Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: South Florida
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#31 - I measure the bunks and beds to make sure they'll fit my 6' height with a bit to spare.
#32 - I measure the cockpit seating and coaming heights. I tend to spend a lot of time in the cockpit and if I can't stretch out and get marginal back support, then I'm less interested.
#33 - Check the cockpit drains for size, hose and clamp integrity and blockage.
#34 - Run the wheel/rudder from lock to lock checking for binding. With visual access to the rudder post repeat the movement, checking for any wobble, looseness, or frayed cables.
#35 - I power up every system I can, checking that the breakers/fuses are properly labeled and function.
#36 - I open the breaker panel and look inside. A rats nest does not inspire confidence.
#37 - I check for loose items that should be secured (filters, batteries, strainers).
#38 - I pull up every floorboard, looking in the bilge for any water or problems. Deck accesses that don't come up are grounds for concern.
#39 - I sit on the toilet and and make sure there's room for me.
#40 - I look inside every locker and drawer. I'm not a perv, I just want to see what the space looks like, get an idea of the construction (or deconstruction), and make sure the locker and drawers can be properly secured.
#41 - I'll ask to see any manuals and maintenance logs. I generally get little of the former and less of the latter. Manuals are especially important if the gear is no longer in production and, to me, shows the owner kept the boat up.
#42 - I've got the listing with me and I'll annotate the sheets with model numbers, functionality, notes, and comments.
#43 - I stand behind the wheel and look forward. Does the dodger block my vision? Does the bimini rub the top of my head? Can I sit behind the wheel or move around the cockpit easily?
#44 - I sit and rest for a bit, listening, smelling, and getting the feel of the boat.
#45 - As the OP suggested, I'll download the pictures from the camera and then let what I saw, smelled, heard, and felt percolate through the gray matter. If I'm still interested then I take it to the next logical step.
I do this before I bring in the surveyors. If the boat doesn't meet my criteria or I find something that sets off warning bells, I move on. If I think this might be "the one" then I'll negotiate a price for the vessel, provide a refundable deposit and make sure the contract is to my specifications, not the sellers, not the broker(s), not some broker boilerplate; my time frame and requirements.
If the seller agrees, then I'll bring in surveyors: a general one first to make sure I've missed nothing structural; then a mechanic to check out the engine and transmission; and finally a rigger.
So far, 90% of the boats I've looked at have been in the water, so doing hull inspections comes after the surveys are done. The haul is generally done about the same time as the sea trial although I've had a separate sea trial in a couple cases.
Capt. Douglas Abbott
USCG/MCA IV/C.I./M.I. 500-ton Oceans
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