Nekton boats may come back!!

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cappyjon431

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believe me, any vitriol is beyond warranted. this industry is too small for disloyalty and anyone who thinks they can stick a knife in your back without you finding out about it has proven their incompetence. the fact that anyone has taken any time to even consider these claims as a possibility strikes me as funny, knowing the character who is making them personally...

I only ever captained the Rorqual, but used to work with nelson and heard very similar statements from him as to the pilot's dominance. the layout on the rorqual may have been better, but the seaworthiness of the pilot was said to be superior. the only problem with that is, you have to consider the amount of time the owner was responsible for its upkeep in comparison to the rorqual (in respect to it's current condition for a refit). basically the longer that man owned something the more time it has had to be mistreated.

either way, im done with nekton, and im done with their gigantic nightmares for vessels. as grateful as i may be for the employment and all that i learned while working there, i'm glad that it's over. i just wish i had gotten out a few months sooner when i originally had planned, then i wouldn't be out 5 grand due to the bankruptcy.

I certainly would not pass judgement on your animosity towards the OP, as I was not around and I have no dogs in this fight.

Nelson certainly knew what he was talking about and I take pride in the fact that I hired Nelson (I was in charge of human resources when Nelson first came to work for Nekton) and helped train him and Denise.

The Pilot was well maintained for a long time and it is important to remember that it was launched over eight years prior to the Rorqual. While both boats are obviously in a state of disrepair, the Pilot is 17 years old and the Rorqual is only nine years old. The fact that they are in similarly poor condition says quite a bit about the initial construction of the Rorqual.

I am truly sorry that your time with Nekton was a disappointment and that you lost a great deal of money in the process. It was probably a case of getting with the company a little too late. I only have good things to say about my time on the Pilot, but that was quite a few years before you started working for the company.
 

cappyjon431

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I've done several liveboards and will say that I've never watched TV while on them. I don't see this being a big issue. But I'm sure some folks would like it to watch the news or something.

However, last one I was on was during the fall and I sure missed not being able to watch a football game that I wanted to see. (Thank GOD for TIVO!) I definitely would have watched it that night.

I'm not a big fan of the idea of having TV on liveaboards, I think it takes away from the comraderie that guests develop during the week. I would hate to see divers fighting over the remote when they should be out diving! That being said, I definitely missed being able to watch college football while working on the Pilot. I will never forget doing a charter in Belize full of D2Ders and they voted to forgo their last afternoon of diving so we could all go to the Radisson in Belize City and catch the Fiesta Bowl with University of Miami playing Ohio State for the national championship. I was EXTREMELY happy because I am a lifelong Hurricane, although the final result of the game left me wishing they had stayed out and gone diving.
 

scubafanatic

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I don't see TV as a plus. (This might make an interesting poll.) We don't watch TV on dive trips on principal, actually if there is a TV my husband is prone to throw a beach towel over it. The only thing I would be tempted by is the Weather Channel. :) If we've got a TV in our cabin on a liveaboard it might occasionally get used to look at pictures but not even to watch a DVD. The Aggressor and PH seem to be going the way of installing flat panels in all the cabins during upgrades and it seems like a waste to me. Now if I were crew, I could see the appeal of satellite TV.

Now something resembling real internet access (not the special text only marine email crap) I might be interested in. Though maybe not for what you'd probably have to charge.

...anyone who can't live without TV for a week needs to seriously reassess their priorities.
 

donhealy

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Well, I enjoy leaving the real world for a week. Let's leave TV out of the equation.

Cappyjon, Once again a person of reason and calm. Leviathan11, we all get the fact that you are bitter and probably have reason to be. But enough trashing people please. It doesn't improve your image to those who don't know you personally. All the guy asked was if anyone would be interested in returning to this type of watercraft.
 

DennisS

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...anyone who can't live without TV for a week needs to seriously reassess their priorities.

I've spent a lot of time on ships and it's a great morale booster for the crew. They're on there for months.
 

scubafanatic

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I've spent a lot of time on ships and it's a great morale booster for the crew. They're on there for months.

......for 'crew' it's a job, so I'm OK with 'crew' having TV, 'cause it's not 'crew' that's supposed to be on vacation. If I were 'crew', and saw my guests watching TV, I'd be a bit worried about 'tips' and guest satisfaction levels as TV watching usually indicates high levels of boredom....if I were 'crew' I'd be much happier to watch my guests getting up early to prep gear/cameras....doing all the dives, even the night dives...showing the guests really want to be diving from your boat/location...more 'tips' and more return business!
 

scubafanatic

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I'm not a big fan of the idea of having TV on liveaboards, I think it takes away from the comraderie that guests develop during the week. I would hate to see divers fighting over the remote when they should be out diving! That being said, I definitely missed being able to watch college football while working on the Pilot. I will never forget doing a charter in Belize full of D2Ders and they voted to forgo their last afternoon of diving so we could all go to the Radisson in Belize City and catch the Fiesta Bowl with University of Miami playing Ohio State for the national championship. I was EXTREMELY happy because I am a lifelong Hurricane, although the final result of the game left me wishing they had stayed out and gone diving.

Honestly, that 'vote' would highly piss me off! I paid good $ to be on a DIVE trip, and I expect the boat to honor their commitment to me as a paying customer for a DIVE (not football watching) trip. As you can likely tell, I couldn't give a 'rat's azz' about football, but whether it was football or whatever, the other divers don't have a right to vote me out of diving, if it's billed/sold as a dive trip, that's what it better be! If the rest of the guests want to change THEIR plans, that's fine, but I'd better be allowed to do my own dives, and the boat better have a DM stay behind with me too, if I need a buddy.
 

