Is it Possible

Discussion in 'Boatbuilding' started by jim gerst, Sep 6, 2013.

  1. jim gerst
    Joined: Sep 2013
    Posts: 2
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: United States

    jim gerst New Member

    I retired this last year and I have always wonted to build a boat. I have the tools and hands on experience ( I think ) to do a good job. I am getting ready to build my first but I anticipate my problem will be when its finished I will wont to build another and so on and so on. My question is being entirely new to this realm (boat building) is there truly a market out thee for backward built boats.

    Thanks for your Help

    Jim G
     
  2. SamSam
    Joined: Feb 2005
    Posts: 3,817
    Likes: 153, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 971
    Location: Coastal Georgia

    SamSam Senior Member

    Hardly any for rightly built boats, I can't imagine any for backwardly built ones. ;)
    If you do sell one you made, you should realize that for as long as it exists you may have varying degrees of liability.
     
  3. TANSL
    Joined: Sep 2011
    Posts: 5,546
    Likes: 160, Points: 73, Legacy Rep: 300
    Location: Spain

    TANSL Senior Member

    It is true, as the builder of a boat, for sale on the market, you must certify it and acquire a responsibility. But there are many moments in life in which one assumes large degree of responsibility, for example, when driving a car.
    Only you have to make sure the boat is safe, compliant with standards, and above all, it is well built.
    This is my opinion and therefore I encourage you to turn on your illusion, responsibly.
     
  4. Deering
    Joined: Feb 2005
    Posts: 386
    Likes: 13, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 44
    Location: Juneau, Alaska

    Deering Senior Member

    You correctly anticipate your problem: You WILL want to build another and another and...
     
  5. DCockey
    Joined: Oct 2009
    Posts: 4,242
    Likes: 183, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 1485
    Location: Midcoast Maine

    DCockey Senior Member

    In the US no certification is needed when selling a boat built by an amateur "backyard" builder who did not build the boat with the intent to immediately sell it.
     
  6. TANSL
    Joined: Sep 2011
    Posts: 5,546
    Likes: 160, Points: 73, Legacy Rep: 300
    Location: Spain

    TANSL Senior Member

    Yes, that's normal, in the U.S. and elsewhere. If you make a boat for private use, you need not certify anything. HOWEVER, when you want to sell, you have to make at least a certificate from the manufacturer, self certificate, you committed for life, and you must demonstrate compliance of minimums.
    If you do not want to sell the boat but want to ensure it is quite possible that someone asks you some proof of the quality of the boat.
    It is conceivable also that a boat, quality assurance, that an amateur builder can not provide, has added value at the time of sale.
    But these are my opinions, do not know the procedures in the USA or in its various states. Anyway, the U.S. Coast Guard is quite demanding, with commercial vessels.
    The creator of the discussion was asking about the market of boats built by amateurs. Market means sale and, therefore, responsibility.
    I can not categorically say anything, but should not encourage someone to get into completely unknown territory.
     
  7. SamSam
    Joined: Feb 2005
    Posts: 3,817
    Likes: 153, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 971
    Location: Coastal Georgia

    SamSam Senior Member

    I put that in about the liability as a remote possibility.

    I made canoes at one time when I lived in Wisconsin. I was CG registered, had an HIN company designation and all. I asked my lawyer about liability for the boats, and he said yes, I was liable and would be as long as they existed. He told me I couldn't afford it as it would be 10s of thousands of $ per year. I was shocked and asked how about if I got a signed waiver of liability when I sold each one and he said courts hardly ever honored or accepted those. There was a legal term for it, preabrogation of responsibility or something.

    We had a winding staircase and used it for years, 4 kids, cats, dogs etc and never had a problem, but since it didn't have an inner handrail, as most don't, the path next to the center post is almost a straight drop to the bottom of the staircase and the potential for a bad tumble is there. So I asked well I built my house and I built a winding staircase in it, if I sell my house am I liable for that thing? Yes, he said. Basically anything anyone makes is a liability for as long as it exists and it's not even necessary to sell it to be found liable.

