Boat Inspections - What's Involved?

Boat Inspections - What's Involved?

If you are considering buying a boat, you must take the time to carry out a detailed boat inspection before finalising the sale. Not only do you want to make sure that you are getting the best value possible for your money, but you will also want to ensure that your new vessel is safe and reliable. After all, the last thing you want is to be out at sea and for something to suddenly go wrong. 

There are many different types of boats that you can buy, ranging from simple small fishing boats to large yachts designed to cut through the open ocean. Regardless of what type of boat you are buying, there are a few key areas that you need to pay attention to when you are conducting your inspection. Knowing that your boat is watertight and seaworthy is vital as this may save you from breaking down and being left stranded at sea.

Let’s take a look at a few things you need to keep an eye out for when you're purchasing a boat.

Check The Outer Hull

Assuming the boat is being stored in the local marina, the first thing you need to do is to walk around the boat and inspect the outer hull for signs of damage. Check the outer hull for any glaring issues, and be sure to look for signs of damage that may have been repaired. If you see anything that you might be worried about, be sure to ask the seller how the damage came to be there in the first place. If the boat is already in the water, you may consider having the boat slipped and placed onto a hard stand for a thorough inspection. 

Inspect The Interior

If you are happy with the condition of the outer hull, the next thing to do is to move inside and inspect the hull’s interior. Boats can suffer from moisture or rot in the floor. Testing the floor for softness can indicate that moisture or rot exists and warrants further investigation by a professional. If rot is present, it may extend to the stringers which may not be easily accessible. The stringers give the hull its structural strength, and if they are not in good condition, your boat may not be seaworthy.

Take your time and be sure to open every hatch that you can so you get a true idea of the state of the boat’s interior. Check all wiring for damage, fraying and solid connections. Make sure that all of the hinges and latches work correctly and seals are in good condition. If moisture is present in areas that it shouldn’t be, the cause needs to be determined and the cost of repair assessed.  

Check the Condition of the Engine

Your engine is one of the more complex parts of your boat, which also means that there are several things that can go wrong over the course of regular use. During the process of a boat inspection, many different engine elements must be checked. Some of these include:

  • Checking the cooling water levels
  • Making sure your engine oil is at a good level
  • Checking the fuel filter for water and debris
  • Checking the seawater intake filter
  • Checking that seacocks are functioning
  • Checking the water pump to ensure that the drive belts and alternator are working effectively
  • Ensuring that electrical switches and battery switches are in the right position

Each boat and engine is different, and there will be slightly different checks that need to be done dependant on the model and age of your vessel’s components.


Regardless of what type of boat you are buying, there are dangers in making an emotional decision based on your enthusiasm to own a boat. You should always make a thorough assessment of the boat’s condition to decide whether your purchase is a sound investment. It may pay to engage the services of a professional boat inspector or surveyor to perform a full inspection and advise you of the true facts, and importantly give you peace of mind in your purchase.

Posted By JenniferA

Updated : 5th February 2022 | Words : 680 | Views : 503

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