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Recent Design, Construction and Materials Improvements

1996-2000 Models

It's not all bad news out there. Here are a few across-the-board, or at least more common improvements made by the industry in recent years that we have detected.

1. More and more builders have eliminated plywood seat backings, replacing it with various types of plastic, sometimes even starboard. We may yet see the end of rotted seating in the majority of boats.

2. We are finding more boats with fully glassed deck to hull joints. Mostly in the mid size range. You'll probably never get this on smaller boats, though.

3.  Less cheap, plastic hardware.

4.  Better windshield design and finishing. Big strides have been made in reducing windshield corrosion by most builders, though there are still some bad ones. We don't see nearly as many weak, flimsy windshields.

5.  Better headliners, We don't see as many glued on fabric headliners falling down, or bleed-through stains from glue. Velcro attached panels have revolutionized the quality headliner installation by making them easier to fabricate and install.

6.  Mid level quality builders and builders of mid size boats: We generally see better engine room layouts with greater emphasis on ease of servicing. Sea Ray has definitely done better.

7.  Weak shaft struts. Once a major source of problems, we don't see this much any more.

8.  Weak engine bed stringers. Also once a major problem, we don't see this too often either, though it has shown up in some boats where you wouldn't expect it -- like Cabo.

9.  Fewer leaking windows, partly because fewer boats have any windows at all. But the idea of putting in long, skinny windows in express cruisers that weaken the decks has largely been dropped. The use of smaller windows, and giving decks better support has helped.

10. In the last 10 years, the number of lay up voids or voids in gel coat has declined dramatically. Much of this results from the awareness that voids cause blisters, and improving lay up process through better training of lay up crews.

11.  Blisters. I'd say the verdict is still out, but I seem to detect a trend in fewer instances in  bottom blistering. Unfortunately, builders may have achieved this by reducing quality in other areas. blister-resistant isopthalic resins cost double that of standard ortho general purpose resins, so that the cost has to be made up somewhere.

Related article: Top Twenty Design and Construction Faults

Posted July 12, 2000

David Pascoe Power Boat Books

Buyers' Guide to Outboard Boats Surveying Fiberglass Power Boats (2E)

David Pascoe - Biography

David Pascoe is a second generation marine surveyor in his family who began his surveying career at age 16 as an apprentice in 1965 as the era of wooden boats was drawing to a close.

Certified by the National Association of Marine Surveyors in 1972, he has conducted over 5,000 pre purchase surveys in addition to having conducted hundreds of boating accident investigations, including fires, sinkings, hull failures and machinery failure analysis.

Over forty years of knowledge and experience are brought to bear in following books. David Pascoe is the author of:

In addition to readers in the United States, boaters and boat industry professionals worldwide from nearly 80 countries have purchased David Pascoe's books, since introduction of his first book in 2001.

In 2012, David Pascoe has retired from marine surveying business at age 65.

On November 23rd, 2018, David Pascoe has passed away at age 71.

Biography - Long version

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