Commissioning refers to the final fitting out of a boat and preparing her for use. For a new boat, some of the final systems and equipment are installed by the dealer as part of the commissioning process. This can but does not necessarily include things like air conditioning, ground tackle, electronics, etc. Also checking everything from thru-hulls to fuel and air filters, flushing the water tanks, stepping the mast and tuning the rig ... making sure everything on the boat is ready to work the way it should.
If a boat has been shipped via land then some of those same things have to be done and that can be referred to as commissioning or re-commissioning as well.
Decommissioning, to me, would mean the boat is at the end of its useful life and is being stripped of anything of value prior to destruction or disposal.
As for tiller vs. wheel, it's an endless debate, and if you type "tiller" and "wheel" into a search on this site you'll probably get more reading material than you bargained for. But each has its advantages and disadvantages, and just about every sailor has a preference one way or the other. Converting a boat from one to the other can be done - Pacific Seacraft has recently converted a couple older PSCs to tiller steering.
Carolina Wind Yachting Center, Washington, NC
Charters * Brokerage * Pacific Seacraft * Zodiac
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Who is staring at the sea is already sailing a little.
Last edited by SecondWindNC; 08-10-2010 at 04:12 PM.