Here I Go Again

I’m on the prowl. I’m boat shopping again.

Growing up, I had occasional brushes with them. In home movies, you can see a 4-year-old version of me (hmm, I don’t recall a life jacket) on a rowboat during vacation up in Washington State.

The big story around that visit is that a cousin of mine put a brand-new engine on that boat, went out in the water and it fell off, sinking in the mud below and was never seen again. Apparently, he hadn’t attached it very well and it was the reason someone had to row.

A rare photo of the boat with an engine

A year or so later, I went up to Big Bear Lake and went out on a boat fishing with my uncle Chuck and cousin Charlie. I don’t remember catching fish, but I do remember them thinking it was hilarious when I decided to try eating some salmon eggs.

One time during a South Dakota family trek, my late uncle James, my dad and I went out on the Missouri River, with me latching on to a huge Northern Pike. It’s trips like that one that makes one a fisherman for life.

However, I never really owned a boat until I was married, a couple of kids in and had cracked 40. One Father’s Day I went to look at an ’88 Bayliner Capri and fell in love. I had something to play with during the Lake Chelan vacations and even came home from work one day, grabbed the kids, got us lunches from Boston Market and then went out on Lake Washington to have the Blue Angels fly over our heads. Now, that’s how you do it here in the northwest.

A quick side-story about that. Five days after purchasing the boat, a brand-new Hooters Restaurant opened up in Lynnwood, north of Seattle, and the Murdock, Hunter & Alice show paid a visit to settle the dispute about it being “a family restaurant.” As we walked in the door of this brand-new restaurant with all the Hooters Girls greeting us, one yelled out, “Tim!” It was the girlfriend of the guy who I had bought the boat from. Small world.

I had that boat for around five years, but while my love continued, the rest of the family became a bit bored with it, resulting in me going out by myself more often. That just made it too much work. Add in the time I took the kids to Lake Wenatchee and bent the shaft by going over some rocks and it was a sign that it was time to sell.

In recent years, for a time, we had a boat to borrow up at Lake McMurray, where Victoria’s family cabin is, but that went away. So now, I feel I’ve got this life thing under control, I could afford a small boat payment every month and I know I would use it. I just want to make sure I don’t buy something that lives in the repair shop.

That being said, I came close to pulling the trigger on a ’91 Bayliner yesterday. I really wanted that boat. It was $4500, which is the same price I paid for my Bayliner back in the day, and it looked pretty good. Just on the dirty side, as I was told that it had been in storage for a year.

Where it broke down:

  1. I was told it had been sitting around for a year. The last time it had been licensed was 2012. Hmmmm…
  2. The seller said that he had all kinds of work done to it. I called the shipyard where it was being stored and was told that they didn’t do the work. I wonder who did?
  3. I asked the yard if they could do a mechanical check, and they said they could–at $175 an hour.
  4. I checked with BECU about doing a boat loan with them. They don’t loan money on boats older than 25 years.

For those reasons, it just got too complicated. I had a check with me, ready to fill out, but the inner voice said this wasn’t the one. So, my quest continues.

I know, I know: “The two happiest days of a boat owner’s life are the day he buys a boat and the day he sells it.”

And now, the shipyard where I visited yesterday said they had a similar boat to the one I was looking at, and they had done all the maintenance on it. I’m going to see that at noon today. We’ll see what my inner voice has to say about this one. Wish me luck.

Here I go again.

Tim Hunter

Don’t Forget To Boat!

Yeah, I overshare in this blog and here I go again.

So, I want a boat. I used to own one, a Bayliner Open Bow that I bought one Father’s Day weekend, many, many years ago. I loved that boat. But over time, I became the only one in the family who shared that fondness. Then, after I bent the prop on some rocks, I decided to let it go.

However, that itch has been wanting to be scratched for a long time and I felt like now just might be the right time to make a move.

There are lots of ways to go. Return to the family-sized cruiser for fun. Keep it simple and go for a basic fishing boat. Or go big with something that has to be moored, but keeping in mind, if you have a head and a galley on board, it’s a “home” and you can write off the interest.

Thinking it through, really, what I’m wanting to do is get my father-in-law Ernie out on the water again to go fishing. It would mean a heck of a lot to him, and at the same time, I could get a boat.

So, I’ve been carefully watching boattrader.com and even skimming the Craigslist ads, just to get an idea on prices. With that in mind, the other day I saw this incredible offer–a 17-foot Lund fishing boat with motor and…well, when I wrote to see if the boat was still available, this was the response:

Hi!
Thanks for your interest in my 2003 Lund 1775 Pro-V. This boat is in perfect condition without any problems, always garaged, never used in salt water and has a clear title on my name. Boat comes complete with everything including: trailer, trolling motor, 2 x GPS Hummingbird Sonar/Fish Finder Touch Screens and High Performance 4-Blade Stainless Steel Propeller, Engine 140 HP Johnson in 4 strokes, 120 hours, Length 18.
I sell it at this low price $1400 including delivery to your address, because my husband passed away 3 months ago, this was my husband’s boat and i don’t need it.
I travel a lot with my job and I want to make this deal thru eBay Motors. If you are interested in purchasing my boat, just reply me your full name, full address and phone number, so I can notify eBay Motors(with no further obligation or fees). Then eBay Motors will contact you to explain the purchase process. I look forward to hear from you.

God Bless you and your family!

Well, that’s an incredible deal. Wow. Seems like a perfect fit. I had asked if I could come over and take a look at it. Well, yes, if I was up for a long drive. She said she was Sarah Carter from Kentucky and that she preferred to sell it through EBay Motors. Didn’t know there was an EBay Motors, but I went online and sure enough, there they were. But Sarah’s boat wasn’t listed, no matter how hard I searched.

Then, within minutes of each other, I got the “invoice” from EBay motors and a prod from Sarah, asking if I had received it yet.

Hi ,
Tim, did you received the invoice from eBay Motors at your email address?
I’ve just got a notice from eBay Motors, saying that they had sent you the details on our transaction at your email address.
Just wanted to be sure, that you have received it and you understood how to make the payment.
Please get back to me asap and inform me when you will be able to make the payment so they can start the delivery process at your address!
I’m waiting for your payment confirmation, keep me posted!
Thanks a lot!

That seemed odd. Like she was in a hurry to make this happen. About that time, my wife stopped by, I told her what was going on and she said, “Sounds like a scam to me.”

I don’t have any experience with Ebay Motors, but it does exist. The way she explained the process: they would invoice me, I’d give them the $1400, they’d send the boat in two days, and then I could check it out for five days and if I didn’t like it, I could send it back and get a refund on my money.

It was about then that I thought I better look into things. I looked up Sarah Carter on Facebook, WhitePages.com and even checked the obituaries for a Carter that passed away in Kentucky over the past couple of months. Zero.

Next, I took a closer look at the invoice “Ebay” sent me. Here’s what it looked like.

Looking good. But my wife’s comment made me realize I should probably do a little investigation. So, I contacted Ebay to verify this was legit. Completely bogus.  Which I would have thought once I got to the bottom of the agreement and saw that they wanted the payment in EBay Gift cards.

I had even told this Sarah Carter how sorry I was for her loss.

So, they’re out there, scamsters in all shapes and forms. They took a swing at me with a Craigslist ad from Kentucky. Or, they said they were from Kentucky. The person from EBay said a lot of times the people claim they’re on a military base, so you can’t come by.

My little boat heart is broken. My father-in-law and I will be fishing from the shore again this weekend. But then again, I saved $1400.

Huh. Maybe I should go buy a boat!

Tim Hunter