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Thread: Can you sell a homemade boat

  1. #1
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    Default Can you sell a homemade boat

    Greetings group.
    I just finished up a 15% scale model of a one sheet skiff that I plan on building for myself. I showed it to an co worker who asked me if I would build one for him.
    I'm talking about a PL premium, 1/4 luaun skiff with no fiberglass. An occasional boat for some lite fishing for me

    He wants to put a trolling motor on it for fishing so he may need to get it registered? I'm also concerned about the boat not being 'bullet proof', like if he launches from a rocky shore and gouges up the bottom from scraping and not fixing it then having the boat fail while he's on the water. Could he sue me?

    I'd like to make him one, he is a friend and I already told him I would

    Thanks for your thoughts
    Kenny in Philly

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Can you sell a homemade boat

    Could he sue me
    Probanly

    I already told him I would
    Your hooped

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Can you sell a homemade boat

    An old boatbuilder's trick is to not completely finish the building - leave the thwarts for him to install or something. That way you are selling him a "kit" and reduce any potential liability.

    If you start reselling boats on the open market, they have to meet all sorts of flotation and safety specs. Selling a few to friends is different and fairly commonly done even in this most lawsuit-happy society of ours.
    "The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
    Doctor Jacquin to Lieutenant D'Hubert, in Ridley Scott's first major film _The Duellists_.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Can you sell a homemade boat

    Get him to build it with you. That makes him the builder and you the assistant.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Can you sell a homemade boat

    Quote Originally Posted by EZguine View Post
    Could he sue me?

    I'd like to make him one, he is a friend and I already told him I would

    Thanks for your thoughts
    Kenny in Philly
    Yo Kenny...
    Welcome to the forum...
    Anybody can sue anybody for anything... right?
    But if dis guy is a friend... and he sues youse?
    You call Guido from South Philly... and he'l fix that problem... capiche?

    Go ahead, build it with him.. it'l be fun...

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Can you sell a homemade boat

    Beside the question of your legal liability and whether your friend is complicit in the boat's construction, ask yourself:

    If this thing drowns him, will you have a clear conscience?

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Can you sell a homemade boat

    Thanks for your thoughts.
    He isn't very handy so helping me build it (Or me helping him build it)may not work out. However the suggestion for a kit, in the form of an uncompleted boat sounds very good. I'll mount the seat with screws, then remove them and supply the seat and boat.


    Much appreicated
    Kenny

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Can you sell a homemade boat

    ... and if he drowns, he drowns.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Can you sell a homemade boat

    If or when he registers it, it will need to be registered as his very own home-built boat. He can say he bought the kit from you, but most likely will need to still list it as home-built.

    He may need to have receipts to show the overall cost of materials for the State to determine the actual value of the boat and if he paid taxes on those materials. You don't list a location so we don't know what particular laws you'll have to meet.
    "The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
    Doctor Jacquin to Lieutenant D'Hubert, in Ridley Scott's first major film _The Duellists_.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Can you sell a homemade boat

    Better that he builds it himself with your 'help'. If you supply a 'kit' your design might be liable for any misdoings or misadventures. In the state of PA. you need to supply all the available receipts you kept and they should be enough to have built a boat. I used some left over things in a (previously unregistered) rowboat I rebuilt and the clerk I talked to didn't think there were enough receipts to cover what I was trying to register. A few wary looks later she gave the title, but it was a lesson learned.
    Don't expect the government to understand anything but their own rules.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Can you sell a homemade boat

    Is there a reason you can't build the boat for yourself, use it a time or two, and then sell it as a second hand used boat?
    Second hand boats change hands every day.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Can you sell a homemade boat

    Get him to sign a waver.
    My take is that if you poke someone with a sharp stick they'll get annoyed, if you smile and shake their hand they will be your friends.

