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Tony B
02-03-2016, 11:40 AM
I have a new boat neighbor that bought a 1960-ish steel hull houseboat.

He is totally unfamiliar with houseboats or anything other than bass boats. I some corrosion on deck and welds, which probably aren't that bad - maybe. he is getting all sorts of bad info from the guy who sold him the boat who is also on this dock.

I recommended he haul-out and have the yard check out the hull for him. The previous owner (PO), said it was rediculous. The boat is just fine. The PO also told him the yard haul-out was $4000. I told him it was more like $450 - $500. Anyway, I talked him into going to the yard today (by car) and ask for himself. The yard said $505 for the haul-out.

Anyway, the yard told him pretty much what I said, not just about the haulout but also bottom paint about every 4 years and new oudrive boot about every 5 years.

When we got back. he saw the PO and told PO what he was going to do. The PO insists that the water up here on the little tennessee is so pure that the boat wont rust, the bottom paint is good for 8 years and the boot shouldnt have to be replaced until he sees signs of leaking.

Of course, I disagree with PO and so I am staying out of this.

Now I am just curious about the following and would like your input just for my own info.

How long is bottom paint good for assuming the boat has not moved in the last 4 years? No way of knowing what paint was applied last.

How long is reasonable and safe for outdrive boot to last?

Would you do as I would in that before I spent another penny on remodeling, I would have the haul-out done to inspect the steel hull, bottom paint and replace boot all at the same time?

I am not familiar with steel hulls.
The new owner never had a surveyor. The PO bought the boat a year ago and his surveyor used a lot of info from a previous survey ( 4 years earlier) and referenced it for areas he could not check.

Am I thinking rationally or did I recommend he throw money away on hull inspection, boot and bottom job.

easttnboater
02-04-2016, 07:43 AM
I am sure OHB will chime in here at some point. I owned a 1976 steel hulled Summerset for about 8 yrs, so here is my 2 cents:

1. Steel hulled boats mainly rust from the inside. So, the purity of the water has nothing to do with it.
2. The rust that is visible on the deck and welds needs to be dealt with ASAP. Rust never sleeps on a steel hulled boat.
3. A good coal tar epoxy bottom job can easily last over eight years.
4. The longevity of the boots depends on if the outdrives are in the shade or in the sun. They can last up to a decade. It depends on the model of the outdrive if you want to risk that or not.
5. He needs someone there that is knowledgeable about steel hulled boats when the boat is hauled out to do an inspection.
6. He will find it difficult, if not impossible, to get insurance for it.

Unless it is an exceptional steel hulled boat he got screwed. Even if it is an exceptional boat, he still got screwed unless he can unload it on another newbie.

Have him read the Newbie warning sticky on the Houseboat forum page.

BananaTom
02-04-2016, 08:46 AM
I am afraid the new boat owner got screwed by the PO.

Unless he paid $4000 for the boat.
Which is why the PO told him the cost of a haul out is the price of the boat.

Tony B
02-04-2016, 11:51 AM
.....
3. A good coal tar epoxy bottom job can easily last over eight years.

4. The longevity of the boots depends on if the outdrives are in the shade or in the sun. They can last up to a decade. It depends on the model of the outdrive if you want to risk that or not.
..............

Thanks

I have been enlightened, especially items 3 and 4..

Tony B
02-04-2016, 11:56 AM
I am afraid the new boat owner got screwed by the PO.

Unless he paid $4000 for the boat.
Which is why the PO told him the cost of a haul out is the price of the boat.

I believe you are 100% correct.
I figured the PO lied about the cost of haul-out so as discourage the new owner from hauling out.

He paid about $6000 for it which I thought was way too much. He knew nothing about boats and the seller really took advantage of him.

I had already told him that he may very well be the last owner of that boat.

Thanks for the input.

Tony B
02-04-2016, 12:03 PM
The haul-out, bottom job etc. is probably more than the new owner can handle at this time.
He wants to remodel the interior first since he can buy lumber and paneling little at a time and maybe put off the haul-out/bottom job for about 3 months.

My question is:

Is it practical to rip up the floor in sections to inspect the inside of the hull.
He is going to replace some of it anyway. I have never looked below the floor in a houseboat so I wouldn't know what to expect.

Is the floor plywood resting on 2X's or it screwed to steel?

Thanks in advance

OLD HOUSEBOATER
02-04-2016, 01:53 PM
MY Gawd

Most steel boats unless they are in pristine condition have a NEGATIVE value

http://www.houseboatmagazine.com/forum/showthread.php?21-Inexperenced-Newbies-READ-THIS-WARNING

This is the lead post in Houseboating Magazine Forum This was authored over 20 years ago. Latest revision was in 2012

If the the new owner was misled, he should get a lawyer, he probably has a fraud case.

