An Extensive Customer Guide to Hiring for Boat Repair.
Boat repair can be scary, especially when you don’t know the steps or don’t know what know what to expect. This comprehensive guide is formulated to help you to choose carefully a boat maintenance or yacht service company.
Become prepared for boatyard repair and refit.
We are routinely asked by our marina clients, “Can you recommend a descent contractor, marine trade for this boat repair work?” or “How do I know which marine contractor is good?” The answers to these boatyard boat repair proficiency related questions are not exactly easily obtained. However, there are standards by which our two boatyards and the marine trades completing boat repair, refit, and servicing work can be judged upon.
The American Boat and Yacht Council, or ABYC provide clear framework for marine contractors in boat building and boatyard service repair in their massive book of Standards and Technical Information Reports for Small Craft. There you can find guidance on AC / DC electrical to everything on propeller shaft installation. Marine electronic systems and standards, accreditation and certifications are available in a variety of disciplines including: diesel and gasoline engines and support systems; composites/fiber glass; marine corrosion; refrigeration and air conditioning. Certifications are only given to those who successfully pass the very rigorous 200-question exams. A marine trade who obtains more than three certifications become a Master Technician.
The value in holding these certifications are clear. You can be certain that both Lynnwood Marina & Boatyard and The Creek’s boatyard technicians are certified and know far beyond the basics of any particular marine discipline. With ABYC certified electrical technician you can rest assured, not wondering if, she or he knows how to calculate the ampere-carrying capacity of a gauge of wire or question ABYC certified composite technician his or her ability to properly close out cored structures or catalyze resin.
By far a valuable baseline, the more certified boat trades the boatyard has on duty, the more confident you can be in their ability and commitment as a professional. An undeniable value, the absence of a certification doesn’t mean these marine trades are less qualified; on the contrary, there are many savvy marine trades who haven’t gone through the trouble of traveling south to obtain an ABYC certification, although we would strenuously argue with the industry professional in obtaining this highly valuable credential. A bare minimum to ask any marine contractor you entrust technical boat repair work should be an ABYC member and therefore have access to their published standards. They should agree to follow these standards wherever applicable.
You can measure a marine trades competency from other organizations out there too. Some carrying out marine electronics work, a membership with the National Marine Electronics Association, (NMEA) means they have access to their own well written manual, Installation Standards for Marine Electronic Equipment. This organization and its accompanying guideline spell out an impressive list of requirements for ensuring reliable marine electronics and installations.
Be reminded that certification is no guarantee of ability, but a good indicator of the individual’s commitment to excellence as a professional. For those designing and installing marine electronic packages should, at the very minimum, be a member of NMEA and should be willing and able to perform installations that act in accordance with NMEA’s code of standards. Preferably in writing, ask this question:
“Will your installation job comply with all the guidelines found in NMEA / ABYC, and if not, will you contact me in advance and define where and why this may be the case?”
The final obligation you can and should expect a boatyard to uphold is the most evident and yet it’s the most violated: a clear agreement to follow all supplied instructions from equipment manufacturers. In the vessel inspections carried out, yacht captains routinely cite, this violation sits above all others. Virtually every installation and operation manual is found online, making any failures to follow these guidelines inexcusable.
When identifying such “installation instructions violations” to marine contractors, and they respond by saying, “That’s the way we’ve done it and it’s never been a problem.” That may be true, but point out that this approach means they the marine trade, rather than the equipment manufacturer, are accepting full responsibility for any failure related to the manner they’ve installed the equipment, in perpetuity, because the warranty will likely be void. Ultimately, you should insist to marine industry professionals that all manufacturer installation recommendations and instructions be followed to the letter.
The next time you visit with your boatyard marine contractor to discuss boat maintenance, boat refit, be prepared with a list of questions such as the following:
- Find out what are the terms of the quote and ask what’s the boatyard’s definition of a quote. Is the price an estimate or fixed?
- For time and materials, T&M projects, what’s the material markup?
- Is the boatyard’s workmanship guaranteed?
- Will the boat work be carried out to ABYC or NMEA or some other standard? If so, are the marine trades ABYC or NMEA certified in the appropriate discipline or supervised by those who are?
- Does the boatyard have membership in this organization?
- If the work is quoted, is it invoiced in segments as the work is performed?
- Do I need to provide a deposit before the work is performed and if so what’s the typical percentage and amount?
Regular timely invoicing is important, particularly for T&M work. Being slammed with a massive invoice when the work is nearly completed should be avoided. Ask how frequent invoices are sent out and if you can get a progress report, up-to-the-minute (or the previous workday) detailed on the amount of work that’s been invoiced. Ask to look at a sample invoice. Look that it provides enough information, but not too much detail. Before committing to any project, it would be beneficial to see an example of what you can expect to receive, especially lengthy and/or costly boat repair.