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Date: 22 July 2014. Boat Buying with your New Partner.


All too often I hear couples consider pooling their funds to buy the boat of their dreams. Both often younger and neither partner has the funds to buy outright. But together they can "swing it".  It is the ticket to boat ownership today versus at some point way down the line. And does that not sound just splendid?

This article specifically speaks to unmarried folks or those
who do not have a long term commitment and partnership.


First of course is finding the boat. The dream boat might be a little higher priced, but with the two working together that is doable. And of course a bit of sweat equity is required too. No boat, not even a brand new one is "finished" upon purchase.

All boaters put time and money into making their dreams a reality.

What is absolutely NOT OKAY by any stretch of the imagination is when just one name is on the title of the boat. This is especially true when we are talking about a fixer-upper worth very little at purchase and potentially valued at thousands after refurbishing. If two are pulling together to make this boat fabulous you need to be joint owners.

Play the "What If?" scenario and think about what would happen if you have dumped thousands of dollars and hours into fixing up a dream boat. If the partnership falls apart, how will the spoils be divided? If both names are not on that title... well, it can get ugly.

For those of us watching from the sidelines, it's simply sad.

Far too often I have seen a couple at a boatyard bust their everything to make a boat spectacular (or nice enough) but then, as launch looms, the bickering and fights begin. Gradually the dreams fade. The future becomes a victim to unresolved arguments and a split occurs. If both names are not on the title, then one can be forced o-u-t.

The reason I suspect is all those expectations the twosome have spoken of so often... well, now it is down to "Put up or shut up" and suddenly there is a lot at stake.


Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear -- not absence of fear. Mark Twain.


It's easy to be brave when you do not have to prove anything.  But dropping the lines and actually leaving? That can be a problem. It can be a huge issue though neither individual is willing to admit the fear that happens to *ALL of us.

*ALL certainly does include me. I worry too. It is the nature of the beast, especially as a soloist. The fun outstrips the nervousness and I do enjoy boating immensely. Though I feel anxious before hauling the anchor I refuse to let temporary concerns prevent me from being a cruiser.


The fellow can become fearful when all those dreams are about to be realized. She wants to go and suddenly he has to be the captain. Taking responsibility for the boat, the safety of the duo, and, well, it is always easier to be courageous when the event is scheduled for next week.

She can get afraid too and that is not pretty either. The female half become querulous, argumentative, questioning every decision made regarding equipment, etc.  All at once the judgment she had trusted is deemed unreliable. Someone else had a different experience and XYZ is better than ABC and why is there no money for JKL? They need that too.

Throwing in liberal amounts of alcohol does not help one iota.

Anyway, the fights begin and reach a summit. Neither party is willing to give an inch so the couple split.

Suddenly the man has this boat, fairly nicely fixed and he has no expectations to fulfill with any woman. But he is lonesome and wants a gal to share the journey he has been talking about all that time with Worker Woman.

And around the waterfront there are sweet things who see a beautiful boat, not realizing the hours it took to sand down the bottom and add two coats of barrier paint to the hull. The Princess Babe sees herself on the back deck, wine glass in hand while Macho Man neatly steers the boat through a cut into a deserted cove.

She is the nymph swimming naked. He is her hero. 


But then Princess discovers that boating is not all about sipping cold drinks after a lovely two hour sail.  It is raining cats and dogs. There is a drip over the bunk. The freezer needs to be defrosted. The oil lanterns left black sooty residue all over the overhead and someone has to clean it all. Pulling in the line on the dinghy broke a fingernail, the sunburn is peeling, and her favorite outfit has mildew.

Plus Macho Man smells bad after three hours in the bilge trying to track down an intermittent oil leak. And there is no power because, well, we don't know why yet.

Nothing is the way it is supposed to be. Tools are strewn about. ARGH!


It doesn't take much adversity for Princess to discover boating is not for her. Macho Man is a grumpy old fart who cannot fix it all RIGHT NOW.  Thus Princess hops a plane and heads for home.


Now Macho Man is in paradise, alone. He's wishing perhaps that the original girl -- the one who worked with him instead of against him -- was there. Finding a gal who will pull her own weight, help and who actually knows what a ratchet is and how to use it?  Well, that is not so easy.

And Worker Woman?  She has moved on.

So my advice is to be VERY careful if you are considering a partnership not documented on paper.  Of course I hope your experience is wonderful. Just be aware that statistically, you are in a precarious position. I would not do it.

Seaweed is small -- just 23', but she is affordable (almost!) and she is mine. All mine.

Have you ever owed a boat in a formal or informal partnership?
Did it work for you? And what were you secrets of success?

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