DebbyDiver

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I've spent a lot of time on ships and it's a great morale booster for the crew. They're on there for months.
Well then, I'm OK with TV in the crew areas but I have to agree with the others: I'm there for a dive trip. Period. Having TV in the staterooms or common areas would be a disincentive to me to book on the boat.
 

cappyjon431

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Well then, I'm OK with TV in the crew areas but I have to agree with the others: I'm there for a dive trip. Period. Having TV in the staterooms or common areas would be a disincentive to me to book on the boat.

I don't want to sound like a hard a$$, but I think having TV in crew areas would be a major mistake. If I ran a liveaboard company, I wouldn't want my crew huddled in their cabins watching the boob tube when they should be out socializing or diving with the guests. Don't get me wrong, I lived on a liveaboard for a long time and I missed the ability to occasionally watch the news or catch a football game, but remember that customer service should always come first.

On a scarier note, I would hate to think that crew members who were scheduled to do night watches or perform other safety duties could possibly become distracted by the presence of TV. Our night watch crew was never permitted to even watch videos on the TV because it was too much of a distraction. Having a live TV signal would increase potential distractions.

There is nothing wrong with reading a good book. Liveaboard guests should always consider leaving books behind once they have been read. The crews really appreciate it!
 

Wookie

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Well, I too am a former Captain and Engineer who bought the boat I worked on. I bought a working, in service dive boat that carried 34 passengers and had an established clientele. I paid $650,000 for the boat which included 1/2 of a piece of dirt in Texas. The dirt did not include dock space. Here is what I know:

It takes a lot of money that just lays around to run a dive boat. Make sure you have plenty of "laying around" money. You will need it eventually.

Most years we just service the loan and expenses. Upgrades are done in "good" years. We've only had 2 of 8 good years.

Fuel is the most expensive part of any trip. A trip from Ft. Lauderdale to the Bahamas adds 60 miles to the trip.

It's the crew that makes or breaks you. Highly paid, professional crew make the difference between an OK trip and a great one. Unlicensed crew on the Spree make $100/day, licensed make $200/day. Every day. I try to give them 1 day off per week. They get paid for that one too. Relying on tips to pay the crew is bull****. Tips are sure nice when you get them, but it's only a way of keeping score. Paying the crew a living wage makes the score go up.

Maintaining US flag status costs $600 per year payable to the USCG. If you're not doing the things that are required to maintain the vessel to US flag standards, your customers will notice, and will stop diving with you. Giving up the flag cuts the value of the boat in half immediately.

You can't make money moving the boat from location to location throughout the year without someone else paying for it. You just can't do it. Taking the boat off charter for a week to re-position makes no sense unless someone is paying for it (besides the owner/operator) You can, however, sell the re-positioning trip, at least enough to pay for the re-positioning.

Those boats were built specifically for the Bahamas trade. Use them for what they are good at. I hear over and over again that customers want a boat to run from Ft. Lauderdale to the Bahamas. Don't think I'm not listening.

You can't afford to dock at Port Everglades. You can't afford the Customs and Immigration fees, delays, and bad blood there. Find another marina.

No matter how much money your backer has, make them understand that it will take twice as much as you think it will. If you don't believe me, ask EVFleet here. Make sure you carry an Amex with you everywhere that you can put a generator on. Or a main engine. Have 5 or 6 $20,000 limit cards so when you need to buy your customers a hotel for the week, you can do it. I'm not kidding.

You are starting with one or two broken boats that may have lapsed COI's. I know for a fact that the scantlings in the pontoons will need replacement. Some of that work has been done on the Pilot, it's time to start on the Rorqual. Steel boats are much harder to maintain than aluminum ones. Harder means more expensive. Ask any boatyard, steel boats are built with a 20 year lifespan. Get a reputable company to come gauge the hull. I'll bet you will be surprised at how thin it is. Thin means expensive.

The air and nitrox systems are junk. New HPAC's, $20,000 each. Membrane system actually capable of servicing 40 divers (crew+guests), $50,000 unless you build it yourself. $25,000 if you build it yourself. I can help you.

If you replace the engines, you will have to either upgrade to Tier 2 emissions, fake out the Coast Guard, or put the rebuilt version of the same junk you already have. Junk for junk. It's what I do, but it is terribly inefficient.

You're going to need more money.

Divers will tell you what you want to hear. You will spend lots of money to do the upgrades that they are asking for. THEY STILL WON'T BOOK UNLESS THEY CAN AFFORD IT. Only 1% of your customers are on this board. Their opinions are important, but you need to buy/steal the Nekton's customer list. You need to do a real market survey. You need to send out 10,000 postcards. If you get back 1,000 responses, that's great. You're more likely to get back 50.

If those boats were a good deal, a liveaboard boat company would have bought them already. Say, one with deep pockets that doesn't have a US flagged vessel. Folks with way more liveaboard experience than you have have already passed.

Before I did anything else, I'd:

Get a full market value and replacement value survey on the boat. Include a hull condition survey. Remember, the surveyor works for you. Nekton's surveyor works for the liquidator. The liquidator wants the most he can get for the assets. Spend 10 grand on a real survey before you buy the boat. Sit down with the surveyor before he performs the surveyand discuss exactly what you need to know from the survey. Share with him the budget you have allocated for repairs. He will let you know if you can afford it. He works for you for a set fee. He gets paid to give you his honest opinion. Make sure he has errors and omissions insurance.

Perform a market survey of your prospective clientele. Your backer should insist on it. I pulled the wool over the banks eyes, and sometimes I wish I hadn't. You need to really start this thing with your eyes open. Do a real market survey. Ask RJP for an estimate of how much it will cost. You will be blown away at how expensive a market survey is. You can't afford not to do it.

Double your estimate of time you think it will take to get the boat back in the water.
 
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