Presented by ACBS Member and Boat Inspector, Joel Terbrueggen

Inspecting a boat prior to purchase offers a wealth of information, helping the buyer to understand the boat’s condition and the scope of the work that may need to be undertaken. Whether restored by a professional or an old gem found in a barn, all boats can hide their secrets and knowing them in advance can help a buyer to make an informed decision.

Before getting started with an inspection, ACBS member and boat inspector, Joel Terbrueggen, said during an ACBS Symposium held at Antique Boat Center, that you’ll need a few tools: a flashlight, a camera, something small but sharp so that you can probe the boat without causing damage or disassembling, and a checklist so that you have a methodical way of inspecting and recording anything of interest.

Joel’s recorded symposium is one of the many how-to video resources available on the members-only page of the ACBS website. Other examples of how-tos include removing old fasteners and replacing old bungs, selecting and maintaining a vintage outboard, turning over a boat and fiberglass repairs.

In this video, Joel walks through a step by step inpection of a wooden boat and uncovers some common findings:

  • Laminated decks glued directly to wood frames versus over a plywood liner
  • Use of glue that didn’t accept stain
  • Shrinking and swelling
  • Cosmetic repairs that are incorrect for the era and/or type of boat
  • Dry rot

Start at the bottom of the boat and work your way up, says Joel of boat inspection. Then get inside the boat with a camera so that you can visually reach areas that are difficult to see with your eyes. Are the screws correct? Are there indications that the bottom has been replaced and if so, what additional considerations need to be made?

This Symposium is an invaluable resource. ACBS members may watch Joel’s complete inspection on the ACBS member-only access page. Not yet a member? Click here to join ACBS today and gain access to thousands of photo archives, owners manuals and of course, our collection of historical and how-to videos.

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