a ? about selling homemade skiffs...

Discussion in 'Boatbuilding' started by lobsterman, Apr 11, 2011.

  1. lobsterman
    Joined: Mar 2004
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    lobsterman Junior Member

    I am currently building a small, 12', stitch and glue, high sided lobstermans skiff, and it is coming out soo nice and shapely that i felt some folks may want to buy them, but i am working outside, and fine fiberglassing and finish work is not really my strong suit. So....
    I was wondering if i could possibly save myself alot of aggravation in the finish work, as well as avoid some possible legal issues by only selling them as incomplete project boats. ( selling just bare bones, stitch and glue plywood skiffs, that are only glassed at the seams with no rails or finish work done ).

    Do you think anyone would buy them as partially finished project skiffs ?, and would i avoid any liability or legal issues by selling them this way ?.

  2. Ike
    Joined: Apr 2006
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    Ike Senior Member

    Yes, you can sell them as partially finished, or unfinished hulls, or as kit boats, but no this does not avoid liability. You will still have to make sure they comply with any laws that may apply. The following is my own wording but it is the Coast Guard's policy on kit boats and partially finished boats; (I worked at USCG Office of Boating Safety for 20 years)

    "Kit boats are a backyard built boats, but kit boat manufacturers are still subject to the regulations. The law says a "recreational vessel manufacturer" is "a person engaged in the manufacturing construction, assembly or importation of recreational vessels, components, or associated equipment." This means that a kit boat manufacturer is subject to the same rules as any boat manufacturer and must obtain a MIC from the U.S. Coast Guard. They must assign Hull Identification Numbers and supply any required labels. Also they must supply instructions to the builder so that the boat is built in compliance with the regulations." see http://newboatbuilders.com/pages/hin.html

    A partially finished boat is a "component" and so is still subject to the rules.

    You would have to tell your customers what they would have to do to finish out the boat in compliance with the regulations, such as flotation, safe loading, horsepower, labeling, Hull ID Numbers, etc.

    Actually there are builders who do this, because some people want to build a boat but don't know how to build a hull. There are plenty of kit builders who build and sell in all stages of construction from a bare hull to a finished boat.
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  3. Petros
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Petros Senior Member

    I am not so sure any regulations apply to such a small craft. In my state you are not required to license anything smaller than 16 ft without a motor. And no licensing is required for any canoe, kayak, or row boat.

    As far a liability, anytime you sell anything to anyone there is always a risk you will get blamed for something. But if you worry about that than never sell anything to anybody and keep your day job, never drive your car anywhere and stay away from crowds. I have been self employed for well over two decades, I have been sued 3 times, I have prevailed all three times, and I collected. I get threatened to be sued at least once a year, I tell them go ahead. If you are not making a lot of money selling rowing shells, there are few lawyers who will go after you since there is no way to make sure he will get paid.
  4. lobsterman
    Joined: Mar 2004
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    lobsterman Junior Member

    Thanks for the replies, Then i wil sell them as oversized paperweights, or as unfinished pieces of artwork, No offense intended, But... I am done playing by the coast guard's, or the federal, state, or local government's rules, regulations, and ordinances !!!. They say that ignorance of the law is no excuse, but i strongly disagree !!!, considering that there are more laws on the books than any one person could ever read in a lifetime, much less understand them all !!!. Besides there is no law that says i must learn all the laws !!!.

    A government that repeatedly violates it's own laws and Constitution, as well as violating the Natural Rights of Man, is no longer a valid form of government !!!, It is Tyranny !!!. It is a totalitarian oligarchy !!!.

    We have become that which our forefathers warned us about !!!.

    We are already living in a police state, the federal, state, and local authorities are using unconstitutional laws to prey upon the people, to make up for budget shortfalls and to regulate things not lawfully under their authority. The U.S. government is now directly and egregiously violating, the U.S. Constitution, Common Law, Natural Law, Natural Rghts, Civil Rights, the Bill of Rights, as well as all of our Religious, Privacy, Property, Medical, Resource,Financial, Parental Rights, Etc. Etc....

    It is now time for all of the various U.S. enforcement agencies, and numerous enforcement officials to stop enforcing unconstitutional laws !!!. We are not the corporation's, the government's or U.N.'s Property !!!, and we will not be controled as such !!!.

    The Coast Guard is now a fulltime military agency !!!, i never joined the military !!!, and i will not obey any laws, commands, or edicts from any military agency.
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  5. CatBuilder

    CatBuilder Previous Member

    Despite the boat regs, it would appear us New Englanders think alike. Would be nice if all of New England became its own country. It sort of is already anyway.
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  6. cthippo
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    cthippo Senior Member

  7. Madcat
    Joined: Apr 2011
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    Madcat Junior Member

    I have a curious question on a similar train of thought. I am looking at building out a strip planked kayak and if it goes well I may build more for some spare $$$ and to hone my woodworking skills. I live in California and Kayaks rowboats etc. that are solely paddled by oars or paddles are not required to be registered.

