July 10, 2012
June 14, 2012
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act, it is a habit”
I wrote a post a while back on the rising demand for quality products in Vancouver luxury industries, including the demand for better quality yachts. This was a trend I had predicted would take place and one which drove me to get involved in the industry in the first place. Another line of boats leading that trend arrived in our waters recently; it’s sure to be a favourite amongst the fishing crowd, as well as with owners of large yachts looking for a high-quality, versatile tender. Innovation and leadership are hallmarks of Scout Boats’ culture, needless to say such characteristics are endearing to me and no doubt will be to the readers of Boating Vancouver.
Scout Boats are 100% hand laid fiberglass, resulting in a strength to weight ratio that outshines any competitor. Precise engineering techniques lead to a consistent, a well-crafted product that undergoes many, many quality control checks prior to leaving the factory. Consumer satisfaction with these boats is predictably high.
Pride of craftsmanship is evident from the video the company posted on YouTube. In it, company founder Steve Potts, takes us on a factory tour showing many details of the manufacturing process and highlighting many of the elements of each boat system. The systemic perfection which Potts demands ultimately leads to a “near perfect” boat every time. It is a mark of confidence in their product, and their people, that the makers of Scout Boats take us on such a detailed tour of their facilities.
Besides the aesthetic appeal which make them look hot on the docks or out on the sea, Scout Boats are unsinkable. Their method of construction includes adding 20% more foam than is required by US Coast Guard Regulations; a reassuring characteristic for any boaters who find themselves in rough conditions. Accuracy, safety and precision are essential to the makers of this boat. Fuel and electrical systems are designed to high standards of quality control and are assembled using the finest quality components.
The thoughtfulness of the design is found in detail after detail right down to the choice of colour on deck surfaces. To prevent glare on sunny days, designers chose a shade of white which looks great, but also minimizes the amount of sun reflected back into the eyes of those on board. Upholstery and seating layout are intended to provide those on board with the highest level of comfort, going over and above any competitor in its class. In the final inspection of each boat, details of fit and finish are tested in a light tunnel to ensure that no factor is missed. Excellence is a habit for this manufacturer and their reputation well justified.
Three unique running surface designs are available from Scout. The “Air assist hull”, available on models 15′-19,’ is one of those designs which helped Scout Boats to make their mark in the coastal fishing niche. This design has been around for over 20 years and allows for stability, easy planing, and fuel efficiency. Scout has different hull designs for each category of boat it produces; each design is driven by the consumer needs and high performance expectations. They look at the purpose for which the boat is intended and design a vessel that will perform well in the conditions in which consumers will take it. Given that Scouts are so admired amongst world-class fishermen, they set their standard to surpass even the most demanding of consumers.
I viewed the 17′ that Grand Yachts had on their docks at Coal Harbour Marina recently and plan to sea trial another model shortly. Be sure to check back for a detailed review of that experience as well as accompanying photos. If you are in the market for a boat and just can’t wait for that review, be sure to contact Dave Worland (firstname.lastname@example.org) at Grand Yachts and he will gladly set up a test ride for you.
Grassroots Movements Work!
There is a prominent person I have the good fortune of knowing; his influence extends deeply into many circles in this province and well beyond. His influence on my own life has been profound. He is one of those people who exemplifies the best of what Canadians have to offer, never forgetting where he came from, nor his promise to share his success with others. One day last summer I went to him with what seemed to me to be a mighty big problem. He listened patiently as I explained the difficult situation in which I found myself. Occasionally he asked a few questions, but mostly he just listened. My reason for contacting him then was to thank him for being such a good example, and to ask for some advice on how he might handle the situation if he were in my shoes. After bolstering my resolve with a few kind words, he pointed out that a large part of his success was due to the fact that he had a strategic plan for his life; he also gave full credit to the fact that his wife worked that plan along with him. There is something powerful about people working together on a plan even if the group begins with only two. He commented that each year he and his wife reflected on how closely their lives mirrored the plan they had devised. It’s not that they didn’t ever encounter challenges along the way, it’s just that when those obstacles arose they had strategies to deal with them; tackling problems prudently and strategically can yield some amazing results. If you have a plan and the conviction to do it, don’t be surprised to find that you get what you asked for. It might not be easy, but it can be as simple as: “Plan it.” “Do it.” “Get it”. If you didn’t get what you wanted, it is most often because you didn’t have a plan, or if you did, you didn’t do what it required.
