Filed Under (Boats and Boating Gear) by Debbie on 15-10-2008

Hurricane Ike hit Texas leaving distruction in its wake.  Ike damaged homes, roads, infrastructures and not least of interest to readers of my blog, Ike also beat up the boats.  I am always looking at boats for sale as I dream of bigger and deep horizon water and there seem to be quite a few amazing deals out there right now.

Our current economy is forcing many sailboat and power boat owners to sell their boats.  There are many sweet looking offers on the Internet, I found a ‘blue water’ 36 footer for $35K.  I can’t help but wonder how many are for sale because of the economy and how many are for sale because of Ike.

As many readers will think about buying this winter I wanted to give you some thoughts on buying a used boat, post Ike.

  • Have a survey done before you buy the boat.  Do Not use the surveyor suggested by the dealer or seller.  Hire your own.  Don’t know who to hire?  Ask around the marinas.
  • “As Is” should be a red flag.  Generally, this means the seller knows there is something wrong and is washing his/her hands.  Like I said above, get a survey.  Most insurance companies won’t cover a ‘pre-existing’ problem.
  • Background checks.  There are several places that have popped up on the Internet offering ‘comprehensive background information’.  Since there isn’t any one national clearing house for boat information, I’d view these checks as sketchy at best.  While you can always call every regestration office in each state the boat has been in, most likely you’ll get little information.  State boat records don’t include information about accidents or insurance claims.
  • The State-Line-Two-Step.  One of the easiest ways to blur a boat’s history is to pull it over the state line.  Unlike cars, there are few states that require a salvaged boat’s title to be tagged as such.  The absence of such a title allows the less than honest seller to trailer their boat to a dealer in another state.  If the seller won’t give you the states where the boat’s been berthed and or registered for the past few years then I’d look real hard at that boat or to quote one of my favorite cartoons…’exit stage right’.
  • Sweat and Knuckles.  If you’ve the ability and funds to fix and repair a hurricane damaged boat then you might look into them.  However, it’s important to know that the boat you’re looking at has been sucker punched by Ike.

One of my favorite cruisers has traveled all over this planet on a S&S he salvaged from a hurricane.  He however, knew ahead of time what the boat had been through.  So, when you find that sweet deal of a sailboat and dream of cruising away, be sure you know the history. You don’t want to find out later that you’ve bought a hurricane damaged sailboat.

2 Comments posted on "Hurricane Damaged Boats"
JT on October 15th, 2008 at 1:43 pm #

What about a free boat?

I am 27 and my girlfriend and I have just discovered sailing. We have been on a few sails with a local yacht club and helped crew during a regatta. We were planning on taking it slow and starting with a few sailing lessons and maybe renting a small 10-12′ boat. So the reason for my email is an opportunity has plopped in my lap and I’m not sure what to do with it… Someone my family knows has a Helms 25 that he hasn’t used in years and just wants to give away to someone who will use it. I don’t know much about it other than the model and that its “needs some work”. I haven’t spoken directly with the owner yet but he has said the mast is in good condition. I don’t know what sails it has or what condition they are in. Sorry for the information overload from a stranger but I am planning to go take a look at it this Sunday and really don’t know what I should look for or ask… So if its ok with you I will include the list of questions I have thought up… Please feel free to respond with more!

Is a Helms 25 too big to be a good beginner boat?
What do I need to look for or ask about when I go look at her?
How much would it cost to restore her?
How long should I expect it will take to restore her?

Debbie on October 15th, 2008 at 4:16 pm #

Hi JT,

Thanks for your question about the Helms 25. They remind me quite a bit of my old MacGregor 26, my first sailboat.

I don’t feel I can answer your questions here very well so please follow this link.


Again, thanks for visiting and I hope the above link helps.

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