Part time boatbuilding?

Discussion in 'All Things Boats & Boating' started by fishy1, Mar 6, 2008.

  1. Ike
    Joined: Apr 2006
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    Ike Senior Member

    You are completely ignoring the RCD. Even that itty bitty boat would have to have level flotation to comply with the RCD, as well as a capacity label. Yes you can specify only lakes and ponds but who listens? 25% of fatalities in boats in the US are in Jon boats. It's pretty obvious they are intended for flat water but idiots use them anywhere they please even the open ocean. "never underestimate the power of human stupidity" (R. A. Heinlein).

    Look here. New Boat Builders Home Page It's aimed primarily at the US but there are links to European standards. And business models are pretty much the same anywhere.

    You can be sued for anything if the courts allow it. I don't know UK law but in the US they use the legal principle of strict liability. In a nutshell, if you made it, you are liable. Warnings help to protect you but not 100%. I've ssen some cases that would make your head spin. It makes you wonder what the judge or jury was thinking.

    But your idea is sound. Build on spec at first. That is, build a boat and sell it. Then when you begin to build a good rep, orders will come in to the point where you only build to order. If you build a good product AND (just as important) take care of your customers, then your business will grow. But it doesn't happen overnight. It takes time. And realize, no one gets rich building little boats. Some people make a living at it. If you can do that you have succeeded.
  2. safewalrus
    Joined: Feb 2005
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    Location: Cornwall, England

    safewalrus Ancient Marriner

    More or less what I was trying to say Ike!

    I note with the 'pea' it would only need somebody to cough heavily and you'd be damp! What that picture don't show is how much water he has underneath when he stood up! Or did he just step into it from the water - all 10 inches of it - pretty flat to ain't it? Trouble is now somebody has seen the designer stand up in it some nutter will try it - it totally inappropriate circumstances and over she'll go - sue, sue, sue!!

    Of course if you have plenty of money to throw away.......
  3. fishy1
    Joined: Dec 2007
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    fishy1 Junior Member

    As the boats I'd build, at least my first few, would be less than 2.5m (8.33'), the RCD would not apply. Anyone with knowledge of UK law know if I can write something up that means if the boat is used incorrectly, I'm not liable? Is there some kind of liability insurance that would pay out if I got sued? If someone for example didn't paint it or maintain it, and it fell apart, am I liable?
  4. kengrome
    Joined: Jul 2006
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    Location: Gulf Coast USA

    kengrome Senior Member

    I posted the page with links to his two videos. You didn't look at them, did you???

    Those video might change your mind about the boat's stability ... and even if they don't, Hannu's write-up about the boat provides a lot more information than the photos I posted ... :cool:
  5. Ike
    Joined: Apr 2006
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    Ike Senior Member

    We aren't lawyers here, but in my many years at the USCG Boating Safety Officer we spent a lot of time dealing with liability lawyers looking for someone to sue.

    One of the first things I learned from them was that a waiver of liability is worth about as much as the match to set it on fire. Any decent lawyer, (let me rephrase that) any lawyer who knows the law, can still sue and make it stick. You are talking about product liability. If someone gets hurt or dead and the lawyers can show that there was some safety defect (let's leave what a safety defect is alone for now) you are going to pay. If you go to a boat show and look at boats you will see warning labels all over them. Every one of those labels is there for three reasons, one is to protect the consumer, another is to protect the manufacturer, and the third is because some fool did something stupid and sued the manufacuter and won.

    Don't get me wrong here. There are safe boats and there are unsafe boats. The unsafe boats should not be sold to the public, and it was my job to keep them out of the market. Anyone who sells an unsafe product should have to pay the injured party. BUT if you build a safe product, that meets all the applicable standards, and you have taken into account all the reasonably foreseen hazards (lawyer speak) someone can still blame you. Whether they win or not depends on a lot of variables, but as I said there have been soem crazy desicions made. I can site quite a few of them, but it would take up too much space here.

    The best thing to do is build the best damn boat you can, comply with whatever standards that apply, have a really good owners manual that lays out all the do's and don'ts, and then pray to almighty God that you don't sell one to someone really stupid. Even the stupid can hire a good lawyer. But it is almost impossible to protect yourself from every possible instance of liability. If you don't believe me ask some of the big volume boat manufacturers like Bayliner, Searay, Wellcraft or Chris Craft. They have all had to deal with this. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depends on how you look at it) the fewer boats you sell, the less chance this will happen.

    Oh yeah just a PS, if you build and sell boats without getting liability insurance then you're exposing yourself. Unfortunately it is relatively expensive. If you are member of a trade association like NMMA, CMMA, or the British Marine Federation, they insure you. But the membership cost is usually too expensive for the part time builder.

  6. tinhorn
    Joined: Jan 2008
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    Location: Massachusetts South Shore.

    tinhorn Senior Member

    It may be time to visit this thread. Years ago, farmers banded together in co-ops to take advantage of the strength in numbers, but without giving up their autonomy.
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