    John Welsford

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Can you sell a homemade boat

    Do yourself a big favor and let him buy a cheap aluminium boat from craigslist to stick a trolling motor on. A cheap luan and PL premium boat will have a short lifespan anyway, so why risk the potential liability.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Can you sell a homemade boat

    Oops -- missed the sigfile of "Ken in Philly". Now you know what sort of issues can be experienced with registration, but unless the boat is over a certain length and/or uses an outboard, you and he may not have to register the boats. And I really doubt you'll be using an outboard on any one-sheet skiff...

    Is the boat your own design or a commercial design? If the latter, is it built to the plans? If the answer to the last question is Yes, then you'll have much less potential liability.

    Seriously folks, we shouldn't get our knickers in too much of a twist on this simple question. I'd say go for it, but put a simple "hold harmless" waiver statement on the bill of sale and have him sign it. If there is a chance he'll let kids use the boat, I'd add flotation chambers in the bow, stern or under the thwarts...
    "The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
    Doctor Jacquin to Lieutenant D'Hubert, in Ridley Scott's first major film _The Duellists_.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Can you sell a homemade boat

    Again, thanks for all for responding. I am reffering to the the popular one sheet skiff design. The intention is purely a cartop boat to use on ponds and small lakes and such. I've discussed a 'hold harmless' agreement with the person I was going to make it for, and he got very concerned about why that would be needed and lost faith in the plywood boat concept immediately. Saves me alot of trouble, but I'm also disappointed because I know he would be impressed with it and liked it alot. And that is a great source of satisfaction
    Thanks again all
    Kenny in Philly's delphia

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Can you sell a homemade boat

    I have been confronted with the same issue,but I haven't said yes to the build.I have a friend that wants me to build a straight flat bottom skiff for sail or motor.He wants a 14 to 16 foot skiff with a drop down center board that is capable of sailing or using an outboard up to 15 horsepower.At first he was stuck on 25 horsepower.It took a lot of persuading to get that down to 15HP.I know I can build what he wants and I know it will be safe as long as it's operated in a safe manner.It'll be registered in South Carolina,but that's the problem.I'll have to register and title it in my name,wait a given amount of time,and sell it to him.To build boats,at home or at a business,for resell,you have to be a registered with the USCG as boat manufacturer and meet their strict regulations.They do surprise checks as well as OSHA.The USCG has a free packet to apply for a manufactures ID.Check your local boat licensing agency to find out what's envolved in selling,titling,and registering a home built boat.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Can you sell a homemade boat

    There will be a number of ways to get around these regs, which are directed at large commercial manufacturers.

    I've mentioned several above, another might be for him to register it as a shared partnership build -- in other words, you bought most of the materials and you both provided the labor to build, then you sold out your "share" in the boat to him before completion.

    Another way would be for him to register it as a project boat that you started, gave up on and sold to him, and he completed. This happens all the time, one for sale right now on eBay...
    "The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
    Doctor Jacquin to Lieutenant D'Hubert, in Ridley Scott's first major film _The Duellists_.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Can you sell a homemade boat

    A one sheet skiff built to minimum standards (no glass, construction adhesive and luan, yet) with a motor sounds like the worst of all worlds. Used in a farm pond with oars it's plenty good. No place else.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Can you sell a homemade boat

    If your friend is going to pay you for your time and effort in building a boat for him, then get serious and build it as well as you would build it for yourself. Build it as if his life depended on it, because it will. Consider yourself to be in business, and understand that people in business become liable to lawsuits even if they are very conscientious and do excellent work. This is part of being in business. If you are thinking about doing a slapdash job and then worrying about being sued you have no business being in business. Killing yourself in an jerry built boat is merely stupid. Doing it to someone else for money is criminal.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Can you sell a homemade boat

    First off the simple answer is, if you build a boat and sell it, you are in the boat building biz. You need a manufacturer identification code from the USCG and the boat has to meet Federal Regs. The idea above about kit boats is incorect. Kit boats have to meet the regs too. See Http://newboatbuilders.com and it will answer all your question about this.
    "Don't tell me that I can't. Tell me how I can!"
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  21. #21
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    Default Re: Can you sell a homemade boat

