Hull and Deck Checklist

  1. Painted aluminum hardware always fails, particularly around fasteners. This is common around window frames, and on masts and booms. Painted aluminum hardware must be properly bedded and all fasteners must be bedded.

  2. Undersized cleats and chocks. Each cleat should accommodate two properly sized lines.

  3. Lack of backing plates on cleats and stanchions.

  4. All weather deck stanchions, grab rails and ladders must be strong enough to withstand a force of 400 lbs applied in any direction.

  5. Hull to deck joints that use sheet metal screws instead of through bolted fasteners, on six-inch or closer centers.

  6. Structural components, such as flybridges, attached to the mother vessel using sheet metal screws.

  7. Inadequate or rough bulkhead tabbing, often visible in engine rooms and cockpit lockers.

  8. Tiny or nonexistent side decks.

  9. Structural floors (longitudinal hull re-enforcement) or sole beams that are cut away to accommodate plumbing or wiring runs.

  10. Use of RV components for shower doors and galley equipment.

  11. Deck areas that puddle, and do not drain properly of fast enough.

  12. Cheap, chromed zinc or Zamack hardware such as tank vents and cable clams. These will often show pitting even on new boats.

  13. Plastic ports or ports that open outward.

  14. Wimpy, inadequate rub rails or rub rails that are too short (the flare of the hull extends beyond the rub rail or the tumblehome stands proud of the rub rail.

  15. Uncoated wood in bilge areas. Wood in these areas should be gelcoated or epoxy coated.

  16. Use of stainless hardware, particularly fasteners, below the waterline. All below the waterline fasteners should be silicon bronze.

  17. Poorly planned or nonexistent wiring chases.

  18. Unlabeled seacocks.

  19. Engine room Halon fire extinguishers that are not large enough for the volume served. The best approach, with any review, is to make notes of the estimated engine room dimensions, do the math to calculate the volume, and then record the model number of the fire extinguisher. Two extinguishers may not be used to serve a single space unless each one alone is large enough to flood the given volume. Also, it is my firm opinion that all engine room fire fighting systems include manual discharge and engine, generator and blower shutdown features. It amazing how many do not include this or, the generator and blowers are omitted from the system. The manual capability is easy to see, the cable is attached at the extinguisher nozzle and a handle is visible at the bridge. The auto-shutdown feature may be more difficult to confirm, so you may have to settle for asking the manufacturer or his representative.

  20. Vessels that are designed from the inside out. These include vessels that incorporate unseaworthy or simply ugly structures, ports, hatches, hardtops etc. in order to accommodate some interior feature like a walk around berth or additional headroom. Simply put, this is my opinion, a vessel must be seaworthy first, look good from the outside second and then serve its intended functions third.