Wisely, that summer day when I met with him, he didn’t jump in and solve my problems for me, instead he suggested that I write a strategic plan for my own life and see what might become of it. I wrote a simple plan am very glad I did. I’m not going to tell you that all of my problems have been solved by the plan, but a good many of them were and with remarkable speed. Others were put into perspective; some disappeared all together. With a better perspective and some new goals to focus on, I accomplished a lot of things in a very brief period of time, some of them with a good deal of ease. As if these points were not enough, I had fun and met some magnificent folks along the way. The things I still have to accomplish are getting done more or less on time. So, as far as I can tell, this planning stuff works quite well. www.boatingvancouver.wordpress.com was just one of the fruits to blossom from that plan.
Every so often I check in with this fellow to let him know that another milestone has been met, or to throw a new idea his way just to get his take on it. He always replies with speed and precision, often offering the sort of nuance and insight that could only be gained from someone with his position, influence and experience. He is not short on encouragement; perhaps because he knows I’m willing to put in the time and effort necessary to see my plan to fruition. I contacted him to let him know I was supporting the effort to keep the Kitsilano Coast Guard and he encouraged me in his typical fashion. So I thought I’d pass that encouragement on to others who might now be in need of it; perhaps if we all followed his advice, things would work in our favour. On the matter of striving toward the goal to keep the station open and the efforts we had made so far he said, “Remember with your talent and a plan anything is possible.”
A lot of very talented people are backing the Kits Coast Guard, what we need now is a plan to harness that talent so that lives will be saved. I believe it is possible to keep the station open; if I didn’t I would not be so committed to the cause. Perhaps the threat of closure is really just a sort of “felix culpa” moment that brought us all together to remind each other of the good the Coast Guard does and to demonstrate to Ottawa the impact Vancouverites can have when we work together toward a common goal, especially when that common goal involves saving human lives. If the station closes, Vancouver will have a very big problem. Remember though, a problem is only a problem until it is solved. When you have the solution you gain an asset you never have to lose; you gain the knowledge that you are capable of changing and capable of inspiring others to do same. You gain the understanding that you can prevent some bad things from happening by striving toward a better goal. You earn a story you can tell your children to inspire them on days when they too have something to overcome. The problems one generation solves become the inspiration for the generations which follow. We need to solve a few more problems if not for ourselves then for the little ones of tomorrow. With these thoughts in mind, I suggest we find a way to keep the Kits Station open one way or another. I suggest we take our talents and apply them to a plan.
What follows is the plan I am working on to save the Coast Guard; I’m not saying my plan is a good one; I’m not saying anyone else needs to follow it. What I am saying is that to achieve change you need some plan; good intention alone will not get you where you need to go. I suspect there are a few better plans floating around out there and I would love to hear about them. I’d also be happy to hear your thoughts on where my own plan might be improved or how it might evolve over time. It isn’t profound, but it is achievable; hopefully throwing it out to readers will at least get something on the drawing board to get us to the next level.
Preamble to the Plan to save Kitsilano Coast Guard Station:
- Keep your eyes on the prize! It might be tempting to be overwhelmed by obstacles or to get lost in the details, however maintaining focus on the vision of the Coast Guard being saved will do much more to keep us motivated and working toward our goal than anything else. Imagine the lives that will be saved in the future by the Kits Coast Guard; for that to happen they need to be there. For the station to be there for us tomorrow; we need to be there for them today. We need to show up with the same courage and conviction we would hope they would employ if we were the ones at risk.
- Be polite! When frustrations run high this point can be difficult to remember, but it is crucial to keeping us on track. Being polite is especially important when speaking to people who are unaware of the importance of this issue. People are more likely to listen to you if you are polite; the more people who listen to the issues, the more people who will support the Coast Guard. Polite does not mean wimpy; you can be tough as nails, stand your ground and still be polite. Saying “please” and “thank you” will find you currency you didn’t know you had. You will gain more influence with elected officials if you treat them with respect; regardless of their political stripes they are people too. Raise the bar on what you expect from them and you may be surprised to see them live up to your vision of what is possible. Besides, manners are a tradition which have served mariners well for centuries; let’s not forget what works. “If a man be gracious and courteous to strangers, he shows he is a citizen of the world.” (Sir Francis Bacon)
- Put your plan in writing! Plans do not have to be complicated to be effective, in fact sometimes it’s the simplest plans well executed that make the difference in times like these. Whatever your plan, WRITE IT DOWN!
