Savvy’s boat inspection checklist

Posted on Wednesday, February 24, 2016 - 14:32

Before buying any used boat, you have to make sure that you are not actually purchasing a wreck. Moreover, even if you already own a boat, you need to check it from time to time. The following steps will help you make a proper inspection in only 10 minutes.

Inspect the hull

The first thing you should do is check the hull. You may even note down its identification number because, this way, you can easily find out who built it, as well as when and where it was built.

Check for cracks

Make sure you verify the stem, chines and strakes. Any damage produced by a collision will be visible on these parts. Any open crack needs to be repaired as soon as possible.

Take off the outboard cowling

After removing the outboard cowling, you shouldn’t find any signs of seepage. Check the throttle and shift linkage and see if there is any corrosion there. At the best, they should be greased.

Shake the I/O back and forth

If you notice a lot of movement while doing this, you will most probably need to change the gimbal bearings very soon. Signs of leakage around the seals or gaskets are no good news either.

Verify the wiring

Make sure that the bare wire and termination are not twisted together, or even worse, wrapped in electrical tape. While you are still here, pay attention to the area around the motor and see if you can notice any corrosion or damage.

Examine the dipstick

A weird smell - like burned – the wrong viscosity, and a milky or black colour are all worrying. A deflection of the drive and serpentine belt of more than one-quarter-inch is also an alarming sign. Most probably, this means an abnormal wear or installation.

Inspect the hatches

After you opened them, make sure there is no water in there and that it doesn’t smell like gas.

Look at the oil and fuel

The ethanol contained in the gasoline is attracting moisture, so check thoroughly the fuel tank. You should take measures if you notice any water in it – this separates from the gasoline and stands on its surface. The next step is to verify the oil. It is even worse if you see that there is water in the oil because this means nothing but a cracked block.

Check for leaks

Especially if the boat has not been used during the last months, there may be a serious problem with the fuel tank. Because of the ethanol contained in the gasoline, you may notice corrosion of the reservoir. It is not recommended to let the boat with gas in it for a long period if not used, especially if it is a fiberglass boat. This could cause leaks in the tank and fuel line.

Look at the exterior one more time

What you will see on the outside of the boat is often related to what you can find on the inside. Check for any reparations and ask the provider about them if you are interested in buying the boat. A fresh layer of paint may hide some of the problems, but at a closer look, you can notice them, so pay increased attention when analysing the boat.

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