Operating Cost of 70' Steel Fishing Vessel?

Discussion in 'Powerboats' started by CatBuilder, Sep 15, 2010.

  1. CatBuilder

    CatBuilder Previous Member

    Ok, I may have inadvertently broken the news that my catamaran build is not going well.

    Short story is, the build method I chose did not allow me to build the boat myself. It required a large crew of people for hundreds of hours and I cannot afford to hire them and build the boat. The boat already had taxed my budget to the max. Hiring a crew of 3+ was too much to pay for.

    I am on to Plan B at this moment.

    Would anyone care to help me figure out the operating costs of a 70ft steel fishing vessel?

    I am going to need to know the following:

    1. Hourly Fuel Costs
    2. Cost of a sandblasting and paint job. This is a "do it yourself" cost, but would involve paying for a sand blaster, safety gear, the sand or whatever, and cost of paint. Epoxy paint sounds ideal! Any ides on these costs?
    3. Zinc anodes.
    4. Oil Changes and other engine maintenance.
    5. The standard items, I have a good understanding of, but I've never owned a larger steel boat before. Imagine she's rusted out a bit and my need a plate or two cut and welded in anew.

    Does anyone have experience with mid-size commercial vessels like this and care to share operating costs?

    Probably will be a single screw/engine setup. I see a lot of Detroit Diesels, CATs, Cummings engines.
  2. apex1

    apex1 Guest

    Oh, oh, that does not sound encouraging.

    I don´t understand the requirement for payed helpers once you got the hulls of your Cat together, to start with.

    Yes I have quite some experience in restoring and operating workboats of similar size.

    But thats the second step!

    Rethink your catbuilding task, THERE you have already some serious investment in.

    And next, forget about the type of boat you posted on the other thread! I thought Tads and my comment were clear? It just is not worth any investment.

    More in the next round.............

  3. CatBuilder

    CatBuilder Previous Member

    No, unfortunately it is not encouraging news with the cat building. The method I was using "cylinder mold" requires many hours of moving large panels such as 3m x 3m, lifting the bridgedeck into place and also moving 1/2 hulls approximately a dozen times. It requires labor to help you get the stringers and bulkheads in. It requires labor to put sections of deck into place. The list goes on and on regarding things 1 person cannot move. The 8ftx8ft (3mx3m) panels require 2 men to move. The larger hull halves require 4 or more men to move. There is much hull movement during the build and it will cost me so many thousands of extra dollars I am not able to see a successful completion of the project, financially. It is creeping out of budget with the paid help, not even counting eventual mistakes and materials cost overruns.

    If I had built using the Kelsall method or cold molding, this could be done with my own labor and the project may have been able to be completed. I cannot afford to hire the labor for this cat, so the project is doomed.

    I have made 4 "half hull" panels and 3 came out well. The other did not come out well because a worker put a hole in the bag in an inaccessible place. It did not pump down fully and the entire panel was lost (at a great expense of 36 sheets of Okoume and many many gallons of epoxy).

    So... I am running into a problem with the cat build and looking for a different route to our business goals.

    On the bright side, I am only about 1/10 of the way into the cat, financially. I can back out and move into a different, less expensive refit rather than a build from scratch.

    We are also encouraged that the load carrying capacity of a nice old commercial vessel will give greater comfort and amenities to our guests, which will help business overall. Using a commercial trawler will make for a better platform for our guests.

    It is not all bad news. I am calling it a "crisitunity" (crisis and opportunity).

    I have quite a bit of experience restoring interiors and creating systems. I had no experience building hulls, only repairing simple fiberglass problems. I have no experience running a mid-size steel boat, so I am seeking some information here.

    Refitting a steel boat (if purchased well) is substantially less than the catamaran build budget. All good things, actually.
  4. peter radclyffe
    Joined: Mar 2009
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    Location: europe

    peter radclyffe Senior Member

    "crisitunity" (crisis and opportunity
    thats what the romans called christianity
  5. apex1

    apex1 Guest

    Should have been posted here:

    I know the boat, she´s gone. Sad, but fact. A newbuild would be far cheaper.

