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Old 26-05-2013, 10:58   #1
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Do I really need a survey

I am buying a boat in Seward Alaska. Here it is uncommon for anyone to have a boat surveyed. They have them appraised if getting a loan but otherwise surveys are not the norm and there are really only two in the entire area. No formal training is required but since no one gets surveys there are not many around. The two that are around do survey the more complicated boats such as sailboats quite regularly.

I am buying an OSPREY fishing boat. 26' long with new outboard engines. I took it on a lengthy sea trial with the owner and we operated everything on board and I was greatly satisfied with the performance. The Suzuki dealer hooked the engines to a computer and they show to be in great condition and the hour meter is accurate.

Does anyone know of any issues an OSPREY 26' long cabin with 250 Hp Suzuki outboard (400 hrs) have?


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Old 26-05-2013, 11:04   #2
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Re: Do I really need a survey

Surveys are to:
1- give you as much info as possible on the boat's condition prior to purchase, and to find any issues
2- Reassure the insurer that the boat is worth what you say it is, and that it will be an acceptable risk to insure

You've apparently done your own due diligence for question #1. Can you find an insurer to provide insurance at a reasonable rate without a survey?

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Old 26-05-2013, 12:30   #3
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If you don't have a survey done at least pick up a copy of Don Casey's "Inspecting the Aging Sailboat" which is also a part of the very handy "This Old Boat".

Surveys help people identify problems. If you aren't experienced enough to find most of the common issues then I would buck tradition in AK to protect yourself as much as you can. Otherwise I'd find he most knowledgeable person I could to look at the boat with me and my book mentioned above. Find other owners of similar boats and look for the common issues most types of boats have. Take a plastic mallet or screwdriver along and look for water intrusion by tapping on the deck if the deck is cored as many are.

Good luck!
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Old 26-05-2013, 12:39   #4
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Re: Do I really need a survey

Well, you have probably covered 1/2 to 3/4 of the boat's value by checking out the engines with the dealer. And you and the owner have checked at least half of what's left.

But get a copy of Casey's article or borrow a copy of someone else's survey report to help you check out the rest.

I would be ok buying the boat without a survey IF it can be insured.

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Old 26-05-2013, 13:07   #5
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IMHO, I would never buy a used boat without a survey. Admittedly, my experience is limited, I have owned two SeaRays, only. When buying the first one, I didn't even know enough to know I should have requested a survey. It was 22 yrs old. I lucked out, didn't have any issues with it at all. Thank-you SeaRay, for building a solid vessel. Seven years later, buying a newer used SeaRay, I had learned a lot, and had a good survey done. Insurance savings over the first two years more than paid for the survey. When buying my next vessel, a live-aboard for my retirement in the nest two to three years, I will have a general survey done, and also an engine survey. You've done your due diligence with the engine, but unless you know a LOT about boats, I'd recommend a survey.
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Old 26-05-2013, 14:31   #6
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Originally Posted by Lance835 View Post
I am buying a boat in Seward Alaska. Here it is uncommon for anyone to have a boat surveyed.
The OP seems to want us to confirm the logic that since he's buying a boat in an area where it's uncommon to have boats surveyed, he shouldn't have to bother with the procedure.

That's entirely logical, of course. If the OP were buying the boat in Annapolis, Maryland, it would be stupid to proceed without a survey. But since he's buying a boat in Steward, Alaska, there's no need to worry. After all, boats sailed in high latitudes, where there's greater likelihood of severe weather and less likelihood of rescue, shouldn't have to worry about whether their vessels are indeed sound before they put out to sea.

This is really cool logic! By extension, it means that since I live here in Northern California, where boaters are less likely to change their oil on any regular schedule, I don't ever have to change my oil. Thank goodness I don't live in Florida, where preventative maintenance is commonly practiced!

Do boaters in Alaska ever inspect their zincs, or do you get a get-out-of-jail-free card on that one as well?
cruising is entirely about showing up--in boat shoes.
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Old 26-05-2013, 14:51   #7
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Re: Do I really need a survey

Hi, Lance835,

I'd have to agree with Bash, that local custom is irrelevant. Most folks on the forum who are pro-surveyor have had someone they know of have a really bad no-survey experience, or like Bash, may have decided getting a survey more prudent, and I'd not buy a boat without one.

But you get to decide. It's your potential risk, and if the guy above is correct with his figures, it's a fairly small one. Even a trained surveyor could make a mistake, and you said the ones in your area are untrained. You'd be better off with a nit-picky but informed buddy than a pig in a poke, IMO. So, if you're willing to assume the *unknown* risk, go for it!

You know the area; the people there, and how they may be likely to stand in back of their deals better than the big-city dwellers. Seward's not "the end of the road", but it's closer than San Francisco... In communities where people are more inter-dependent, your chances of being okay taking this kind of risk may be better than in the big city.

Just my two cents. Whatever you decide, you'll learn something. :-)

Ann & Jim, U.S. s/v Insatiable II, SE Qld, for a while
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Old 26-05-2013, 19:06   #8
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Re: Do I really need a survey

Thanks for the input and even enjoyed the sarcasm which was of no use what so ever.

Obtaining insurance is not a problem. Like the insurance agent explained that it is usually bad decisions or maintenance after the boat is purchased that kills people. Not what condition the boat was in when it was purchased.

Just like the weather and water conditions in this area. If a person falls in the water during a storm or due to a capsized boat the chances of living even wearing a survival suit and life jacket is slim and next to none. We know that and we still wear the suit in storms and life jackets at all times. The same is true for the survey.

I may or may not hire the surveyor. However I am more interested in getting the boat PROPERLY and THOROUGHLY surveyed. An experienced fishermen has looked the boat over as I did. I do have the book as well as a surveyors check list.

The boat is solid fiberglass. The engines are self contained meaning all components (water pumps, fuel pumps, transmission etc) are housed in the engine and the entire engine was inspected. It being an outboard there is no stuffing or through holes. In fact there are no through holes below the water line and the cockpit is self bailing.

I guess my real question was to see if anyone had any knowledge of OSPREY defects which I may not or my surveyors may not be aware of. Like design or fabrication issues.

In my opinion getting a QUALITY and THOROUGH survey is much more important than just getting a survey. I have heard many people get a survey or shop for a surveyor and the brokers and bankers will say things like I wouldn't trust .......

Thanks for your input. I will try forum. I was asking a serious question. Not looking some child like reply. I do appreciate the other replies.
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Old 03-06-2013, 16:09   #9
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Re: Do I really need a survey

At least get the local CGAUX to give you a free safety check. Go to the CGAUX on the web and ask for the vessel safety check. I do these surveys and you would be surprised at what pops up. Its all about your safety on the water no law enforcement elements. Don't count on a dealer or previous owner to ensure your boat is set up right.
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Old 03-06-2013, 16:21   #10
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Re: Do I really need a survey

Those Ospreys are great boats! I built power boats in Bellingham for quite a while and eventually the Suzuki became our engine of choice after many troubles with Evinrudes. No trouble at all with Suzuki's in the 175-250 hp range. (that's about all we used HP wise) Mercs are great but expensive, Hondas seem to leave a real funny wet wake.. It's the type of boat that is pretty easy to inspect yourself if you are mechanically inclined. Once the engines have been inspected as good... not a bunch of other things like a sailboat to look at. (the engines replace the shaft/rudder/prop etc all in one..that a sailboat would have)
"I spent most of my money on Booze, Broads and Boats. The rest I wasted" - Elmore Leonard

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Old 03-06-2013, 16:44   #11
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Re: Do I really need a survey

Have you checked to see if you can get insurance without a survey?

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