Leisure boats are highly customizable products with a usable lifetime up to several decades. The design of boats is typically determined by the designers’ experience of boat behavior and knowledge about user expectations. Personal knowledge and experiences inherently lack objectivity and completeness of facts received from other external sources. These facts describe the actual usage of boats, e.g. using sensor readings and other on-board system data. This paper describes the setup of an experiment that will be performed to demonstrate the benefits of ‘fact-based design’ in the leisure boat industry. The experiment foresees to integrate sensor-based usage information in design decision-making, in order to validate simulation models for boat hull behavior. While one part of this paper focuses on the selection of the sensors, the other highlights one important challenge related to fact-based design, i.e. the influence of information quality on the design decisions. The conclusion provides a first assumption that usage information could be integrated in design decision-making in the boat industry, in order to manually check validity of simulation models.