Salvaging an abandon boat as a base to build from

Discussion in 'Metal Boat Building' started by HCB66, Oct 5, 2017.

  1. HCB66
    Joined: Oct 2017
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    HCB66 Junior Member

    I keep seeing videos of these abandon boats. I was wondering about salvaging one to use as a platform to build from. I'd have a hull, deck etc. I'm thinking completely gut it, sand blast it then go from there with an engine, new paint, electrical wiring etc. Anyone done this?
     
  2. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Unless metal, why would you sand blast it? Yes, remodeling and repurposing boats is a pretty common thing to see. Most don't completely gut them, though new stringers, soles, cabins, aestedics, etc. are often changed, along with engines, tanks, etc.
     
  3. M&M Ovenden
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    M&M Ovenden Senior Member

    It's possible, We've done it, but in hindsight it would have been easier to work from new.

    Cheers,
    Mark
     
  4. HCB66
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    HCB66 Junior Member

    I'm mostly thinking of price. What I want is a work boat to do marine salvage but also something I can live on and also make a living with.
     
  5. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Look for a hull that's very well suited to your employment needs and make it work for the other aspects. Price isn't going to be inexpensive, much like most other things on the water. It's far cheaper to live and work on land, but if you must, try to limit your exposure to marine related costs in the areas you can. In other words, living on a work boat is possible, but likely not as cheap as living on land and driving to the boat each morning.
     
  6. HCB66
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    HCB66 Junior Member

    I'm wondering if it's possible to live more out at sea, dock as cheap as I can , places like Tuvalu, the Solomons etc. Sell my scrap and salvaged parts where ever I can get the best price for them. Also do some other stuff, tow a few boats maybe, or pick up some tools etc for sale at remote places like Tuvalu, must be hard to get stuff like boat motors or even good tools in places like that. I'm also wondering about trading as well as selling. Pretty much any thing that will make me some money. My goal is to leave civilization as far behind as I can.
     
  7. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    Those island states have stringent work rules, just like the USA. They don't want illegal aliens taking jobs from the locals. Further, you will have a huge language barrier. You can make more money in one month at home than you will in years of selling scrap in third world countries. Also, marine salvage requires permits, including work visas. You can't simply show up and start picking stuff up and sell it.
     
  8. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Okay, now you're talking about more than just a boat, but in fact a small ship. Living at sea requires a boat that can survive at sea, so the bigger the better. This size will also make gathering and storing until sale, handier for more of the stuff you might find, plus ship stores and consumables (food, water, fuel, etc.) Sailing off to Polynesia sounds grand, but you might want to consider learning a few of the languages such as Hawaiian, Tahitian, Samoan, so you can do business easily with folks in Micronesia.

    This isn't an easy life style, just ask anyone that's lived aboard that wasn't rich. I lived aboard and worked the boat for a few years in the Caribbean and though it seems a wonderful life style, it mostly hard work and general difficulties finding the stuff you need. Island life is a little different than mainland, as everything you need has to be air or deck freighted in. This isn't cheap. It's also not a lifestyle for an older person, as marine salvage is hard work. I know more than one marine salvager and they work hard, get hurt often and retire not because they've amassed a fortune, but because their body can't take it any more.

    Phil Bolger designed more than one economic to operate sea bound trader, just for the seas you'll have to deal with daily. Have a look at some of these, as finding a used hull that's dimensioned appropriately for efficient operation at sea, isn't common and will likely need to be a custom build. Most deep water craft are designed around their job and load capacity and you just have to accept its operational costs.

    Lastly have you ever spent a significant amount of time aboard a deep water boat at sea? Maybe some navy time on a small coastal patrol boat, MCMV anything smaller than say a frigate? These typically are shorter than 200' on deck and would offer an idea, what deep water life might be like and of course operational requirements.
     
  9. HCB66
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    HCB66 Junior Member

    At this point I'm trying to gain information, find out whats possible and what isn't. I know there are tons of scrap at sea, parts of old barges, cars, trucks all sorts of things. My guess is a hundred foot boat might do it. I'd be happier anchored in some lagoon on an empty island than at any coastal dock. Part of my interest is in researching various inventions. I'd like to work with biorock which is why I'm interested in Tuvalu. Sea level rise is damaging island nations like that and I want to see if biorock might be a possible way to restore lost land. It might be possible to get funding either from their government, the UN or private organizations. A good work boat would definitely facilitate that kind of research. Biorock Process | Biorock International Coral Reef Restoration http://www.biorock.org/content/biorock-process
     
  10. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    Lagoon are protected and there are no empty islands to be had. You will probably end up in jail for destroying corals if you anchor. If you want to work with the UN on restoring coral reefs, it will take a fair amount of legal paperwork. Unless you have a PhD on marine biology, you will have to get someone who does. You will need other crew members with other degrees. The local governments are likely to require you hire a local crew. This, in turn, requires you have a captain license and comply with whatever regulations. Your dream of getting away from civilization is rather insulting. People in these island states generally behave in a more civilized manner than westerners.
     
