Blog September 2017

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BEWARE THAT TOO GOOD TO PASS UP DEAL

Posted On: September 28, 2017

Buying a Boat?

Maybe an older one? 

Ah, I know they don’t make them like this anymore!

A proper inspection of a boat is a matter of knowing where to look for the most common problems. A good Marine Surveyor makes it easier to know where to focus. Because many of the issues on older vessels involve rot, corrosion, and/or manufacturers' defects, most therefore are not covered by insurance. Discovering issues early can help you avoid expensive headaches later.

An inspection is no substitute for a marine survey; if you're buying a boat, hire a professional after you've conducted your own checkout. Some tips you can do on your own before bringing in a surveyor follow.

Hull and Deck

The most serious structural issues on runabouts and center consoles are soft transom cores. Water that gets into the transom and can eventually compromise the hull's structural integrity. Professionals use the handle of a screwdriver or a small plastic hammer to tap on the transom to listen for signs of softness, which is something you can do as well. Start at any fitting below the waterline; a healthy ring means a solid core, while a dull thud often signals a soft spot. Stains around poorly bedded fittings, such as transducers or tie-downs, often indicate water slowly leaking out of the transom, another warning sign. If you suspect a problem, contact a professional. The repair is not a job for the average boat owner because it involves removing the affected core from between the fiberglass sandwich.

Decks and floors can also suffer from water intrusion. Leaking fittings, such as railings and cleats, will cause the deck core, either balsa, wood, or foam, to absorb water and delaminate. A delaminated deck feels soft underfoot. Floors often rot around seat bases, where water has leaked past the fittings. Mushiness and wobbly seats can indicate deteriorated plywood in the floor.

Gelcoat and Paint

Gelcoat is a very thin coating over fiberglass (to make it look glossy) and easily cracks wherever excessive flexing occurs, such as on unsupported decks or cabin roofs, or where the boat structure makes a sharp angle — at cockpit corners, for example. Though usually not serious, it can indicate that a "hard point" from an internal structure like a bulkhead is pushing from within and can reveal places in the hull or on deck that have weak supports. Gelcoat cracking in the hull can indicate minor collisions or trailering mishaps, though on lighter-built boats, they are often unavoidable. Crazing on a relatively new boat might call for a professional investigation. It's possible to re-gelcoat bad areas, but the cracking will almost certainly return unless the area is reinforced.

 

Do Some Research

Before buying a boat, do a little homework and search the available databases by make and model,

It's also a good idea to check the USCG recall database: http://uscgboating.org/links/recalls-and-safety-defects.php If a boat you're looking at (or your own boat) is listed in the database, call the manufacturer with the Hull Identification Number in hand and see if the recall has been addressed. There's no expiration on recalls, and if the work hasn't been completed yet, the manufacturer is obligated to do it.

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SAW A BOAT YOU LIKED AT THE BOAT SHOW?

Posted On: September 26, 2017


Marine Surveys

 So you are buying a boat. You think you have a budget in mind, and now you are out attending all the Fall Boat shows. That used boat looks so good and its much less than that brand new one. Well new or not, a survey is a good idea.

Too many complaints to Consumer Protection start with "The seller said that everything worked fine, but when I launched the boat, I found all kinds of problems!" Unless you're looking at a simple, inexpensive boat, hire your own expert to inspect it.

A condition-and-valuation survey is a snapshot of the condition and value of a boat; think of it as an independent document that speaks for the boat. Marine surveyors will check the condition of AC and DC electrical systems, plumbing and thru-hull fittings, deck hardware, propane and fuel systems, steering and controls, and safety equipment. A proper marine survey will be an in-depth written report that evaluates the boat according to U.S. Coast Guard regulations and to American Boat & Yacht Council and National Fire Protection Association standards. A knowledgeable surveyor will also know if a specific make has a history of major problems. A survey is a useful tool for buyers to negotiate a price based on what repairs or upgrades the boat needs. Surveys are sometimes required for insurance and financing, but most buyers should get one even if it's not required — it can easily pay for itself by uncovering potentially expensive repairs, and it gives you a firm value from which to negotiate.

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POST HURRICANE SAFETY TIPS

Posted On: September 12, 2017

Post-Hurricane Safety Tips

Stay alert for extended rainfall and subsequent flooding even after the hurricane or tropical storm has ended. Continue listening to a NOAA Weather Radio or the local news for the latest updates.

  • If you have become separated from your family, use your family communications plan or contact the American Red Cross at 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit the American Red Cross Safe and Well site. The American Red Cross also maintains a database to help you find family members. Contact the local American Red Cross chapter where you are staying for information. Do not contact the chapter in the disaster area.
  • If you evacuated, return home only when officials say it is safe. If you cannot return home and have immediate housing needs, text SHELTER+ your ZIP code to 43362 (4FEMA) to find the nearest shelter in your area.
  • For those who have longer-term housing needs, FEMA offers several types of assistance, including services and grants to help people repair their homes and find replacement housing. Visit the FEMA site to apply for assistance or search for information about housing rental resources.
  • Drive only if necessary, and avoid flooded roads and washed-out bridges. If you must go out, watch for fallen objects; downed electrical wires; and weakened walls, bridges, roads, and sidewalks.
  • Stay away from loose or dangling power lines and report them immediately to the power company.
  • If you had to evacuate or even shelter in place, perform an inspection by walking carefully around the outside your home and checking for loose power lines, gas leaks, and structural damage. If you have any doubts about safety, have your residence inspected by a qualified building inspector or structural engineer.
  • Avoid drinking or preparing food with tap water until you are sure it is not contaminated.

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