News & Reviews
If you want to learn more about Bill Nowicki and what he can do, take a look at the testimonials below. Bill takes you on a journey of his ups and downs, challenges and successes. Learn how he is different from other boat repair people out there and hear from some of his clients. Also read a few articles that have featured reviews of Custom Boat Repairs.
The Right Tools
With 45 Years of Experience under my belt, I understand that the job needs to be done quickly and correctly. I know what type of equipment I need to make that happen. I use heavy-duty generators & air compressors to run the specialized fiberglass tools. I have seen many guys work out of the trunk of their car or van with small air compressors. One guy in particular comes to mind. A boat manufacturing company hired a guy from Virginia to work on a warranty job in New Jersey. On one of their boats, there was an interior crack. Their guy showed up in a pickup with a small pancake air compressor and a few supplies from the local boat store. All of his tools could have fit in one bag. Inside the boat he has to grind the Aft-Cabin. On his way into the boat, I see him grabbing a full breath of air and then rushing inside the cabin. With his breath held and his eyes squeezed shut, he was attempting to grind the crack in the fiberglass before he ran out of breath. He didn't want to get fiberglass in his eyes, it hurts like hell when it gets in your eyes, and he could only hold his breath for so long. Now I see fiberglass floating all over the inside of the boat. I can't wait to see the customer get inside of his boat with swim trunks on and getting a rash from the microscopic fiberglass dust. You can clean the boat as much as you want but it is almost impossible to get rid of that dust. When I showed him my setup he was very impressed. In fact he started using my supplies to finish the repair. The right way to do this repair is by first enclosing the repair area. You have to run two ventilators blowers to vent out the fiberglass dust inside the cabin. A self-contained breathing system (The Tyvek Suit) is essential to ensure that you have fresh air to breath. A breathing mask and goggles just won't get the job done. Having a large air compressor run your air tools such as grinders & carbide cutters is also important. It Is also necessary to have a very big generator. The electric in most of the boat yards if any, is not strong enough to run the breathing supply system, lights, electric tools and vacuum cleaners to suck up all the fiberglass dust.
What I Do and What I Won't Do
For me to take on a job, It has to be interesting and challenging, also it has to look good on the boat when finish. If it doesn't meet these requirements, I'll tell the customer that I'm not interested. Two particular instances come to mind.
The first job was a lady who had a 22 foot boat docked on a lake in New Jersey, which had a 20 foot size requirement So the lady wanted me to chop two feet off the bow of her boat and paint it Banana Yellow to stick it to her neighbors who turned her in for having a over the limit boat. This Job I declined. My reputation is too precious.
The second job was a 22Ft Dockrell Sail boat. This sailboat had a Tiller steering system & an outboard motor that was mounted inside the back section of the boat. This customer complained about the noise the motor was making & the fumes it gave off while under power. The owner asked if there was anything I can do, so I checked out the boat. I came up with a design that would enclose the engine compartment with an insulated cover. Being that this cover would be high, I suggested that we also install an Edson Pedestal Steering system to get rid of the Tiller system, also the Backstay line would have to be split into a "Y" so as your head would not hit the cable. To start this project I made a prototype of the engine cover and pedestal. I wanted to make sure everything looked good. The customer approved the model that I made specifically to fit her needs. When this conversion was completed, the engine cover would become the seat to sit on while steering the boat. This project was a complete success. The engine was quite, no fumes and steering the boat was fun. The engine cover looked like it belonged there. All the colors and non-skid patterns matched the rest of the boat perfectly. I got many complements on this job.
I do not dummy up repairs. I do repairs the right way the first time. I had an old couple once with a really bad hull. The inside stringer system was separated from the hull & had cracks running the length of them. The insurance company paid them $20,000.00 to fix it. They hired a guy that worked out of his trunk to fix it for $15,000.00. Which left them with $5,000.00 to enjoy. When the boat was put back in the water and they took it for its maiden run, it started taking on water. The guy that repaired it for them was never seen again. They had the nerve to try to collect from the insurance company again. The insurance company called me to look at the job. I explained to them that the hull had been dummy up. Meaning that the guy who fiberglass it up, laid the new fiberglass over the dirt & grease in the damage area. The insurance company didn't pay them any more money. So the owners wanted me to fill the damaged areas with foam so when they took the boat out for a ride with the bad hull it wouldn't sink. I had visions of two old folks hanging on to their bow rails while their boat was sinking. I told them to look for someone else.
