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To buy or not buy with Inspection port

I've recently come across a nicely priced older boat. Everything is there for me to drop in and go. But i'm concerned because there is an inspection port. Should I be?

Rob Hair

Active Member
More information would enable forum members to give you meaningful advice. How old is the boat? Where is the inspection port? Why was the port installed? Is the deck soft? Are there cracks? Price being asked for the boat, etc.?

The port could indicate that an expert or poor repair was done on the boat or it could just mean that the previous owner wanted somewhere to store his car keys.
The boat is from the mid-90's the inspection port is to the side of the dagger board, not sure why the port was installed. I have only seen pictures. asking prices is $1500


New Member
If I bought a dinghy without an inspection port, I'd add one. Just check to make sure the deck plate is not cracked and the O-ring or other type of gasket is there.

Dry under the inspection port inside the hull and then dump water onto it closed. Open it back up to see if it leaked. If it leaks it is not too hard to fix. If you have to replace it, get one the same size (usually 5 inches).

Get a bag that fits in the lip of the deck plate and it's a good place to store stuff you don't want to step on like a sandwich.


The boat is from the mid-90's the inspection port is to the side of the dagger board, not sure why the port was installed. I have only seen pictures. asking prices is $1500
That's the normal location for an inspection port, when one is installed.. "Should I or shouldn't I install an inspection port" is like a fashion trend when it's in that location. I wouldn't let it be a major factor in the decision to buy a Laser. If you are the type that just hate having the port there, you can always remove it and 'glass the hole back up..


The middle 90's also had issues resulting in soft decks where you sit. Not fatal, but a bother. Tha price is very reasonable.


Shouldn't be an issue. In fact, it can help you to tell whether the mast step is problematic (stick a camera in there, take a flash photo), whether the boat is dry, and you can also use it to through bolt some of the fittings.

Don't worry about the inspection port itself, unless the hole/fitting is a mess. It is easy and cheap to replace. You should be worrying about the condition of the hull, deck, mast-step and the mast/fittings.


Just sailing
I personally wouldn't install an inspection port without a reason, but that would be with a new boat or one that I knew didn't leak. For a used boat (particulary an older one), I would think having an inspection port already installed is a plus. It lets you see what you are buying.

Bungo Pete

Yellow or brown mustard? Coke or Pepsi? Ford or Chevy? Ginger or Mary Ann? Port or no port? I am constantly amused by the debate (in other parts of this site) over inspection ports, particularly one located in a very "conventional" spot. IMHO, having one next to the daggerboard trunk alows the boat to be aired out and you can also through-bolt your mainsheet block and your Cunningham/outhaul cleats. if one is located in another spot, then that may be indicative of a repair or other problem. If the boat in question is otherwise sound, then the fact that a port is there is not a deal breaker in my opinion. Good luck, I hope it works out for you.


you should not be concerned if its next to the daggerboard because its most likely oem and you can get a glimpse of the inside of the hull

Bungo Pete

Marvin my dear chap, I'm shocked, shocked to see no pithy comments, sly remarks or even any outrage related to the mere mention of a pre-installed Ginger. I was going to mention a bolt-on aftermarket Mary Ann but the whole thing appears to have fallen on deaf ears. It must be a generational thing. Pity.