So here is the plan:
- Reach out to the citizens of Vancouver via social media to ask what plans are already in place to save the Coast Guard ( Deadline: complete this task by June 15);
- Where appropriate support existing plans and share them with others who might get involved; use www.boatingvancouver.wordpress.com to keep this issue in front of readers; employ other social media including facebook, twitter, and linked in to ensure that the issue is also kept in front of people beyond the boating community (Deadline: Ongoing until Coast Guard is saved);
- Join forces with at least two other people to organize a letter writing campaign to send letters to every MP in Canada. (Deadline: June 17th);
- Write a letter to the editor and send it to at least 5 newspapers (Deadline June 18th);
- Envision the finest dock party this city has ever seen, bringing citizens together to celebrate the success of this plan and others which contribute to saving the Coast Guard. (Deadline: Ongoing until Coast Guard is Saved);
- Make an effort to thank people who have gone out of their way to save the Coast Guard (Ongoing);
- Review plan daily and provide regular updates to readers on significant milestones as they are completed (Deadline: Ongoing until Coast Guard is Saved).
That’s my plan in a nutshell. Now is the time to DO IT! (Delta-Oscar India-Tango)
June 3, 2012
Amongst the laments I hear from yachting clients, one is more frequent than others, namely that some people simply don’t have enough time to enjoy boating the way that they would like to. They work all week and on the weekend would love to go boating but are faced with a list of house and garden chores that cannot be neglected, lest they bear the wrath of the one who wrote the list. Once the work around home is done, they are either out of time or too exhausted to drive out to their marina. By the time they travel to their marina, pack and ready the boat the day is half over. At the end of the trip they still have to unload the boat, travel back and then unload the car; so much for a relaxing weekend! In cases like this it seems the dream of owning a boat is more bother than it’s worth, or is it. Owning a boat can be one of the most rewarding uses of recreation time you have ever experienced, so before you write off the possibility due to lack of time, apply a little critical thinking to assess the obstacles being faced. I’ve always believed that a problem well-defined is half solved and in the common situation described above, the problem is not the boat. The problem can actually be broken down into several smaller issues each of which is solvable:
- Problem One: Owning a house with a yard means you will inevitably spend part of your weekend tending to the maintenance issues that are part and parcel of home ownership;
- Problem Two: Locating your boat at a marina away from your home means you will be faced with a drive every time you want to visit your boat; that commute creates a psychological and temporal obstacle;
- Problem Three: Packing and unpacking your boat each week makes for a lot of redundancy.
The combined problems of too much home maintenance, too much distance to travel to the marina and too much packing and unpacking can be solved with a bit of strategic planning. One of my clients came up with a brilliant strategy to overcome these hurdles; he put his boat in his backyard so that it is there whenever he wants it. For clarity his boat is a 42′ Grand Banks and his backyard is the marina at 1000 Beach Ave in Vancouver. No lawn to mow, to traffic to fight, no need to unpack the boat in this very secure marina. Just 365 days of access to boating with the trip starting the minute he walks out his back door. In addition to solving the problems that otherwise might have prevented him from enjoying his boat, he chose a location that allowed him to tap into some of Vancouver’s premium lifestyle features. Want to jog the seawall? No problem lace up the sneakers and you are steps away from the starting line. Want cook a fine gourmet meal with culinary treats from Granville Island? Pick up your groceries by hopping the Aquabus which docks about ½ a block away. Want to view the fireworks in comfort? Look out the window for one of the best views in the city. Taking in a play in the theatre district? Walk a few blocks and you’re there. Access to transit, restaurants and every conceivable amenity are within walking distance. Less travel, less hassle means more boating, more relaxing.