    You must have strict regs in the U S? Here I am free to drown myself,in whatever I can afford.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Can you sell a homemade boat

    Quote Originally Posted by S B View Post
    You must have strict regs in the U S? Here I am free to drown myself,in whatever I can afford.
    Yes we do.It can be counter productive at times.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Can you sell a homemade boat

    There are similar rules up here as well. One reason wooden boats as a business is more or less dead. Traditional boats are exempt,and there are a few building those - færing/snekke types. Home-built boats can be sold after 5 years,unless of course it is inspected and certified during the build.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Can you sell a homemade boat

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Eikenberry View Post
    First off the simple answer is, if you build a boat and sell it, you are in the boat building biz. You need a manufacturer identification code from the USCG and the boat has to meet Federal Regs. The idea above about kit boats is incorect. Kit boats have to meet the regs too. See Http://newboatbuilders.com and it will answer all your question about this.
    You MUST be kidding... he's building a 8 ft toyboat...
    Time to tell the Fed's and the Coasties to F...OFF.. and go back to chasing drugrunners...

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Can you sell a homemade boat

    I think a boat constructed of 1/4" luann glued with pl premium coated with epoxy and no glass with an outboard on it should be sold only to an ex wife. Sounds like a disaster waiting to happen and the end of a friendship.

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Can you sell a homemade boat

    Don't make up any stories about "kits," or try to do something cute to avoid getting sued. That will only make it worse if something goes awry in the process.

    Specifically, what design is this? Just curious. Who did you buy the plans from?
    Quote Originally Posted by James McMullen View Post
    Yeadon is right, of course.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Can you sell a homemade boat

    Just thinking-- But when was the last time I heard of an accident that was caused by the boat, rather than the person using it. Esp inthe case of small skiffs? Lawyers can make a case of anything...sadly. But I hardly think helping a friend get afloat should make you responsible for his use of the mediem. Can anybody come up with a case of a cheap ply/ pl premium/ no glass epoxy boat that actually fell apart causing a death??
    A

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Can you sell a homemade boat

    This isn't a toy boat. He's putting an outboard on it and using it for fishing. If it was a toy, that is, not for carrying people, then no there are no rules. But even if it's only 8 feet and has one person, it's a boat.
    "Don't tell me that I can't. Tell me how I can!"
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  29. #29
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    Default Re: Can you sell a homemade boat

    Dear EZguine,
    About being sued by a friend, that's not the lawsuit you need to worry about. It's the lawyer representing your dead friend's heirs that will destroy you.
    If you build a boat intending to sell it... you will be considered to be a boat builder. And as a 'boat builder' you become laible for what you know or 'should have' known.
    If you try to skirt the law while doing any of this you'll likely pay a much higher consequence as it then involves 'intent'.
    If you have a family of any description... take a look at them over the dinner table tonight... do you really want to do that to them?

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Can you sell a homemade boat

    Quote Originally Posted by jimconlin View Post
    beside the question of your legal liability and whether your friend is complicit in the boat's construction, ask yourself:

    If this thing drowns him, will you have a clear conscience?
    better drowned than duffers. If not duffers won't drown.

  31. #31
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    Default Re: Can you sell a homemade boat

    Quote Originally Posted by tom151 View Post
    Dear EZguine,
    About being sued by a friend, that's not the lawsuit you need to worry about. It's the lawyer representing your dead friend's heirs that will destroy you.
    If you build a boat intending to sell it... you will be considered to be a boat builder. And as a 'boat builder' you become laible for what you know or 'should have' known.
    If you try to skirt the law while doing any of this you'll likely pay a much higher consequence as it then involves 'intent'.
    If you have a family of any description... take a look at them over the dinner table tonight... do you really want to do that to them?

    This thread is roughly 9 years old. The original poster hasn't been here since a couple days after making this thread. I think it's a moot point now.
    http://bensboatblog.blogspot.com/
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  32. #32
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    Default Re: Can you sell a homemade boat

    All that fear-talk is crap.

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