Now that Wild Horses is safely nestled in her cradle, Mike and I have started talking about some of the project work we want to get done over the winter and in the early spring. At my parent’s home, we thankfully have access to a whole workshop filled with every possible woodworking device known to man. Literally. My dad has built just about anything you can think of – decks, barns, model planes, model train set ups, dog bowl holders, luggage racks. I truly could go on and on. Suffice to say – name a tool, any tool, and I can guarantee it is in my dad’s workshop, with a few extras as backup.
We have several projects already underway, including:
Some of these projects are just about done, with the final installation just waiting for Spring while others are at the “design” stage or very nearing the “build” stage. But some, although technically started, are still at the “research” stage and have been there for years. Why? It isn’t because the solution is complicated or the building material is hard to come by. No, the answer is usually one of boat dollars.
The notion of “boat dollars” became part of our world early on in our boat-owning days. Just like a house, the cost of ownership isn’t just the purchase price. Besides paying for dockage and storage costs, you have to maintain your boat. Batteries, sails, pumps, wax, rigging, cleaners, hoses, filters…oh my. Basically, it is all of your house and car maintenance rolled into one. And if you already own a house and a car…well, you have now doubled your costs. Lots of boat dollars. And just like the word “wedding”, as soon as you attach the word “marine” to a product, the price seems to go up substantially. But I digress…
The exchange rate we use? 1 boat dollar = $1,000. Yikes! But that is the way it is. We try to control our costs so that most boat projects cost one or two boat dollars, or even better, half a boat dollar or less. We manage the costs by budgeting our money, by planning our projects, and by looking for the best deals on both products and labour costs. It makes a difference – especially when you do the labour yourself.
Before we press “go” on a project, we always discuss boat dollars. Our current woodworking projects are a good example. We have a talented guy in Manotick that does amazing woodwork with boats (he brought our wooden mast cover back to beautiful after being water damaged) but Mike decided to attempt these current projects on his own, both for the experience and to control our costs.
I have to say that the results have been amazing. Both the shelves and the cockpit table look exquisite!
By contrast, our alternator upgrade is one project that we won’t be tackling ourselves. Our engine and its alternator are the heart of our boat so it will be worth the extra boat dollars to ensure the new, high powered alternator is installed by an experienced boat mechanic. This is not a project to learn on. Mistakes with this project would cost lots of boat dollars to correct!
And, just like for your home or your car, maintenance is a key part of our budget…it is always the priority over any projects we are planning. Spending our boat dollars on fixing things when they are just a small problem means that we don’t have to spend huge boat dollars when they develop into “oh-my-gosh- the-boat-is-filling-with-water” problems. So, maybe our exchange rate actually goes more like this: Any boat dollar for maintenance = priceless!
Victoria is a hiker, dog-lover, blog writer and planner extraordinaire. Oh, yeah and she is kind of fond of living on a boat.