His apartment faces False Creek and English Bay; allowing him to keep a close eye on his 42′ Grand Banks moored in his back yard marina. In reflecting on some of the additional perks associated with keeping his boat in his backyard marina my client added “The boat has always been an extension of my home. This utilization makes the apartment seem a lot more sizeable as there is always the option to have a change of venue when friends or relatives come over for dinner or even just for a drink. Everyone always loves to go down to the boat even if we have no intention of leaving the dock. It is unique because you get to be a liveaboard without actually living aboard if you know what mean. I have spent literally thousands of hours on the boat barbecuing and generally entertaining…right at the home dock.” In considering the amount of additional time he got to spend on his boat because it was just outside his back door he said, ”These were hours of boat usage that I likely would not have spent had the boat not been right there. When such an evening came to an end all I had to do was lock the boat and take a few steps back to the apartment for some sleep and return the next morning to clean up the mess. This is an aspect of the life style that few can imagine until they actually get into it. But it is one of the best things about the set up. It just totally enhances the whole downtown living experience by making you feel you are on an estate as opposed to just another apartment. It is a life that is difficult to give up.”
His meticulous attention to detail is probably part of his nature, and perhaps reinforced by his professional training, but then again anyone living in such a surrounding is likely to take just a bit of extra pride in this type of home; it seems to be an extension of the seashore and being that close to mother nature one just naturally tends to keep and appreciate things with a little more care and attention than one does amid suburban sprawl. The view compels one to appreciate natural beauty and the salt sea air wafting through the window brings with it the inclination to be grateful for the treasures this city by the sea has within it. His unit has all of the creature comforts one would expect in a Yaletown apartment and has been well-appointed by a professional designer. Coming home to a place like this, with his boat a few feet away, is strategic planning at its best. Having lived here and enjoyed the convenience, beauty and luxurious surroundings of this home for 25 years, he is now moving on to a new phase in life which includes a move away from the city. This apartment, which is perfect for the boater who needs more time to get out on the water, is finally available. If you act in time to take advantage of another serendipitously timed opportunity, you could also secure access to a slip at 1000 Beach; there is currently one place available. This marina is well maintained with cement docks, easy access to False Creek, and the starting point to any other destination on the Pacific Coast; this marina has what must be the best security system of any marina going…many of the boat owners live in the surrounding apartments and all of them form the best neighbourhood watch team you could imagine. 1000 Beach is one of the nicest backyards going, and no lawn maintenance; sure there are some weeds, but they’re seaweeds after all and they get washed away with the outgoing tide so no need for backbreaking work. For details on the slip or apartment feel free to drop me an e-mail and I can introduce you to the listing agents or check out the listing on-line.
The next time you and your spouse are about to have the argument that goes “I’d love to do more boating Honey but we don’t have the time to travel to our marina, pack the boat and unpack with all of the home and yard maintenance.” Let her know you solved the problem by putting an offer in on this place. Unless of course you actually would rather spend your weekends with an endless “honey-do” list instead of boating in your backyard.
Readers are always interested to know innovative ways that boaters have learned to maximize their time on the water. If you’ve come up with a solution to a problem which allowed you to enjoy more boating in Vancouver, drop me a note and I’d be happy to share your idea with other boaters so that they too can maximize their enjoyment of the boating lifestyle.
May 25, 2012
Friday – 10 am to 5 pm
Saturday – 10 am to 5 pm
Sunday – 11 am to 4 pm
At Coal Harbour Marina
Grand Yachts Inc Sales Dock
1535 Coal Harbour Quay
A little bit of everything!
A showcase of some fine yachts for sale from under 17 feet to over 80 feet!
Traditional and modern designs, including two unique sailing yachts!
April 12, 2012
“The talent is in the choices” Robert de Niro
As yachts become bigger and more complex, so too do the decisions which go into successfully operating them. After purchasing a yacht, choosing the best crew possible to operate it is perhaps the most fundamental decision a yacht owner can make; it is the decision from which subsequent ones will flow. Though many boat owners are experienced in hiring professionals within their own field of expertise, sometimes they are left at loose ends when it comes to hiring crew for their yachts. The time, research and energy needed to successfully recruit, interview, select and retain good crew can quickly begin to interfere with other obligations and take away from the enjoyment of owning a boat. Hiring a professional yacht crew placement company can go a long way to ensure that the job of crew recruitment is done well and in a timely fashion. The profession of “crew head hunter” is such a specialized occupation that many people initially may be unaware that these experts are available to help in the sourcing of talent. I caught up with one of these recruiters this week and thought you might be interested to hear what I learned in the process. More detailed posts on crew selection will follow in subsequent weeks but for now these thoughts might provide some insight about what goes into the selection of a crew which will meet your yachting needs.
