We have a house. With seven and a half billion of us and 10 billion species, the earth is our collective vessel. Ship jumping is out of the question. So we have to figure out how to make it work here, together.
An ancient Jewish teaching from nearly 2,000 years ago helps illustrate this. Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai spoke of a group of people traveling on a boat.
Become a boat detective
Whether or not you hire a surveyor, you should know some of the things to look for if you’re deciding to buy a used boat. A keen eye, a good ear, and a checklist will lead you to potential problems. Some of the things to look for are:
- Paint mismatch. This may indicate that the boat has been in an accident and has undergone repairs. While this in itself may not disqualify the boat, if you weren’t told about the repairs what else wouldn’t you be told about?
- Is the keel aligned in a straight line back and forth? Is it straight horizontally?
- You see obvious water lines inside the boat or on the engine. Look for a line that separates a rust-free area on the engine and a lower rust-heavy area. This could indicate that the boat has taken on water.
- On an inboard, does the shaft turn true or does it rock? And the propeller: any scratches or cracks?
- Grab the propeller and try to move it up and down and sideways. You shouldn’t be able to move it much. If you can, you have a worn saber pad.
- Take a small rubber or phenolic hammer and lightly tap the hull as it moves around the boat. If you feel voids in the fiberglass, it could be a repair, bubble, or delamination issue.
- Walk the decks and bow – you shouldn’t find any weak points.
- How are the floors inside? Any weaknesses?
- Is the steering free and easy to move?
- Is the upholstery in good condition?
- Check around hatches and windows: see water spots inside? If so, these will need to be replanted to keep out the rain and spray.
- Is there a musty/mildew smell inside? This could indicate leaks, previous water damage, or just plain negligence.
- Make sure it’s legal with all the required equipment.
- Are the handrails bolted and not just screwed to the surface? Are they safe?
- Look at the transom and check the hull identification number. Does it look like it has been changed? It corresponds to the number on the recording and/or title.
- When you start the engine do you have a good water flow?
- Check belts and hoses for cracks or signs of wear. Even with a few hours of running an engine, the rubber deteriorates as soon as it is seated.
- Check the oil and instead of cleaning the stick with a cloth use your fingers, do you feel sand? What’s the color? How does it smell? It smells burnt. You may want to send a sample of it and the transmission fluid to a lab for testing.
- Check the transmission fluid with the same process as the oil.
- Check the impeller and while looking at it throw it away and replace it with a new one.
- Check the filter(s) for debris and clean if necessary.
- Test the seacocks to make sure they open and close.
- Does the transmission shift easily or does it clatter?
- See if you can get maintenance logs and review how the boat has been maintained in the past. Also look for recurring problems.
- See if you can find the previous owner(s) and ask about the boat.
- Check the BUC and NADA records to determine the range of values for this model and year. You can get these books at any boat dealer or a bank that does boat loans.
- If you are looking at an inboard/outboard please make sure the tilt motor is working properly.
- If you are looking at an outboard, look under the cover for excessive corrosion.
Drilling holes in the hull
Drilling holes in the hull Tom King
Besides docking a new boat on a windy day in front of an audience, drilling holes is one of the most dreaded tasks for a do-it-yourself boater. But boats are full of holes, from antennas on the hardtop to transducers on the bottom. So why do we fear them?
How do you use them?
There are several holes in the side of a boat which is used for different purposes. The most common holes are vent and drain holes. The vent hole is used to let air out of the boat, and the drain hole is used to let water out of the boat.
These holes are usually found near the bottom of the boat and are usually covered with a plug or plug.