Jet Ski Repairs
One client had a Jet Ski that hit a log in the lake. He got four opinions from four different dealers that told him the Jet Ski should be totaled. The insurance company that was handling the claim was Boat US. They asked me to check out this Jet Ski to see if I could repair and guarantee the job. When I checked out the Jet Ski, I called Boat US and told them it was no problem to repair. When the owner found out that it was being repaired, he wasn't very happy. He fired his claims representative and now his supervisor took over this claim. I did the repair and in the end he was very happy. He wrote me the following letter two weeks later. From my experience, it seems that owners of damaged jet skis tend to take them to auto body shops. I have done many repairs that auto body shops have done. The patches that they put on the jet skis don't hold up. One client's jet ski hit a rock and put a big hole in the bottom of it. He had an Auto Body shop do the repair. They applied a fiberglass patch which looked great from what I'm told. However, when the Jet Ski was launch in the water, the first wave blew the patch right off. The Jet Ski sank into the water up to the flotation line. When I took on the job, I saw they used the wrong fiberglass to do the repair. Auto body shops repair fiberglass on cars. Air pressure is a lot less intrusive then water pressure. That's why I stress for customers to check out who's doing their repair, see what type of material that their using, and if they guaranteed the work. This guy with the Jet Ski had to pay twice to get the job done right.
Boating on the Hudson November 2001 By John H. Vargo
One of the specialists in this field is Bill Nowicki of Custom Boat Repair in Edgewater, New Jersey (201) 945 4643. Bill has seen it all in his 30 years of repairing damaged boats. At any given time of the year there is a boat that has been repaired or that has just been completed in his yard off of River Road. From 18 foot runabouts, to huge cabin cruisers and everything in-between, Bill has worked on them all. Bill's motto is, "I work alone, focus on the specific job at hand, finish it as fast as possible and move on to the next job." He would be the first to admit that working in this manner slows down the number of jobs that he acquires throughout the year, but on the other hand, keeping a promise to finish the job in a certain period of time, gives him and the customer a warm comfortable feeling.
When working on fiberglass repairs, Bill uses new hi-tech, non-woven fiberglass materials to make the repair stronger than new. Many boat owners will have their fiberglass repairs performed by auto repair shops. However, unbeknownst to the boat owner, many of those repairs are made with a matte fiberglass that can only withstand air pressure to which autos are exposed. By utilizing the new hi-tech non-woven fiberglass materials, such boat repairs can withstand the stronger water pressure that is capable of ripping apart a boat hull.
Custom Boat Repairs provides mobile service for yachts. Job completion dates are guaranteed, weather permitting. Custom Boat Repair also provides second opinions. Bill's particular expertise is in the area of color matching. All work performed by Custom Boat Repairs is guaranteed and fully insured.
As a service to my clients, I offer free Hull Inspections: If your looking to buy a used boat, I can check out your hull & stringer system to make sure your not getting stuck with a lemon. Many boats I have checked out turn up dry rotted transoms & stringer assemblies. A boat that has a rotten transom or stringer system is a very dangerous boat. One customer came to me because his boat was sinking. Upon my inspection the transom was rotted and the seawater was coming in from the bolt holes that held the outdrive in place. So this job cost him a lot because the transom had to be replace.
Another customer, who came to me, had a problem with his boat taking on water. After I inspected the boat, I notice that his motor mounting blocks where rotten. With the motor shifting around while the boat was running, the rubber baffle that separates the motor from the outdrive ripped. The previous owner did a dummy up repair job with some materials that he brought from the local boating supply store. That stuff didn't work at all. To fix this the motor had to be removed from the boat, the mounting blocks had to be removed and new wooden blocks cover in fiberglass were install. This job cost him a couple of thousand dollars to fix. The end of the story is, before you buy a boat; have it inspected by a surveyor. If it is in my area I can check it out for you. Many of my customers have flown me to Florida to check out some boats that they where interested in. If your out of the area their will be a minimal charge. It's well worth the money if you have the right guy checking it out. It can save you thousands of dollars in repairs.
Taken from: Hudson River Fishermen’s Assn. Forum
Well, it took a while to get this taken care of. But I finally brought my boat up to Custom Boat Repairs. Nobody likes dealing with an accident on land or on the water. My boat was tied up and I was parking the trailer when I was hit. The guy that hit me was taking on serious water because he put his drain plug in the intake for his live well. It happens, nobody died. That having been said, Bill Nowicki was great to work with. He’s real knowledgeable about hull care in general. In the end, I came out a little smarter and I believe I will be better able to take care of my boat. In general, he was just real pleasant to work with. He’s located on River Road and is easy to get to. That’s the easy part. Listen to Bill on when to get there and how to get into the lot with a trailer. River Road is a busy street and Bill knows best.
The trick to hull repair is color match. I work in photography so I understand how much of a pain in the &6% this can be. Bill told me over the phone, bring the boat by. If I can get a color match, I can fix it. If I can’t get a color match, we don’t do business. Bill knows his colors. The day after I dropped it off I got a phone call, “you’re all done”. I’ve had people that see the boat that see it every day (for better or worse) and they can’t find the spot he repaired. All total, about 15 people that see the boat regularly, have looked the boat over trying to find the spot. No one has found the spot yet. I’d use him again in a heart beat.
Thanks to all for the advice,
Tom - Tom's Toy, New Milford, NJ