Boat Evaluation Checklist

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Evaluating a boat's condition before purchase makes it easier for the prospective owner to say "good buy" or "good bye" to a deal. Likewise, an objective eye for problems that need to be corrected makes it easier to prepare a boat for sale.

Use the checklist below to make a preliminary evaluation:

  • Make copies for each boat you look at
  • Rate each area using a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 = poor and 5 = excellent
    • You may want to keep shopping if your evaluation has more than 10 scores of 2 or under.
  • Take a good hard look at what shape the boat is in:
    • Is it clean?
    • Are there signs of rust, hull blisters, peeling paint or varnish, previous repairs, cracks or corrosion?
    • Don't forget to check operating gear like winches, steering systems, running and standing rigging on sailboats, lights, head and galley equipment, electronics and instrumentation.
    • Start up the engine and take a sea trial.
    • Check for compliance with U.S. Coast Guard safety equipment requirements listed on the Boat Buyer's Guide - USCG Minimum Requirements section.

This checklist is NOT a substitute for inspections by a competent marine surveyor and a marine engine mechanic. For more information visit the Boat Buyer's Guide - Surveyors & Sea Trials section.

  • Exterior

    1 - 5

  • Bottom Surface 
  • Hull Finish 
  • Deck/Cabin 
  • Helm Station 
  • Hull-to-Deck Joint 
  • Molding Trim 
  • Hardware 
  • Cushions 
  • Hatch(es) 
  • Portlight(S) 
  • Windshield 
  • Liferail/Pulpit 
  • Interior

    1 - 5

  • Water Tightness 
  • Cabin Security 
  • Upholstery 
  • Molding/Trim 
  • Locker Space 
  • Gallery Equipment 
  • Head/Holding Tank 
  • Lighting 
  • Bilge 
  • Air Conditioner 
  • Other 
  •  
  • Exterior

    1 - 5

  • Engine 
  • Steering System 
  • Shifting System 
  • Propeller 
  • Battery 
  • Wiring Connection 
  • Bilge Pump(s) 
  • Fuel Tank(s) 
  • Gauges 
  • Seacock(s) 
  • Lines 
  • Interior

    1 - 5

  • Mast(s) 
  • Boom 
  • Sail(s) 
  • Running Rigging 
  • Standard Rigging 
  • Keel/Centerboard 
  • Rudder 
  • Other 
  •  
  •  
  •  

 

Click to Download Printable PDF Version of Boat Checklist

 

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