Skip to main content

The Smart Buyer: Powerboat Inspection

Powerboat inspection: what to look for

Wiring should be neat and well-secured.

1. Flex in the decks or a soft, mushy feeling as you walk over areas.

2. Rails and handholds that move when firmly tugged due to loose fasteners, which allow water migration.

3. Gelcoat cracks around any fasteners,
fittings or seams, indicating localized stress.

4. Water seeping from under or around
hardware or fittings.

5. Damaged rubrail, with loose or missing fasteners, indicating possible hull-to-deck joint damage.

6. Excessive sealant applied to the outside of windows, ports and hatches, which can indicate an attempt to repair leaks.

7. Irregularities when sighting the hull sides, indicating framing/bulkhead issues, prior repairs, blisters or delamination.

8. Signs of dezincification (pinkish color) of bronze through-hull fittings, rudders and props.

9. No prop shaft movement within the
cutless bearing.

10. Prop shaft centered within the through-hull shaft log and struts.

11. Firmly attached prop struts, with
oversized backing plates inside the hull, showing no signs of stress.

12. Clear access to all service and maintenance points within the machinery space.

13. Rusty trails from gasketed surfaces of exhaust risers and elbows.

14. “High tide” marks in the bilge to determine the normal level of accumulated water, and its proximity to the engine oil pan and electrical connections.

15. Neatly bundled and secured wiring, cables and plumbing.

16. Paired engine components replaced in pairs, such as exhaust risers.

17. Signs of delamination and water intrusion at all through-hull fittings when sounding the hull sides, especially with cored sides.

18. Double-clamped and supported exhaust hoses.

19. Discolored or homogenized substances inside coolant and oil filler caps, indicating fluid contamination.

20. Smoothly operating seacocks.

21. Clean and accessible seawater intake strainers for restrictions.

22. Transmission fluid that smells overheated on the dipstick, or looks burnt or dirty.

23. Moisture traps or standing water that can cause fuel tank corrosion.

24. Batteries in closed, well-secured and ventilated boxes.

25. Overcurrent protection on any electrical circuits that originate at the battery.

This article originally appeared in the September 2011 issue.