Cost to rebuild boat

Florida Sportsman

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  1. #1
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    Cost to rebuild boat

    I occasionally see boat hulls for sale where it seems like the owner just wants to get rid of it and offers it for something like 500 bucks. What are the costs involved in renovating a boat? Before I ever took on such a project I'd want to have some idea of what I'd be spending.

    So far I can think of the following things: (This would be something like a flats or a bass boat BTW)

    New decking...wood, aluminum or some other composite
    Recarpeting or some spray in liner
    Minor fiberglass work (I wouldn't mess with anything that required extensive repair)
    Resurfacing the outside of the hull...paint and gel coat
    New stainless hardware

    Anything else? Of course I'd have to power it with something but I'm already familiar with those costs as well as the costs of doing any trailer work required.

  2. #2
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    im rebuilding an 1980 18 hewes right now, bought for 1500 not realizing the work it really needed until really digging into it. stripped the boat of florr and stringers and am slowly rebuilding/customizing it to what i want. We have already done a new transom and stringers, new deck is going on in next week or 2 and then its going to paint. we are going the distance on this thing and im into it about 5k including purchase price. im expecting another few thousand and she will be ready for a motor. i know i could have bought a boat in good condition for much cheaper but in the end this boat will be basically brand new and tricked out the way i want it to be for half the price of a new boat. plus the learning experience is huge. If you have the time and patience to do a project like that i say go for it.

  3. #3
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    It doesn't make sense to do a rebuild on a boat right now. There are to many decent boats available that don't need work to make it worth while. Plus... there are few boats that you could get your money back out of after doing a rebuild. Most you would just be upside down in as the cost to rebuild can be very expensive if done correctly.

    If you want to spend a lot of time and money on something thats not going to look real pretty when your done.... go for it. Otherwise I'd find a decent used boat and repower/rerig as needed.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by classic1 View Post
    It doesn't make sense to do a rebuild on a boat right now. There are to many decent boats available that don't need work to make it worth while. Plus... there are few boats that you could get your money back out of after doing a rebuild. Most you would just be upside down in as the cost to rebuild can be very expensive if done correctly.

    If you want to spend a lot of time and money on something thats not going to look real pretty when your done.... go for it. Otherwise I'd find a decent used boat and repower/rerig as needed.
    This is what I've figured out. I saw a couple hulls for sale that were once top end boats but have recently found PLENTY other good boats for sale.

  5. #5
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    If you find a used boat that "needs work" then you can save a bunch of money, but if you are talking starting from the hull and rebuilding then you can get way too far into it to save anything. Working on a boat is great fun and gives great satisfaction, but only if you already have one to fish out of. There are bunches of great buys on used boats out there right now so shop around. Good luck.
    "Be what you is"....... Isaiah Minter

  6. #6
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    I purchased a Mako 224 with a 1996 225 Johnson (310hrs) for $3750 Boat,Motor Trailer, and have a total of $10,989 into the project including the purchase price. The boat has a new complete wiring job, new fuel tank, new electronics- 7" Lowrance and a 10"Standard Horizon and new trailer bunks and tires. I am not sure I can find a similar boat for that price. Now it was a lot of work and i will eventually add a bracket but that is down the road sometime. The gelcoat, t-top, 3-sided enclosure and motor where in great shape. Took sometime to find the right project but it can be done. Check out claasicmako.com for some realworld rebuilds.

  7. #7
    Senior Member PBR's Avatar
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    I have bought 3 boats cheep over the years that needed wprk . If you buy them tomake money on you are going to be unhappy. It cost money for Good Materials .So many people don't want to spend 80.00 for Marine grade ply wood don't want to buy the better reisn ect. I have seen people take a boat apart. do a bunch of glass work add bracess here and there. go to put the boat back together and it dose not fit. or perform right . But if you take your time and do it right you can have a boat that will last you many years. . I did a bass boat in 93 that I sold to a freind of mine and it still going strong . Only thing he has done is a newer motor and new carpet

  8. #8
    Senior Member 9-Lives's Avatar
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    I don't want to try to discourage, I'd just like to add that insuring a restored boat is another issue. To the insurance company, its just an old boat.

  9. #9
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    I have restored a couple of boats and the advice above is spot-on. I'll add a few things for you to consider.

    1) I would only restore a boat that is a classic and are not readily available on the open market. (Challenger)
    2) Plan on spending double of what you think it will cost to restore. Good epoxy resin, electrical components, wire and stainless steel hardware cost a lot more than you think.
    3) Make sure the hull is solid before you buy. You cannot imagine the number of peeps that "think" the hull is in good shape only to find out that the hull needs to be gutted (expensive and time consuming).
    4) Learn to do most of the work your self, but never cut corners. It is easy to spot a boat that was not prepped properly before the paint was applied.
    5) Leave the specialty work to the Pros. Painting in my case was farmed out to a reputable marine painter.
    6) Never expect to make money on a restoration. It may happen, but I've never seen it...
    7) Make sure you enjoy working on boats. Fiberglass dust can get old real quick.

    I'd be willing to bet only 25% of all restoration project are ever completed. Everyday life gets in the way and the boat project is the first thing to put on the back burner.

  10. #10
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    Thanks for the advice guys. I've pretty much given up on this idea after seeing plenty of decent used boats for sale that need little work. I would like to learn some of these things since any used boat is likely to need some kind of work but going the lengths of a "rebuild" is probably not in the cards for me anytime soon. Again, thanks for the info.

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