Evaluating Boat Hulls

Buyers' Guide to Outboard Boats

Buyers' Guide to Outboard Boats

Selecting and Evaluating New and Used Boats

Chapter 4


This chapter provides a rough outline of how to make a basic evaluation of a boat hull.

It does not propose to make an expert surveyor of you, but you can use it as a guideline to try to decide if you even want to invest the money to have a boat surveyed.

Checking Out a Used Boat

One of the major advantages of a used boat, other than price, is that it has been tried and thoroughly tested.

If a boat isn't made as well as it should be, there's going to be evidence of that. The evidence is usually not hard to find if it exists. Chances are, anything that doesn't look right, probably isn't.

If the boat is on a storage rack or a trailer, you have an ideal situation. Start with the outside first and look for stress cracks or any other flaws on the bottom.

It's pretty common to find a few paralleling the bottom strakes, deep in the corners. Just a few is usually not indicative of a serious problem. But more than just a few, and particularly cracks across the strakes, should give pause for further consideration.

Cracks that appear in wide arcs, or in any kind of pattern are even more ominous, and at that point you should either call a surveyor or reject the boat.

Note: Stress cracks are a frequent occurrence in boats. Because of this, I have included an entire chapter devoted to the subject which describes where and why they occur. Read Chapter Seven, Stress Cracks, Finishes and Surface Defects in conjunction with this one.

Boats with painted bottoms tend to show up stress cracks even more prominently than nice, glossy gel coat.

Wet painted bottoms tend to conceal them, so if wet, allow it to dry. As it is drying the cracks will soon start to stand out, if there are any.

Many, many boats have very weak hull sides and deck joints that often result in needless damage caused by even the most minor bumping against docks.

This is really very easy to check. You do it by going around the hull and banging on it with your fist. If its flimsy and shudders when you hit it, then it is excessively weak. If it rattles when you hit it with your fist, imagine what it's going to do when hitting waves.

Copyright© 2004 David H. Pascoe
(Additional spaces are added for easy screen reading.)

Table of Contents: Chapter 4

Checking Out a Used Boat
Check the Rub Rail
Internal Hull
When There Is No Hull Access
Hull Sides
External Bottom
The Transom
Hull Integral Platform Mounts
The Cockpit Deck
Fuel Tanks
How to Check
Replacing Tanks
Plastic Tanks
Blisters on Used Boats
Repairing Blisters

Copyright© 2002 David H. Pascoe
Buyers' Guide to Outboard Boats
- Selecting and Evaluating New and Used Boats

Soft Cover
272 pages
Publisher: D. H. Pascoe & Co., Inc.
Published: 2002
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0965649628
ISBN-13: 9780965649629

Price: $29.50
In Stock



David Pascoe - Biography

David Pascoe is a second generation marine surveyor in his family who began his surveying career at age 16 as an apprentice in 1965 as the era of wooden boats was drawing to a close.

Certified by the National Association of Marine Surveyors in 1972, he has conducted over 5,000 pre purchase surveys in addition to having conducted hundreds of boating accident investigations, including fires, sinkings, hull failures and machinery failure analysis.

Over forty years of knowledge and experience are brought to bear in following books. David Pascoe is the author of:

In addition to readers in the United States, boaters and boat industry professionals worldwide from over 70 countries have purchased David Pascoe's books, since introduction of his first book in 2001.

In 2012, David Pascoe has retired from marine surveying business at age 65.

On November 23rd, 2018, David Pascoe has passed away at age 71.

Biography - Long version

HOME > Buyers' Guide to Outboard Boats - Main >