Can't believe this is happening in 2016. Did he even try to get insurance before buying the boat? He will end up paying disposal costs.

Tony B
02-05-2016, 05:45 AM
OHB

Here is the short version:

The seller has a houseboat in this marina and is a full time live-aboard. His daughter and son-in-law moved up from Florida when S-I-L became unemployed. The seller then bought the steel hull in question for his daughter and her family to live on until they got a job. They have 2 kids and she was pregnant with twins. Hubby got a job and they were looking for a house to rent. Some how, unbeknownst to me, they crossed paths. The buyer was thinking of buying a houseboat and living aboard. Sooooooooooo, the buyer bought the houseboat in question and the sellers' family moved into his house on a rental basis.
The buyer is not familiar with larger boats - he has only owned bass boats in the past. he was enthrawled with the size of the houseboat (43') and figured he could fix it up. Not knowing anything about houseboats in general, not to mention steel hulls, led to his situation.

Thanks for the input, I have relayed the info to the buyer. I think he might become a member to this forum

easttnboater
02-05-2016, 06:34 AM
Assuming he is not going to try to undo the deal and he wants to make the best of it, then here is my next 2 cents worth:

1. Assuming that he is going to live aboard it and never move it.
2. Assuming that it is not presently taking on water.
3. Assuming that he can get an emergency haul out if it starts taking on water.

Then,

1. I would not haul it out.
2. I would wire brush the visible corrosion and paint it.
3. I would spruce up the interior, but would spend the absolute minimal money. Remodeling it would be out.
4. Live on it until it starts to leak.
5. Start saving money for the disposal cost.

Tony B
02-05-2016, 06:50 AM
Assuming he is not going to try to undo the deal and he wants to make the best of it, then here is my next 2 cents worth:

1. Assuming that he is going to live aboard it and never move it. Check
2. Assuming that it is not presently taking on water.Check
3. Assuming that he can get an emergency haul out if it starts taking on water. Check
Then,

1. I would not haul it out. He probably will in a few months
2. I would wire brush the visible corrosion and paint it. Check
3. I would spruce up the interior, but would spend the absolute minimal money. Remodeling it would be out. Check, with some remodeling - nothing major
4. Live on it until it starts to leak. Dont know yet
5. Start saving money for the disposal cost. Thats a biggie


I'm just guessing on how this will play out. He really ought to join this forum. Right now he is disgusted and uncertain and will make the best of it.

BananaTom
02-05-2016, 06:50 AM
1. I would not haul it out.
2. I would wire brush the visible corrosion and paint it.
3. I would spruce up the interior, but would spend the absolute minimal money. Remodeling it would be out.
4. Live on it until it starts to leak.
5. Start saving money for the disposal cost.


Agreed!!

And make sure his rent on the house does not fall into arrears.
Then he will be out more money.

If you think about it, he is living the dream of a live-a-board, and the cost is only $6000, plus dock fees and vessel disposal in the end. Start developing a disposal plan, as that metal does have a salvage value.

The rent he is getting for his home will at least a positive income. Verses many of us that own a home and a boat, and just dump thousands into the water, without getting rent on out homes.

OLD HOUSEBOATER
02-05-2016, 07:14 AM
Sorry etb. This puppy hasn't been out of the water in 8 years. Yes a Coal Tar job can last 8 years. However this assumes haulouts every 2 or 3 years to inspect and touchup scrapes and blemishes. Yes steel boats rot out from the inside. I owned A steel CarriCraft and 3 RiverQueens. I cut openings in the floor to be able to get at every single inch of the bottom. It took effort to maintain a dry rust free bilge. This was 35 years ago. I doubt this boat has had this much attention. Stray current corrosion could have happened and without an inspection you would not know until your in a state of failure. Even Coal Tar can't fight that. I have to assume this is a River Queen because everything else out there has pretty much turned to scrap. The bottom line is this boat has to come out and needs a survey by someone with experience in steel hulls. Hull thickness needs to be checked 100%. On a boat that old a leak may not start with a pin hole, a whole section could give way and sink in minutes.

If you think I'm trying to scare you, your 100% right. How did he get insurance? What marina is he at? I would NEVER go to sleep on it until I knew it was safe.

Tony B
02-05-2016, 07:38 AM
...............If you think I'm trying to scare you, your 100% right. How did he get insurance? What marina is he at? I would NEVER go to sleep on it until I knew it was safe.