Darcy Narraway of Yacht Crew Register, a company established inVancouver in 1995 says,“Selecting personnel for yachts is much more complicated than for a regular 9-5 job. Crew on board a yacht must work in close quarters; they must be comfortable working in confined areas, and at sea for extended periods of time. The chemistry of the crew is an essential element for a positive atmosphere on board. Yacht crew must have a good blend of the required training, relevant experience, mature personality and a positive attitude.” It is safe to say that if anyone of these elements were missing, the time on board would be much less enjoyable than it might otherwise be with the proper crew at hand. Narraway goes on to say that the tension on board a yacht with an ill chosen crew be palpable. “…everyone can sense it and no one enjoys it. [Conversely], “having a team that works together with efficiency and respect makes a yacht owner’s experience of their yacht simply PARADISE.”
In order to achieve that paradise on board, a considerable amount of background research is done to ensure a good match between the yacht, the crew and the needs of the yacht owner. Narraway says he prefers to “filter out the best possible crew for the position and make perfect placements the first time.” In order to make that perfect match, effort is spent reviewing resumes for a record of longevity with past employers. He notes, “All crew are also required to provide relevant references of employers and co workers. Once letters of references are received, they are confirmed through our office.”
When asked what sort of training or experience is required from crew members before they are placed on a private yacht? Narraway had this to say: “STCW Basic Safety Training is required for all crew on board, which is available at most marine colleges in most popular ports worldwide. It consists of Basic First Aid, Sea Survival, Basic Firefighting, and Social Responsibility. In Vancouver this is available through BCIT at their Pacific Marine Training Campus in North Vancouver. Every position on board a yacht has different licensing requirements depending on the position, the size of the vessel, and the flag of registry. There are often positions available for “entry level” crew with no yacht experience, however some experience in hospitality or recreational boating is preferred.
Even after the placement has been made, the job of the placement agency is not ended. Narraway says, “The yachting world is an intimate community worldwide. We are in constant communication with our clients, and assist with resolving any issues that may arise. Often our fees are collected only after a trial period has taken place, to ensure the competency of the crew we have placed, and their compatibility with the other crew. We also offer a replacement guarantee in the unlikely event there are “irreconcilable differences”.
In addition to making each trip more enjoyable and safe, Narraway says that it has been proven “that having permanent crew performing regular maintenance on board will maintain the value of their yacht, and SAVE dollars and precious cruising time, especially in the short summer seasons of our Canadian climate.” For boaters wanting to ensure that they maximize the quality and quantity of their time on board, while ensuring that their yachts are well cared for, hiring a competent crew can be an essential decision. If help is needed in selecting that crew, it’s good to know that it is available!
April 7, 2012
…it turns out quite a bit more than you would have imagined
(Part 1 of a 6 part series on selecting art for your yacht)
Selecting a yacht that is just right for your needs is a complex process; you likely relied on the help of several professionals along the way to ensure everything went smoothly. Now that it’s time to outfit the vessel according to your tastes, it’s good to know that another group of professionals is available to help you with the task. Over the next several weeks I’ll be covering some select companies and individuals in Vancouver and the particular niche each one fills. Relying on the right person to provide the finishing touches will help to ensure that your yacht is everything you dreamed it would be. Today’s focus is on how to begin selecting art for your yacht. Whether your tastes are traditional or contemporary, classic or avant-garde, Vancouver’s better fine-art galleries have experts on hand to help guide you in your choice of art for your home, office, or yacht.
A few days ago I had the privilege of sitting down with Jeanette Langmann; those familiar with the local art market will recognize her name immediately. Jeanette is the daughter of Uno Langmann; she is also the president of the Art Dealers Association of Canada, and yes she is located right here in Vancouver. Her store (Uno Langmann Limited) is located at the south end of the Granville Street Bridge; if your day’s shopping trip includes a visit to the trendy South Granville row for fashion finds, you will be happy to realize how many galleries are located in the same district. Langmann’s is the first one on the South Granville strip as you leave the bridge; it is only 5 minutes from downtown. Be forewarned though, you could spend several hours in that gallery alone.
