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Old 30-06-2009, 10:31   #1
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Boat Survey - Annapolis

I am looking to have a boat surveyed in the Annapolis area and have a few questions for the group.
  1. I am in a running discussion with a neighbor about how independent a surveyor can be given they need brokerages for business. As she pointed out - how is this different than the "home inspection" industry which is ripe with examples of optimistic appraisals of a house's issues. Is it? Is it reasonable to expect a surveyor to guarantee their findings? (I have not found one willing to do so)
  2. If you have personally used a surveyor that you would recommend in this area, please let me know. If you had back luck with one - I would be interested in that too.
  3. Moisture. If a boat has been on land for over a year in the yard, is there any real expectation that water would or should be found? It seems this has been a year of drying out. Yet, I also feel the damage would remain - or is it now hidden?
  4. Oil testing - again the boat has been sitting for a year - any sense in having it done or some other option?
  5. I want it to be a positive experience between me and the surveyor - yet I want to know everything - even the trivial. I consider little a deal breaker but knowing I have to budget to correct it is important. Collectively it may be a breaker - but I want to decide whether it is cosmetic to me or "not that bad." Am I being realistic?
Thank you.
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Old 30-06-2009, 10:48   #2
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I used Peter Hartoft. Both him and his partner came highly recommended and I felt he did a wonder job.

He worked hard for his fee, was efficient yet patient with me when explaining everything. He was also willing to stop when he found something that might have been a red flag and discuss it then, instead of waiting until the end.
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Old 30-06-2009, 13:10   #3
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Great questions, Kefaa!
1. Yes, there are "Broker's Surveyors" for just the reasons your neighbor stated. However, there are a few who stay busy even in this lousy market based on their reputation as thorough and exacting surveyors. Some people suggest you can get a good survey from a competing Broker's Surveyor. I don't think so.
2. Personal recommendations should be the best test, particularly from someone who has bought more than a few boats.
3. Most hulls will dry out in a year on the hard, but one that hasn't is a serious concern. No surveyor would skip this step because a moisture meter gives them factual, objective data to present. And its not done in ten minutes either. Unfortunately, a hull that has no water remaining is not water-proof. For that reason, sounding the hull becomes the best test, and this requires a very experienced hand and ear. But people who work on hulls will have a lot of experience with this technique; its not just the Surveyors who do this.
4. Oil testing is of some slight importance (it will predict an imminent failure only) unless there has been continuous testing over the life of the engine. If you are lucky enough to be buying from an owner who routinely tested his oil, you have a treasure trove of data. But don't skip this when you include an engine analysis with your survey. That frequently means another player, and an additional charge. There may be a third person, a rigger, to go up the mast, especially if your primary Surveyor is, er, portly. However, most surveyors will be able to detect many problems in the engines and rigging on their own. If they suspect something serious they will recommend a specialist. This becomes very important as the price of the boat goes up, because the price of repairs goes up faster.
5. All surveyors are friendly and helpful over the phone, most remain so after you sign their contract. Stick to the ones most recommended by experienced buyers. I have heard of Surveyors who try to ingratiate themselves with customers for follow-up work or assistance. That tells me they aren't that busy as Surveyors.

You asked if any surveyor will guarantee his findings. Do you mean guarantee that he's found everything thats wrong with the boat? Think about it. If he were truly Omniscient, he wouldn't even have to go out to the boat. If he's a mere mortal, he will find as much bad stuff as his experience, training and luck will let him see. And if a major flaw is artfully camouflaged he might miss that too.

