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Old 20-09-2010, 18:58   #1
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Survey Questions - Australia

Hi there,

Not sure if this is the correct forum but I have a few questions regarding survey's in Australia. We are looking at buying a yacht over the next 6 months and have already found one which might be worth having surveyed.

My questions relate to pricing and reliability. Firstly, what is the going rate for Surveys? I have been quoted $20-$25 per foot for an out of water survey.

Secondly, if I spend $1100 getting a yacht surveyed and they miss something critical and/or expensive, what is the liability on the Surveyor?

If I go to the expense of asking for a Survey is it appropriate to ask to sail the yacht first and make an offer pending the outcome of the survey? Also, the broker has stated that we may have to cover the cost of a test sail if we didn't go ahead with the purchase - is that normal? He hasn't indicated how much that would be.

Thanks in advance,

Mike & Caitlin
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Old 20-09-2010, 19:59   #2
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All marine surveys are performed under strict terms and conditions and the surveyor specifys their limit of liability before undertaking the survey as there are several items that they cannot test. For instance they do not dismantale sea cocks to inspect their condition nor are they able to certify the watertightness of hatches and windows etc. You will be able to read all of this on the surveyors website.

As far as the price you should shop around to get an idea of the rate in your area.

As far as the broker saying that you may need to cover the cost of the test sail if you do not proceed with the purchase they do need to guard against people who pretend to be buyers and who just want to go out for a free sail. But if they are working with you they would know that you are genuine and it all depends if they want you to purchse your yacht through them or chase you away to another broker. This will come down to negotiation and how much they want to make a sale.
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Old 20-09-2010, 20:16   #3
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There are no definite answers to your questions. I am hardly the expert, but my experience has been as follows:

Surveyors are NEVER going to assume any responsibility. They will give you the survey and the "benefit" of their opinion, for what that is worth, but they will always shy away from any responsibility. So, the trick is to find one that (a) knows what yhey are on about, (b) does a thorough job, (c) is honest, and (d) doesn't charge like a wounded bull. Ask around for recommendations (do not ask the seller, nor the seller's broker).

$20-$25 per foot sounds expensive to me. If the guy takes 4 hours to survey a 40' boat, thats a helluva an hourly rate. I would be hoping to get away with significantly less, but again bear in mind, you want your surveyor to do a thorough and professional job.

My experience was, with regards to both (a) the costs associated with getting the boat out of the water, and (b) costs associated with a test sail, that the seller pays those costs, initially, up front (because they are local), with the understanding that you agree to pay for them if you decide not buy the boat, except in the case when the test sail or the survey comes up with reasonable (and previously undisclosed) grounds for not buying the boat. If you buy the boat, the cost of slipping and test sailing are subtracted from the sale price. That was my experience, but it may well not be standard. I advise you to speak to some local brokers, who will tell you what is the normal way of things where you are.
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