On paper, buying a storm-damaged boat can look like a real deal, but is it? The answer to that question is more difficult than you might think.
The cost to fix or replace things like fiberglass damage, water-soaked upholstery and engines that might have ended up submerged can be assessed fairly easily, and often repairs are straightforward. But what about a boat’s electrical and electronics systems? The damage might not be so obvious, and a missed call on the extent of what work will need to be done can easily add up to a multi-thousand-dollar mistake.
There are many factors to consider when we try to assess the relative health of any marine electrical system, and in the case of a damaged boat sold off as part of an insurance “deal,” it may be impossible to get the important history needed to make an intelligent evaluation. Without the ability to get accurate documentation of prior work done on the vessel, I’d avoid taking a chance on that particular boat. In other words, no deal!
On the other hand, if you have access to work records and an equipment inventory, and you are able to learn more about how the vessel was damaged in the first place, you can at least begin to determine what might lie ahead if you do take on the project. Here are some of the questions I’d want answered.