- Testing everything to be sure the boat has been built as specified, includes everything it is supposed to, and that everything works correctly. PAE has a long checklist that they go through together with the build contract to check against. They completed their checklist about a week ago, and although there are a hand full of issues that are still being fixed as a result of that process, we have a boat with a solid baseline to work from.
- Outfitting the boat with additional equipment beyond what was built at the factory. By far the biggest item in this category is the electronics. A significant portion of the electronics on our boat were pre-installed at the factory, but there is still a lot of work to hook everything up, add additional equipment, and get everything set up and working correctly. This part alone is a 4 week process. We are about 10 days into it and have most all of the navigation gear up and running at this time. Still to be added are a number of monitoring systems, computers, and AV systems. Additional "outfitting" includes mounting the dinghy, mounting the life raft, tinting windows, making canvas, making and installing window shades, making mattresses, installing carpet, installing our dive compressor, mounting dive tanks, and figuring out where and how to store all our stuff. The list is endless. In fact, if you have ever owned a boat, you know that it really is endless. You are ALWAYS outfitting your boat, and how much you try to do as part of the whole commissioning process will directly effect how long it takes. We are trying to be really careful to only include the essentials for a safe and functional boat, and save much of the fine tuning for the ensuing months and year(s). One really good piece of advice I heard is to use you boat for a while before you decide on all the things you need. In real use you will likely find you don't need a lot of things you though you did, and will really need things you never though you would. Remember, outfitting never ends, so if you don't draw a clear line, commissioning will never end either.
- The last category is to get out and use the boat and everything on it. These is a staggering amount of equipment on a cruising boat, and it all needs to be tested, exercised and pushed. The goal is to shake out the problems as early as possible so they can be fixed. Problems are to be expected. If you aren't finding any, you probably aren't testing enough. Find them early, find them fast. Once you get through them all, you will have a solid and reliable boat.
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Thursday, August 7, 2014
There are roughly three part to the commissioning process.