I tried to scare him also, but the seller keeps assuring him that we are over reacting. The seller is one of those guys that thinks that because he talks the loudest, he is right. Right now, I am not getting involved with his decision making process any more. I already voiced my opinion. What is most helpful to me about this post is that I personally am getting a great education right here and now. My last suggestion to him was to at least remove the plywood flooring and look for himself. The yard foreman we went to talk to the other day tried to scare him also. he told him that without a haul-out he has no idea of what the bottom is like. The yard foreman also told him that sometimes people coat the bottom with roofing tar to hold back the smaller leaks and how important it is to haul out and find out. Not sure when boat was hauled out last.

We are at Tellico Marina on Tellico Lake. Tellico Lake is part of the Little Tennessee River which flows northward to join the Tennessee River about 30 miles or so west of Knoxville.

Not sure what kind of insurance he has but I'm quite sure it is not enough. He is paying about $150/year. I don't know who the insurer is but I don't think you can get the $800,000 or so EPA liability in case boat sinks and pollutes for only $150 a year. I can be wrong.

Keep the post coming, I am really enjoying the education.

Thanks again

desimulacra
02-05-2016, 09:05 AM
All the steel boats had left our marina a few years back. Then the "Memphis Queen" or something like that was "pulled" into the gas dock. The gas dock owner (who should have known better) thought of buying the Memphis Queen. Had it looked at by a local boat repair facility who said no way was he going to be involved with this steel hull. It sank that night and is still there. State and Federal agency's are involved now and she has been there for several years. Now having said that this is a restaurant barge not a houseboat.
I talked to the gentleman who "inspected" the boat and he said he could feel the hull move under his feet.
The main point to my story is that failure can come suddenly and catastrophically. I went to bed on my houseboat that night and the Queen was sitting pretty. The next morning I was sitting on the back of my boat drinking coffee when I noticed a plastic chair floating by, then another. As I started getting the gaff hook I looked and saw the Memphis Queen had sunk overnight!
Oh Talked to a person looking at removal and his quote was Tens of thousands and salvage. Now I know nothing about steel hulls but what I have read and the only good I have read was on this site by a poster to this thread and he was diligent in his maintenance while the seller of the houseboat this thread is about was not per the OP.

Tony B
02-05-2016, 11:50 AM
You are correct, I am the OP. The seller and the buyer are both dockmates. They are next to each other - for now, anyway.

I just hope that when I wake up in the morning, I don't see a forensic team going down the dock.

OLD HOUSEBOATER
02-05-2016, 12:26 PM
A couple pf print outs of the article and the current posts given to the gentleman is the best you can do. Then everyone can have a clear conscience. If/when things go south.

OHB

Tony B
02-05-2016, 01:11 PM
THANKS OHB

I didn't mean for this thread to become your full-time job, but I certainly appreciate yours and even every one else's suggestions.
And thanks again, I 7will print out what you suggested.

Jakebg
02-05-2016, 01:30 PM
Tony just a thought. You might want to tell him to call Jack Henderson at Henderson boat repair. He is in Nancy Kentucky by Lake Cumberland. Jack probably knows more about steel houseboats than anyone around these parts. He has been repairing and rebuilding them for 30+ years . He would be upfront and straight with him I think. He was featured in HB magazine a few years back I think. May be another source for him. I think I have his number somewhere.

Tony B
02-05-2016, 02:35 PM
Thanks jake

I'll rel;ay the info to my neighbor but i seriously doubt he would pay for someone to come down here from that far away and bringing the boat up there is way way out of the question.
Thanks for the kind thoughts though.

OLD HOUSEBOATER
02-05-2016, 05:58 PM
What make boat is it. River Queen, Lazy Days, Sea Going,???

Tony B
02-05-2016, 06:27 PM
OHB

I have no idea. I think it was manufactured in 1969.
If I see him tomorrow I will let you know.
The roof looks like it was poorly resurfaced fiberglass. Although painted, you can still see the imprints from a course fiberglass mat. I am assuming it is not the original.
I believe it is an inboard/outboard single engine. I never looked at the stern. with what I think he said was a 30 gal gas tank. I thought that was awfully small, so that too may have been replaced.
I will probably see him tomorrow.

easttnboater
02-08-2016, 07:58 AM
Well, once he has it hauled, he will know what he has to do. Up to that point he can claim a certain amount of ignorance. Once the bottom is in view, then he has to do something about it. If the bottom looks like crap and looks like it could fail, then he may not be able to put it back in the water until it is addressed.

He should be able to look in the engine room bilge to get some idea of how the inside of the hull looks.

