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Old 03-07-2010, 17:42   #1
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Check a Steel Hull without a Haul Out ?

Is it possible to check the condition of a steel hull without a haul out?

Can a ultrasound device measure the thickness of the steel from the inside of the yacht? Is this even a practical idea?

I understand that a steel boat rusts from the inside out, but I think you need a haul out to check on just exactly what is going on with the steel in the hull.

No matter what, I don't think you can check the condition of marine growth, or problems with the prop or anything without a haul out.
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Old 03-07-2010, 17:52   #2
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An ultrasonic thickness gauge can be used from the inside of a hull but I would not use that alone to judge the integrity of the hull. If there is hull plate that needs to be replaced, you might find it from the inside of the hull with the gauge but you still would not be able to confirm that it is a sound hull without a haul out.
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Old 03-07-2010, 18:46   #3
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On the other hand, a steel hull is far more likely to rust from the inside out. Spending lots and lots of time in the hull, getting to far nasty corners with a good light and sharp screwdriver will likely tell you more than an audiogage.

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Old 04-07-2010, 12:49   #4
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An ultrasonic thickness gauge can be used from the inside of a hull but I would not use that alone to judge the integrity of the hull. If there is hull plate that needs to be replaced, you might find it from the inside of the hull with the gauge but you still would not be able to confirm that it is a sound hull without a haul out.

So I'm looking at buying a boat. I know cardnal rule of buying a boat, have it hauled out to be inspected before paying for a boat. I assume that goes double for a steel or wood hull.

That's always a difficult thing to arrange, and I'm woundering if there is anyway to do a "decent" job w/o the haul out. The more I think about it, the more I think I need to insist on the haul out, regardless of how difficult it is to schedule. Exepcally as no one seems to know how much this boat actualy displaces.
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Old 04-07-2010, 13:52   #5
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I spent thousands of dollars having boats hauled out and inspected when I was shopping and it was worth every penny. When I did find the boat I wanted it was so cheap I didn't care what was wrong with it and I bought it on the spot.
In this economy lots of boats are being dumped by banks for very little, ask around.
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Old 04-07-2010, 16:40   #6
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When I did find the boat I wanted it was so cheap I didn't care what was wrong with it and I bought it on the spot.
In this economy lots of boats are being dumped by banks for very little, ask around.

I have been looking around. This one seems like a heck of a deal. Some sort of trouble with affording a steel boat's required haul out for insurance, and the requirement to have insurance to keep it in a marina. For the price, almost anything could be repaired as long as the engine is mostly fuctional.

Since it hasn't been hauled out in so long, I guess anything could be wrong with it under the waterline. It just makes my guts flip flop to not know what, if anything really is wrong.

Maybe I'll find a surveyer, and see what they think. Hopefuly they have more experence with this sort of thing in that area. Any suggestions on surveyers for steel trawlers up in the Maryland/New England area? That's a long way away from home for me!
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Old 04-07-2010, 16:47   #7
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Check with Smiths Shipyard in Maryland...they may give you a good lead on a steel hull specialist.

FWIW when I was aboard Tugs, the areas most looked at were the areas around the shaft and rudder and the waterline a foot above and below.
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Old 04-07-2010, 17:04   #8
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I would have thought along the bottom of the keel is important place to look for dammage from grounding? I understand the importance of the area around the rudder and the props.

Any suggestions other than Smith? I apprecate it.

The more I think about this deal, the more I think, "Experence is the thing you get right AFTER you could have used it."

Thanks!
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Old 04-07-2010, 17:44   #9
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The insurance you need for a marina is general liability for damage you do to others, and does not require a hull survey. If you want to insure the value of the boat itself, you must establish that value with a survey.
PS don't even think about buying an old steel boat if you don't have deep pockets.
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Old 04-07-2010, 17:46   #10
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Lyons Shipyard in the Norfolk area?
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Old 04-07-2010, 18:18   #11
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Wow, that's a heck of an outfit!

I hope I don't need that level of service! Thanks though.

Edited in>

Lorenzo, the more I think about this the more I decide that there is no such thing as a "cheap" boat. fiberglass cores rot, or delaminate. Wood rots. Aluminum has electrolis. Ferocement is CRAZY. Steel rusts. Anything old means loughts of defered maintance. Anything new means high dollars price tag. Anyway you cut it, your looking at loughts and loughts of money. Right now I just hope my pockets are deep enough. I think they are, but the only way to know for sure is to do it an see what happens!
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Old 04-07-2010, 20:05   #12
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My idea is to give the yard manager a call and get some recommendations.

Keep in mind that many guys that audio gauge want bare metal.....so bring some bottom paint.
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Old 04-07-2010, 20:46   #13
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That's a good point cheif with a steel hull, I'm sure it's "special" bottom paint as well. I would have depended on the inspector to take care of that, but I guess I need to make sure.

I understand your point about the yards now.
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Old 04-07-2010, 20:52   #14
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FWIW when I was aboard Tugs, the areas most looked at were the areas around the shaft and rudder and the waterline a foot above and below.
Also check the chain locker very carefully. Many times the chain will damage the finish and rust starts and can be hidden by the chain. This is also a constantly wet area. Some steel boats put in a plastic bin for the chain to coil into.
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Old 04-07-2010, 22:42   #15
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If it is done in a yard....they usuall have some odd bottom paint around....The areas they grind off aren't usually too big
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