Langmann’s in-house collection of paintings, antiques, and objets d’art from the 18th, 19th, and early 20th century is extensive and demonstrates their well deserved reputation in the art world. Uno Langmann was awarded the “Life Time Achievement Award” from the Canadian Art Dealers Association in 2007 and Jeannette has clearly benefited from growing up with such a father. Her knowledge of art is exhaustive, and her penchant for research is obvious. Any time you ask a question about a particular work, she is able to give you a detailed amount of history about the piece, the artist and the circumstances surrounding its acquisition by the gallery.
Although I had known the reputation the Langmanns have for their expertise in art, I experienced it first hand when I asked Jeanette about a painting on the wall of her gallery. The painting jumped out at me because it featured a ship. Our discussion quickly turned to the significance of the work not only as a piece of maritime art, but also because it records part of Canadian maritime history. The 1847 painting by British painter Samuel Walters (1811-1882) features the ship “The Frankfield” which had been built in New Brunswick for Thomas Wilson & Co. seven years before the painting was made. The ship was used for the company’s Australian service and more importantly was used for the Canadian service as well. It was made of black birch, pine and spruce; she weighed 750 tonnes and usually carried about 350 passengers. There is a record of the ship arriving in Quebec August 9th 1847 with Captain John Robinson at the helm; on that trip she carried 528 passengers. The final record of the ship comes from Liverpool where the press recorded that Captain Robinson had died when his ship the Frankfield was wrecked off the “East Mouse, Cemaes Bay Anglesey in a terrible gale”. Jeanette pulled out a file on the painting which included copies of records of from the British Parliamentary papers detailing the Frankfield’s arrival in Quebec in 1847. If there is a story behind a work of art Jeanette is surely going to unearth it and keep a paper trail of every detail. Langmann’s office is packed with reference books and her knowledge is not limited to art. Having grown up in Vancouver, she knows an incredible amount about local history too.
As we walked through the store and into its hidden recesses, we discussed several other paintings, artists and the process of selecting art for a given purpose. What I liked about my experience at Langmann’s was that Jeanette clearly respected the fact her individual buyers have their own particular tastes. They know what they like from an aesthetic point of view and she is able to guide them from that starting point. Listening to the needs of her clients, Jeanette is able to find a perfect piece for the circumstances. If the purpose of painting is merely to look pretty on the wall, one piece might do the trick. If however the piece is meant to round out a collection being assembled for investment purposes, a different one might be a better choice. As we will see in subsequent parts of this series, one must take several things into consideration when selecting art for yachts including environmental factors such as the moisture content of the boat; considering where the painting will end up is also a crucial factor in its selection.
Whether you are an experienced art collector or venturing out for your first significant purchase, one thing is certain: having an expert to guide you through the process will be in your best interest. To begin the process, the best thing in my opinion is to start exploring the local galleries to get a sense of what you might desire if you do not have a clear idea already. Subsequent posts will delve into the offerings of a variety of Vancouver galleries; if you already know that your tastes tend toward pieces from the 18th, 19th and early 20th century, Langmann’s would be a good place to start. If maritime art is on the shopping list for your library, living room or office, you will be able to select from a wide range of historically significant pieces at Langmann’s. On the off chance that you do not find the perfect piece in their holdings, Jeanette no doubt will be able to source a piece for you through her extensive network of connections in North America and Europe. If your tastes fall outside the scope of their collection entirely, Jeanette will also gladly point you toward other local contemporary galleries which may have the ideal piece on display.
Stay tuned for the rest of the series on selecting art for your yacht and until then happy exploring in the Vancouver galleries. . If you have a story about how your art shopping excursion worked out for you I’d love to hear about!
Katrina Boguski M.A.
