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Boating: Letters to the boating expert

November 16, 2011
By boatguy Ed , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

A large number of letters and emails have mistakenly landed on my desk. I am no expert (a drip under pressure), but I do have resources that I can call on to answer most questions. Here goes!

- Dear BG: I am just passing through on my way to Marathon, but I would like to know if there is an affordable 'Do-It-Yourself' boat yard that could haul my 44' Trawler? Signed Trawler Pete.

Dear Pete: That's like asking if the Unicorn is/was real. DIY boat yards are scarcer than Unicorns because a lot of the boat yards in Lee County were swallowed up by developers during the boom/bust. As an example, all you have to do is dinghy over to San Carlos Island from your mooring ball and walk along Main Street. You will eventually find the Compass Rose Boat Club, and it's condition will explain the situation.

Compass Rose Marina was a little boat yard with 80 stack storage racks, 33 wet slips and a 30-ton travel lift that had evolved over the years. The owner scratched out a living and eventually hit the jackpot when the boom came. The new buyers were going to build a 350-stack storage barn, swimming pool, restaurant and clubhouse. Delay after delay hampered the project until construction started just as the crash hit.

Now the property is overgrown with small pine trees. Rumor has it that another investor will restart the property, but I've always thought the initial plan was flawed because of the tiny canal. Anyway that is why their aren't any 'affordable' DIY' yards anymore.

- Capt Ed: My wife and I enjoy....... I am asking you to pump up the publicity for the upcoming FMB Christmas parade! Heck, why not enter the parade yourself and I will give you a PBR! Signed Capt Ted Schindler II.

Dear Capt. Ted: A man after my own heart but I don't let anyone buy me a beer. (See Column 2/14/99). Anyway, I applaud your efforts to reinvigorate the Fort Myers Beach Christmas Boat Parade. I haven't participated -except to watch from the seat of my favorite watering hole- for many years, and I'm not sure why. It was always fun to get friends and neighbors out to help decorate the old boat and ride along. One year, I was Santa Claus on my boat. Sadly, I've grown into the costume without need for a pillow.

You asked if the "Dead End Canal Yacht Club" could enter a boat, and we will discuss this next meeting. I will report our decision next week. The idea of sponsorships is intriguing. It appears from your route map that there will be plenty of places to view the parade from and a lot of happy people for the "paraders" to see.

I'm glad that Matanzas Inn and Restaurant is sponsoring your boat this year and Salty Sam's Marina has offered dock-age for participants. I encourage readers to go to the FMB Chamber's website event's page for complete details and a route map. It looks like almost all the waterfront restaurants will be sponsoring boats for this year's event on Dec. 3, from 5:45 to 9 pm. More next week.

- Ed: I am desperate to sell my 38-foot sailboat from behind my soon-to-be-foreclosed home. I own the boat free and clear but, despite dropping the price far below book, I have no takers. My question is about an unorthodox offer I received for exactly my original asking price but with just a small amount down and monthly payments. He is a Christian and I tend to trust him. What do you think? Signed Motivated Seller.

Dear Motivated: Unless you can chain the boat to a sturdy dock until the balance is paid, I think it is a terrible idea! The only more telling scenario would have been him offering you more than you were asking. Try to understand, the minute you and he ink the deal, it becomes a civil matter. You can't extradite him and the boat back from Belize because he's sending you a dollar a month payment, and he has a contract.

It happens all the times to old people getting scammed out of life savings and restaurant owners getting scammed out of their property. The courts in this country don't protect the good people; they protect the devious scoundrels because they use the proceeds from one swindle to promote another while the good people go broke trying to recover their own property. I used to think that there was such a thing as a bulletproof contract but I was wrong.

If you're going to lose the house anyway and have the boat free and clear, then the solution is staring you in the face. Anyone can claim to be a good Christian and quote scripture but have a soul as black as night. Put the furniture in storage and sail off into the sunset!

BTW (by the way) thank you all for stopping by our booth at the boat show. Most of you liked the new DECYC logo on the t-shirt, so order early and join the club.

Boatguy Ed is a retired bottom paint maker (Super Shipbottom is his wife's company now) and is currently a volunteer extra on his son's Boater's Treasures television show, Send your comments to, I dare you!



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