Sailing boats are very attractive, and many boat lovers cannot wait to buy a boat for them and their family or to rent a boat for cruising around the attractive destinations. All of this is fun and exciting, but one has to take into consideration many aspects regarding safety and the mechanism of the boat. Many people rely on the marine surveyor, but they do not control everything.
Many people go with the assumption that the bigger, the better, and that boats larger in size contribute to safety. Size has an impact on speed, and they do contribute in some aspect of safety, but there are also many small vessels or boats which have long trips behind them and they seem to run flawlessly. The small boats are the true spirit of adventures given that crew members cannot take a shower or spend the night inside, as in big boats which offer the comfort of home.
The minimum size for long trips and voyages would be around 26 foot according to experienced sailors. Unfortunately, not all of us are able to buy the yachts or bigger boats which offer the many conveniences we have at home. Boat buyers have to make a compromise and either buy a smaller boat or deplete their account for a bigger boat.
As with other purchases, buy the one that feels right, you want to feel comfortable in your boat where you will be spending a lot of time. Still, do not blind shop and after you fall for a boat, observe it objectively and see if it is worth the money. As a buyer, you have to pay attention to the design, construction, and the many details.
Stability and Design
Many sailors are contemplating about whether a boat will capsize or not, and how it could come to such a dreadful outcome. Therefore, it is of utmost important to check the boat’s stability, how the boat will handle a gale.
Since none of us is an expert for boats, it might be the best to hire one to measure your boat or potential boat. By getting the measures, the stability factor can be calculated. If you are in the USA, US Sailing keeps a record and might have the information right away. If you are from another country, ask around if records on boats are kept and where.
The international community started to pay more attention to sea matters, sailing, and racing after the scandalous Fastnet Race in 1979 where 15 sailors lost their lives.
Some of the major insurance companies for boats developed a set of rules and standards for commercial ships, but also for building and designing sailboats. The great insurer who gained international recognition from naval architects and shipbuilders is Lloyd’s of London who pioneered the idea of insurance. Thanks to that, ships and yachts can be certified under the name.
The most advanced certificate a yacht could get was Lloyd’s A1. The certificate indicates that the hull and the deck have been constructed according to the highest industry standards. It also means that some parts of the construction were supervised by some of Lloyd’s staff (i.e. inspector). Even if other certificates (lower ranked) are present, the only certificate one can come across is the A1. This is nothing unusual, considering that no one would like to admit that they do not comply with the highest safety norms. Yet, the modern ship-builders use often fiber glass, whereas Lloyd’s standards do not cover for fiber glass and have no norm for it. Somehow, the standards lag behind modern times and cannot be taken as a benchmark for quality anymore in modern times.
Lately, the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) certification has become the standard norm for quality and safe construction in the ship-building industry. They inspect the deck, the engine, the rigs, and all other parts and features of the boat.
If you want to buy a boat, make sure that the boat was built in accordance with the rules set out by the experts. You might ask about the certification. Even if the company or the ship seller provides a certificate, make sure to read it with care and maybe check with an expert on the security of the boat. Once you found your perfect boat, we wish you a pleasant voyage.