How to determine if a boat stringer is damaged?

As a boat owner, it is important to ensure that all parts and components of your vessel are functioning properly to ensure your safety while on the water. The boat stringers, which run longitudinally along the base of the boat, are among the most critical and commonly overlooked parts of a vessel. Boat stringers provide structural support to the hull and ensure stability while on the water.

One of the most common issues that boat owners face is damaged or rotten stringers. These issues are usually caused by prolonged exposure to water, which can weaken the wood used to construct the stringers. Additionally, age and neglect can also cause damage to the stringers.

However, it can be challenging to determine if your boat stringers are damaged, especially if you are not familiar with the structure of your vessel. Here are some tips to help determine if your boat stringer is damaged.

Inspect from the bottom of the boat

The easiest and most effective way to inspect the boat stringers is from the bottom of the boat. This area is where you can spot any damage, including cracks, rot, and delamination. Use a flashlight to thoroughly inspect the stringers from one end of the boat to the other.

Check for soft spots

When inspecting the stringers, press your hand against the wood areas. If it feels soft, it is a sure sign that your boat stringer is damaged and needs repair or replacement.

Look for cracks

Cracks on the stringers are another sign that your boat stringer may be damaged. Check for cracks alongside the length of the stringer. If you notice cracks, it is wise to have a professional inspect your boat before using it on the water.

Check for Delamination

Delamination is an issue that occurs when there is a separation between the layers of the wood used to construct your boat stringers. You can identify it by visible blisters or swelling on the surface of the stringer. Delamination can weaken your boat, and it is best to get an expert to fix the problem.

Inspect the surface of the boat

It is essential to inspect the surface of the boat, including the floors and walls. Check for protruding screws or nails, which can damage the boat stringer’s internal structure.

Damaged boat stringers can cause critical structural damage to your vessel, possibly causing it to sink. Regular inspections of the boat stringers can help catch any issues early before they cause further damage. If you notice any signs of damage, it is recommended that you contact a professional marine surveyor or repair specialist. Proper and timely repair or replacement of the boat stringers can keep your boat safe and functional while enjoying your time out on the water.

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