Introducing Hydro the Norml Boat

Posted on: September 30, 2012

DFW Norml & the Law Offices of David Sloane proudly present: Hydro – The Original Norml Boat, coming to a lake near you. More information about the boat and Team Norml Wakeboarding coming very soon.

In the meantime, stay in touch with Hydro by following her on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/hydro.the.norml.boat

140 hp with top speed of 43 mph under ideal conditions. It was built by Beretta Manufacturing of Conway, Arkansas which went Bankrupt in the early 90s. To my knowledge this is the only boat of this particular make and model left in existence. Let’s refer to it to as a “27 year-old classic” that was in need of full restoration due to years of neglect. The engine was sound with relatively few hours, however, the boat had been allowed to sit for years uncovered and collecting water. The interior was trashed and all the wooden floors and floor supports were rotten. The previous owner had recently purchased it in this condition with the intentions of doing so when he ran afoul of the law which radically changed his legal and financial situation such that he would no longer be able to do so, and made the boat arguably subject to asset forfeiture.

He was familiar with Norml’ss Truth Cars and with the promise the boat would be fully restored and placed into service he signed the title over on the spot and I gathered the boat that afternoon. Another individual serving 41-months in Federal Prison for growing 14 plants made his shop and equipment (which I’d rescued from DEA asset forfeiture in 2011) available and his wife and 17 year-old son were willing and eager to help with the restoration. The boat was taken there, stripped down to the hull, hoisted from the trailer. and the full restoration began.

The trailer which was pitted and rusted was sand-blasted, repainted, rewired and all lighting replaced with modern Light Emitting Diodes. The hull was refinished and recoated with, ironically, the same white coating developed for use on United States Coast Guard vessels. The floor supports and decking were all replaced with rot proof composite materials and marine grade plywood then sealed under fiberglass and resin to make them water-tight. The boat’s wiring was modernized and converted to a two-battery system where one battery exist primarily to start the boat, and the other to run instruments and accessories. All the navigation lights were replaced with Light Emitting Diodes. The nearly worthless flimsy, chrome, rub-rails were replaced with modern, heavy, rubber rub-rails. New marine carpeting was installed and a new interior and trim was fabricated and installed.

For a couple of weeks my living room was converted into a make-shift trim shop. Anywhere there is padding, neoprene (the same material used to make wet-suits) was used instead of foam rubber which degrades. Obtrusive access doors and hatches were installed in areas of the interior that once were wasted space now can be used to keep personal belongings concealed, safe, and dry.

The custom wake-board tower was fabricated of billet aluminum by a company in Oklahoma and the light-bar and speakers were purchased from a company in California. Fed Ex or UPS deliveries were almost a daily occurrence and we developed an impromptu fan-base among the delivery drivers as they watched the boat’s progress. The boat was finished off with the latest technology in GPS Chart Plotter Sonar (where the driver can view what is going on beneath the boat) and a premium sound system with amplifiers, Yamaha speakers, and USB ports for Pandora.

The restoration took two months. I would work on it every evening after work until dark and from dawn-till-dusk on weekends. I would estimate I spent around 500 hours and over four-thousand dollars in the restoration but our chapter has a boat now that is better than the day it left the factory and one of a kind.