I’ll be honest and admit that I really hate being surprised, especially where boats are concerned. Maybe it’s that I grew up on horror films where surprises were always sort of horrific. On the other hand, it just might be most of my surprises have been of the negative sort so color me somewhat gun shy where surprises are concerned.
The funny thing is that, reading other boat folks blogs and suchlike i see that they also talk about surprises on boats and it’s never ever a happy occurrence. More often than not it’s a problem and unbidden problems are going to be expensive.
It’s just the nature of boats and cruising.
For instance if I sail off to some place new and don’t check about the rules, costs, and politics of visiting there I’ll find that there is going to be a surprise of some sort just waiting to happen. Or, if I jump into a project without some due diligence beforehand there will be some consternation in the mix to bite me on the ass.
Lucky for us we have the internet which makes it pretty easy to do some homework to find out what to expect whether you’re cruising or taking on a boat build or refit.
Nothing keeps surprises at bay as well as a bit of homework and due diligence.
Need to know what food costs in St Thomas, Hawaii, or Guam? Go to Costuless online and see what your grocery bill should cost. Pretty much anywhere you go in the world will have chain stores with online shopping so you can get an idea of what you’d have to pay for groceries. More importantly, it gives you a base line so that you’ll know when some stores are on the high side.
Same goes for projects. I always check to make sure that what I’ll need is actually available to finish a project as having a half completed project can ruin your day/week/month/year. Nearly as important is knowing what things you need for the project should cost. I’ve noticed that a lot of boat blogs and YouTube channels tend to share affiliate links for gear and materials that are on the high end of what they should cost so before you start buying epoxy and suchlike from Amazon it might be a good idea to do some cost comparisons before you buy stuff.
Seriously when that $300 dinghy project winds up taking two years and costing you $1200 you really can’t blame it on a surprise. The same goes when arriving on some island with wall to wall Megayachts expecting to find stateside bargains as high prices tend to go with the neighborhood.
Sadly, these days, common sense is often in short supply but it’s a learnable tool that will go a long way to extend your budget as well as improving your quality of life.