What We Need to Know About Moisture Meters and Wet Fibreglass Laminate

© Steve D’Antonio, all rights reserved.

In the last chapter we looked at choosing and managing a surveyor. In this one, I'm going to share what I learned from Steve D' Antonio about one of the most important tools in a fibreglass boat surveyor's arsenal: the moisture meter.

First off, let me make clear that this article will not make us experts in moisture meter usage. Neither do I (or Steve) recommend that we even aspire to that goal. While a moisture meter newbie might gain some useful information—more on that in a minute—using one to accurately assess the state of a hull requires deep experience.

So better to hire an experienced professional surveyor, or perhaps a boat yard technician (see last article), to do the work for us. As we say in Bermuda, "don't buy a dog and then bark your own self".

That said, what we can do is make sure we know enough about moisture meters to recognize whether or not one is being used properly by the person we hire. And, further, we should always discuss moisture meters with a surveyor before hiring them, since we can use the knowledge we have gained from Steve to disqualify poor surveyors.

For example, if a prospective surveyor says, "I don't use a moisture meter because they don't work", that's Latin for, "I don't know how to use a moisture meter" or "I can't be bothered".

Either way, that surveyor has just eliminated themselves from our list. (Judging from the comments here at AAC, that response is surprisingly common.)

Planning For Success

Next, we need to make sure the boat to be surveyed is set up so that the surveyor can use a moisture meter effectively:

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  27. Six Warnings About Buying Fibreglass Boats
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John was born and brought up in Bermuda and started sailing as a child, racing locally and offshore before turning to cruising. He has sailed over 100,000 miles, most of it on his McCurdy & Rhodes 56, Morgan's Cloud, including eight ocean races to Bermuda, culminating in winning his class twice in the Newport Bermuda Race. He has skippered a series of voyages in the North Atlantic, the majority of which have been to the high latitudes. John has been helping others go voyaging by sharing his experience for twenty years, first in yachting magazines and, for the last 12 years, as co-editor/publisher of AAC.

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