Marine Surveyors Blog

Cracked Fuel Lines

This is a cracked fuel hose. A cracked fuel hose has the potential to cause a fire or explosion on your vessel. Hire  Southern Marine Surveying to find it for you, before  you buy that pre-owned boat, and keep you and your family safe! 

Broken Thru-Hull Fittings

This is a plastic thru-hull fitting that is broken. Because of this, water is now coming into your bilge and also absorbing into your fiberglass hull. This can cause de-lamination of fiberglass and could also potentially sink a boat if not repaired.  

Burned Shore Power Connection

A burnt shore power connection is indicative of A/C power problems and can cause a fire on your boat. A good majority of boats that burn down are a result of this. 

What Not to do

This is a Huge red flag. The locking rings on your shore power connection should be used as intended, and never broken. A loose connection as pictured, can cause a fire. 

Wire Nuts. A big NO NO

Wire nuts might be ok on an automobile, but Never on a boat! Wire connections should always be sealed from moisture with heat-shrink connections and protected from vibration by using quality butt connectors. 

Galvanic Corrosion

Usually Galvanic corrosion is a result of bad anodes or excessive salt-water use without proper care. In this case, the entire lower unit had to be replaced. 

Torn Exhaust Bellow

A torn exhaust bellow on an inboard/outboard motor, on a 20' ski boat. By hiring  me to look at it before you buy it, you not only save yourself potential  money in repair costs, but you protect  yourself and your family by ensuring your boat is seaworthy and safe.  Give me a call before you buy your next boat. Dallas Marine Surveyor.

Leaking Packing Gland

A leaking packing gland is a major concern and should be addressed immediately. This is one of the most critical things I look at when I inspect a vessel. A faulty packing gland could sink a boat! When you hire a marine surveyor you can be assured you won't make the mistake of purchasing a vessel with problems like this. 

Broken Shower Sump Box

By not addressing a faulty sump-box you are assured to have future problems. On this boat water leaked into the bilge and left a nasty rust colored water line (and foul smell). The bilge should always be kept dry and clean. 

Fuel System

The fuel system is one of the most critical parts of your boat and must be maintained to the highest standards. A leaking fuel filter can cause a fire! We meticulously check all parts of the fuel system to make sure the boat is safe for operation. 

Leaking Fuel Tank

A Leaking fuel tank is a HUGE cause for concern. Not only can it cause a fire, often-times it's not accessible and/or very expensive to replace. Sometimes even necessitating cutting into the side of the boat to remove. By hiring a marine surveyor we ensure the tank is in good condition with no leaks. 

Gelcoat Gouge

A Gelcoat gouge like this can often be hard to spot. Not only are they expensive to fix, but water is now absorbing into the fiberglass which can result in future problems. A marine surveyor has a trained eye to spot gouges like this.


Engine compartment blowers are criticaly to the safe operation of your vessel. Without a properly operating blower you risk having an explosion on your boat. Ensuring the blowers are operational, properly routed and hoses intact as per ABYC standards, is one of our most important priorities.

Damaged Exhaust Manifold

A damaged exhaust manifold like this could ruin your engine by allowing water into the cylinders. Oftentimes this is caused by old age and or neglect such as not winterizing a vessel. It's important your exhaust manifolds are in good condition to avoid water ingestion. We do our best to determine the condition of the manifold but recommend hiring a certified mechanic if any doubt exists.  

Broken Thru-Hull Hose

Oftentimes the thru hull will look intact and operational from the outside of the vessel, but on closer examination the hose connected to the thru hull will be cracked or broken like this on the inside, thus allowing water to spill into the bilge. This needs to be addressed and is an important priority to avoid taking on water and potentially sinking a vessel. 

Battery Explosions

Properly maintained batteries are critical to the safe operation of your vessel. A battery explosion caused by old age or neglect can wreak havoc on your engine compartment and has the potential to cause a fire. We examine the battery's, ensuring they are in good condition and are maintained by ABYC standards. 

Freeze Damage on Lower Unit

Damage like this is caused from not lowering your outboard motor all the way down during cold winter months. The accumulated water can't escape, freezes and thus causes the cracks you see here in the lower unit housing. Be sure to always have your outboard motor trimmed all the way down during cold winter months. 

Osmotic Blistering

Osmotic blistering like this is very common on North Texas yachts due to the water temperature fluctuation in our lakes. This should be fixed to avoid future repairs and costly problems. During the out of water inspection we are sure to find all and any blisters on your vessel so that you can be well informed and aware of the problem. 


Properly functioning anodes are important because they keep your boat safe from corrosion/electrolysis. We check all  anodes to ensure they are in good working condition. 

Freeze Damaged Exaust Manifold

The damage you see here was caused by not winterizing this engine. The exhaust manifold is cracked from water unable to escape, freezing, expanding and eventually cracking the manifold. Be sure to always winterize your engine!

