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Old 05-04-2015, 11:44   #1
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What happens after a bad survey?

So we bought our new to us dream boat after an extensive survey by a certified professional who has been in business for many years. Unfortunately he missed something big that is costing several boat bucks to fix.

He spent allot if time explaining what he was finding and seemed to honestly want to do a good job. He did not do any research online about the make and model because it is a fairly common line. After I discovered that my upper rudder bearing was not attached to anything because the support had completely rusted away, I found several references to similar issues on similar boats very quickly with a simple search on Jeanneau and rudder.

I don't want to be a jerk but I feel like a simple search could have at least prepared me for this major issue. He is supposed to be an expert but says he has never heard of this type of problem on this kind of boat. He offered to refund 1/2 of his fee but has not called back to setup how to repay me.

Someone suggested to me that I could claim it on insurance. Who's insurance, mine? The surveyor's?

Has anyone been in a similar situation? What did you do? What would you do?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 05-04-2015, 15:29   #2
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Re: What happens after a bad survey?

I don't fullly understand all that is marine. Much of it is still a learning process for me in vessels greater than 30'.

However what I do know is Real Estate. A paid professional in the Real Estate world is an appraiser. This person's job is to understand what is being appraised, what condition the structure is in at the time of inspection and how it compares in the market place in which the structure is located. That is just an overview and residential Real Estate appraisers carry E&O insurance. Stands for Errors and Omissions.

If some one is suggesting making a claim on insurance it would be this insurance. The coverage or policy details are commonly listed in a Real Estate appraisal report. Your survey report may have the same. This assumes the surveyor has E&O insurance. Not sure if it is required and part of the discovery process is discovering who is and what qualifications the discoverer has!

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Old 05-04-2015, 15:46   #3
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Re: What happens after a bad survey?

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Originally Posted by SeeMonstrEd View Post

Someone suggested to me that I could claim it on insurance. Who's insurance, mine? The surveyor's?

Has anyone been in a similar situation? What did you do? What would you do?

Thanks in advance.

No there's no claim for insurance
Possibly not use him again in the future but probably would, depending on how obvious the damage was on a standard survey. Is it visually obvious or was it something yo noticed after a sea trial?depends on a lot of things really. I'm surprised he would offer a refund. Surveyors can't really be expected to turn up every item that might need maintainance at sometime in the future. Maybe if you explain further how you came to realise there was a problem it might shed some light
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Old 05-04-2015, 15:58   #4
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Re: What happens after a bad survey?

Agree with Monte. Is the surveyor supposed to search for all things Jeanneau? Jeanneau shaft log, Jeanneau engine mounts, Jeanneau hull, Jeanneau chainplates, etc. etc.

Unless the damage was obvious to look at, you would have had to request that the rudder be removed and inspected.
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Old 05-04-2015, 16:06   #5
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Re: What happens after a bad survey?

Sure you can go after the surveyor for errors and omissions...

Better have your ducks in a row and it is worth it emotionally and financially.

If more than $5000... then I would seriously consider it...if not then good luck...plus what the actual error and omission is....provable?
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Old 05-04-2015, 16:22   #6
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Re: What happens after a bad survey?

I'm not an admiralty attorney, but I don't think you have any recourse here. Unlike the real estate market, which is heavily regulated by statute, the boat buying world is totally caveat emptor, and the seller has no disclosure or warranty responsibility. That's why you hire a surveyor, but unless you are willing to invest serious coin in having stuff pulled apart and put back together (and can get the seller's permission to do so), there's only so much that the surveyor can see.

I've bought two boats. In both cases, the surveyor missed major problems, including rot in the main bulkhead where the chainplates attach and delamination in the hull. I paid to have those issues fixed.

That's just the way it goes.

Best of luck.
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Old 05-04-2015, 16:30   #7
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Re: What happens after a bad survey?

The thing about marine surveyor is its not hard to get the paper saying you are one. So you have to really know who your getting. No there not going to see every thing on your boat. From the little you put sounds like he did a diligent job. You left out a lot of information that would probably be pertinent to the discussion like year make model condition how much it is to fix it did he find a lot of items wrong with the boat. For instance if the boat is more than 10 years I assure you in the next year you're going to find more than he did it's boat ownership welcome to the club.

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Old 05-04-2015, 17:09   #8
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Re: What happens after a bad survey?

Why are you mad at him? If it was so easy for you to find by searching, why didn't you do it before you even had the boat surveyed?

We looked for over a year for our boat, and I knew more about it than my surveyor, and, indeed, the PO.

I just don't understand blaming someone else.

And if you want insurance, use your own. He has nothing to do with it. The surveyor is a surveyor of boats, not specifically your particular type, builder and model.
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Old 05-04-2015, 17:44   #9
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Re: What happens after a bad survey?

