them.

What he told me was people need their car to get to work, do the shopping, etc. If it isn't fixed or they can't pay the bill to get it released they're in trouble.

Remodeling, tv repair, appliance repair they can do without even if it is inconvenient.

He also commented that the worst customers were the ones who actually had money.
09-30-2013 07:50 PM
Re: $95.00 an hour. phew

Originally Posted by Shinook View Post
......I have found several people that I would consider the A&P equivalent of a marine mechanic.....
Must be worth their weight in gold!! I'm not saying that none exist, only that they are few and far between in my decades of experience.

Another difference in the marine industry is its entirely common that you must effectively use the yards resources to work on your boat. Many will allow you to bring in your own crew, if you pay the yard a vig, which I understand. However, that not only increases the cost, but many other vendors just aren't made comfortable coming onto the premises to replace the locals.

It's almost never the case in aviation that you are beholden to the resources on the field. Keeps them honest, without having a captive audience.
09-30-2013 07:48 PM
Re: $95.00 an hour. phew

There is a serious case of thread drift going here....

That said, here are my $0.02

The first surveyor, recommended by the surveyor that I wanted, but who wasn't available in less than 3 months, surveyed my prospective vessel for 2 hours before we put it in the slings. During the two hours, he took notes, said nothing, and made me feel unwelcome (I suspect that he was hung over). The boat went into the slings, and I noticed that sumthin' funny was goin' on with the keel. I pointed this out to him, the broker, and the yard manager. The yard manager said it probably came off the line that way. I wasn't buying it.

The third time that I pointed this out, my surveyor takes a look under the keel, then jumps away from the boat. He walks over to me and says; "the keel is loose. You want to wrap this up now?" HOLY SHEET! WTH? I've paid the guy $425 (50%) up front to survey the boat, it's only been three hours. I tell him to keep at it, so he resumes whatever it was that he was doing, and not wanting to share anything with me.

After another half hour, I tell him to wrap it up, as this deal is not happening. I ask how he would like to go forward, and he says that he'll bill me his hourly rate of $100. I say OK, and we call it a day.

6 weeks later, the owner has fixed the keel (cost him >$9K), and I call the surveyor to ask if we could proceed. He tells me OK, but he's going to want an additional $200 bucks for travel - his office was 5 miles away - plus he would only resume his survey at his hourly ($100/hr) rate. I thanked him for his time, and called another surveyor (who was also less than stellar).

Since then I have learned that most of the guys that work in the marine industry are predators, and I'm the prey. In response I have learned a LOT while replacing the following on my boat:
  • motor mounts
  • through hulls and backing plates
  • complete drive line (cutlass bearing/prop shaft/shaft seal/coupling)
  • motor mounts
  • dropped and re-installed my rudder
  • redone most of the electrical (re-routed a lot of wires that were pulled through the bilge) to ABYC standards
  • most of the freshwater plumbing
  • Upgraded the alternator
  • Rigging
  • turnbuckles
... I could go on...

Bottom line is to learn to do your own work (you'll know who to blame if things go wrong), or pay through the nose.
09-30-2013 07:13 PM
Re: $95.00 an hour. phew

Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
While there are always bad actors, the aviation industry has, by far, more qualified, responsive, knowledgeable and reliable technicians. Ironically, my go-to aviation mechanic charges $5/hr less than the boat yard.
While I was flying, I was interested in pursuing an A&P rating, but I took one look at the requirements and realized I'd never qualify unless I made a drastic career decision. I agree with you that almost all of the maintenance staff I encountered in GA were far more professional than some folks I've encountered in marine maintenance and repair, but a far more significant level of professionalism, training, and knowledge is required. It also makes a difference that you are required to comply with FAA and manufacturer regulations in aviation, along with proving compliance, something that doesn't really need to be done in boating. I swear the majority of our expense in aviation was related to compliance. What do they say about paperwork making an airplane fly again?

That said, I have found several people that I would consider the A&P equivalent of a marine mechanic. I've weeded out a lot of people after talking to them for 5 minutes, but I've used a handful of people that I'd consider have the equivalent level of experience, professionalism, and sense of quality. None of them charged over $50/hr, so I guess I got lucky.

I've had bad experiences with A&Ps though. I was looking at an airplane a few years ago and we noticed one of the cylinders had low compression (really low, like 30psi, in an O-320 IIRC), his solution was to spray water into the air intake while I ran the engine up and see if it would steam out. I humored him, of course the engine was going insane and didn't like it one bit, but he kept on. After he finished, the engine was vibrating and making all kinds of noise. His response? Let's fly it around the pattern to smooth it out...There was a graveyard at the end of the runway, I'm sure I'd be in it if I had complied. We didn't buy the airplane.
09-30-2013 07:07 PM
Re: $95.00 an hour. phew

Below is an Excerpt from my online Fee Schedule

Mileage is charged round trip at whatever mileage Google Maps comes up with. At 60 cents / kilometer I charge about $90.00 to drive from Port Credit to Port Dalhousie and back, thats about 3 hours plus the cost of gas, insurance (business vehicle insurance costs more), depreciation and tires etc. I don't get a company car allowance and $90.00 isn't much when you add it all up. I pay for my own computers, software, this web site and other advertising, stationary, moisture meters, corrosion meters, Barcol testers, cameras, thermal camera, infrared thermometers, multi-meters etc. and oh yeah........little brass hammers and dental picks (that you often get to keep when they are dropped in the bilge) and it often takes longer to write the report than it does to do the survey.

I am not doing this to supplement a government pension or my income as a disc jockey or groundskeeper like some others in Ontario. I am a full time professional who pays dues to the Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors®, American Boat & Yacht Council, BoatUS Technical Exchange and BoatUS Consumer Protection database. I have spent a small fortune building my library of Transport Canada, ABYC , ABS, NFPA, UL, ISO and CSA standards along with dozens of reference books and also pay for annual continuing education courses required to maintain my AMS® status.

I do not qualify for unemployment insurance and I do not have a drug, eye glass, dental or extended health plan. No one pays into a company pension plan for me. I don't get a Christmas bonus and I get neither sick days nor paid vacation time.
Hey ! wait a minute........I'm working for less than minimum wage !

Believe it or not I love every second of what I do for a living..... think about it.... I hang around boats all day, then people give me money.
09-30-2013 06:56 PM
Re: $95.00 an hour. phew

I need sum O' dose no poke ya screwdrivers. I got a scar or two on me to prove I do!

If u sharpen the blade of a screwdriver, does that make it n2 a soft handled chisel or a gasket scraper or just a ruined screwdriver?
09-30-2013 06:44 PM
Re: $95.00 an hour. phew

Aviation? You need FAA credentials (certifications) to touch anything including the FAA-approved duct tape and baling wire on an airplane, right? I don't begrudge the guys who have ten years of skill and experience their living. Having worked both sides of the desk, so to speak, I don't argue that. The bigger problem is that everyone claims to be an expert and many of them shouldn't be allowed to pick up a screwdriver, even if it comes with an illustrated instruction manual.

Oh, come on now. Don't tell me you're still buying black-market screwdrivers that don't come with the mandatory consumer safety manuals attached ?! Or the blade cover, to make sure you don't poke yourself in the eye ?!
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