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Old 14-09-2008, 22:28   #1
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Good Surveyors - Hard to Find?

In the past couple of weeks, I have had customers desire for me to fix some items that were on a surveyors list.....

Some were legitimate some were, well more on the order of routine maintenance....

Most read like an inventory of what was on the boat

or

with comments like...
vhf radio present but not tested.
Model XWQ Closed Array Radar Present but not turned on (?)
Main Engine is a 4 Cylinder Flagler-Fenster Diesel...
engine appears clean
engine was not run.
There are two Suckmaster Heads on the vessel
they were not tested
holding tank was not checked for compliance.

I don't know, but more and more surveys seem to be spit out on a wordprocessing program that one just fills in the blanks.

And what makes me chuckle is the huge disclaimer at the end.
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Old 14-09-2008, 22:43   #2
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Seems fewer and fewer people want to accept responsibility for their actions-product-judgment-professional opinions....overall. This makes one question the value of the goods or service in the first place if fewer people want to stick their neck out.
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Old 14-09-2008, 22:55   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chief Engineer View Post

Most read like an inventory of what was on the boat

or

with comments like...
vhf radio present but not tested.
Model XWQ Closed Array Radar Present but not turned on (?)
Main Engine is a 4 Cylinder Flagler-Fenster Diesel...
engine appears clean
engine was not run.
There are two Suckmaster Heads on the vessel
they were not tested
holding tank was not checked for compliance.


And what makes me chuckle is the huge disclaimer at the end.

That's funny Chief.

If I read something like that I would reply back...."lack of payment commensurate with value of surveyors content"

I always advise anyone choosing a surveyor to ask for a sample survey before hiring them.
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Old 15-09-2008, 04:51   #4
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BoatUS has a list of surveyors that they "recommend". I used one of them and found that he was as useless as the rest I've encountered. I sent a note back to BoatUS and told them to take the guy off their list as he was totally incompetent. Hopefully, word of mouth and letters to BoatUS and the like will get rid of some of these losers. Unfortunately, a lot of people requiring a boat to be surveyed don't have a clue of what to expect or demand and, hence, they get shafted and don't even know it.
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Old 15-09-2008, 05:31   #5
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The last survey I read, about 3 weeks ago, had so many statements regarding equipment that "appeared to be serviceable but not tested" it wasn't even funny.

The real problem was his opinion regarding equipment that he felt was under rated for the size of vessel.

I took issue with that since everything on the boat is rated by the manufacturer in writing to be suitable for our application and vessel size.

The most important part of the survey report is the "Findings and Recommendations"
Most people who end up buying the boat turn the pre-purchase survey into the insurance company. The insurance company in turn will likely direct you to repair noted discrepancies. When the issues are based on faulty opinion vice fact you are going to have to do your homework if you want to overturn the findings of the surveyor.
Getting a list of recommended surveyors from the insurance company you plan to use is a good way to start. If you take issue with the report send it forward with a letter of complaint. You should also complain to whichever accrediting association the surveyor belongs to.
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Old 15-09-2008, 06:25   #6
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I agree with the opinions of surveyers mentioned here. I'm not certain that my next boat purchase will partake of their services. If you don't know a thing about boats, I believe they are necessary. If you've refitted one or two yourself .... I'm not sure what surveyers bring to the party.

On the other hand, I've never financed a boat purchase and am wondering if the boat financing industry requires them?
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Old 15-09-2008, 07:43   #7
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"There are two Suckmaster Heads on the vessel
they were not tested"

American toilet makers have used things like golf balls to test new designs. Apparently the Japanese, who are world leaders in these things, use formed tofu blocls for more realism. Somewhere out there, one of the folks who complained that the new yacht they wanted didn't have a pickled oak interior and a jacuzzi in the rear head [actually heard that kill a sale on a new Albin trawler] probably complained that a surveyor only "flushed" it and didn't perform a full and proper test. (Welcome to America.)

Look on the bright side, Chief. A survey like that still tells you as much as it omits. Maybeabout the reliability and thoroughness of the surveyor. OR perhaps the survey was done for finance/insurance purposes, and something like whether the head works simply isn't relevant, and they really are saving time and money after a buyer said "Just look at the big things" ??

What insurer or bank would care if the head works? Or, say, any gizmo under $1000?
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Old 15-09-2008, 08:27   #8
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Quote:
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"There are two Suckmaster Heads on the vessel, they were not tested"
I think his original point was regarding what surveyors don't evaluate. Although I do admit he had an amusing way of illustrating the point.

