Skip to content

Bad things, good things


I have been trying to sell a boat. I don’t use it, and the market is not good for boats. Boats are a luxury item. Most people have parked their boats. Very few are out on the water anymore. I don’t use mine because I don’t have the time, and it’s not nearly as much fun as I had thought it would be. I had heard the adage before, “The best days of boat ownership are the day you buy it, and the day you sell it.” Now I know how true that is.

Right before a prospective buyer came to look at it the other day, I decided to check the oil in the motor. I couldn’t find the dipstick, and the sump looked low when I opened the fill tube, so I added nearly a quart of oil.

Way too much, as it turned out. And the motor had no drain tube that I could find. So the motor smoked horribly and ran badly, being overfull of oil. (Two-cycle motors can burn off excess oil, but four-cycles really can’t – there’s nowhere for it to go. It’s not good to run a motor overfull or underfilled with oil.)

The buyer, to no one’s great surprise, decided not to buy it, because it smoked horribly. It was my own fault that I lost the sale, and I felt incredibly stupid. And I felt worse when I finally did find the dipstick. It was yellow, as all dipsticks are. Why I couldn’t see it, I don’t know, except that colors don’t stand out to me. I look for shapes instead. And the pull-ring was oddly shaped, so I didn’t recognize it for what it was.


I immediately hooked the boat up and dragged it over to my mechanic, told him what I’d done, and asked him to fix it. He didn’t seem to think it was a big deal. I hope it’s not.

I mentioned that I was trying to sell it. He immediately offered to take it on consignment, and expressed optimism that he could sell it for as much as 50 percent more than I had thought it was worth. I was pleased. It will certainly get more notice in his public boat yard than it would in the newspaper or online.

Then I noticed that he had a flyer posted over his desk for an M1 Carbine for sale, cheap. We talked about it. He has young kids and his wife didn’t want it in the house. He had gotten it for cheap from a neighbor who never used it. So I bought it for cheap. I collect military weapons. The M1 Carbine, though underpowered and quaint, is still a classic.

So, I screwed up my boat motor and lost a sale, but I got the boat out of the yard anyway, it will probably sell on consignment for more than I was asking, and I got a rifle I’ve always wanted, for less than half of what they normally sell for.

It started out as a lousy day, but ended very well.

UPDATE: The mechanic called and the boat sold already, for what he had estimated. I wish I’d taken it to him months ago.

  1. 2012-02-02T19:30:12+00:00 19:30

    Wow! What a great turnaround!!


  2. 2012-02-01T10:41:12+00:00 10:41

    My husband has a boat that I would like your mechanic to sell.


  3. 2012-02-01T02:32:51+00:00 02:32

    Yay. Good to read a happy story like that.


Comments are closed.