Introduction: How to Get a Free Yacht

About: Tim Anderson is the author of the "Heirloom Technology" column in Make Magazine. He is co-founder of, manufacturers of "3D Printer" output devices. His detailed drawings of traditional Pacific I…

Step 1: Get the Free Yacht

This is the easy part.
"Wooden Boat" magazine has a "free boats" section in every issue.
Any harbormaster can show you some free boats.
They're especially plentiful in the northeast in the fall.
Divorce season, whenever that is, produces lots of project boats that
"must be removed from my yard before such-and-such a date".

My friend Patrick and I got the beauty seen here from an ad in the free section of
Here's how our baby looked in "Latitude 38" magazine in December of 2004.

Step 2: Rent a Marina Slip

That's where you'll put your new boat.
Our slip costs $200 a month because it's a 30 foot slip.
Our bowsprit is a lot of that length. We could saw it off to save rent, but it's a great thing to ride on.
Some marinas don't allow wooden boats because they don't like beauty or suffering.
Or boats older than ten years, or worth less than 40 grand or somesuch because they worship Moloch.
We found the Emeryville Marina, which is a righteous place.
Here's the application we filled out to get in.
It requires insurance, which in turn asks what marina the boat is in, which is a catch-22.

Step 3: Get Insurance

In order to rent your marina slip you have to get insurance.
Get whatever the marina requires/recommends.
The following companies wouldn't sell us us a policy because the boat is too old.
Geico, West Marine, BoatUS which is the same thing, United Marine Underwriters.
Progressive insurance did it online with no hassles. Yay! It costs about $300 a year.
I'm told is also good for insuring weird old boats, cars, etc.

Step 4: Get It Ready to Move

We swam around the boat with spatulas and brushes, scraping off the seafood that was thriving on the bottom.
When we were done the boat sat an inch or so higher in the water.
The diesel engine runs great, but the RUBBER exhaust hose leaked and had to be replaced.
There's a pump that sprays water into the exhaust pipe cooling the hot gas just as it hits the rubber hose going out the back of the boat.
That's apparently the usual way of doing it. We went to West Marine and bought a new one.
The sticker said "$7.71" and I thought that was very reasonable. We also got some flares which the coastguard, the DMV or somesuch requires.
The price on the hose was PER FOOT. $85.00 got us a rubber hose and four highway flares.
Definition of boat: "A hole in the water into which you pour money".
Here's Patrick harvesting seaweed and crustaceans off our hull.

Step 5: To Be Continued...

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