Pre-Purchase and Refit Tips

Problems I have found during inspection of new yachts, old yachts & boats converted to yachts

Below is a list of aspects that are undesirable for purchase or should be avoided during a refit.

  • Lightly constructed hull, with non structurally supportive bulk heads.
  • Transoms with hatches, port holes with plastic dogs(nautical term, spelling?
  • Wheel house and cabin structures with large thin glassed windows and light duty framing
  • Radar masts and Davits unfit for moderate sea conditions, constructed on fashion/economy not function
  • Helm stations crammed with electronics that funnel large bundles of wires together in a way that is impossible to chase power failures without dismantling multiple components.
  • Metal hardware and wires within one foot of a magnetic compass.
  • Inadequate scupper drains on deck & inadequate limber holes in the bilge.
  • Engines that are installed with no regard to service. If service is extremely difficult at the dock, it is impossible at sea.
  • unnecessary elevated noise levels from missing sound deadening insulation, and vibration in the ships structure. Finely constructed yachts do a great job minimizing this condition.
  • Non isolated fuel tanks and cross over pipes without shut off valves. Important for dealing with fuel contamination and stability.
  • Poor ventilation for hot inverters, mold free living quarters & engine air intakes.
  • Weak hardware, cleats and fittings. Shallow helicoils(spelling?) Unsupported backing material for hardware. Improper bolt threading and grade.
  • Unsecured batteries, propane tanks, etc.
  • Cabinets & appliances without latches and gravity retained shelves that should be screwed in place.
  • Bunks & Tables delicately installed, prone to fail from the ships roll, nested of actual intended use.
  • Lack of cleats, storage and tie hardware.
  • Insufficient charging systems for all battery banks, when off of shore power.

For comparison, the higher standard for safety is aboard commercial boats that have a Certificate Of Inspection(COI) from the U.S. Coast Guard to carry passengers for hire. This certificate is extremely costly to attain. Below is a list of some of the general requirements for offshore commercial passenger vessels. Known in the Code of Federal Regulations(CFR) as T boats:

  • A ship that has been heavily blueprinted & meets the USCG standards.
  • A very strict stability letter must be posted.
  • High volume Emergency bilge pumping.
  • Fire fighting – Mandate 1. Multiple types of regulated extinguishing agents locations and delivery systems. Mandate 2. Fire hose system with a limitless supply from the sea chest to deliver a large column of water through a fire hose. Fire axe(s). Firefighting Stations posted.
  • Life rafts(routine servicing is required) or lifeboats.
  • Water tight bulk heads, a collision bulk head in the bow.
  • Dead ports for port holes.
  • Finely spaced lifelines without any voids.
  • MOB Life ring(s), EPIRB.
  • VHF instructions, pollution & oil disposal placards posted conspicuously.
  • Current charts, Coast Pilot, Light List, Tide Tables, ships log and deviation table for compasses must be on board.
  • Stringent crew licensing, drills, underway & dry dock inspections are required to keep a USCG COI Vessel current.

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