We always recommend professional boat inspection, particularly if you are purchasing your first boat. It’s not unusual to inspect a boat yourself before calling in a professional, though, it’s a good way to avoid time-wasting and losing the money you would invest in a professional inspection. So today, we’re going to give you a few pointers on what you should look for when inspecting a boat yourself before calling a professional in on the job.

Boat Inspection: What to Remember When Inspecting Your Boat

Look Closely For Cracking

As you walk around the boat, make sure to look closely for any signs of cracking. Cracking of the stem, Chinese, and strakes on the hull of the boat. If the boat has been in a collision, there will be cracking to these areas. If there is cracking, know that these cracks are going to need to be fully repaired before heading out on the water. Repairs are going to be costly and that should be reflected in the asking price of the boat.

Open the Hatches

When opening the hatches, you should not see any water nor should you smell any sign of gasoline. If you see or smell either of these, it’s better to walk away or be prepared to invest a decent amount of money to repair leaks in the body of the boat itself as well as the fuel tank.

Keep a Written List For Each Boat You Inspect

If you are going to inspect multiple boats before purchasing, it’s going to be easy to get vessels confused. Avoid any confusion by creating a written checklist and make notes on each vessel that you look at. This will help you to recall what you liked best about each boat as well as any potential expenses that will be required to make the vessel seaworthy. This checklist will also be helpful when it comes to hiring a professional to inspect the boat for you since it will direct their attention to possible areas of concern.

Rust and Blistering

Rust and blistering aren’t just cosmetic issues when it comes to your new boat, they also compromise the integrity of the boat. If you notice any rust or blistering on the boat, spend some time investigating these areas to see just how extensive the damage is. How much will it cost you to repair these areas of the boat, are they fixable?

Take Photographs

In addition to keeping a written checklist for each boat that you look over, you should also take plenty of photographs. Photographs will help you to visually recall the boats you looked over and sometimes, they can be the final deciding factor when you’re debating between multiple vessels. Just leave the photos out at home and as you glance at them throughout the day, you may notice that one stands out to you much more than another.

Look Over the Fittings on the Lower Section of the Boat

On the lower section of the boat, you will see a number of fittings, these can be either metal or plastic. Inspect these fittings closely for any signs of damage which may indicate that the bottom of the boat has been scraped in shallow waters. Now, many boats have been lightly grounded and may show small signs of scraping, but signs that the boat has been seriously grounded are a cause for concern. Serious grounding can cause damage to the structure of the boat and not just superficial scratches. Find out if the integrity of the vessel has been compromised and if so, was it repaired. In general, we advise against purchasing a vessel that has been compromised in any way, but if you are really set on one particular vessel, you need to know how extensive the damage was and how it was repaired.

REALLY Pay Attention to the Engine

If the engine of your boat is damaged or malfunctioning in any way, your investment in that vessel is going to cost you far more than the purchase price being asked by the seller. The engine of a boat is the most expensive piece of equipment on the boat and if there are any significant issues with it, we recommend walking away because that vessel is going to bleed you dry.

Visually inspect the engine and be thorough. Ask for maintenance history on the engine and look for any obvious signs that the boat has been neglected. Is there rust present? Are there any leaks? Are any components of the engine missing or broken off? These can all tell you a lot about how the boat has been handled by its previous owner/owners and let you know what you could be in for if you make the purchase.

Ask to start the engine and pay attention to how long it takes to start. Does the engine idle smoothly? Does the engine generally sound healthy or does it sound as though it’s working too hard or barely at all? Any signs that the engine is not running as it should are red flags to pay particular attention to because they can indicate any number of problems, many of which are VERY expensive to fix.

Check the Electrical Systems

If you walk onto a boat and you see a tangle of electrical cords and electrical components jammed together in a makeshift solution to a problem, turn around and walk away immediately. The condition of the electrical system of a boat can not only tell you how well the vessel was cared for by the owner, but it can also indicate more serious problems like the potential of the system to overheat and set fire!

Already Inspected a Boat Yourself and Ready For Professional Boat Inspection Services?

If you have already done a quick walk through inspection of a boat that you’re interested in and you’re ready to have a professional inspector look over the boat for you before purchase, we can help. Find out more about our boat inspection services.

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