  11. Nidza
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    Nidza Junior Member

    Well, you have gone far far in future with planning and the question was would it be OK to salvage an abandoned boat. I will not go into your life plan (although I also have a dream to travel the Aegean and Ionian seas a couple of months per year in the future and I am from some kind of third world country), but I will return to your original question. Since I have restored/renovated a boat, it is PITA compared to starting from a "new" hull because of two reasons. The first reason is that you are not starting "building" it at once rather disassembling it and that takes a lot of time, so you need time just to get to point zero/beginning. And the cleaning in that process is adding even more time and it is very unattractive part of the process. The second reason is that you cannot buy anything new and just mount it, i.e. often mounting holes of old equipment will interfere with new ones and that is more downtime to fix before mounting, or if you choose to restore some of old equipment that takes much longer time than just buying new one and sometimes the price is not lower in the end.

    From my modest experience with restoration/renovation, if I would be doing something similar again, I would rather start with hull for which I can have a computer model, then plan and put everything on the model before buying anything, and after the model is verified a couple of times (in terms that all equipment is included and in what order that equipment will be mounted and many many other things) then I would start the process. This is important for many reasons, but I would mention only two for start - 1. It will not happen that you mount two pieces of equipment and then realize with the third interfering that you have to rework those three parts as a whole (start over same task). 2. You will take in account all the weight of all equipment and balance the boat which is easily overseen otherwise, i.e. there are many cables on the boat and their weight cannot be disregarded and will affect the balance if not planned, but cables are just one example. The list can go on almost indefinite...
     
  12. Nick.K
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    Nick.K Senior Member

    That is also my experience. You have to spend a ridiculous amount of time removing, cleaning and preparing just to begin and in the back of you head is always the thought that it will never be as good as if you were new building.

    I did this for nine months working as a freelance charter skipper. The charters were mostly from Athens or Corfu. I made a list of places and islands I'd like to visit and researched them a bit. Charterers practically always asked advice on where they should go so I suggested different routes each time until I had worked through my list! Considering that charterers also take you out to eat and do all the hard work on the boat it was an enjoyable job.
     
  13. Nidza
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    Nidza Junior Member

    Oh, I do like the way you did it :). My initial plan would be working as engineer in about 9 month per year on the land (seems feasible) and then spend three month per year on the sea around islands with family, but as I have said - initial plan, not definite :D. Anyway, I still need some equipment and some preventative spare parts for safe and reliable voyage, so need more time for preparation, safety and reliability are my priority concerns.
     
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  14. HCB66
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    HCB66 Junior Member

    Seems you did give my question a cursory looking over which I appreciate. If lagoons there are protected I doubt I would be allowed to anchor or maybe even enter with a boat depending on local laws. There are no doubt other places to anchor.
    I did not mention coral reefs, I am interested in land being lost to sea level rise and have no interest in coral. That is best left to experts as you said Phds and the like. As to hiring a local crew etc, assuming there was any interest in my plan , why not simply let the locals handle it? As long as the money is there, I'm happy to work with them on one of their boats or lend mine for them to use with their own crew and captain. The whole thing is for them anyway. I'm just there to offer the idea and lend a hand. It all depends on if they're interested, if not than I go and find something else to do. Though I would like to see the technique studied.
    You do have a good point in that civilization probably isn't' the best word for what I'm trying to escape from. I probably should have said totalitarianism , real civilization is probably closer to what some small island states have which is another reason I'm interested in them.
     

  15. Bob La Londe
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    Bob La Londe New Member

    Tangent, but related. When I was young I wanted a job where I could live outdoors. In my 20s when I was between jobs I spent a winter running trap lines. I often covered as much as 100 miles a day to cover all my lines and stay legal. Up before the sun to make breakfast. On the trail and checking trap sets by the time the sky started to lighten. Running and gunning all day long. Miles in the truck. More miles on foot. Loading and unloading my ATV half a dozen times a day. Rarely did I even think to eat during the day. Most days I was skinning and stretching after dark, and then only having a hasty dinner warmed up over my fire before tumbling into my sleeping bag. Sometimes a winter storm would come in, and all I could do was try to get comfortable in the cab of my truck and doze fitfully while I waited it out. I'd spend about 2 weeks at a time, in the desert, hills, and canyons. I'd only come into to resupply, fuel up, and boil traps in creosote so the coyotes would quit digging them up and turning them over. I was quite literally the hardest I ever worked in my life. I've worked on produce packing sheds, I worked 12 on 12 off in a cotton gin a couple winters, and I often spent summers cutting weeds in the fields for pocket money. None of those compared. I also loved it. More than any other job I have ever cone before or since. To run and work that hard you either have to be a young man with a passion or an old man who is made of bone and gristle and salt and filled with pure meanness. I am neither.

    Seriously. If you are looking for an easy lifestyle I doubt this will be something you will want to do, but if you are young and full of passion with a taste for hard work, boredom, and a bit of danger from time to time. Go for it. Most people only regret the things they didn't do.
     
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