I think if you look at the survey, probably near the end, you will find a paragraph that says the surveyor is doing the best job he can and if something is missed, not his problem.
So my question has always been - why does one need a surveyor?
My second boat required a survey. I used to be a marine surveyor, old school, but insurance company wanted me to pay for the one they wanted. It was reassuring to know that the o'rings in the fuel fill cap were cracked.
Only by crawling under the cockpit did I (not the hired surveyor) discover that the area where the steering pedestal was mounted was mushy balsa, thank you very much. Could have been a costly oversight.
My thoughts are you are on your own with this one. Caveat emptor. Sorry.
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Old 05-04-2015, 17:53   #10
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Re: What happens after a bad survey?

I've been in the construction trade for 40 years and real estate appraisers are no better than marine surveyors. E and O insurance means nothing. What it does mean is that if you sue him the insurance company is obligated to defend him in court and pay you if you win. Of course they can always appeal and you get to pay for another round.
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Old 05-04-2015, 18:05   #11
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Re: What happens after a bad survey?

Thanks for the input I do appreciate your thoughts and opinions. As I expected I am pretty much on my own. The repair is already over $5,000 and that does not even include the fiberglass work.

Of course I am that much more intimate with my vessel now and I know the rudder will be solid for the rest of the time I will own her.
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Old 05-04-2015, 18:11   #12
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Re: What happens after a bad survey?

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Originally Posted by Sand crab View Post
I've been in the construction trade for 40 years and real estate appraisers are no better than marine surveyors. E and O insurance means nothing. What it does mean is that if you sue him the insurance company is obligated to defend him in court and pay you if you win. Of course they can always appeal and you get to pay for another round.
Wrong!

E&O insurance within the marine surveyor trade specifically covers Errors and Omissions made during the conduct of the survey. In this case, the underwriter is liable for the costs incurred by the purchaser to mitigate his cost for repair/replacement.

Further, it makes nodifference if any indemnity language exists in the survey contract.

I wish people wouldn't offer opinion as fact on this forum.

As a retired insurance liability attorney, I have seen many such successful recoveries including one by my son for a very similar omission.
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Old 05-04-2015, 18:41   #13
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Re: What happens after a bad survey?

If comparing to RE a marine surveyor is more likely an appraiser AND home inspector combined. That's the nature of the beast.

As far as surveyors missing something I have a personal observation. For my 36 footer I hired the same guy I used 5-6 years prior when looking at a 33 footer I did not end up buying due to my skittishness at the time of getting such a "large" vessel. But I liked his thoroughness, fairness in evaluating observed and potential problems, etc. I also, as a back up, had the 36ft boat looked at by two very competent marine pro-friends of mine. All three missed some although relatively minor but irritable items. Nothing I couldn't fix but it would have been nice to have known about them when establishing the post-survey selling price. On the other hand had they all found more that they did I might have been scared from buying that boat or the seller might have had dug in his heels pricewise and I may have had to walk away. In the end it's all worked out fine and I'm glad I got the boat, especially considering what choices were available in that price range within 50-60 miles of home (my time limited area of the search).

As a side note: I did not buy that 33 footer years ago most likely due to my unrealistic expectations of a then 30 year old boat. The surveyor kept saying then "that's expected in a boat that age" but I being a newbie was afraid to get used to this. When he surveyed the 36 footer I had 5-6 years of sailing and general boat maintenance experience and dozens of looked at boats under my belt so that phrase only meant "price discount" and not a deal breaker.
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Old 05-04-2015, 21:54   #14
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Re: What happens after a bad survey?

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Originally Posted by S/V Illusion View Post
Wrong!

E&O insurance within the marine surveyor trade specifically covers Errors and Omissions made during the conduct of the survey. In this case, the underwriter is liable for the costs incurred by the purchaser to mitigate his cost for repair/replacement.

Further, it makes nodifference if any indemnity language exists in the survey contract.

I wish people wouldn't offer opinion as fact on this forum.

As a retired insurance liability attorney, I have seen many such successful recoveries including one by my son for a very similar omission.
I'm curious as to which side of the recoveries you were on? And how many recoveries did you see where the party wasn't using an attorney?
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Old 06-04-2015, 00:08   #15
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Re: What happens after a bad survey?

The real question is this something he should have caught. Unless he specifically stated, he would research common issues on the internet for this model, your internet research means little.


So then it comes down to the question of if the issue was obvious to a competent surveyor. If it was reasonably hidden, you would have a tough case.


Did he put in writing that he would return 1/2? If not he may have realized it implied he should have caught it, so he suddenly forgot he said anything and forgets to return your calls.


In the future, do the internet research first and include a list of common issues you want checked out.
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