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Old 07-03-2002
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Moisture in fiberglass

Am in the process of trying to find the right boat. Budget limits me to quite used. Just had a surveyor tell me not to buy a boat - and I am taking his advice - because there was much moisture in the hull, deck etc.
understand that crazed gell coat offers paths in. as well as prolonged time in the water. He said the hull was fixable but didn''t believe the deck was.
Questions - how much is too much? what kind of device is used for this like the ones used for wood?
He was ethical and called the survey off and is only billing me for a three hours. By dodging this set of problems I am getting my money''s worth. but maybe a moisture meter is a tool a serious boat buyer should have?
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Old 07-04-2002
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Moisture in fiberglass

Moisture meters that are precise enough to be of any use for marine work are pretty expensive. They also take some skill to read and interpret. While the better ones will give you a beep at a specific moisture level, there are other factors that can give false positives and interpreting those factors is where the experience and art of being an surveyor comes in. The really critical readings, in a deck or capilliary action below the waterline are especially easy to get false readings on. The deck is hard because non-skid will hold moisture that is not detrimental. And the hull is difficult because bottom paint will also hold moisture and in and of itself is conductive.

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Old 07-04-2002
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Moisture in fiberglass

Jeff is quite right about moisture meters being tricky to interpret. According to one surveyor, our boat had a sopping wet (cored) hull. Since he couldn''t find any delamination in the hull (and it had been a really cold winter, so if the hull core was so wet, it should have delaminated like a frost heave in Vermont) we went for another opinion. The second surveyor tested the hull from the inside - where there was no bottom paint or awlgripped topsides - and found no moisture to speak of.
We got a great boat that needed some work (surveyors always find something!)- but not too much for us to handle.
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