"Mid Size Power Boats" - Buyers' Guide by David Pascoe

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Answers by David Pascoe

(As noted, David Pascoe passed away on November 23, 2018.)

Free Consulting or Survey Advice 

Probably because I do my writing in a personal, sometimes humorous tone, quite a few people take liberties sending e-mail questions that they know very well they aren't going to get an answer to. Or, if they think they might, then they clearly take me for an easy mark. That's a mistake. I'm a big fan of Dr. Laura and I'll give you the same kind of frank answer.

A typical question runs something like this: "I'm looking at such and such a boat and I fully intend to get it surveyed before I buy . . . . but, I was wondering if you could tell me what one should  look for or expect on a survey." These are like the people who try to pigeon hole doctors and lawyers at cocktail parties with questions about their medical or legal problems. The typical response from the doctor or lawyer is, "Call my office in the morning and make an appointment." That's my answer, too. Like the doctor or lawyer, a marine surveyor is a professional who is in the business of selling his hard earned knowledge. That we do post a lot of free information on this site is intended for general education. Beyond that, we do not offer free advice.

(Note: David Pascoe has retired in 2012 and no longer offers marine surveys and related services.)

Boat Sales   

We are not involved in boat sales in any way, and can't help you in finding any particular kind of boat.

Where to Find  

We can't assist you on where to buy products and materials or engine parts. Try and other online stores. For hard to find engine parts, check

What Do You Think About the 1983 Wave Hopper 23? 

Actually, I don't think anything about it. I estimate that there are about 20,000 different model boats across this vast land of ours, and I've not seen even 10% of them, yet alone one that was made ten or 20 years ago.

Why Don't You Have Reviews On a Particular Brand?  

We no longer publish reviews on boats that don't meet our standard for what we consider a reasonable level of quality. That includes most of what are often referred to as "entry-level" or "price"  boats. Another reason is that we simply may not have had the opportunity to do so. Many builders have a mainly regional sales market and so there are many brands that we don't often come in contact with.

Do You Have Information on Such and Such a Boat? 

As we state in many places on this site, the answer is no. All the boat reviews that we have are posted, and there are no others hidden away in a file somewhere.

Where can I get Information on Such and Such a Boat? 

Most likely nowhere.  We've not run across any other source of information. If you find one, let us know!

Old Boats  

Despite the fact that I've written a number of pieces on the trials and tribulations of old boats, I still get dozens of questions about old boats every month. My answer remains the same. If you can't afford a newer, late model boat, then you definitely can't afford an old one. It costs more to restore and maintain an old house than it does to build a new one. The same applies to boats, only in spades.

Real Old Boats  

Many people think that they can get into boating very cheaply by buying a 30 year old boat at a cost of next to nothing, or maybe just a few thousand dollars. Any boat by the time it is 20 years old is pretty well clapped out. There will be little in it that does not need replacing. By the time a boat is 30 years old, virtually all of that boat's structures become questionable, nay, very doubtful. Although FRP outperforms wood in many ways, the material does not last forever because it is, after all, plastic. And nearly all plastics degrade over time, particularly boat hulls.

My free advice to anyone who is contemplating buying a 20 to 30 year old boat is DON'T. On the other hand, if you think you are sufficiently knowledgeable to be able to handle such a project, then go right ahead. But the fact that you are asking me tells me that you aren't, otherwise you wouldn't feel the need to ask.

Where Can I Get Manuals, Wiring Diagrams, Etc. For My 1983 Wave Hopper?  

Nowhere. Boat builders are not General Motors, they're small companies that don't keep this kind of paper around for more than a couple years, yet alone decades.

Where Can I Get Blue Book Values On Boats  

First of all, you need to understand that boats are not like cars where a relative handful of manufacturers turn out hundreds of thousands of the same model vehicle.  There are currently some 800 boat builders in the US turning out thousands of different models. Each of these builders probably turns out no more than several hundred of each model. There is no "wholesale" market for used boats as there are cars, despite the claims of some book publishers. Hence, there can be no wholesale value.

There is no agency that keeps track of used boat sales prices. None. Therefore, any book publisher that professes or suggests to have this knowledge is not being honest. The fact is that most price guides take the original MSRP and apply a depreciation method to it. That, of course, has little bearing on sales prices, though it often may come close on some and be way off on others. I do not recommend that anyone use these books to determine what he should pay for a boat.

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