I have no qualms that surveyors determine to the best of their ability if a vessels hull is sound. However, I haven't seen a surveyor yet who performs destructive testing of standing rigging fittings or 1x19 wire. I'm sure they test for "meat hooks", but then again, so can I.

I'm posting in this thread because the survey done on my boat looked very similar to what's been posted here. Three years later, I can now write volumes about what wasn't right, or what didn't in fact work. I know first hand how much I spent to correct all of this.

Is this a reflection of the surveyor I hired? I don't think so. However, I think it does reflect on their industry in general.
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Old 15-09-2008, 08:57   #9
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We have a GREAT surveyor here in Texas, Mike Firestone. It took 11 hours to do our survey, and he'd done a survey just 28 months before. At the end, he and I sat down and went thru the entire list. I've yet to find anything he missed. The only thing he didn't do was an evaluation of the engine, beyond running and observing it, and evaluating it with an infared gun.
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Old 15-09-2008, 13:07   #10
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A hundred years ago a mad bomber was arrested and jailed for life. He specialized in Law Schools. This was a mistake. Had he been set free, life in the United States would be much simpler, reasonable, and more considerate. Instead, we are the most litigious generation ever to fill a chapter in the history books. Can we even imagine a world without fine print?

Everyday jobs are now defined by lawyers. An agreement by handshake is now virtually illegal, and certainly irresponsible. Just as Doctors must prescribe endless tests before they decide how to treat a patient, major purchases such as cars, houses and boats must be vetted by a long list of specialists. And many of them are constrained by another set of (competing?) attorneys to a limited lists of things they can say and do.

Here's my plan. Prohibit lawyers. Ban them from elected positions. Make certain that no law is written by a lawyer. Re-institute the standards of good sense, and the rule of the prudent man.

I realize that will severely handicap the earnings potential of a large number of educated persons unable to support themselves in any other position, so I propose a special job corp training program to respond to the growing demand for bicycle messengers and pedicab drivers, reality show gladiators, and pedestrian photographers in the storm chaser venue.
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Old 15-09-2008, 13:30   #11
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I have found that to be "an accredited surveyor" doesn't require any testing or license. You pay our money and get your paper. I don't remember which surveyor club it was ( maybe it was American Marine Surveyors) , one of the lines said" anyone can be a marine surveyor"...

I know of no such "accredation" society, or association; and would be very surprised to see any evidence that you "found" such a recognized body.
Surveyors are like any other trade or profession - some are much better than others, and some aren't.
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Old 15-09-2008, 13:45   #12
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One of the major things I found after we had our boat was no mention of the standard type marine battery under each mattress in the stern stateroom battery boxes. No ventilation for off gassing. Now we bought the boat used and it may have come from the factory with standard batteries, but the house batteries were gel cells and the single engine battery was a standard type liquid acid. I have since replaced all 10 with AGM, an expensive and strenuous exercise.

I had some of the "was not tested" also. On a boat we recently sold the VHF radio was inoperable according to the surveyor, he had gone on board when I was not there. The VHF radio breaker in the 12v panel was 2 feet away in plain view but he didn't look to turn it on. Each time I have had a surveyor there have been "things" I have had problems with.
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Old 15-09-2008, 13:53   #13
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Interesting the quality of a surveyor can be at either end of the spectrum depending if you are talking to the buyer or talking to the seller.
PS Illegal or irresponsible, my handshake is better than any piece of paper.
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Old 15-09-2008, 15:38   #14
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Want a good surveyor?

In a former life I was a yacht broker in Ft Lauderdale and quickly learned that several surveyors in town were known to survey for the broker and not the buyer. Did not sit well with me so I searched until I found the toughest surveyor in south FL. At the time he was the only surveyor in town that would actually go up the mast to inspect the masthead and spreadors on a sailboat. He is still in business and if anyone is in need of a tough, honest and reliable surveyor I am happy to recommend him. Not sure if it is Kosher to post this online so please PM if interested.

PS, I do not get a kickback nor even a free survey on my next boat for the recommendation. In fact since it has been 20 years since I left the business he probably doesn't even remember who I am.
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Old 15-09-2008, 16:12   #15
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They are very hard to find. I've only had one worth his salt in 30 years and he is the very best. Pulls no punches, says it like it is. I have "Purchase" surveyed my last few boats as I seem to know more than (or care more than?) many of the surveyors out there....
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