i have a 32 year old 45' steel trawler
. a marine surveyor
told me it was a good boat.
two years ago i got a little suspicious and took up some flooring
. in the end i removed the entire interior
, back to bare steel
. behind two bathrooms that he had installed i found rust. i also found a rusty black tank. and a leaking rusty water
tank. and a rusty chain locker with no drainage holes. and a leaking porthole. and rusty horizontals (with no limber holes), and rusty steel sole supports. and a rusty hawse pipe.
i sandblasted the entire interior
, including the anchor locker
, back to bare metal, twice. and then painted with ameron epoxy
sealer followed by two coats of ameron epoxy
, then insulated.
moral of the story? unless you are absolutely sure that the marine surveyor
that you are employing is good, then learn how to do it yourself, and do it. it is not hard to use a machine to measure steel thickness.
if you are sailing 20 miles offshore
, don't you want to know for sure that your hull
has total integrity?
sad to say, but in my experience, a so-called reputable and big talking surveyor, and a well regarded boat yard took my money
and told me a pack of lies. why? because they make the bet that the boat will never get used. so they're safe. but are you? sure, it's fine if the boat is going anywhere, as most boats do. but if you intend to use your boat as a boat rather than a dockside condo, then do a good job.
an electronic instrument to measure steel thickness is a lot cheaper than a marine surveyor.
in my humble opinion, i would not buy a steel boat without either knowing for sure how thick the metal is everywhere, or by looking at the steel from the inside.
buy a guage, get a flashlight, and then prepare to crawl around in the bilges and see for yourself. look in the anchor locker
, and take the chain out first. is the black tank made of steel? is it integral? if so, and if it has been used for purpose, then it will last no longer than about seven years before it will be corroded and need to be replaced (urine is extremely corrosive).
the great thing about steel is that it is easily repaired, and as long as it is shot balsted and coated with epoxy, it will outlive you by a long way. but....if bare steel has been exposed to oxygen and water
then the clock is ticking. add salt
to the equation and the cancer accelerates.
the fratcher book is very good. also try and get a copy of "steel away". they tell you everything you need to know.