March 30, 2012
“He who every morning plans the transaction of the day and follows out that plan, carries a thread that will guide him through the maze of the most busy life. But where no plan is laid, where the disposal of time is surrendered merely to the chance of incidence, chaos will soon reign”. Victor Hugo
It comes as no surprise to me that the two best logbooks I ever came across on yachts were those written by boaters who also had found ways to maximize the enjoyment of their time on board. One was written by an engineer, and the other by a pilot. The precision and pertinence of the information they recorded allowed them to plan trips that took them to some of B.C.’s most beautiful boating areas and in the process created memories which will last a lifetime. Their logbooks allowed them to know their boats intimately; to plan maintenance and equipment purchases accordingly, and to enjoy voyages that were consistent with their goals for the use of their recreation time. If your goal is to sit at your dock sipping a martini, you probably don’t need a logbook, in fact if your martini consumption is enough that it would warrant recording in a logbook, you have other issues that need addressing. For anyone else with ambitions to get the most value out of their boat possible, a logbook is essential. It will save you time money and grief and is one of the easiest ways to maximize the enjoyment of boating.
Keeping a logbook does not have to be complicated; the beauty of the ones mentioned above is that they were so simple. Both boaters used an Excel spreadsheet with column headings that listed the information they wanted to note. The owners then printed off the spreadsheets; one held them in a binder, the other in a duo-tang; these logbooks were not exactly high-tech, but very effective nevertheless. The pilot periodically would type out his info from the hand written log onto his computer, the engineer simply kept his paper copy. In a mater of minutes the owners could go through their boats checking off details about the information they wanted recorded. With each new day they started a new row; the end of the day had a shorter “shutdown” procedure. In some columns they merely placed a checkmark indicating that the task had been completed or the equipment was operational, in others they recorded numbers which referred to things like engine hours. Still others contained words to tell the condition of equipment or supplies; words like “good”, “fair” “poor”, “full” “half full” or “empty” helped the owners determine which equipment and supplies needed replacing now and which could be deferred until later. In the case where a piece of equipment jumped from “good” to “poor” in a short period of time, the watchful eyes of the owners were alerted to key indicators that a potentially larger underlying issue was causing the symptom. Each owner saved themselves thousands of dollars over the course of the year; each incidentally put that savings toward the purchase of a larger boat; using the same basic format, they could make minor changes in the column headings to customize the log to the needs of the new boat.
Besides the issue of saving boaters time and money, these sorts of simple logs are a key component to maintaining the safety of the boat and the people on board. Every year people have to be rescued from their boats for the simple reason that they ran out of fuel. If they had checked the fuel gauge and recorded it in their logs, such an incident likely would not have happened. Chaos that ensues when things go wrong tends to invite panic very quickly; good decisions are rarely made in times of panic. There is a Swedish proverb which says. “Worry often gives a small thing a big shadow.” When a small thing occurs at a point where worry and fear are the reigning emotions we tend to respond not to the small thing but to the shadow. In so doing we fix no problems and generally create more. Logbooks which contain details about small things on boats tend to keep everything operating smoothly; there is often a very strong correlation between the condition of the boat and the condition of the logbook.
If you still are not convinced of the value of keeping a log book I might add that in the case of the logbook kept by the pilot, it was that logbook which allowed me to sell that boat TWICE. In the first instance the logbook confirmed that replacing a piece of equipment had in fact corrected a problem noted in an early entry of the log. The pilot’s diligent checks and numbers indicated that all systems were operational and had been functioning smoothly now for some time. The buyer to whom I sold the boat initially had the good sense to keep up that logbook as attentively as the pilot had. When those owners eventually graduated from the boat it was purchased by an international buyer. During the course of delivery an issue arose that under any other circumstances likely would have killed the deal. It was a small problem with a big shadow. I make a point of staying in touch with my clients and this incident alone was all the proof I needed to see the value of maintaining strong relationships and of keeping a good log. By looking at the logbook and by discussing the situation with both the present seller and the original owner, we were able to determine the root of the problem. I alerted the eager purchaser of how we were tracing the issue. The log, the expertise of the mechanic I had called, and the good relationship between all of the past present and future owners of that boat allowed the problem to be solved and the sale to be completed. If memory serves me correctly, the cost of the part to fix the problem was about $4.95. Were it not for the log which allowed us to pinpoint that part relatively quickly, the cost of the labour for troubleshooting all of the many other possible causes would have been dramatically higher. It also no doubt would have cost the sale of the boat. The moral of the story is: if you plan to sell your boat one day, keep a good logbook and good broker close at hand. Future posts will cover more tips for things to track in your logbook and creative ways to make them fit your style. Stay tuned for these updates and others that will help make your Vancouver boating experience everything you dreamed it would be.
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Katrina Boguski M.A.