GoVols
02-09-2016, 07:34 AM
I'm surprised the marina is allowing that boat to remain there without proof of adequate insurance. If the owner can't afford to have their sunken vessel properly removed, it becomes the marina's financial responsibility. Depending on how they're insured and the verbage of their contract, this guy's boat might not be covered by their insurance either, which would put it squarely on the shoulders of the marina owner.

A marina owner on my lake was telling me all about the nightmares he had with steel hulls the last several years. People simply let them sink at the dock instead of paying big bucks to have them maintained / repaired. Once they sank, the marina owner never could find the boat's owner and had to foot the recovery bills himself. His new policy is, if you can't show proof of adequate insurance, you must leave the marina or simply turn the boat over to him for immediate disposal....for which he keeps the scrap value. He no longer allows new steel hulls to dock there and neither do any of the other marinas on our lake.

Tony B
03-07-2016, 05:43 PM
Finally ran into my neighbor.
The boat is a 43' 1967 Drifter

I gave him a hand today pumping water out of the hull. Probably over 200 gallons. Hose was leaking.

Anyway, when it is completely dried and aired out, he wil wirewheel andl scrape inside hull where he can

I suggested that he then paint the inside hull to further protect it. He said he was told not to paint the inside of a steel hull.
Is there any reason why it should not be painted?

OLD HOUSEBOATER
03-07-2016, 07:03 PM
You don't paint it so it will rust out faster and have to be replaced sooner. The guy he's getting his advice from must really hate his guts.

I cannot believe a 1967 Drifter is still afloat. Someone had to take REALLY good care of it.

easttnboater
03-08-2016, 06:32 AM
I know of a couple of old Drifters that are still floating - they have had the bottoms redone. They were neat boats back in the day.

Unless he is planning on gutting that boat, he will not be able to reach a whole lot of the hull from the inside. He should paint whatever he can reach. I would be very concerned about the welds around the through hull pipes. Now that I know what boat he is dealing with, I will agree to what has been posted before. That boat can suffer a failure of the hull that could sink it very quickly. I would not live on it without very loud, redundant high water alarms.

Tony B
03-08-2016, 08:13 AM
A big YES on the high water alarms. I had already suggested that to him. I showed him how loud my high water bilge alarm gets.
In the past he only owned bass boats and is totally new to bigger boats. He is getting too much advice from too many people and with limited resources, he tends to be more complacent.
At this point, he may be safer not doing anything in the hull until he hauls it out for an inspection, when ever that may happen. Right now he is going to do his best to keep the huil dry. He is buying 3 dehumidifiers for down there.

I told him I would ask about the painting of the inside hull. I cant imaging why someone would advise against it, so I thought that I was missing something. One person claimed that it would hide the rust and I told him "not for very long. and with white paint, the rust would leave a stain trail from places he couldn't see.

He also has severe external corrosion at deck to hull joint and the deck to house joints. Some places have small visible holes right through it. He is going to buy an angle grinder with some cup wire brushes. I told hem to check out a few places because they could be any where from 2 to 10 times more extensive than he could see. He was thinking of painting the house first and I told him that the welders might have to tear away part of the house to fix it.

Anyway, what exactly did you mean by "they had the bottoms redone"? Are you talking about, the inside, outside or both?

I want to thanks all of you guys for the help, not only on his behalf, but on mine also. I am getting a tremendous education.

boatlover
03-08-2016, 12:01 PM
Anyway, what exactly did you mean by "they had the bottoms redone"? Are you talking about, the inside, outside or both?

That would mean the bottom was replaced

easttnboater
03-09-2016, 06:44 AM
Yes - replated. Basically removing and replacing the hull from a few inches above the waterline.

However, based on the corrosion that hes has everywhere else, he should extradite himself as soon as possible from that boat. I would not spend a single dime on working on it.

Tony B
05-11-2016, 12:50 PM
The other day he was wire-wheeling and priming the deck. Most looked OK but some bad corrosion where you could see through the deck. He is convinced Bondo will be OK.
Anyway, he plans on a haul-out sometime in June to check out the hull. I hope he follows through. I dont think he cleaned up the rust properly. I think he just went so far and then primed. I'm basing that on the time it took to wire-wheel and prime. He only did the front when I was there. Some of the really bad spots were where the hull meets the house along the sides.
Anyway, I shared my thoughts and yours. Maybe all will be OK at the haul-out.

easttnboater
05-12-2016, 07:47 AM
If the hull is weak enough, it might not survive the haul out.

HBChattanooga
08-25-2016, 05:37 PM
Any update on this boat?