    And that is the next point to address!

    Take care, more often than not, a restoration is as expensive as a newbuild. You will have to choose your basic vessel with care and experience.

    Ask Murielle (M&M Ovenden) about the cost for blasting, and maybe for their equipment.

    Patching a m² or two is just pennies and a hr of work, but removing and reinstalling what is behind the replaced plate can become a nightmare. A costly one.

    To make it short,

    find a running shell in absolutely perfect condition with a superstructure as ugly or even rotten as it can get, then you might have a chance to make a bargain and can start with a technically sound platform. It might sound strange, but replacing the entire plumbing, piping and wiring can come out as expensive as a brand new wheelhouse and saloon.

    Been there, done that (13 times), got no T shirt....

    1. depends...most commercial boats that length have Diesels north of 500hp and are relatively wide bodies. I would expect to need about 1/3 of the power installed to get a decent cruising speed. In this case say 170hp times 170 gram/hp/hr is 28.9 kg or about 35 ltr/hr. Detroits drink more.
    2. see above
    3. nothing (compared with the overall running expenses)
    4. these heavy duty engines have usually 50 ltr. and upwards inside. You have to change that after about 200 running hrs. And there is a noticeable oil consumption as well. Good news, most are fine with the cheapest oil on the market. Even Shell Rotella is still in use, which you get nearly for free when you aske for the time. (say 2$ a ltr. when bought in barrels)
    5. see above

  6. fg1inc

    fg1inc Guest

    This is a little confusing. The budget and helper constraints of building a 36' cat seem overwhelming so you're considering going to a 70' steel derelict? The steel plates will be a bit heavier than the plywood panels. And budget? We had a guy rebuilding a Trumpy ketch here a few years back. When he left, he still needed an interior, masts, rigging and sails. He had already spent alittle over a million.
    You've been given some very good advice here. The best was - step back, take a few days off and think it over.
  7. CatBuilder

    CatBuilder Previous Member

    I'm not building a 36' cat. It's a 45' x 25' cat and it's a high performance design akin to a Chris White Atlantic or Gunboat (the numbers are very similar, surprisingly). The total estimated cost of materials to build, very conservatively, is $160K. (It will likely cost more) Now, add the man-hours for a 3 person crew on that were not in the original estimate and I go over budget.

    Next, look up the commercial boats for sale and factor in what it costs to buy one with a good hull and decent engines, but that is totally wrecked in every other way then rehab it into my final goal. Financial case closed. It's far less expensive to rehab a 70 fishing boat into what I'm looking for than to build a 45' high performance cat from scratch. You don't have all the details.

    Please don't negatively comment on this thread if you don't know what I'm talking about or what my ultimate goals are. My goals are a trade secret, so I'm not going to be sharing them entirely on a public forum. I didn't ask what I should do. I asked what the costs for running a 70ft steel fishing vessel are. So... what are they? Do you know?

    I've already stepped back for a week. The fishing boat only makes more sense every time I discuss it with people and go over the details. We nearly make a large mistake building the catamaran (a boat I want) vs. doing the fishing boat (a better boat for the purposes of making a living and saving money).
  8. fg1inc

    fg1inc Guest

    OK, sorry, 45' cat. Is your interest in the steel fishing boat still charter, or fishing? The answer to that question would obviate whether the financial case is indeed closed or not. Either way, 45 cat or 70 steel, please don't let this setback get the best of you. There will be plenty more!
  9. CatBuilder

    CatBuilder Previous Member

    Thanks. Sorry if my post was a little harsh. :(

    I am just trying to make sure this doesn't turn into a "you should do this" kind of thread, full of advice on my direction in general. I find this happens all too often on forums.

    The decision is already made (the wife has swung her weight to the power boat). There is no going back. :)

    Anyway, I've already refit 3 smaller vessels of my own and done refit work on many other boats. I know all about refitting boats. Building hulls is where I was "rusty" :D I didn't know I'd need so much paid labor for the method I chose. Had I chose cold molded or other methods where smaller bits are assembled into larger hulls piece by piece, it would have been more successful.

