Buying an old used motor yacht can be worrying. Some of these shortcomings can be alarming. However, it is appreciated to truly understand that buying a boat that is in trouble can be approached inexpensively.
A few weeks ago, our 300 gallon stainless steel water supply tank started to leak; the problem was first discovered at 3:00 am because the aft bilge pump was still running. Although the actual leak has not yet been found, we find that it is at the top. Our boat is 27 years old; What are you waiting for! Things just break.
Mike did a lot of research with the two custom aluminum tanks and made the decision to order a 130 gallon polyethylene tank. Polyethylene tanks are molded in one piece and the plastic will never break down. He sent a diagram to the retailer, Plastic-Mart, revealing the area where all the accessories were needed. The retailer asked the manufacturer to email us directly to make sure our mounting areas were correct. The water tank arrived a couple of days later and all the accessories we bought fit the factory holes perfectly.
The big day finally arrived. Our great friend and boat surveyor, Mike Hagan from CYA Surveys volunteered to help us with this gigantic task. We started doing the work at 9:00 am on Saturday morning. Mike and Mike did the hard work; Nadine and I act as assistants. They operated a Sawzall to cut the stainless steel tank so we could get it out of the boat. Due to its size, the freshwater tank was placed on our used trawler before the superstructure was built. They flew through about fifteen metal cutting blades. Simply cutting the first tank took approximately five hours. It was a huge task. They finished cutting the old tank into several different sections. I insisted that they wear gloves so they wouldn’t get cut on the ragged edges. They methodically removed each piece and placed it on the dock. Fortunately, that ended with negligible damage to our teak bulkheads.
The next phase was the construction of a new casing for the new freshwater tank to settle and secure. The new water tank is approximately 3/4 the size of the old stainless steel water tank. Mike used 2 x 4 and built a nice frame for it to stay. After that, it was time to put the new water tank in your new residence. The new freshwater tank is constructed of plastic, so it didn’t turn out to be as difficult to lift as the old stainless steel tank. All of our custom holes had been drilled in the proper location; my Mike did an excellent job.
The next stage was to connect the new hose to the tank … Whoops … we bought the wrong dimension hose. At this point, Nadine and Mike broke up. They wanted to go home. It was late and we were all exhausted.
The next morning Mike and I retrieved the wrong size hose and went out to find the correct hose. We went to Home Depot and Lowe’s, neither of which had a sufficient quantity of the correct dimension. Finally, we ended up at Ace, where they stored a lot of plastic hoses. We got back to the boat and needed to cut a hole in our head wall to fit the new hose. Punching a hole in a trawler is a scary thing. We stretch the hose of the new tank completely towards the fresh water pump. We needed to prime the water hose to get the air out and then we started adding water to the tank. He was a little concerned about completing this task, so Mike looked closely at all the accessories to make sure nothing was leaking. And we had no leaks … thank goodness!
The total cost of this project was $ 1,002.00 and required eleven hours to complete. Our friend declined the cash and I can assure you that if you hired a shipyard to do it, the labor charge would in all likelihood be nearly $ 1,000. So we installed a new water tank at half the sale price charged at a shipyard.
Our trawler should be fine for the rest of his life now with the new polyethylene freshwater tank. All said and done, this project ended up being easier than we had imagined.
So if your trawler needs a new freshwater tank, here is my guide:
You will probably need two men to handle the bulky freshwater tank.
Make sure you have a good Sawzall and about 20 thick metal saw blades.
Make sure you have some towels to clean up the blood … you will probably cut your body.
Keep some gloves nearby for when you need to move the cut tank around the boat.
Keep several blankets to protect the teak that might be near your work.
Our next task is the replacement of our fuel tanks. Goodness!