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Buying, Owning & Maintaining a Boat or Yacht

Online Articles by , Marine Surveyor

Bad News for Bertram: Most read article (Feb 4-5, 2023 weekend)

Here are some excerpts of his articles from each category.


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Boat Reviews

Hatteras Yachts

A long with Bertram and Hinckley, Hatteras has the distinction of being one of the first three production fiberglass boat builders to start up in around 1960.

Oddly enough all three survive today, although Bertram may yet go by the wayside. The company was started in 1959 by North Carolina knitting mill owner Willis Slane who, as word has it, just wanted to build a good strong boat for himself for fishing the outer banks. What followed is one of the unparalleled success stories of the fiberglass boat building industry. Read more.

Tiara 3100

Tiara 3100 Open

A Multipurpose Boat With Flair

Tiara has produced a line of open boats that has been enormously successful over the years. Starting out it was a high end boat, and over the years has only gotten more so.

The initiation fee to this level of quality for a new boat is stiff, to say the least. But the good news for used boat buyers is that one can easily gain entry for half-price or better, depending on how old you care to go. Read more.

Marine Engines
Badly misaligned shaft in cutless bearing

Drive System Alignment

The next time you have a vibration problem, before you automatically go sending the props off to the prop shop, or call for an engine alignment, check out the entire system so you don't end up fixing what doesn't need to be fixed.

Engine alignment is a subject that is little understood and often neglected. Most boat owners aren't even aware that engine alignment is one of those things that requires occasional maintenance, and is one of the last things to be considered when some kind of drive system problem develops. Read more.

sader 454

Gas Engines

4 Gold Stars to Crusader

Of all the questions we are asked, one of the most frequent is which gas engine is best.

I have some very definite opinions about that because I perform a lot of gas engine surveys, as well as engine failure analysis for insurance companies, meaning that my perspective is not based on the "virtual reality" of dockside chat, but what happens to this vital machinery in the real world based on thousands of surveys. So let's get to it. Read more.

Maintenance, Repairs

Corrosion in Marinas

The Hot Dock

Not necessarily, and the reason why is due to a general lack of understanding of what happens in a marina full of boats. After all, this is not an easy thing to understand, and it took a lot of research to find out what was going on here. Yes, the marina’s wiring is involved with all such corrosion problems, but it may or may not be the cause. Read more.

Stern Drive

Maintaining Stern Drives

Anyone who has owned a stern drive boat or two knows how troublesome and costly stern drives can be.

A typical drive replacement runs $2,500 or more, and with a twin engine boat you've got more than $5,000 worth of machinery hanging off the back of the boat. Read more.


Good to be Ready
Safe Harbor

Restoration Projects
Fundamentals of Restoration Projects

Marlyn Monroe - Bertram 42 Convertible
Making an Old Boat New

Firt Time Boat Buyers
Your First Boat: Part I

"By far, the most frequently asked question we get in our emails is the one by first time boat buyers asking about what brand they should buy.

Boat Handling

Docking in Style with Twin Screw Boats

Rough Water Seamanship

Rough Water Seamanship Part I

Buying a Boat

How to Decide if
Buying an Older Boat is Right for You.

There are Great Values in Used Boats, But the Cost is More Than Just the Price.

When we were young, we just loved the idea of buying a new car. But by the time we've owned three or four of them - often without paying off the balance of last one before buying the next - eventually we discover what a tremendous waste of our financial resources this is. When it comes to boats the situation's not much different, except now we're talking about serious money. Read more.

To Buy or Not to Buy . . . .

A Blistered Boat, That Is.

Let's face it, an awful lot of boats have blisters, so that finding one that doesn't (or won't get them) can be a difficult proposition.

The short answer is that if at all possible, you should try to avoid that, if for no other reason than the potential expense you may face in the future. That expense may not result from the absolute necessity to repair the blisters, but the position you may find yourself in when it comes time to sell the boat. Particularly with newer model boats, say 1 - 3 years old, it is not unusual for buyers demand a reduction in price, or that the blisters be repaired. Read more.

Core and Structural Issues
bolt through core

More on Cores

And Why New Boat Surveys are Becoming a Necessity.

Builders are coring everything because their cost analysis suggests that using a lot of foam is cheaper than very high cost plastic resin, particularly the vinylesters and orthos that are needed on bottoms to avoid blistering. After all, cores make structures stronger, right? Read more.

composite rudder

Parallel Universe

Composite Troubles in Aircraft

Warning: The reader is cautioned not to make comparisons of the consequences of composite failures in aircraft with that of boats.

The purpose of this discussion is to reveal that even in the world of really big money, the experts are still having trouble with composites in what amounts to life and death situations. Read more.

Hull Blisters

My Wet Hull Won't Dry

The 8 Grand Conundrum

People with boats undergoing blister repairs often write us to say, "My boat has been drying out for six months now, and it still will not dry.

The moisture meter readings are still as high as ever."  The usual procedure is to just let the boat sit and "dry out" naturally by a process of evaporation. Still others are erecting tents and what not and installing heaters or dehumidifiers to try to accelerate the process. And still they report that it's not "drying." Read more.

Marine Surveyor Related

Surveying Boats
With Molded Integral Grid Systems

Fiberglass boats built with internal liners have been around for a long time. Typically, a liner is a premolded internal component, the purpose of which is to provide the basis for the interior layout.

Over time, this function has evolved and has slowly taken over the function of providing internal hull structural support as well. Read more.

Browse more articles by topics.

Online Articles

Some Topics (from Over 180 Articles)

Jump to Some Boat Reviews


Boat, Yacht Purchase

What You Should Know about Buying a Boat, to Keep the Pleasure in Pleasure Boating

Boat Buying 101: Used Boats - The Issues You Face and How to Deal With Them

Boat Leaks Boat Sinking Boat Safety at Sea Boat Handling Cored Hull Corrosion Design & Construction Faults

The Space Shuttle Goes to Sea

Gas or Diesel Insurance Issues
All Topics

Some of Boat Reviews

The Last Re,mamts the Old Florida Keys
Florida Keys

The Last Remnants of the Old Florida Keys


Boat Buyers' Guide Books

Mid Size Power Boats

30 to 55 feet Cruiser Class
How to Avoid Buying into Unexpected Problems

"Mid Size Power Boats" focuses exclusively on cruiser class power boats: Expresses, trawlers, motor yachts, multi purpose types, sport fishermen and sedan cruisers.

Buyers' Guide to Outboard Boats

Choosing Outboard Boats for Offshore Boating

"Buyers' Guide to Outboard Boats" is totally dedicated to blue water type outboard boats; boats that are sea worthy for heading out into open water, offshore.

Marine Survey Business

Surveying Fiberglass Power Boats

2nd Edition
The Marine Survey Business

"Surveying Fiberglass Power Boats"(2E) provides a foundation of essentials for anyone who wants to begin a marine surveying career, or just hone up on one's skills and knowledge.

Marine Investigations

Investigations to Court Testimony
Road to a Marine Investigator

"Marine Investigations" is the first and only book of its kind on the subject of investigating pleasure craft casualties and other issues. Surveyors: Expand your marine business! Conducting marine investigations can help free you from the limitations of a seasonal business and expand your business opportunities and income.

Blackfin 27 Outboard
A Few Favorites

Wishful Thinking...