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Restoration (i.e. Safety) vs. Preservation…

There’s been a debate within the antique and classic boating community for years about the merits of restoration versus the preservation of our beautiful yet very old boats.  I believe most of us would agree in a perfect world we would choose to preserve our boats ‘as they were’, retaining original wood and manufacturing techniques for the purpose protecting the true ‘article’ for future generations.  Even now at ACBS shows they have two classes of boats… Restored and Preserved.

The fact is we do not live in a perfect world, and wood, fasteners, and other components will, without a doubt, fail as it ages.  If one owns a truly original boat that’s forty, fifty, or more years old on it’s original bottom and wishes to use it on a regular basis they are only asking for trouble.  This is evidenced every year at boat shows, and most recently at the Lake Hartwell show in South Carolina where a very nice and safe looking Shepherd nearly sank in the middle of the lake when it lost one of its bottom planks.  I’m sure the owner had every confidence in his boat’s bottom and had used it on many occasions without any difficulties other than perhaps some minor water seepage once it swelled up.  Who would have thought a bottom plank would come off and nearly sink the boat?  What if his family had been passengers on an early morning cruise with no one else around?  Yes, possible disaster.

As it was, the owner and his boater passenger were participating in a photo shoot with other classic boats and owners who immediately provided assistance and fortunately saved the boat, and more importantly the passengers.  My point is true preservation of these old boats is fine if they are going to live out their lives in a museum or attend shows where they will be displayed safely moored to docks.  If one intends to ‘use’ the boat with family and friends it is both prudent and common sense to properly replace the bottom.  There are many reputable shops in addition to ours that do this as a profession.  Yes, it requires a substantial investment in your boat, but compared to compromising on safety with family, friends, and even the boat… what are you going to do?

You can check out this sobering story using the link…


Happy (and safe) Boating,

Prior thought December, '10

Prior thought October, '10

Prior thought June, '09

Prior thought March '09...