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Old 06-02-2013, 04:20 PM   #1
City: VT
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Determining the health of fiberglass hulls

Because of my deeply ingrained "trust but verify" nature I would want to know in looking at fiberglass boats - how does one (I will use a surveyor) determine the soundness of a fiberglass hull? How do you avoid the situation related above about a compromised core?

Steel, due to my background, is something I understand for the most part. Fiberglass is like composites on aircraft - a bit mysterious to me.

How does one, once they are looking a particular boat, research and find the specs that the particular serial number (or hull number)? I get the one off boats, custom boats, out of business or short run manufacturers - but for Krogen as an example - any resource that breaks down model, year, hull number and particular specs? Or is it just case by case doing the best research possible on a particular boat?

Thanks again,

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Old 06-02-2013, 04:29 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Hardscrabble View Post
...for Krogen as an example - any resource that breaks down model, year, hull number and particular specs?...
Here's some Krogen info. It's a little dated .

Good luck on your search.

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Old 06-02-2013, 04:34 PM   #3
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I'm certainly no expert, there are plenty of sites that describe the conditions that can occur to a fiberglass hull. Contrary to popular belief they are not maintenance free. A good survey is essential. You have to pull the boat out of the water and sound the bottom.

Fiberglass - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Blister & Laminate Hydrolysis in Fiberglass Boat Hulls
Marine Fiberglass Hulls: Inspection and Care -
Electrophysics Fiberglass Boat Inspection

To the second part of your question, it depends on the boat. Ask at sites like these. There are lots of people here that have been at this a long time. The more popular boats have their own user groups.

Good luck!!
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Old 06-02-2013, 08:44 PM   #4
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The engineering and potential problems of fiberglass hulls are far too numerous and complex to summarize briefly. Suffice to say, the possible problems can be showstoppers and potentially make a boat virtually worthless.

The marine surveyor David Pasco has written extensively on the topic. Some people consider him somewhat controversial (usually, it seems, those who build boats with balsa-cored bottoms). There is a lot of good information on his website, and I also found his books to be very worthwhile:

Yacht Survey Online: David Pascoe, Marine Surveyor

Another thought, if you plan on looking at a lot of boats, you might also want to buy yourself a moisture meter, and pay a surveyor to teach you how to use it. The Electrophysics CT-33 is the same unit most surveyors use. I bought one and used it on over 100 boats in my 3+ year search. I wouldn't trust myself to "survey" a boat, but you can save a lot of money by ruling out boats with major moisture penetration problems (invest $175 in a moisture meter + $100-$200 to learn how to use it = much less than the cost of even a single survey). In my case, it saved me from paying for many surveys since I was able to rule them out myself.

Good luck!
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Old 06-03-2013, 05:43 AM   #5
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Thanks to all - really valuable references and advice.

I appreciate everyone who answered.

Working in defining the mission better - so many options and possibilities.

Thanks again!
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Old 06-03-2013, 05:58 AM   #6
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As a fast non damaging check we use a tuning fork to look for an area that sounds "different".

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