Surveying Fiberglass Boats in Sub-Freezing Temperatures

Every winter I get request to survey boats when the ambient temperatures are below freezing. Surveying fiberglass boats in sub-freezing temperatures just doesn’t work and here’s why.

As we have previously discussed fiberglass as a material is hygroscopic (it absorbs moisture over time) and as such, during the winter months when the ambient temperatures are below freezing any moisture contained in fiberglass structures, such as boat hulls and decks freezes as well. During the freezing process crystallization of the substance occurs, adding small air pockets which make electronic moisture detection virtually impossible. Also because the substance is frozen it becomes very hard rendering percussive sounding tests useless as well. It is for these reasons that I do not recommend surveying of fiberglass boats when the ambient temperatures are below freezing. Any surveyor who claims that their inspections are valid under these circumstances is, in my opinion simply not being truthful and should be seriously questioned.