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Buying a boat

Older boats: what to watch for

In the market for something with a little ‘character’? Or maybe you have an older vessel and aren’t aware of the most common issues they face today? Read on to find out what requires a little extra TLC on older boats.

Keel Integrity and Bolts: You need to pay close attention to the Hull to Keel joint and where there is visible evidence of rust and staining coming from the joint you need to complete exploratory works to ensure that there has not been a catastrophic failure of the bolts or structure.  There has been a sharp increase in the number of failures of yachts over 30 years.

Through Hull Fittings:  Thru hulls have a life span and most industry experts consider that at 30 years an owners needs to consider replacement.  If the fitting has fractured through corrosion or some other reason and fails then damaging flooding of the vessel will cause significant damage.

Toilet Loops: If a toilet does not have a vented loop, the system can act as a syphon, resulting in the fast flooding of the LOO and subsequently the vessel. This scenario will result in the loss of the vessel.  Luckily it’s a relatively straight forward and inexpensive fix, if your vessel doesn’t have the required parts in this department then you need to have them installed.

Exhaust Outlets:  Because the exhaust outlet is often in an inaccessible space it is often overlooked in the process of regular maintenance. The hose itself has a lifespan as do the 2 hose clamps that should be there holding the hose to the SS exit fitting.  Most insurers do not cover loss associated with a failure of the exhaust system and the common cause is a failure of the hose clamps and or hose.

Shaft Glands: These are a serviceable item and need to be replaced as per the manufacturer’s recommendation. Each manufacturer’s product has a different service life length. In the past years we have seen more and more incidents where the failure of a shaft gland has caused the flooding of a vessel, keeping a good eye on this part is the best prevention of such disasters.

We have seen that the failure of these 5 components has been a prominent cause of loss. Unfortunately if it is evident that a component has not been adequately maintained and subsequently is the cause of a claim, it is likely not covered by insurance. Therefore, keeping your boat well maintained and regularly serviced is the best insurance you can have, your insurance policy is there for any other accidents which may occur.


With all boats it is important to have a surveyor inspect every few years and this rings especially true for older boats. If you are purchasing a boat, do not do so prior to obtaining a survey! An expert will always pick up on things that may not have been evident from your own inspections and will provide you with a report which is required for obtaining insurance. If you ever have any queries on vessel maintenance, purchasing an older vessel or anything in between then please get in touch with us at info@pantaenius.com.au

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