1. If you don’t love your boat, why spend the money on something that doesn’t make your heart jump when you see it at anchor? Move on.
2. Laugh. Things are going to go wrong. Hey, it’s a boat!
3. Be flexible, but control the “might-as-wells.” There are times when—with little added cost—you can make another improvement. Go for it. But consider the impact of each added project on your overall budget. It’s startling how several small things can add up quickly.
4. Consider the resale value, but in moderation. If you love this boat and plan to keep her for a while, doing a refit to maximize your enjoyment is a fine idea. But if you think that adding a $100,000 refit to a boat worth $200,000 is going to make her worth $300,000, you need a lesson in Reality Math. It would be like adding a $10,000 paint job to an old Ford Pinto. It just makes it a shiny old Ford Pinto, not a Ferrari. Do it because you love the boat, not because you plan to flip it.
5. Plan ahead to interface with what exists. Try to use as much of the old boat as possible without getting into major structural projects. Moving a bulkhead an inch or two is just foolish.
6. Consider the long-term effects first. Adding a fuel or water tank can change the balance of a boat and seriously affect performance and handling.
7. Expect the unexpected. You never know what you’ll find once you start opening up bulkheads and overheads. Build a little “wiggle room” into your budget.
8. Get all the warranties you can, both from the manufacturers of the systems and the refit yard.
9. Keep your insurance company in the loop. Find out if the yard is carrying liability on your project. It’s also a good idea to continue your hull and machinery policy during the refit, and update your valuation as the project is progressing.
10. Have Fun! Hey, it’s a boat!