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Restoring and Repairing Vintage Vessels

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Imagine a new customer bringing in a crusty, old vintage boat that has been stored for decades in his or her grandfather’s garage. They want an estimate on how much it would cost to bring this old gem back to life.

Steve Shoop, president of the Land O’Lakes chapter of the Antique and Classic Boat Society, says that when determining whether a vintage boat can and should be restored, marine fabricators need to consider three things: make, model and condition.

“It doesn’t make a lot of sense to put the money and effort into a boat that has little value or is not collectable when you are done,” Shoop says. “This is true of any make or model. You need to determine if it is very rare, very few built, or very few have survived.”

The condition should also be considered very carefully. Are all of the parts and hardware with the boat and is it
all correct?

“The availability of correct authentic information on construction, hardware, colors, upholstery and parts also needs to be evaluated,” Shoop says. “There are many
self-proclaimed experts out there. So you need to
collect as much information as you can and then try
to determine which is correct.”

Because there are no credentials required of marine fabricators who want to restore vintage boats, Shoop advises boat owners to do their homework on potential restorers. In turn, marine fabricators interested in working in the arena of restoring vintage boats need to do their homework, become well-versed in vintage boat designs and manufacturing, and capture this knowledge with before-and-after photos and stories to share with potential customers.

“I see too many people spending too much money on restoration projects, when they could have purchased the same boat, completed, for less money than they just spent on restoring it. In addition, they could have been using it for several years that it took waiting for their original boat to be restored.”

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