    I've never had any problems with anything, ever, but, in the US anyways, if someone gets hurt, someone is going to pay. When it come's to lawyers and courts, even if you win, you actually lose, as it will cost thousands of dollars to prove you don't owe anything.

    So, while it may be very, very remote and extremely unlikely, the possibility exists.
     
  8. SamSam
    Joined: Feb 2005
    Posts: 3,817
    Likes: 153, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 971
    Location: Coastal Georgia

    SamSam Senior Member

    As far as the OP, there isn't any real market for backyard built boats.
     
  9. DCockey
    Joined: Oct 2009
    Posts: 4,242
    Likes: 183, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 1485
    Location: Midcoast Maine

    DCockey Senior Member

    This is incorrect. In the US no certification is needed when selling a boat built by an amateur "backyard" builder who did not build the boat with the intent to immediately sell it.

    Liability is a different issue, and there are no certificates which protect against claims of liability.
     
  10. Ike
    Joined: Apr 2006
    Posts: 2,196
    Likes: 166, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 1669
    Location: Washington

    Ike Senior Member

    DCockey is correct: if you build a boat for your own use with no intent to sell it then you can do what you want, but you may have to register it with your state (depends on the type of boat) so keep all your receipts for materials so you can prove what it cost to build, because most states tax you on how much it cost. In this case the cost of materials. The state will give you a Hull ID number for the boat as well as a registration number. (PS: in Pennsylvania they will even give you a capacity label for it.)

    However if you decide to build and sell, you become a manufacturer, and you need to register with the USCG to get a Manufacturers Identification Code, a one page form and no fee, so you can assign Hull Identification Numbers to the boats.

    If the boat is an outboard, inboard or manually propelled boat (but not a canoe, kayak, or sailboat with no motor) then there are safety standards it has to meet. You have to certify it meets those standards. This is much simpler than it sounds. You do this by putting an HIN on the boat, and a label that says you certify it, and a capacity label if the boat needs one. See http://newboatbuilders.com for all the rules and regs and who t contact. Also useful is the USCG Boat Builders Handbook at http://www.uscgboating.org/regulations/boat_builders_handbook_and_regulations.aspx

    The USCG will even test one of your boats (assumming you built more than one or two) for free to ensure it is in compliance, and if it isn't will help you correct it.

    As for liability, you are responsible for the boat being in compliance with Federal Regulations for 10 years. But at the end of ten years you are not completely relieved of responsibility. You are also responsible if the boat "contains a defect that causes a substantial risk of injury or death to the public", and of course some hotshot lawyer can always find something to sue you for.

    If the boat is an inboard or outboard there are also EPA regulations for the fuel systems but these are easy to comply with and anything you need can be purchased from suppliers. You don't have to design it, just install it.

    All that sounds pretty scary, but in fact compared to the number of boat builders in the USA (about 4000) there are damned few law suits and they are usually aimed at big time manufacturers like Brunswick (US Marine, Sea Ray, et al,) Bombardier Recreation Group (they own 6 or seven companies) Larson, Chris Craft, Wellcraft etc, that produce 80% of the boats in this country and have the deep pockets. Small time mom and pop manufacturers are rarely sued and if they are they usually just file for bankruptcy and the suit dies.
     
  11. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
    Posts: 19,133
    Likes: 470, Points: 93, Legacy Rep: 3967
    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Hi Jim, welcome to the forum.

    What type of flats micro are you interested in? Have you any models that you think are in the ball park?

    If interested in manufacturing boats, consider staying away from nitch markets, like micro flats boats, at least at first. Markets like this tend to be small and narrow the market interest, in your products. This is why the manufactures install at least two cup holders, in the head on their 24' cruiser. They don't want to risk losing a single sale, maybe to a couple that like to have a drink available, while both being in the head at the same time.

