• Mobile App For Android Now Online!

    Download it here. The app is searchable in the Google Play Store under Sailboat Owners.

    Sorry iPhone/iPad users, we are still waiting on Apple. :(

    Click the X in the upper right corner to make this go away

Scope creep, project creep, "kitchen sink syndrome", no marine term exists

Aug 22, 2011
MacGregor Venture V224 Cheeseland
I only wanted to fix a soggy leaking mast step 6 years ago - turned into a major boat rebuild from bottom up that I am years away from finishing....
  • Like
Likes: TomY


Jan 20, 2005
Nauticat 321 pilothouse 32 Erie PA
those who understand project creep understand why a mechanic might justifiably need to bill $1000 to re wire a mast... on our chevy roadtrek van the driver rear reverse light went out. van flunked inspection. rod trek wiring diagram showed wires feeding from front through upholstered ceiling of van to drop down into rear light assemblies. f acorn said apply wire likely 'pinched.' chevy shop said their only elec guy was out with flu. but it took 6 hours to undo and redo the upholstered panels looking for the pinch, which i never did find... 2 hrs later i figured out how to jumper the hot from passenger side reverse light to get sufficient amps to light the missing light.


Jul 24, 2005
Beneteau 323 Manistee, MI
There is no way to accurately estimate the hours that go into a boat project. I got to the point where I would tell my wife that I had a one hour boat project in the morning and that I would see her in time for supper.
I usually had all of the proper tools to do a job with one problem. The tool I needed was in Virginia and I was in Michigan...
Mister Murphy often stumbled into the midst of the project by having only two of the three odd sized bolts needed, etc.
I am just happy that I have the ability to do my own work for the most part, and rather enjoy doing it. I also know when I need to rely on someone smarter. Fortunately, I have a great working relationship with the yard workers, and the owner in the yard where I store my boat.
  • Like
Likes: TomY
Oct 25, 2011
Island Packet IP31 Lake St. Louis, Montreal
I've heard it referred to as "Shipfitters Disease"
Here is a good example form years ago, courtesy of the Land Rover Owners M<ailing list.

From the Land Rover Owner mailing list. .

Date: Wed, 22 Jan 1997 12:40:25 -0800
From: jouster@rocket.com(John Ousterhout)
Subject: Re: Shipfitters?

Mark asks: What is "shipfitters disease"?
(an example:)
Well, it's a nice day to work outside, and that cleat is loose, so I'll just
tighten the screws. Oops, one is stripped, so, to do it right, I'll remove
the cleat and see what the problem is. Oh, dear, dryrot!! Well, it's only in
this one plank, and I can easily replace it. Gee, all the screws are loose,
better replace the whole frame while I'm at it. Oh, shoot, I'll have to take
out the wiring harness and chain plate, well, the wiring harness really
needed to be replaced anyway, and now's a good time to get that chainplate
regalvanized. Fooey, now it won't match the other-ones, so I'll just do all
of them, won't that look nice. And since I'll have to repaint the new
planks, I might as well do the rest of the hull or it won't match. And the
shiney hull will really make the cabin trunk look chalkey, and I really
wanted to strip and varnish it, so what better time? And since it'll be out
of commission for at least a week, and I'll have to take out the cabinets to
redo the wiring properly (all those funky splices can finally go), I can
redo them at the same time. Gee, with all that room, and nothing to get
dirty I can finally pull the head and find out why the engine's been burning
oil. I'm sure the shop can have it done before the cabinets are ready to go
back in. In fact, this may be an opportunity to rebuild the bottom end,
after all, it's 30 years old and bearings and rings will never be easier to
put in. I could even paint the block while it's out, and galvanize the
through-hull fittings, paint the bilge, and get that new pump for an early
Christmas present, maybe new sails to go with the new paint, revarnish the
mast, replace the sticking sheave while I'm up there, maybe a new antenna,
or at least the coax. Heck, the radio's as old as the boat, and since I'm
this far into it.....



Dec 30, 2010
Pacific Seacraft Orion27 HP: San Diego, M: Anacortes
I thought this creeping issue of finding other things that need to be fixed as one tackles a project or repair was known as "the shipwrights problem."


Dec 30, 2010
Pacific Seacraft Orion27 HP: San Diego, M: Anacortes
And yeah... these days my toolbox is 50 miles away from the boat... but my "new tool source" is about 1 mile away, as is a WM and a couple of other nautical suppliers.

I have found it vastly easier to equip the boat and dock locker with the new stuff I need, than to drive even 10 miles (back when the house was closer to the boat). The time sink of making sure things were secure; driving as little as 20 miles to get something, and then get back to working on a project, was just not worth it... hell, that's half a day.

Ward H

Nov 7, 2011
Catalina 30 Mk II Barnegat, NJ
For things like wire, wire terminals, and fasteners I now buy in bulk, a little more money up front, but in the long run its cheaper and saves waiting and trips to the very distant marine stores.
Sep 14, 2014
Catalina 22 Pensacola, Florida
Its not just on boats, try to do a small repair on house, I just wanted to tighten the bolt on yard light where it screws into the fascia board, turned out it was dry rot, so removed fixture and pulled off fascia to replace it, found large wasp nest, time off to urgent care for treatment of 32 stings , then pest removal guy to finish extermination, replace fascia , paint same, mount fixture, replace glass and bulb broken when dropped it single hand install wise. But all ok now, but I refuse to touch the leaking hose bib cause new rubber gasket could lead to foundation work.
  • Like
Likes: FastOlson
Nov 8, 2010
Beneteau First 36.7 & 260 Minneapolis MN & Bayfield WI
Take my usual spring engine maintenance schedule that I performed every year on the Yanmar we had in the Sabre. I replaced all fluids, filters, the v-belt, adjusted/checked valve clearance washed the engine and engine room, WD-40’d everything down and inspected every wire terminal and engine harness plug.

By the way, this is a picture of the Yanmar with some 1700 hours on at 11 years of age...
That's pretty. Take care of a diesel and it will take care of you. Here's BlueJ's little 2-cyl gem, Volvo MD2010. Less than half the hours but twice (23 years) the age.

  • Like
Likes: BruceB1
Apr 8, 2010
Ericson Yachts Olson 34 Portland OR
This thread is like finding a new 12-step treatment program for boat owners. :)
Thanks much, and I am sincere, for letting me feel better about our current project that has been experiencing rabid "mission creep" for the last several weeks.
One bit of wisdom to pass along: when replacing an old engine with a new one, the actual engine exchange is the minor part of the operation.
It's all the #^(!$%+ change-outs in sizing for every hose -- exhaust, fuel, water, coolant or whatever. The new water lift muffler just arrived today, and the larger exhaust transom fitting is now ready to bolt in. The silvery mylar surface over the new sound foam in the engine compartment sure is purdy, tho.
Fixing up a good old boat is still better than golf or alcoholism. I guess......
Mar 28, 2017
American Tug 395 Newport
That's pretty. Take care of a diesel and it will take care of you. Here's BlueJ's little 2-cyl gem, Volvo MD2010. Less than half the hours but twice (23 years) the age.

View attachment 148136
That's what I'm talking about!!!
She sure is a beauty... I love seeing well maintained engines.