Your 10 Minute Boat
Initial Inspection. The hull, stem, chines and strakes will suffer the brunt
of any collision and show cracks best. Take a look at these with emphasis
on the stem and look for unusual stress-crack patterns. Any open cracks
need to be repaired before you go out again.
Check the upholstery. The underside of cushions should be checked for
green algae at the seams. This is a sign of more extreme fungal or plant
growth hidden in the foam.
Look for missing parts. Empty screw or bolt holes that look like they were
once holding something, bunches of exposed wires peeking out of neatly
cut holes, and faded lines of undercoating that were some decorative strip
are sure- fire signs that boat has been stripped.
Open the hatches. Smelling gas or seeing water is a sure sign of a
Detach the outboard cowling. Signs of seepage will appear as dry white
“curtains,” past the head gasket. Make sure the shift and throttle linkages
are greased and show no corrosion. Additionally, their springs should snap
Shake the I/O back and forth. If you find a lot of flex, consider changing
the gimbal bearings. The seals and gaskets should be checked for leaks.
Turn the wheel and operate the trim/tilt to check for full range of motion.
Inspect the dipstick/oil. If it smells burned, looks milky, has water in it, is
black or the wrong viscosity, make sure it the oil is changed. The drive belt
and the serpentine belt should be checked. While one quarter-inch
deflection is normal, more may indicate improper installation or excessive
Test the fuel and oil. Today’s ethanol “enhanced” gasoline invites
moisture, which separates in the fuel tank. Water is detrimental when
sucked into an engine. Water in oil is the sign of a cracked block. Gauging
paste will change color when exposed to water.
Inspect for leaks. Because ethanol is so corrosive, the fuel lines and gas
tank could have leaks if the previous owner let the boat sit for too long
with gas in the tank.
Check the wiring. Ideally, look for Shrink-sealed butt connectors. Beware
of hazards such as bare wire and terminations that are twisted together or
covered with electrical tape. Inspect around the motor and under the dash
Your 10 Minute Boat Inspection
Brought to you by