Friday, May 23, 2008

Repo Boats

I'm not here to jump on the bandwagon of proclaiming the end of boating due to the poor economy and rising gas prices.

I AM here to point out good deals when I find them.

With Memorial Day weekend upon us here in the States, and thus the official start of boating season, the latest media trend is reporting about the boating industry being in the dumps.

First, it was simply about how boat sales are down and those who are keeping their boats are keeping them at the dock because gas prices are so high.

The new version of that story is even more sensational. The media has latched on to the story of the boat repo man. First, Neal sends me an article from the NY Times about a repo man in Michigan: Economic Tide Is Rising for Repo Man.

Catchy title.

Next, I see the same repo guy - in virtually the same story - on a website for NBC affiliate WKYC of Cleveland/Akron. This time, with video.

What irks me about all this media coverage is that it is a classic case of the news outlets trying to say, "ha ha, look at that rich guy getting his boat reposessed!". Meanwhile, it's usually a young family who thought they could afford that slightly bigger boat. Maybe they would have been fine if the economy were stronger, but they are getting screwed because their take-home pay is getting lost in the wake of not only rising gas prices, but also non-boating expenses that are increasing such as insurance and groceries.

Anyway, like I stated yesterday, this isn't the end of the boating world as we know it. In fact, there's never been a better time to get into boating. All those repo'd boats are being sold at rock bottom prices, many of them on FirstBoat's boat auction site.

Should you feel bad? The bank is going to sell the boats to somebody. It might as well be you! Just make sure you re-name your boat as soon as you get it so that the original owner doesn't hunt you down in an angry rage.

Related links:
  • Rename your boat to hide it from the repo man or to protect yourself from the original owner: Custom Boat Names

  • Shop for boat auctions, including repo'd boats, at

  • WSJ: Economic Tide Is Rising for Repo Man

  • WKYC: Repo man snagging boats in Lake Erie

  • Website of the repo man featured in all the news articles:
  • Thursday, May 22, 2008

    NPR Says You Are Not Boating

    National Public Radio is the latest media outlet to claim that boaters are boating less due to high gas prices. They say the economy is even forcing some folks to sell their boat, or at least leave them in storage this season.

    I believe this is probably true on the fringe of boating. The folks who bought boats because they thought they could afford them - only to find out that the costs to maintain and enjoy a boat are usually a larger expense than those "low monthly payments".

    Boats cost more than the price of the boat. It's easy to see the price of a boat broken down into low monthly payments, but before you say "I can afford that" you need to think about your entire financial exposure - just like any investment.

    First Boat has been responsibly explaining this issue to new boaters for years, but there is only so much one website could do.

    Don't mean to sound all preachy on you.

    Anyway, here's the NPR story - take a listen and if you're really concerned, buy a sailboat.

    Wednesday, May 14, 2008

    Brunswick Tightens Ship

    If you own or were thinking of buying a Sea Pro, Sea Boss, Palmetto or Laguna brand of boat, you might be interested in this.

    Those brands, along with Bayliner, Maxum and Cabo yachts - to name a few - are all part of the Brunswick family of boats.

    At least, they were.

    As of July 1 2008, Brunswick is closing the factory that makes Sea Pro, Sea Boss, Palmetto and Laguna, which are all part of what they called their Bluewater Marine line of boats.

    My guess is that dealers carrying those lines of boats that are being discontinued are going to be having fire sales, so you can probably get a good deal if you look for one.

    Monday, May 12, 2008

    Drive Thru Bait Shop

    I don't know why, but I've always had a fascination with drive throughs.

    As a kid I remember them in a few banks, then fast food restaurants and, of course, bad coffee shops. Drug stores, CVS, Rite Aid, or whatever, would have them sometimes, and now that I have kids of my own I really appreciate those - especially when picking up medicine for ear infections, strep throats, and various other things that require a stop at the pharmacy on the way home from the doctor with a car full of sick kids.

    I remember the first drive thru (yes, I use the spellings interchangeably - Wikipedia told me it was OK) liquor store I saw in East Haven, Connecticut. 30 years later, I saw several more in North Carolina. I've still never driven through one, but I still think they're cool.

    Even with all that variety in the drive-thru genre, I was still surprised to find out last week that there is a drive through bait and tackle shop in Clearwater, Florida.

    It's true. The news station in Tampa Bay even told me you can even go through their drive-through with your boat in tow.

    The Complete Angler is located at 705 N. Ft. Harrison Avenue in Clearwater. If anybody in the area has a better picture of an actual car towing a trailer driving through this store, please post it as a comment here.

    Florida Boating Rescues

    All nine people who were thrown into Tampa Bay after their boat hit a wave this weekend were rescued. The group included an infant and a child.

    The article on MyFox Tampa Bay states, "No one was wearing life jackets..."

    This last statement is disturbing since the boaters had an infant and a child on board. I don't mean to get preachy here, but it is INSANE to think that these folks were bopping around on Mother's Day without life jackets on their kids!

    In other rescue news from the weekend, three men - age 21 to 22 - were rescued after their 22 foot fishing boat capsized off of St. Augustine, Florida. The Coast Guard's swift action led to a rescue within 60 minutes of the time the distress call was made. Not sure if these three guys were wearing life jackets, but they were smart enough to stay with their overturned boat. But they were not smart enough to stay home in the first place... The Coast Guard had a vessel that was already powered up "as a precaution because of heavy seas and winds as high as 28 mph."

    Listen everybody, if you're going to go fishing, check the marine weather forecast first. And if you're going out in a "small craft" it's a good idea to listen for something called "small craft advisories". There's a pretty good chance one was issued if there were heavy seas and winds near 30 mph!

    So, let's re-cap what we learned today:

    1. Wear life jackets

    2. If you've got kids on board, make them wear life jackets

    3. Check the weather

    Friday, May 02, 2008

    Opening Day for Boating Season

    Seattle is celebrating the opening day of boating season this weekend with the Opening Day Parade - a northwest tradition since 1920 according to

    You can learn more about the festivities, and see a map of the parade route, and best of all - see the full size version of this picutre - at the Seattle Yacht Club website.

    Boat Shows and No Shows This Weekend

    The West Michigan Spring Boat Show is this Friday (today) through Sunday, at the Terrace Point Marina, downtown on Muskegon Lake. Visit the show's website for more info.

    If you are already in neighborhood and you hurry, you can still make the Kuwait Boat Show International 2008. The event's website warns that "KBSI 2008 ends on Saturday 3rd April at 10pm sharp." If you're not in the neighborhood, you can feel like you're there by watching this official boat show video.

    If you are looking for information about the St. Augustine Boat Show, don't waste your time - it was cancelled. The event was postponed due to poor economic conditions.

    Lastly (unless I edit this post later), here's a show that I think is still going on, but the website hurts my head. If you are in or near Palma, then you can check it out for yourself:
    25th Palma International Boat Show 2008

    Thursday, May 01, 2008

    Sydney Harbor Tragedy

    Five young people were killed as two boats collided in Australia early Thursday morning (full article at CNN).