    (pasted from the California DMV's site)
    The following vessels do not have to be registered in California:
    Vessels propelled solely by oars or paddles.
    Nonmotorized sailboats that are eight feet or less in length.
    Nonmotorized surfboards propelled by a sail and with a mast that the operator must hold upright.
    A ship’s lifeboat (a dinghy is not a lifeboat).
    Vessels currently and lawfully numbered (registered) by another state that are principally used outside California.
    Vessels brought into California for racing purposes only (exempted only during races and tune-ups).

    Would I still be required to deal with the MIC?
  8. Squidly-Diddly
    Joined: Sep 2007
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    Squidly-Diddly Senior Member

    MADCAT, I believe there may be a market for building any of the many

    available kits/plans, particularly stitch&glue, or skinONframe/geodisc.

    Lots of people might want the boat, and be ok with the IDEA of building it, but just don't have the space, tools, skills and time to do so.

    Plus, many people are realistic and understand over half these projects either don't get finished or "go wrong" somehow due to rookie mistake and are forever after half-assed at best.

    Supposedly, it doesn't take much space, tools, time or skills, but it takes some. Also, LOTS of people are totally helpless on the building area even if they have technical PhDs.

    Maybe someone like yourself could do one or two(maybe the second would be 'on spec') and then offer to produce water ready kit/plan small boats.
  9. Ike
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    Ike Senior Member

    Yes, all recreational boats sold in the US have to have a Hull Id Number which starts with the MIC. It is very simple to get. Call USCG HQ 202-372-1076 or FAX 202-372-1934. Or E-Mail Mr. Philip Cappel at philip.j.cappel@uscg.mil and ask for a MIC application. they will e-mail or snail mail you a one page form. (they might even have it on-line by now) They ask for name, address, phone and what kind of boats you are making. Send it back. Within a day or two they send you a letter with your mic. No money changes hands.

    Just FYI, having a MIC and an HIN has nothing to do with state registration laws although if you register a boat they will want the HIN on the registration. It is a Federal requirement, and is required almost worldwide now.

    And for canoes, that's it. There are no other Federal requirements in the USA.
    See http://newboatbuilders.com/pages/canoeskayaks.html
  10. viking north
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    viking north VINLAND

    Do what we did, we had the second largest wooden toy company in eastern Canada. The toys passed gov. made in Canada inspection,( foreign toys are subject to little or no insections) we had few assets so carried no liability insurance. Being hard workers and over a period of 10yrs. we gained assets so thought we'd better carry liability insurance. It was so expensive we decided to close the company.(20 yrs ago.) We now have a new plan to open it selling the toys as exuctive gifts. So sell your boats as garden planters or lawn ornaments.--Know exactily your concerns---Geo.
  11. lobsterman
    Joined: Mar 2004
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    lobsterman Junior Member

    So when i finish building just the one skiff, and if i intend to keep it for my own personal use, am i still required to apply for a MIC (whatever that is), or an HIN in order to be able to register it ???.
    Also, i think i may not need to register it at first, as it will only be being used as a rowing tender to get out to my big boat, but i know that eventually i am going to want to try it out with a small outboard.

    P.S. ... The skiff is nearing completion now, and is looking great, (but the project is presently at a standstill due to poor weather conditions, and lack of disposable funds for the project). As it sits now, it only needs a bit more glassing, the rails put on it, and a few other small details.
  12. DCockey
    Joined: Oct 2009
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    DCockey Senior Member

    The state agency which registers boats will also issue a HIN for a homebuilt boat.

    Based on my conversation with the USCG folks at IBEX in 2010 the USCG won't issue an MIC to someone who is only building a boat for their own use. Instead they will direct them to get an HIN from their state agency. Seems that there are not enough possible different combinations of letters to have sufficient MIC's to issue one to each homebuilder. My understanding is MIC's have started to be recycled with ones from long defunct builders reassigned to a new builder.
  13. hoytedow
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    hoytedow Carbon Based Life Form

    Hear, hear!
  14. troy2000
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    troy2000 Senior Member

    Reality check: the Coast Guard has always been a military service. As a matter of fact, in its earliest years it was the only naval force we had to protect our coast and our shipping. And from the very beginning, it's also been a law enforcement agency. If you're agin' that, you need to go talk to the country's founders... especially Alexander Hamilton.

    To quote Wikipedia,
    Unlike the other four military services, the Coast Guard is exempt from the Posse Comitatus Act -- because of its parallel mission as a law enforcement and regulatory agency.

  15. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    The market for home built anything (boats) is fairly small. Limiting yourself to an unfinished skiff, just decreases this minimal market further.

    Open web statements about your intentions to not follow the law, seems a foolish business plan as well. You can sell a few of these, without concern, but eventually, you'll be asked to produce the appropriate bits of paper. If you don't, the locals as well as their bigger brothers will jump all over you, if for no other reason then to show they can. It'll be an election year and someone will have a meaningless point to prove, about their "tough on crime" stance, etc., etc., etc., of which you'll be the evil manufacture they "straightened out" in the public's interest of course.

    In short, you can wipe your own butt or let them do it for you . . .
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