that doesn’t bother him. Hand says that
some people just like old houses, old cars,
and old boats. “They have character and
aren’t reproducible,” he says. “Every time
I use my boat, I can’t image anything
better.” Would he do it again? Not only
would he, he did: Hand bought a second
Seacraft and refurbished that, too.
Greg Group, a marine surveyor in the
Great Lakes area for 37 years, brings a
different perspective. He’s rescued and
rebuilt plenty of boats in his time and
seen plenty of starry-eyed boaters buy
older boats that need some work in
hopes of getting on the water cheaply.
It can be done, he says, but the back
lots of boatyards and craigslist are full of
partially finished projects. What usually
happens, Group says, is the buyer either
began with a boat that was worse off than
estimated or didn’t have the stamina to
follow through on a long project.
Dreamers, he says, often don’t realize
that, for example, the parts for an older
sterndrive can cost thousands before the
boat even runs. For resale, in his pro-
fessional opinion, boats with a good
reputation are a better bet than rare
models. Group has a two-out-of-three
rule: Overall structure, cosmetics, and
systems/mechanical – pick a boat that
rates high in any two. Even then, he says,
it’s not easy to get your money out of a
There’s an old joke in the boat-repair
business: How do you make $10,000
rebuilding an older boat? Start with
$20,000. It often makes sense to spend
a little more on a newer model in better shape than gamble that you can save
money on a fixer-upper, he says. Plus the
two years it might take you to rehab a
boat can instead be spent on the water.
How much insurance do I need?
Insurance is designed to protect your
boat from loss and to protect you from
liability for damage or injury to others.
Not having it opens you up to all kinds
of potential financial losses.
Most policies have two parts: The one
that protects your boat (hull insurance)
should provide enough coverage to pay
you the value of your boat if it’s destroyed,
say, by an accident or fire. It will also pay
to repair damage from an accident. The
other part is called
liability, and that
protects you from
things that you
might do to others,
such as damage
their boat or cause
an injury. That
amount is typically
is most common.
The best policies also cover wreck
removal in case your boat is destroyed,
as well as fuel-spill liability. Talk to your
insurance company and it can tell you,
based on the purchase price or value
of your boat, what amount is right.
But make sure you talk to an insurance
company that knows boats; homeown-ers policies often have glaring holes in
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