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:

To continue reading login (scroll down) or:

Learn About Membership


CLICK HERE to get to know us for free.

  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. Five Ways That Bad Boats Happen
  8. The Two Biggest Lies Yacht Brokers Tell
  9. Learn From The Designers
  10. You May Need a Bigger Boat Than You Think
  11. Sail Area: Overlap, Multihulls, And Racing Rules
  12. 8 Tips For a Good Voyaging Boat Interior Arrangement
  13. Of Cockpits, Wheelhouses And Engine Rooms
  14. Cockpits—Part 1, Safe and Seamanlike
  15. Cockpits—Part 2, Visibility and Ergonomics
  16. Offshore Sailboat Winches, Selection and Positioning
  17. Choosing a Cruising Boat—Shelter
  18. Choosing A Cruising Boat—Shade and Ventilation
  19. Pitfalls to Avoid When Buying a New Voyaging Boat
  20. Cyclical Loading: Why Offshore Sailing Is So Hard On A Boat
  21. Cycle Loading—8 Tips for Boat and Gear Purchases
  22. Characteristics of Boat Building Materials
  23. Impact Resistance—How Hull Materials Respond to Impacts
  24. Impact Resistance—Two Collision Scenarios
  25. Hull Materials, Which Is Best?
  26. The Five Things We Need to Check When Buying a Boat
  27. Six Warnings About Buying Fibreglass Boats
  28. Buying a Fibreglass Boat—Hiring a Surveyor and Managing the Survey
  29. What We Need to Know About Moisture Meters and Wet Fibreglass Laminate
  30. Offshore Sailboat Keel Types
  31. US$30,000 Starter Cruiser—Part 1, How We Shopped For Our First Cruising Sailboat
  32. US$30,000 Starter Cruiser—Part 2, The Boat We Bought
  33. Q&A, What’s the Maximum Sailboat Size For a Couple?
  34. At What Age should You Stop Sailing And Buy a Motorboat?
  35. A Motorsailer For Offshore Voyaging?

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.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments