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Words from the wise

Start a restoration project, and you’ll run into no end of advice.

J. Johnston Marine performed a complete restoration of this 1966 Bertram 31 Bahia Mar.Here are a few words of wisdom from those who’ve gone down the project boat path before.

• Pick your boat carefully, and have it surveyed by a quality surveyor, both hull and mechanical.

• Be prepared to spend more money than you think you’ll spend. Remember, it’s a boat.

• If possible, pick a location with several good sources of marine supplies nearby.

• If it’s a major project, it’s a good idea to have a surveyor come in at different times and document what’s being done, especially work that gets covered up. Inspect the bonding straps, stringers, bulkheads, that kind of thing. It will help during the insuring process.

• One thing leads to another. A simple repower may require modifications to exhaust, fuel delivery and raw-water pickup systems — even running gear — because of new engine technology.

• Guard against obsession. A project boat can stretch both you and your family to their limits. Keep things in perspective.

• Patience is a good thing to have in your tool bag. And learn to deal with setbacks, because you’ll hit some.

• Consider the issue of resale. You may want to customize the boat, but be careful. You don’t want to do something — choose an offbeat color, arrange a peculiar layout, install a piece of equipment — that will take away from resale value.

• Enjoy the process. Have a goal in mind. Do it because you want to, not because you think you can upgrade the boat and make money.

See related articles:

"Fiberglass Fixation"

"Repairs and Restorations"


This article originally appeared in the July 2009 issue,


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