I completely agree with Mr. Canning and ShipShape. In my travels here in south Florida
and the Caribbean
I do not see many LPG water heaters, however if I did the red flag would go up and my check for venting and compliance would be next. Anything unattended that is LPG powered is a CO hazard in my book. I have lived aboard my own sailing catamaran
and had a Force 10 LPG stove. After using the stove I always took the extra effort to turn off the LPG at the tank. Death while sleeping from a CO2 leak is not my idea of how I would prefer leaving this world.
I follow ABYC, Federal CFR's, and the NFPA as guidelines to all my surveys. And like ShipShape I have seen non affiliated surveyors (mostly in the lower Caribbean
and Central America) "poo-poo" these organizations for various reasons. However I think it is mainly a reason to validate why they are not affiliated with NAMS or SAMS and perhaps because of their own insecurities.
For me I have this nightmare of being in court because of a vessel sinking or boating
death resulting from some overlooked issue and my survey is blown up to a six foot image on a overhead projector and I have to explain why I never sighted the issue in my survey. I have no intentions of ever letting that happen. With every finding or recommendation I not only write it up, I photograph it, write the standard it applies to, and what needs to be done to correct it.
As far as other surveyors, I have seen very good ones that I aspire to be like, and others that truly seem to do surveys with a half #@! effort. I have seen major things missed from some of these surveyors.
Like Mr. Canning, I think the proof is in the pudding. A recent sample survey will reflect the kind of surveyor you are getting. I keep a sample survey on my website for clients to see when they are inquiring on my services. A thorough survey should be at least 20 pages long, lots of photos, a findings and recommendations section, and all systems and construction of the vessel should be covered and explained in detail. I recently did a survey on a sailboat where the seller showed me a three year old survey from another surveyor on the same vessel (over 30 feet long) which was seven pages, not one photo
in the report (aside from the cover page), and the survey was more or less a boat check off with "yes" or "no" boxes checked off throughout the survey. And yes he missed some important things on his survey.
I share Shipshape's parting thought about how some of these surveyors with this lower standard of practice diminishes people's perception of the professional organization I happen to belong to. I have no answer except to offer this advice, look into the surveyor before you hire him. This forum is a great tool to get feedback on just about anything including surveyors. Also look at a recent sample survey, ask the surveyor many questions to get a feel for him. If they are short with you on the phone
and do not take the time to answer your questions, that is a red flag, and as a boat owner I would move on. I hope this has helped.