Thanks for the insight everyone. I'm definitely soaking up the input here.
Since the use of the gun is free I'm gonna try it out and have at the minimum a digital scan of the whole boat to look at and scratch my head for hours. Like i said i have used these before to scan built up roofs for water; so, i have some experience using this type of equipment. That was 20 yrs. ago and it was a SOB crating it onto the roofs. But when a roof is in the 10's of thousands of dollars, its worth it. In addition; i have used the scopes and hand held units for security purposes.
I'm with the others, above; I don't see how a thermal imaging camera would do anything for you. On a house, you heat it or cool it (internally) and after there is enough time for the interior to reach some approximation of stasis, you scan the outside to look for places where there are temperature differentials (this allows you to, for example, see where the insulation was left out of a wall). But on a boat, you a) don't have an internal, consistent heat source, and b) you aren't really concerned about heat loss. I'd be really curious to see what the guy with the gun sees. Is he looking at the exterior of the boat and looking for areas where the hull, having been heated by the sun, is different temperatures?
I've been thinking about this. I think My solution will be to crank up the heater inside (on the hard) so i believe i can get a more consistent reading outside. Won't help with the rudder though. (i might be able to place a heat lamp on one side to see how much sinks thru or reflection)
As far as thermal imaging goes; if you've never seen it in action you're missing out. Temperature differentials REALLY stand out. So I'm thinking moisture laden anything in a hull or deck would be at a different temp than it's surrounding area. R-values are different in al types of materials. Thermal imaging is instantaneous as well. If you put your hand on the side of a P/U for 30 sec and walk away i can see your hand print and your footsteps as long as it's within a certain time frame and the weather conditions hold up. If you think this is far out; watch a live video feed from a UAV; it gives a whole new meaning to "smoking is bad for your health". From 35,000 feet it's like someone set off a flare!
It's great for deer hunting too.
I've used them for perimeter security at night as well. It wasn't like the gun i looked at the other day though.
I just view this as another tool to use. (along with a moisture meter and hammer) Anything that can highlight any issues before they become major i view as a benefit. Like i said; it's free, so I'm going to take advantage of it before i don't get a chance to.