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Old 30-07-2017, 11:27   #1
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Best Resources for Self Survey of Boats - Tips Tutorials Troubleshooting Guides

Thinking of buying an older boat?

Considering purchase of a boat that has been unused or out of the water for a long time?

Here are some resources and links with tips to get you started on evaluating whether an older, used boat, is in good condition or to do a "self survey" prior to purchase, especially if the boat has been laid up unused or on the hard for a long time.

Whether you are an Old Salt or a New Sailor, these resources can prove helpful in identifying the numerous things you should look for or at when purchasing a boat. The resources on this list should give you hours of reading and a good foundation for looking at older boats with a more informed and prepared eye.

If you have another favorite resource for DIY or Self Survey or Troubleshooting that is not listed below, please include it in a comment below.

If you have other suggestions or comments feel free to post those too. This is intended to be a compilation to help others.

Diesel Engine Startup from Long Term Disuse

If you are concerned about starting a Diesel engine that has not been run in possibly years, here is a thread with many good suggestions to consider prior to starting the engine.

Here is a link to a thread with suggestions for starting an engine that had been laid up for nine years. It was successfully started. Many tips in the thread.

Here is a short checklist for a Self Survey.

BoatUS (Insurance company)

Boatpoker's Self Survey Tips

Boatpoker is a CF member and a professional yacht surveyor. He has produced an outstanding website with many illustrations of things to look for when doing a survey of a boat. This is worth spending a few hours reading, and carefully examine the photos to see what he sees in his professional work. Very helpful and valuable if you are unfamiliar with boat systems or are considering purchasing a sailboat or power boat, especially a used one.

He has done an outstanding job of providing helpful photo illustrations to common problems seen on boats he has inspected. I suggest spending a few hours reading his pages prior to buying a boat. I did and will do so again.

Marine Survey 101
Marine Survey 101, Do your own marine survey


MaineSail's (Compass Marine) How To pages:

There are numerous articles with many very good photo illustrations of things to look out for while viewing older boats and projects you can do to upgrade or repair your older boat. The author of this site (MaineSail) is a member of CF (and other sailing forums) and marine service professional.

He has done an outstanding job of providing helpful photo illustrations for DIY projects common to boats.

Welcome To Photo Gallery by Compass Marine How To at

Self Survey Checklist

Here is a short article that lists some common problems and a checklist for a Self Survey.


Diesel Engine Troubleshooting

Here is a book that is considered a "must read" classic for Diesel engine troubleshooting and maintenance.

Marine Diesel Engines
Nigel Calder

Kindle Version = $15

Publisher Description:
"Marine Diesel Engines*has been the bible for do-it-yourself boat owners for more than 15 years. Now updated with information on fuel injection systems, electronic engine controls, and other new diesel technologies, Nigel Calder's bestseller has everything you need to keep your diesel engine running cleanly and efficiently.*Marine Diesel Engines*explains how to…"

Don Casey Book Collection

This book compilation contains the contents of SIX acclaimed books in one volume (or Kindle download ebook). If looking to purchase an older boat, you will find the first book "Inspecting the Aging Sailboat" of special interest.

Don Casey's Complete Illustrated Sailboat Maintenance Manual: Including Inspecting the Aging Sailboat, Sailboat Hull and Deck Repair, Sailboat Refinishing, Sailbo (International Marine-RMP)

Kindle Edition = $34 instant download

Description from Publisher:
"The definitive guide from the world's best-known sailboat maintenance expert
Don Casey’s Complete Illustrated Sailboat Maintenance Manual combines six core volumes into a single, utterly dependable resource that answers every frequent question, explains every major system, and helps you keep your boat and its components shipshape.
More than 2,500 clear and detailed illustrations guide you step by step through every procedure. Casey’s technical virtuosity, his user-friendly explanations, and Peter Compton's diesel engine expertise make even the more complicated repairs and improvements easy to understand. This must-have guide saves you time, money, and grief as you learn the fastest, easiest, most effective ways to:
• Evaluate the condition of your boat or one you’re about to purchase
• Repair structural damage to your fiberglass sailboat
• Improve or repair your sailboat’s electrical system
• Troubleshoot, maintain, and repair your boat’s diesel engine
• Put a professional-looking finish on your boat’s hull, deck, spars, wood, and trim
• Make and repair sails, sail covers, dodgers, awnings, sailbags, and bimini tops"

Hope that helps you and others.
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Old 30-07-2017, 17:11   #2
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Join Date: Apr 2017
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Re: Best Resources for Self Survey of Boats - Tips Tutorials Troubleshooting Guides

I'd endorse the Don Casey book as it is great for presurvey and usable down the road as well.

I would strongly suggest the print version NOT the Kindle edition as a great many of the poor reviews I find on Amazon for books that most people love are because of poor Kindle version.

Don Casey even makes repairing a big hole in your hull sound like an easy project!
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Old 30-07-2017, 17:21   #3
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Re: Best Resources for Self Survey of Boats - Tips Tutorials Troubleshooting Guides

Nice contribution for us internet armchair wannabee sailors! Thanks.

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boat, Diesel trouble, DIY, old boat, pre-purchase, problem, Self survey, storage, survey, troubleshooting, used boat

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