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Boat Inspections and Boaters

Boat inspections are not only necessary to ensure your safety and the safety of others on or near your boat, they also are vital to protecting your investment. When you own a boat, whether it’s a cruiser or a yacht, you take on a responsibility to keep it in good condition. Unfortunately, all too many watercraft owners to find out the hard way that owning a boat is just that – owning a responsibility. Boat inspections not only provide peace of mind that your boat is in good working order, but they are also an excellent way to ensure that you get the most out of your money when you make your purchase. If your boat has been subjected to a professional inspection, it will prove much more valuable to you than if it was sold when the problem supposedly “went away.”

Boat inspections are not just about checking up on things like the mechanical integrity of the vessel, making sure it has no leaks, or making sure the oil tank is full enough. All watercraft are potential carriers for aquatic nuisance species, especially those that live in or around water. Many types of aquatic insects, both fresh and marine, can be easily transported to new habitats by improperly secured trailered vessels. Therefore, proper boat and trailer inspections by experienced boaters themselves are an important aspect of preventing such problems from developing. While most inspections today are performed by companies who specialize in this field, you can also perform inspections on your own, especially if the inspector has recommended that you do so.

Boat inspection inspections are primarily designed to alert you to potential problems with the mechanical components of your vessel, as well as the overall health of the vessel’s interior. In addition to looking for obvious signs of wear and tear, inspectors also look for gaps and cracks that can be a sign of infestation. For example, it can be easy to miss the telltale signs of an aquatic species living in your main cabin by looking only at the back or front of your boat. Having your boat inspected by an independent inspector trained in identifying and removing aquatic invasive species can be an important step in preventing such problems from developing.

Boat inspection stations can be located on a wide range of boats, from the smallest personal water craft to commercial vessels used for race courses and other sporting events. Regardless of the type of boat you own, boat inspections should be performed annually, semi-annually, or never. The best way to determine when it is time to have the boat inspected is to contact your local boating professional association. If your association does not conduct inspections, or if they do not offer them, then contact one of several companies in the industry that are specially trained in providing quality boat inspections and will inspect your vessel, free of charge, as part of your insurance policy.

Boat inspection coverage varies from state to state, so it is necessary to understand the specific requirements for boat inspections in your particular area. Generally, boat inspections cover all components of the boat (including engines, deck plates, propellers, insides, outboard motor and fixtures, outboard engine systems, outboard motor units and fixtures, watercraft structure and exterior), all parts or systems of the vessel, and all components of the superstructure (such as deck plates, cleats, landing gear, outboard motor, windlasses, boom platform, boom tie-down system, flag pole and cleat lines). In addition, most states require that boat inspections include the testing of emergency lights (red and white), radiators, emergency signaling devices (all types, color and design), fire extinguishers, approved personal flotation devices (life vests, flotation devices, and approved helmets) and other personal items (such as jewelry, cameras, GPS devices and sewn clothing).

Boat owners and boaters need to protect their boats by having boat inspections performed by trained and certified inspectors. Such inspectors are specialized in their field and have the right equipment, training and expertise to safely inspect marine vessels. They can spot potential problems before they create safety hazards for boaters. Not only can they spot defects in mechanical and construction elements, but they can also spot water-borne dangers such as leaks, corrosion, sinking, high waves, ice formation and more.

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