The Offshore Voyaging Reference Site

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

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:

More Articles From Online Book: How To Buy a Cruising Boat:

  1. The Right Way to Buy a Boat…And The Wrong Way
  2. Is It a Need or a Want?
  3. Buying a Boat—A Different Way To Think About Price
  4. Buying a Cruising Boat—Five Tips for The Half-Assed Option
  5. Are Refits Worth It?
  6. Buying a Boat—Never Say Never
  7. Selecting The Right Hull Form
  8. Five Ways That Bad Boats Happen
  9. How Weight Affects Boat Performance and Motion Comfort
  10. Easily Driven Boats Are Better
  11. 12 Tips To Avoid Ruining Our Easily Driven Sailboat
  12. Learn From The Designers
  13. You May Need a Bigger Boat Than You Think
  14. Sail Area: Overlap, Multihulls, And Racing Rules
  15. 8 Tips For a Great Cruising Boat Interior Arrangement
  16. Of Cockpits, Wheelhouses And Engine Rooms
  17. Offshore Sailboat Keel Types
  18. Cockpits—Part 1, Safe and Seamanlike
  19. Cockpits—Part 2, Visibility and Ergonomics
  20. Offshore Sailboat Winches, Selection and Positioning
  21. Choosing a Cruising Boat—Shelter
  22. Choosing A Cruising Boat—Shade and Ventilation
  23. Pitfalls to Avoid When Buying a New Voyaging Boat
  24. Cyclical Loading: Why Offshore Sailing Is So Hard On A Boat
  25. Cycle Loading—8 Tips for Boat and Gear Purchases
  26. Characteristics of Boat Building Materials
  27. Impact Resistance—How Hull Materials Respond to Impacts
  28. Impact Resistance—Two Collision Scenarios
  29. Hull Materials, Which Is Best?
  30. The Five Things We Need to Check When Buying a Boat
  31. Six Warnings About Buying Fibreglass Boats
  32. Buying a Fibreglass Boat—Hiring a Surveyor and Managing the Survey
  33. What We Need to Know About Moisture Meters and Wet Fibreglass Laminate
  34. US$30,000 Starter Cruiser—Part 1, How We Shopped For Our First Cruising Sailboat
  35. US$30,000 Starter Cruiser—Part 2, The Boat We Bought
  36. US$30,000 Starter Cruiser—How It’s Working Out
  37. Q&A, What’s the Maximum Sailboat Size For a Couple?
  38. At What Age should You Stop Sailing And Buy a Motorboat?
  39. A Motorsailer For Offshore Voyaging?
  40. The Two Biggest Lies Yacht Brokers Tell