The One Tip On Buying An Antique Or Classic Boat.

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You have been bitten by the bug. You saw a photo, one on a trailer driving by. You had been thinking about a new boat. but for some reason it just does not do it for you. What ever the reason, you have to have a cool old Woody Boat. You go on the web, you search, you go to eBay, and it’s all very confusing. Mostly because you are not just looking for specific boat, you just want a cool old boat. Here is what you find… The ACBS, a club, several brokers, restoration places, a ton of local chapters and a bunch of one off odd ball web sites that may have a one off boat for sale.

Now the questions start flying. Runabout, utility, outboard, inboard, new bottom, orig wood? All that. The other thing that you feel in your gut is that speaking to a broker is bad. They are just like car dealers right…. WRONG! This is were you make your first error. The major brokers in this passion are amazing assets to the community. They are trustworthy and very helpful. Trust me, I have bought boats both ways, and each time I have used a broker, it has saved me a small fortune and headaches. Also in the heat to get something, they offer options. You want a utility. Which one? What kind, Century, Chris Craft, Hacker, Garwood……Crosby, Dinky Craft….how bout the one in your neighbors grandfathers barn. By the watch out for that one… These boats are all emotion. A good broker can help you through that process.

While speaking to F. Todd Warner at Mahogany Bay. Some 25 ft Chris Craft Sportman are far better than others. It’s a serial number thing. Well that’s a tid bit that would be helpful before laying out $110,000 on a boat. Greg Jackson at Carolina Classic Boats, pictured above. He is helping a pal of mine negotiate on a boat and helping the seller realize that the price he wants is not the market anymore. Dang! Owners of boats can have an inflated value in there head. That does not help them sell there boat, or help a buyer buy one. Another issue about buying from the owner is they all think they restored it right. Ugh! Or it ran when I put in the barn 5 years ago! Lou Rauh at the Antique Boat Center has created a massive web site and showroom to help buyers and sellers meet in an environment that immerses you in the hobby, really, there is even a tank of water to put the boat in to test it….and be a help through the process… Mitch Lapointe at Classic Boat will actually buy the boat from the seller and then finds new owners. Mitch is a hoot to talk with, he has a very real world view of the hobby… He is a master at finding amazing barn finds by the way…. The secret with him though is his amazing wife Kathy…don’t tell him shhh…. she is he web queen of the www. Dang! Al Gore you got some major learn’n you could get from her. Sierra Boat Company in Tahoe. That’s an amazing resource as well. Almost every boat out there has some bit of Sierra in them…

Mahogany Bay has a policy that they will with in 24 hrs be at your boat with in a certain mile radius to help you out with service. Most of these brokers will maintain and service your boat as well. So a local one is sometimes a good idea. Like on Lake George. Halls Boat Club. It’s a one stop place, heck you can even rent a cottage there and really live the woody boat lifestyle for a week or two. Another massive web site and helpful guys are Antique Boat America, these guys help with the big boat auction in Clayton.

Books are written by these guys they support the shows and are there to help in times of need. So when you are thinking about buying an Antique or Classic boat. The first tip and only tip. Use a broker.

2 replies
  1. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    You make good points, but in my opinion, the most important thing anyone can do when considering purchasing a boat through most any source, is to get a SURVEY done. And not just any survey, as I did, but one completed by someone with a background in wooden boat restoration and preservation. There is a difference in persepctive and experience
    between a convenional surveyor and an antique boat restoration expert. I believe that a background in the hobby is necessary to accurately assess and present a complete persepctive on the condition of most antique or classic wooden boats. The brokers can probably hlp a person to arange such a service.


  2. Walter
    Walter says:

    I did just that. I bought a boat from a broker in Buffalo in 2004, had it surveyed by a marine surveyor with a reputation and brought the boat back to Baton Rouge and spent 5 years completely restoring it. The point here was that the report that I received said that I only had to spruce the varnish up.

    I now am an expert at boats having spent about 50 years around wood boats. You never learn everything so I am still learning. I think with my experience that I am more of an expert than the guy I paid to survey the boat and sure a lot wiser. Not enough money in the world to get me to do another one like I did this one. All by myself with no help.

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