    The biggest powerboat market is the open 18' fishing boat. This can be center console or side console, but should also be easily converted to pulling skiers, tubes, boarders, maybe a different deck cap mold for a bow rider, etc. These boats are mostly outboard powered, though some are I/O and far fewer are jet powered. This is the bang for the buck area of the market, that will pay for molds the quickest (read huge investment).

    I've been sued, but fortunately by boneheads that backed themselves into a corner they didn't like and thought a suit would get them out.

    The industry is currently depressed and one of the very last to move, once the economy starts to return to normal. Even in good economic times, you pretty much have to be insane to want to produce boats. Unfortunately for some of us, we've stopped taking our medication long ago and are in denial about much of life. If you relive that bare spot on the back of your head is an organic yamaka (like I do), that you're not getting old, nor suffering from any of the typical symptoms of this feature of life, you just might be a fresh bit of fodder, for the industry cannons.

    Lastly, there's really only a few materials that dominate the market, so pick one. If you want to do wood, you'll be relegated to a single percent of the total boating market, which is a pretty darn small thing to work with. It's a bit like opening a sandwich shop, but only selling grilled cheese sandwiches. 'Glass is king, followed by metals in bigger vessels. Composite is for racers and the rich, who just have to have carbon and Kevlar in their hulls. Wood is the redheaded step child of the industry, which has seen a revival in recent decades, but still is a very small portion of the market.
     
  12. SamSam
    Joined: Feb 2005
    Posts: 3,817
    Likes: 153, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 971
    Location: Coastal Georgia

    SamSam Senior Member

    Offensive contingency lawyers empower boneheads while defensive lawyers have to be paid upfront before they will defend you. The first bunch gamble that 1/2 hour of paper filing with no expense to them will gain them a percentage of the judgement when the defendent realizes hiring a lawyer will cost more than the suit, with no certainty of "winning", and so defaults. It's similar to plea bargaining, which is a form of extortion, and over all it smells of "protection".
    So if you want to try and protect yourself from an admittedly very remote possibility of legal action, about the only reasonable recourse is to incorporate or form a legal business entity that limits your losses to corporate assets, such as tools, manufacturing buildings etc, which you further try and protect by renting or leasing from some other entity.

    With boats, as opposed to something like cabinets or furniture or other things a person can make, the potential for death (and large lawsuits) is fairly high while the cause can be extremely simple. Fall out of your boat and it keeps going leaving you to swim 300 yards when you could never swim more than 50 to begin with and that was 35 years ago. There are a surprising number of people who play or work on the water that can't swim at all.

    Some years ago two brothers (guys in their 40s) were tooling along in a locally built wooden boat (3 generations working out of a garage building these for 60-70 years). When one brother asked the other to slow down so he could light a cigarette, the driver stopped and the following wake came over the transom and sunk the boat, the smoker drowned. I never heard of any suit, but these guys were in the prime of life with dependants and future earning power, and the boats have no splash wells or flotation.

    So while a person might be able to sell a home made boat and possibly recover the cost of materials, there are considerations.
     
  13. Ike
    Joined: Apr 2006
    Posts: 2,196
    Likes: 166, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 1669
    Location: Washington

    Ike Senior Member

    Reminds me of one of my favorite quotes:

    "Never underestimate the power of human stupidity." R.A. Heinlein.
     
  14. Petros
    Joined: Oct 2007
    Posts: 2,937
    Likes: 139, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 1593
    Location: Arlington, WA-USA

    Petros Senior Member

    sounds like smoking is hazardous to your health, and your boat!
     

  15. Yobarnacle
    Joined: Nov 2011
    Posts: 1,634
    Likes: 65, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 851
    Location: Mexico, Florida

    Yobarnacle Senior Member

    You can sue just about anybody over almost anything.
    The courts (judges) are capricious about declaring cases frivolous.
     
Loading...
Forum posts represent the experience, opinion, and view of individual users. Boat Design Net does not necessarily endorse nor share the view of each individual post.
When making potentially dangerous or financial decisions, always employ and consult appropriate professionals. Your circumstances or experience may be different.