Bent Prop Shaft

During the out of water inspection we always check prop shafts to make sure they are straight and in good condition. A bent prop shaft can be a costly repair, and is often indicative of a grounding, which is indicative of other problems. 

Milky Oil

Checking the oil is one of the first things we do when inspecting an engine on your vessel. A milky colored oil like this is indicative of serious problems (water ingestion) and is often a "deal breaker" when it comes to buying the vessel. 

Damaged Prop

This is a very seriously damaged prop! Often times though, the damage is not as obvious as this. Even a very slight bend or contusion on the prop can cause a noticable vibration when operating your vessel. It's important to make sure your prop is in good condition with no nicks or bends. We meticulously check the props during the out of water inspection to ensure they are in good operational condition. 

Gelcoat Stress Cracks

Gelctoat stress cracks are common, and nothing to be alarmed about unless they are very numerous. However, from a cosmetic standpoint they can be an eyesore, and they are expensive to fix properly. During our survey we note any and all stress cracks so that you can be informed during the purchasing process. 

Gelcoat Crazing

Gelcoat crazing on the transom of a 41' Searay. This was caused by UV damage over an extensive amount of time. It's important to keep your vessel waxed to prevent this kind of gelcoat damage, especially in areas that receive the most sunlight. While superficial, it can be very expensive to repair. 

Water Ingestion


Milky colored oil from a boat surveyed. This indicates water ingestion and is a major cause for alarm. It's possible this could result in thousands of dollars to repair. Hire us to find things like this before you buy that boat!

Trim Cylinder Anode

Trim cylinder anode(s) on an out-drive I surveyed the other day. These most Definitely need to be replaced. I recommend my customers to be sure and replace anodes when they periodically service their out-drives, to prevent corrosion and extend the life of their machinery. 

Broken Hose Clamp

In accordance with ABYC recommendations all fuel lines should be double clamped where possible. It's important to ensure all fuel lines are secure and properly clamped to avoid fuel spills and possibly a fire or explosion on-board your vessel. It's equally important to ensure all raw-water hoses onboard your vessel are clamped and double clamped where possible. 

Cracked Raw Water Hose

A faulty raw water hose could sink your boat! It's of the utmost importance to maintain all raw water lines to avoid problems and ensure your safety while out on the water. Cracked, brittle and old raw water hose's need to be replaced.

GelCoat Void

Gel-coat void found on a 2013 cobalt. While this is minor, it pays to hire a surveyor to find things like this before you buy a boat. 

Hull Blistering

The bottom inspection is one of the most critical parts of a  pre-purchase boat survey. Spotting blisters like the ones sighted below,  and repairing them before they become a serious problem is important to  properly maintain the hull of your vessel. 

Improperly Sealed Porthole

An improperly sealed port-hole could lead to water intrusion and result  in stains, mildew and possible structural damage from long term  exposure. It's important to ensure your portholes and windows on your  boat are properly sealed to prevent leaks and provide optimum protection  from outdoor elements. 

Torn Blower Hose

Torn blower hose on a 2006 Chaparral. Properly operating blowers are  essential to keeping you and your passengers safe from gasoline fume  generated explosions. Always use your blowers when filling up your gas  tank and when operating the engines. 

Cutlass Bearings

During the out of water inspection we always check the cutlass bearing(s) to ensure it is in proper working condition. Oftentimes a bad cutlass bearing will produce vibrations at various rpm's and eventually could cause damage if not addressed. 

Rotton Wood

Rotton wood behind a headliner on a 1987 340 Searay. This was most  likely caused from a water leak resulting from an improperly sealed  hardware item on the deck above it. 

Trim Tabs

We always test trim tabs to ensure proper operation, visually check the reservoir for proper fluid level, and look at the cylinders to ensure there are no leaks. 

Galvanic Corrosion

It's important to make sure the zinc anodes on your hull, out-drives, shafts, rudders (etc, etc), are in good operational condition to avoid severe galvanic corrosion like the above picture. We always check the zinc anodes on our surveys to ensure your boat is properly equipped to prevent corrosion. 


For pre-purchase surveys it's critical to not only visually check and start the generator, but to test it while it is on a "load" to ensure it will properly operate when using onboard accessories. 

Stereo Systems

We inspect each speaker, remote, amplifier and head-unit to ensure proper operation. 

Bottom Paint

Bottom paint is critical if you plan on keeping your vessel in the water. Knowing the condition of the paint before you purchase a vessel is important to keep you from future problems and as a bargaining chip while negotiating a price. 

Teak Decay

 Leaving teak un-protected like this can lead to degradation over time.  It's important to keep your teak either varnished or oiled to prevent uv  damage from prolonged sun exposure. 

Battery Switches

We take the time to go through your vessels battery components to ensure proper operation, safety, and to educate you on the proper operation of battery switches and components.