Sailboats by Henry C. Mustin. Also Inspecting the Aging Sailboat by Don Casey. There is some redundancy, but not as much as you would think.
Other things to consider besides items mentioned in books
When was the last engine maintenance
What major maintenance
has been done and who did it and what is their reputation
Berth size (length and width) and their locations
empty into bilge
Blow by from crankcase while engine is running.
Engine has raw water cooling
, or heat exchanger
? If heat exchanger
, check pH. If saltwater cooled without heat exchanger, consider new engine. $8575 with 20% off for new Beta Marine
(marinized Kubota) 25 HP engine plus installation
costs. For every 500 pounds of boat, you need at least one horsepower.
How may engine hours between oil changes?
oil for water if heat exchanger on transmission
Smell for seal softener on engine oil and transmission
Anti-siphon loops for engine, head
Get an oil sample from engine and send for analysis for metals, antifreeze
Check around engine for oil leaks
, especially main bearings front and rear
for oil from engine, might have mayonnaise color from emulsion
If stove alcohol and can it be pumped up. If propane
, check locker in cockpit
for proper venting and shutoff switch.
4” thick foam, and if refrigerator
, does it work?
Does water pump for fresh water tank
in tank and plumbing
. Consider aquarium air pump to keep water aerobic and fresh.
, turn on to check.
Handholds (grab rails) on ceiling for rough weather. What is the length both sides for handholds on topside
and types of anchors: plow, danforth etc
resting voltage, or with hydrometer, for state of charge
voltages for both alternator
and shore charger
pictures and dimensions
Winterization, ask owner what he does, or marina does, cracks in engine?
Winterization of freshwater tank and water system done correctly, check for cracks
Check wastewater tank, plumbing
, head, for freeze damage
To keep batteries charged, does marina supply power to run battery charger
? Or are there solar panels
? Need at least one amp panel with charge controller
Does he have canvas
to cover boat?
Use binoculars to check mast
Use mirror and flashlight to check mast
Use flashlight for checking engine for leaks, etc
Check for water in diesel. Drain at bottom of tank or use hose and bulb. Use container to catch diesel, or water finding paste on end of tape measure.
Check for water in oil
Check for freeze cracks, JB Weld, in Block, head, water cooled exhaust
& raw water pump
Portholes need replacement?
Check fitting for emergency
tiller if wheel steering
. Check for emergency
to see if tinned and fine strands
Check access for wiring
, does it look like a professional installation
Check air hand pump on alcohol stove if it is pressurized type. Non pressurized is safer.
What is belt size for alternator
and raw water pump
, check for cracks on underside.
In northern climes it has been the norm to haul the boat in Autumn and let the air naturally dry out the hull
until Spring time. As a rule
of thumb 18% is the critical point where one should look to take remedial action by removing the gel coat and preferably hot vac the area.
Some gel coats also contain conductive fillers but rarely white colored gel coats.
Put everything aside for a day and give your mind a chance to process what you've found.
If you get a hunch about some equipment
or part on the boat, look at your photos and notes.
Don't forget to do a bit of research
on the various pieces of equipment
you saw on the boat to find what specific problems are common to them.
What to do next? make the offer subject to survey
and sea trial?
Remember, if you're married or have a significant other, ask their opinion. Also friends and relatives.
Equipment Needed for Inspections
Batteries for flashlight and camera
Contact list for sailboats for sale
Sailboat descriptions from sailboatdata.com
Problems to check for after search online
Multimeter for resting voltage if sealed battery for state of charge, and checking voltage for both engine and shore power
Screwdriver of medium size handle for tapping, maybe using blade as a handle, or phenolic resin Hammer-a small one will do. Tap lightly.
with good telephoto lens for mast top pictures
Hydrometer to see if batteries are sulfated
Bulb with hose to check for water in diesel tank or water finding paste on end of measuring tape.
Small Notebook-reporters notebooks or pocket-sized Moleskines are excellent choices for this.
Pencil-preferably .5mm mechanical for making notes and sketches in notebook
Small tape recorder-preferably with a lapel microphone with windscreen, to record
your visit to the boat, as it is often easier to make notes by speaking than writing when looking at a boat
Tape Measure-Preferably a 25-30' tape
Pocket Multitool-Get a good one, like the Leatherman Surge
Small Magnet-preferably one with a lanyard attachment
Awl to check for rotten wood
Waterless Hand Cleaner Wipes
Spray Cleaner (like Fantastic) to clean up diesel drops
Burgundy Scotch Brite Pad
Clipboard, pencil and paper