Steel Hull Survey.

Discussion in 'Metal Boat Building' started by GerH, Feb 26, 2007.

  1. GerH
    Joined: Feb 2007
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    Location: Ireland

    GerH New Member

    I am currently looking at purchasing a steel hull boat. I am compiling a list of possible defects together with their location on the vessel in order to assist me. I have dealt with a particular surveyor in the past whom I found to be unhelpful. I would greatly appreciate any assistance that members could offer me in creating such a list.

  2. gharr8
    Joined: Oct 2006
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    Location: west palm beach, fl

    gharr8 Junior Member

    steel boat


    I am also looking at buying a steel lull sailer. Did you get any response from your inquiry??


  3. GerH
    Joined: Feb 2007
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    Location: Ireland

    GerH New Member

    Steel Hull Survey

    I'm afraid I got no reply to my inquiry. At present I am doing background searches on different types of craft in the hope I can find what I'm looking for.
  4. Rusty Bucket
    Joined: Feb 2007
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    Location: florida

    Rusty Bucket Junior Member

    Survey list

    Hi gerrh, I think the reason you got no replies is becouse most of us wouldn't know where to begin. I believe a boat survey has to be boat specific, it would be like a dentist advising you on your dental work without seeing your xrays or examining your mouth. The following is a phone number I got out of Boats and Harbors that offers to sell much stuff related to marine surveying including forms and lists. good luck, rusty 1-800-245-4425
  5. Brent Swain
    Joined: Mar 2002
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    Location: British Columbia

    Brent Swain Member

    Whack any doubtfull parts on the outside with a centrepunch and a big hammer. If it doesn't go thru, , nor make a significant dent,there is enough metal there. Then have the hull ultrasound tested which will tell you the exact thickness wherever you test it. Double check low poiints and incaccessible points.
    Drag your fingernails over the sprayfoam and listen for hollow patches where the foam has separated from the steel. Scrape the foam out there and check the condition of the steel there.
  6. Dutch Peter
    Joined: Aug 2004
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    Location: The Netherlands

    Dutch Peter Senior Member

    Brent is right, but maybe a bit general. look in the bilges, chainlocker, all through hull fittings, underneath the engine.
    Check your rudder on excessive play in the bearings, check your screw shaft bearings, motor mounts. What's the cooling system of the engine direct (check anode of engine) or indirect (check the heat exchanger).
    Check below any damp area (shower, head) and the list goes on and on.
  7. welder/fitter
    Joined: Jun 2008
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    Location: Vancouver

    welder/fitter Senior Member

    Steel hull survey

    I'd suggest the following:

    1) You need to be able to access the inside of the hull, as steel boats collect moisture & often the moisture is allowed to remain, rusting the frames, stringers, & inner surface of the plating. Small limber holes are evidence of a potential problem, as debris collects & the moisture is unable to flow to the bilge. I looked at a 44' steel boat last year that had a very clean bilge, but had rust issues further up on the hullsides. If you have concerns about an area that is inaccessible, you can have it sonic checked. However, while this will give you a better idea of whether, or not, there has been rusting on the inner surface of the plating, it will not tell you if moisture is significant, especially on a newer hull. I'd go with a welding inspector rather than a marine surveyor for a steel boat. The seller of the boat, if adamant that the hull & frames are sound, should be willing to split the cost of a sonic test & inspection. Even if you don't buy his boat, it will serve him well in a subsequent sale & is probably a reasonable investment for yourself, if you are planning to spend tens of thousands on a purchase. I think, but am not sure, that there is a member of the origamiboats group(yahoo) who resides in the U.K. & is familiar with steel inspection techniques.

  8. yachtwork
    Joined: Jun 2008
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    Location: Vava 'u Tonga

    yachtwork Junior Member

    Greetings guys. My new book "Metal Boat Maintenance and Repair" has a heap of information on how to survay a metal boat and what to look for before purchase.

    You can view or download or order by print here:

    Once the page loads look for the Metal Boat Maintenance book and click on it.

    You can read the complete book for free online by clicking on the book page then "preview" and useing the zoom (sometimes ctl + or ctl =) tool.

    Also if you look later in the book you'll see step by step photos of what repairing a steel boat is all about. That will give a real idea if it's worth making repairs.


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