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The Commissioning Process
What is the procedure for commissioning a yacht?
Sue & Larry respond:
Whether a boat is new from the factory, or simply a new boat for you, proper commissioning is extremely important before taking to the waters.
Commissioning begins by making sure that all the boat's components and equipment are present and accounted for. Once this is taken care of, a very detailed and systematic inspection should be made of every system onboard. Start at the bow, and slowly work your way back. Ensure that every single hose clamp is tightly in place, that every seacock operates smoothly, etc, etc. Continue checking aft, until you've covered the rudder and steering quadrant, or tiller.
After your initial safety inspection, perform an operational check of each electrical and plumbing system on board. At some time during this process, you'll also be adding bottom paint, a name, and a hailing port to the hull, as well as rigging and stepping the mast. If the boat is used, you may elect not to paint the bottom, but you should certainly perform a detailed inspection of the
standing and running rigging.
After the inspection process is complete, it's time to move on to adding any gear and equipment to meet your specific needs.
Next come the sea trials. During this phase of the commissioning you want to ensure smooth operation of all running rigging, sail furling gear, electronics, and of course the running of your engine. You'll want to adjust the tune of your standing rigging at this time as well. If your boat is new, it's wise to check the propellor shaft alignment prior to leaving the dock and again in a couple of weeks to make sure it's still properly aligned.
With your sea trials complete, you'll likely have a list of items you want to address. It's common to have to troubleshoot electronics and deal with numerous other details that will require your attention. The bigger your boat and the more complex your systems, the longer this list will be.
All of the above can be performed by a professional in a yard or through a dealer/broker, but we think you'll gain valuable information by being involved at least somewhat in this process yourself.