When inspecting your potential boat-have your smart phone charged and ready to take pictures and to take notes with, and most important bring a flashlight and a mirror helps for those hard to see spots.
After inspecting the vessel you will have your pictures and notes handy to ask the seller questions.
Survey the fit and finish of the boat. If it is a used boat does it seems to be cared for? Are there maintenance records available?
Start in the cockpit. Then the cabin/berth if there is one- what is the condition of the equipment and amenities? Good or poor? Hatches, doors, hardware and gaskets working properly? Having items refurbished &/or purchasing the materials for a watercraft is expensive. Then go on top. Side decks wide enough to walk? Are there hand hold? Are rails secure? Is the non-skid areas still satisfactory? At the helm, is your vision obstructed? Are you comfortable and happy at the wheel in the Captain’s chair? Is everything to operate the boat safely within easy reach? Is the wiring in good shape and neatly held out of the way? Are cushion there and in good shape? Sometimes they just need a good bath but this can be a clue as to how the boat in general was maintained!?! Breaker box easily accessible?
The hull can be tricky. No boat owner or captain wants you checking the hull with probes. But what is the general appearance and feel. Is it solid? Or if soft and spongy? Maybe you should walk away from this one.
Is the engine accessible? Or do you need to be a 125# gymnast? Items like oil and fuel filters should be easily accessible to change as well as being able to get to the raw-water pump. Or does the engine or parts of it have to be removed? Can you get to and inspect the fuel tank? If you cannot get to these items for inspection, more than likely the boat will be more expensive to maintain than one that you can get into for inspection and maintenance.
Have a clear understanding from the owner or captain as to what extras come with the boat or don’t. Such as fenders, lines, safety gear, cabin amenities, etc.
The exterior gel coating - is it in good shape without too many dents, dings and bumps? Can you see and ready the hull identification# (usually it is on the Starboard side imprinted in the gel at the rear)?
Obviously, you are going to take her on a sea trail with the Boat Owner, its Captain or Mechanic. Sometimes vessels must have the Captain drive due to the size or insurance purposes, but you should be allowed to get behind the wheel for a period of time to handle her with their immediate assistance. If the boat has a Head, use the potty while you are out on the water…
If it is a trailered boat, the trailer needs to be inspected too. Age of tires? Does it have rust spots? Have the wheels/bearings been serviced recently? Do the brakes, if it has brakes work? Lights all working? Safety strips in place? Can you read the VIN#?
Consider having a professional survey completed, your surveyor that you pay directly.
And of course is the significant other and/or the family in agreement? Does it meet their “want to have fun” expectations, too?
Flagship Boat Transport
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