Boating Articles, Safety, Guides & Tips, "How To" Prevent and fix

Hardware Installation on wooden boats - Hardware installation methods, problems and principles of Bonding and Fasteners

Learn How to weigh your boat and How to prevent overloading

Point of View - Is Bigger Boat Better?

Plywood - Material suitability for use in boats

Marine Service and cleaning services:
US, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Rhode Island

Problems - Anchoring Problems, Facts and Rules

Fisherman type - Fisherman anchors, characteristics & advice for selection

Boating Safety course - materials cover launching a PWC, boating rules, reading signs and rights-of-way.

more aggressive-cutting knives

Mariner's Choice - Boat Serrated Knives

Serrated Knives and How To Sharpen - tips and vodeo

Safety Equipment Services: Liferaft servicing and cost

Boat Surveying & tests
& tests

Boat Articles, Guides, Commentary and archival articles & helpful information,care of gear and sails


Boat Surveying

Guide for anyone proposing to buy or sell a second-hand boat

It will also appeal to those people who would like to understand their "water baby" better and be able to recognise potential problems and defects.

If you want to avoid nasty surprises, it's a good idea to conduct your own survey minimum once a year. Most persons have their boat surveyed once, when they buy it, and never again. Below are some things to look out for.

To get a reliable appraisal of the condition of your boat and hull, you need two type surveys: one out the water and one in. The in-water survey will allow you to run the engine and check for obvious leaks. The out-of-the-water survey will allow you to check the structural integrity of the hull and underwater fittings such as rudder, seacocks and propellers.

Before getting stuck into the nitty-gritty of surface testing, stand back and make a general appraisal.

At first starting with the out-of-the-water survey

, make sure the hull is thoroughly cleaned off and you have good allround access.

This should include a close look at the hull and general condition, both inside and out. If it is a new boat, check the fastenings, finish. and the way things are put together. Note carefully the transom, motor mounts, and controls. Does styling interfere with vision, interior room, or safety?

Are there any obvious signs of damage,cracks in the gel coat, spots on the hull? Any rust lines coming from the keel/hull join, which might suggest the keelbolts need to be dropped?

If the bubbles are under the gel coat, the boat probably has osmosis, which may require considerable work to rectify. If you spot any bubbling on the hull surface, use a scraper to remove the paint.

Once the boat is in the water

, step aboard and note its stability, and visibility from the controls. If you're testing a small boat, we recommend you wear a PFD, not because of any violent maneuvers you may be planning but rather as a precaution. An unknown boat is jus! that unknown. It could hold some unpleasant surprises.

Start the motor and let it warm up before you cast off. Select an open area without traffic, if possible, and move ahead at slow speed, testing the controls and steering. Slowly increase the speed through the range from slow to half speed, noting how much the bow rises as well as the point at which water begins to break cleanly from the transom.

Testing methods

There are two main methods for testing the soundness of a GRP hull: percussion-with hammer and moisture meter.

A more reliable way to test for moisture, and therefore possible osmosis, is to use a meter.

Inspections Tools: CME4 - Non destructive Tramex meter (

Inspections Tools: MMC220 - woodworking applications Wagner meter (

This instrument indicates the moisture content of the GRP without removing any gel coat or paint. An older boat will usually have a higher reading, as will a vessel that's moored afloat all year round. The best method is to take a reading from an area known to be sound, and use that as a basis for comparison.

Readings of up to 10 per cent are usually acceptable, but bear in mind the bigger picture.

A sharp sound indicates the laminate is good; a hollow sound indicates a void; a soft, muffled sound suggests the GRP may be saturated with water. A hammer is used to tap the hull at intervals of about Gin 10 to 20sm to 'sound out' any hull damage. But don't jump to any conclusions. Bulkheads and fittings on the inside of the hull may also create different sound level . Make a note of your findings and check the corresponding position inside for any offending items.

While you are under the boat, check the seacocks for signs of corrosion and the hull around the fittings for saturation. Check the rudder fittings for excessive play and unacceptable levels of corrosion. Hold the rudder firmly with both hands and move it fore and aft and sideways. If there's too much play, you may need to replace the rudder bearings. Also, check the propeller(s) for corrosion and the propeller shaft for alignment.

Diagnose or prevent moisture problems

Moisture Meters - Guide and a sufficient knowledge For boat buyers, owning a moisture meter

What is the problem with the diesel?

Most diesel problems are usually fuel related, i.e. clogged filter because of dirty fuel or air in the fuel line. All a diesel needs is clean fuel, good compression and air. If a cold diesel takes forever to start, it has bad compression - valves or rings.

Most cities have a diesel injector service shop. Depending on the injector, sometimes a new injector is only $10-$20 more than rebuilding an old injector. Try the cleaner. If that does not work, then take the injectors to the "diesel injector doctor" and have them tested. You do not need to pay a mechanic to fix the problem. Depending on the ... See Moreinjector type, rebuilding an injector costs between $60 and $150.

Save the old copper compression washer. These can be annealed to remove the work hardening with a propane torch. Place the ring on a brick or rock and heat the copper washer until, the "blue" color starts dancing around the washer in the area the flame touches. As soon as the "blue" color has danced around the washer, drop the washer in cold water. You can now reuse the compression washer. I never throw a copper compression wash away.