I’ve always heard this saying from boaters and live a boards and now I fully am living it. Even though our old boat surveyed well, we knew there were going to be some expensive projects in our future. One of the first things we did was schedule to have a holding tank installed. The aft head in the DeFever currently uses Electro Scan to dispose of waste. It treats it with chemicals and discharges it. While it is legal in most places, one of the spots we plan to frequent a lot is Monroe County (Florida Keys). The Keys is a no discharge zone, treated or otherwise, making the Electro Scan useless for us. Since the boat has never had a holding tank for the heads, we get the pleasure of having it installed. This little project will end up costing us close to $2k for parts and labor, but once we have this done, it will make our lives much easier when cruising.
Other initial projects and costs include:
Having our fuel changed over by Sludge Suckers. The survey discovered that the fuel in the tanks was old and has water in it. Having our fuel changed over will ensure that the engine and generator will have clean fuel in order to run properly
While our Nova Kool refrigerator runs, we realized that it doesn’t keep cold enough to keep food from spoiling. The temperature would range between 42-50 degrees which keeps veggies and drinks cool, but is not cold enough to keep dairy and meat from spoiling. We need the fridge to be between 30-40 degrees. We had someone out last week who replaced the thermostat and the module but to no avail. Our fridge guy is out of ideas as to what the problem is. At this point, we agree that the fridge needs to be replaced, but a new marine refrigerator like this one runs upwards of $1800. From what I hear, refrigerators, marine or otherwise, don’t last very long in a marine environment. One option is to buy a regular electric refrigerator which is much cheaper ($300-400) but finding one to fit the space we have is a challenge. The only one we found small enough is 52″ in height but we only have 49″ of space to put it in. We are contemplating having a carpenter come out and cut a bigger space. Our logic is that we’d rather spend the money with a carpenter to make the space bigger for a refrigerator that we can get for $400 than spend the $1800+ on a marine fridge. This way, if the fridge dies in 5 years we can replace it for $400 rather than spend another $1800.
Other miscellaneous expenses included the many, many trips to West Marine, Ace Hardware and Home Depot for items like flares, bumpers, smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, marine cleaning supplies, new sink hardware (to replace leaky faucets), etc. Seems like for every item on our list we fixed, something else broke. With a boat as old as this, we will eventually have to replace just about everything on it.
Since we brought our boat home just a few weeks away from Memorial Day weekend, we have been in a mad rush to address as many of the safety items and things to fix as possible before the holiday weekend. We plan to take the boat out to Pelican Bay, by Cayo Costa, to anchor out there with seven other boats for the long weekend. Once we get back from our trip, we’ll have to address what we couldn’t get done.
The funny thing about our project list is that it has evolved since we first looked at the boat and changed after the survey and changed again since we brought it home. Initially, we were only concerned with cosmetic things like repainting the decks where there are gel coat burn marks, removing the carpet in the main salon and replacing it with wood floors, adding a bimini to the back deck, etc. After the survey, the list changed to things like installing a holding tank (we were told by the broker that the holding tank was plastic when in fact there wasn’t one), unfreezing the thru hulls, adding a high water alarm in the bilge, having the fuel changed out, etc. Once we brought the boat home, we added onto our list of projects to fix leaky sinks and faucets, switch the anchor chain around so the good side was first and replace the anchor that came with the boat. For now, we have resolved to fix the most important (safety and necessities) things now and wait a bit on the cosmetic changes. We’ve got a way to go, but I believe within a year or so, we’ll have our trawler shining.