Tramex Skipper Plus Moisture Meter for Boats

Overview of Tramex Skipper Plus Moisture Meter for Boats:

The Tramex Skipper Plus Moisture Meter non-destructive moisture meter provides a complete, safe method for detecting excess moisture in GRP and wooden boats. A pocket sized meter, the Skipper Plus is designed to quickly and easily locate moisture in boat hulls and fittings.

Water Penetration

Water penetrates many products, including gel coats and paint, slowly but it does. So what happens if water enters through a loose screw or by other means? If your boat is 100% properly built, nothing. If you have some areas where the resin and fiberglass were not 100% cured or wetted and some molecule chains are in fact open, then these ends when mixed with water create a special salt. This salt which is heavy will continue to grow as water is absorbed. This salt is acidic and will start attacking other materials such as laminate layers not fully chemically bonded or glue bonds. All this happens internally with no visible signs. Once it progresses you start seeing blistering and then Delamination and eventual long term failure of the FRP. If wood is present it will just rot over time. Major damage will eventually occur. 


What can be done?  Visual inspection and sounding are the usual first steps. Then surveyors pull out the boat moisture meter to locate the extent of water infiltration boundaries. One must remember that you must compare readings to a dry part of the boat. This is always the smart thing to do to stay objective. Also read the scale in units not percentage to be more objective in your reports. Start measuring and notice when some areas show much more moisture. Something like finding a stud in a wall by either sounding or by an electronic meter.  Today€„¢s boats require specialized instruments to more fully understand problems and to recommend solutions or maintenance for repairs.   If possible measure on the inside of the hull where the gelcoat is 30% to 50% thinner. 

The Tramex Skipper Plus Moisture Meter should be moved across the surface of the in a thorough manner, detecting moisture non-destructively through paint and coatings on wood up to a depth of 1.25" and on fiber glass hulls with paint or gelcoats. The Skipper Plus can also be used to detect leaks and trace them to source both above and below decks. Measure Surface or Deep and also has a scale for wood moisture. Make sure the surface to be measured is dry and the boat has been hauled out for some time if measuring below the waterline.  If a salt residue is seen, clean with damp cloth.  If possible measure hull on the inside, where the gelcoat is thinner. Familiarize yourself with the inside of the boat so you know what you are measuring through the hull.  

The Tramex Skipper Plus detects if there is a presence of osmosis (gel coat blistering) in fiberglass hulls, confirms  if wooden boats are dry before painting or varnishing and checks racing boats to determine if they are carrying excess moisture weight and trace deck and bulkhead leaks.

Features of the Tramex Skipper Plus Moisture Meter for Boats:

  • Easy to read analog display
  • Three separate scales;
  • Moisture content in hardwood for fresh water
  • Moisture in GRP
  • Surface Moisture
  • Hold function allows the user to freeze reading
  • Wide range of readings for wood of 5% to 30% on Hardwood Scale
  • 0 to 100 on comparative scale for GRP and other materials
  • Identifies the presence of osmosis in GRP hulls
  • Trace deck and bulkhead leaks
  • Soft rubber electrodes make direct contact without scratching
  • Confirms if wooden boats are dry enough for painting or varnishing

Specs of the Tramex Skipper Plus Moisture Meter for Boats:

  • Size 6" x 3 1/5" x 1 1/5"
  • Weight 9 oz.
  • 9V Battery
  • 1 yr warranty

Thirteen Reasons why Blistering occurs? 

1.  Boat bottoms blister because boat builders use Poor Quality Resins and Gelcoats

2.  Paint used instead of Gelcoat

3.  A hull that is water permeable

4.  Fiberglass strands not wetted or saturated with resin

5.  Occurs Above or Below the waterline

6.  Capillary effect carries water along long strands of fiberglass along the boat

7.  Engine vibration carries water along unsaturated fiberglass strands

8.  Short fibers used in a chopped strand mat or chopper gun for a skinout layer is a major source of water conduction into the  

     hull due to its porosity

9.  Exposed fibers on the inside also cause blistering

10.  Bonding failures of a Gelcoats and skinout mats

11.  If a boat has incomplete bonding or ply separation, blistering will never be corrected

12.  Weak glue joint due to contamination causing partial ply delamination

13.  Low quality resin and excessive use of CSM is the Primary cause of blistering


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