    At least I was not very far into the cat build before changing plans.
  10. Questor
    Joined: Aug 2010
    Posts: 202
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    Location: Canada

    Questor Senior Member

    If your goal is to be involved in the charter business then why not start by acting as a booking agent for existing operators ? Commissions can run as high as 20% and your only costs are promotional. As a booking agent there can be many attractive opportunities like 0 down financing on proven charter craft and free boat usage.

    I used to be very interested in this industry. A two year old charter boat used to be considered a derelict in Miami but is more than adequate in other trade areas. High traffic charter operators want new business and must constantly change their inventory. If I wanted into this industry I would choose commissions plus a 0 down 2 year old boat at a near 0 interest rate .
  11. CatBuilder

    CatBuilder Previous Member

    Goal is not to work in an office. I am already in the charter industry and have already run charters. Again, don't use this thread to tell me what I should do in life.

    However, if you would like to work in an office booking charters, you can book them with me and get a commission when the boat is complete.

    I need to know what the operating costs are for a 70' steel fishing boat. Do you know the answer to the question?
  12. apex1

    apex1 Guest

    He does definetively not.

    But lets go ahead.

    What was missing in my reply?

  13. CatBuilder

    CatBuilder Previous Member

    Thank you, Richard.

    Your post isn't missing anything. I will reply in blue between the numbered list...

    Also, I will add in another set of questions. I am looking at the systems right now and pricing them out. There are many ways to go. We need a freezer, refrigerator, dishwasher, laundry, stove/oven, hot water heater and the guests will have laptops and phones to charge and possibly hair drivers and hair curling irons to use. This is significant power consumption.

    Some of these could be done with gas/propane/LPG, but if I need all of these things, is it more economical to just run a large, 30kW generator? I could sit down and do the math (and I will), but I thought I'd ask your experience in how these yachts are usually set up. The goal is lowest $ per unit of energy. I think the systems will be quite challenging here because we do not want to spend money when there are no guests, so for instance, a propane freezer would cost much less to run than a freezer running on AC power through a generator when there are no guest power demands. However, when there are guest demands for hot water, hair dryers, etc... then we have a situation where we have to turn on a generator anyway.

    The power system needs to be scalable and this is somewhat difficult to envision.

    General ideas? My experience is normally to design the most efficient solar systems possible, rather than have all these large power draws.
  14. apex1

    apex1 Guest

    There is no sensible way around a adequate sized Genny in your case. Too different the loads. And when mooring you have the cheapest of all el. power supplies, the grid.

    Forget about PV panels and battery storage, that is a nice gimmick on privately run craft, but much too high, and too unpredictable your power demand and the "refuelling" by sun.

    I do not recommend such a mixed gas / el. setup in this case. While in charter you have to run the genny anyway, when not, you have the grid for cooking, AC and so on.
    The propane freezer will be completely insufficient for a charter boat, and of course consume much more $$ when run in port, than a top efficient el. fridge.
    But even if the fridge would do, the hair dryers, notebooks and your pumps and lighting do not run on gas.

    The math on Epoxy coating should be done based on the prices YOU pay, which are probably five times what I pay.
    For my museum ships I always got the stuff for free.

    Find the product of your choice and follow the recommendation of the manufacturer on the coatings required. Than lookup what they say about the yield per m² for the different coats primer, filler, paint and antifouling.


  15. RHP
    Joined: Nov 2005
    Posts: 834
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    Location: Singapore

    RHP Senior Member

    Catbuilder, I dont know diddly-bo-squat aboutt boat construction as I'm an onlooker on this forum however:

    1. If you´ve over invested and cant use the boat for its intended purpose, rather than sell a project at a discount, wouldnt it be better to get a loan to allow you to complete the job then sell her as a new boat? - then buy the boat you now realise you want/need?

    2. Is it possible to switch construction method mid way to enable you to complete the job yourself?

    One is economics, the other booat construction which I have no experience of.

    Good luck whatever the outcome.
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