I've owned twenty boats, and had Surveys on the last six. I recommend:
Steven Uhthoff Marine Surveys

Steve Uhthoff
PO Box 3438
Annapolis, MD 21403


Office: 410-263-8980
Cell: 443-336-3560
Fax: 410-280-2639
steve@annapolismarinesurveys.comtracy@annapolismarinesurveys.com
He has a partner who specializes in engines, but Steve is good for any sailing auxilliary. He's been very patient with me, and is still enthusiastic about his job, something sometimes missing elsewhere.
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Old 30-06-2009, 14:32   #4
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I would avoid Sean Kelsey of Kelsey-Turner & Associates like the plague. I used him and would never recommend him or his firm.
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Old 30-06-2009, 14:44   #5
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Ahoy

We were very pleased with the survey job done for us by Gale at Hartoft.

HARTOFT MARINE SURVEY LTD.
Gale Browning, NAMS-CMS
www.HartoftMarineSurvey.com
1 800 438 2827
1 410 263 3609
e-mail Gale@HartoftMarineSurvey.com

Very comprehensive and complete.

Rik
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Old 30-06-2009, 15:13   #6
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Be careful with any surveyor recomended by the agent. I had a terrible survey in Annapolis years ago, unfortunately cant remember the name. My impression is that a Bad blister problem can be hidden for 6 mos to a year on a water stored boat with "recent bottom job". I believe a boat that hasnt had a bottom job in quite a while is a plus for the buyer... I dont think heavy moisture in the glass will dry out on it's own unless the barrier paint etc is removed.
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Old 13-08-2009, 19:50   #7
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A word of caution. Our last survey was in NC and it was not folks I would recommend. We had a boat surveyor and a separate rigging surveyor. The result was "the most pristine survey ever done" ... it was a croc...
I'm having a boat survey next week and will let you know how it goes. We are using Chris Oliver in the Annapolis area...came highly recommend by a friend...hope he knows what he is talking about.
Chris Oliver Marine Engine Surveyor
Phone: 410-643-1545
Cell: 410-591-0308
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Old 13-08-2009, 19:52   #8
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I meant to add...be sure to get a separate engine survey.

Quote:
Originally Posted by harmony80 View Post
A word of caution. Our last survey was in NC and it was not folks I would recommend. We had a boat surveyor and a separate rigging surveyor. The result was "the most pristine survey ever done" ... it was a croc...
I'm having a boat survey next week and will let you know how it goes. We are using Chris Oliver in the Annapolis area...came highly recommend by a friend...hope he knows what he is talking about.
Chris Oliver Marine Engine Surveyor
Phone: 410-643-1545
Cell: 410-591-0308
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Old 14-08-2009, 04:29   #9
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Has anyone ever booked 2 serveys? I would think it would pay off if you booked 2 serveyors without either knowing the other was doing one. This was going to possibly be my plan, have one do the in water and then haul out, then book another to do the haul out again while it is out and repeat the in water. I would be very interested to compare 2 sep serveys.
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Old 19-08-2009, 18:51   #10
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Depending on the age of the boat, recommend:
1. General boat survey
2. Rigging survey
3. Engine survey
Know what you want and trust your jugement, and get 2nd opinions if you are't satisfied. Sometimes just walking around the yard and talking to other folks provides great info about a particular boat and how it has been maintained.
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Old 17-11-2010, 11:52   #11
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I have used Steven Uhthoff from Annapolis Marine Surveys. He was great! He did a basic insurance survey for me and gave me great recommendations that I never would of thought about.

Annapolis Marine Surveys, Marine Surveyor - Steven Uhthoff
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Old 17-11-2010, 13:10   #12
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I second the recommendation for Steven Uhthoff. I've used him and he was great.
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Old 17-11-2010, 13:33   #13
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I wonder if that is the same Stephen Uhthoff I went to elementary school in Annapolis with and whose parents bought our 1970's R.V. from us in 1993???
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Old 18-11-2010, 05:50   #14
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I second using Chris Oliver for an engine survey. I recommend David Manning ((410) 263-5852 ) for the general survey. I had a boat surveyed by someone else (not in Annapolis) and had so little confidence in it that I had Dave redo the major parts, and he found substantial issues that were missed on the original survey.
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Old 18-11-2010, 05:56   #15
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