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Old 05-12-2012, 16:47   #1
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How did you find your survey

Just had a survey done on a yacht that by the look of it I will be purchasing shortly. (First time buyer long time researcher)

However I must say for all the hype and the cost you don't really get much out of it. Is it just me? I suppose I have the piece of mind I've picked a boat that someone else has confirmed is up for the job but guess I just expected a bit more detail?

Don't get me wrong it was a glowing report and valuation was better than I could ever have hoped for. How did other people find valuations on their boat, are they normally fairly accurate to what you're paying or is it heightened for insurance purposes?

Perhaps I'm just being Negitive so as to play devils advocate, perhaps there really is nothing wrong and hence the lack if attention to detail I would have liked...?

Interested to here your survey and valuation stories...
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Old 05-12-2012, 16:54   #2
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Re: How did you find your survey

If you want to compare to a survey we had done before purchase you can see it here:
The prepurchase survey | Sundowner Sails Again

I found our survey accurate in a lot of ways technically, but what I discovered was that my interpretations were erroneous. Beware of each and every line that says something like "servicable".
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Old 05-12-2012, 16:58   #3
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Re: How did you find your survey

based on the 2 boats I've boughten and the accuracy of the survey I would say:

1 - if the boat is a newer boat in good shape/condition the survey will be correct

2 - if the boat is older and "average" condition the survey will be wrong (there will be a fair amount of stuff it missed)
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Old 05-12-2012, 17:07   #4
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I kind of feel like you need to shop around for a surveyor at the same time you're shopping around for a boat. Our surveyor caught some big things (eg. rotted out timbers), but also missed some big things (the entire bow of our boat was rotten). Of course, we have a custom built cold molded boat, which makes it a bit more difficult to survey when compared to production boats. We were first-time boat buyers, so despite all of the research we did, we still didn't quite know what we were looking at or for. We know so much more now after four years of boat ownership (and lots of weekend/summer projects). When looking for a surveyor next time around (assuming there is a next time) I would probably 1) get some recommendations, 2) call around to several recommended surveyors to ascertain their qualifications/accreditations and also just chat 'em up (it's important that they be good question askers and communicators in addition to the other skills), 3) get a sense of their policies should they miss something huge. I have mad respect for really good, thorough marine surveyors who are also cognizant and upfront about their strengths and limitations.

Just out of curiosity, what kind of boat and how long was your report? Did you buy it???
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Old 05-12-2012, 17:22   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Target9000 View Post
If you want to compare to a survey we had done before purchase you can see it here:
The prepurchase survey | Sundowner Sails Again

I found our survey accurate in a lot of ways technically, but what I discovered was that my interpretations were erroneous. Beware of each and every line that says something like "servicable".
Wow this is so much more detailed than mine... Do to mind me asking how much you paid per foot for the survey? I had no remedial actions, recommendations, info on sea clocks nothing...
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Old 05-12-2012, 17:26   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Lucas View Post
based on the 2 boats I've boughten and the accuracy of the survey I would say:

1 - if the boat is a newer boat in good shape/condition the survey will be correct

2 - if the boat is older and "average" condition the survey will be wrong (there will be a fair amount of stuff it missed)

http://www.marinesurvey.org

Called on a Sunday, did survey the next day.

My 37 year old sailboat passed the survey with a estimate of 300 dollars to replace Yanmar exhaust mixer. Total cost, with fluid changes, and engine shut off control ( I elected to replace) was $600. I would call that a deadly accurate survey.

Older boats, may require older, more experienced surveyors.

Attached is my surveyor. I would highly recommend him for work in southern California.
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Old 05-12-2012, 17:28   #7
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Re: How did you find your survey

Quote:
Originally Posted by frazerhalliday View Post
Wow this is so much more detailed than mine... Do to mind me asking how much you paid per foot for the survey? I had no remedial actions, recommendations, info on sea clocks nothing...
We agreed on a price beforehand that was not tied to the length of the vessel. I'm cannot remember the exact amount we paid for his survey but the surveyor spent probably 8 hours onboard with us. We had a haulout with him there and also a sea trial. I believe it was somewhere around 500-600 dollars for the survey. We also incurred the cost of haul out. And we got an engine survey done as well, including oil sample send off.

We spent many hours researching and selecting our surveyor.
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Old 05-12-2012, 17:38   #8
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Re: How did you find your survey

Keep in mind that in most places there is nothing to keep someone from hanging out a shingle that says "marine surveyor" on it. Most states have no licensing or other requirements. They vary a lot.
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Old 05-12-2012, 17:49   #9
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Re: How did you find your survey

Quote:
Originally Posted by frazerhalliday View Post
I just expected a bit more detail?

Don't get me wrong it was a glowing report and valuation was better than I could ever have hoped for.

Perhaps I'm just being Negitive so as to play devils advocate, perhaps there really is nothing wrong and hence the lack if attention to detail I would have liked...?

Interested to here your survey and valuation stories...

Your intuition is usually correct. If the survey lacked details, it wasn't a very thorough survey. Common sense dictates a good surveyor on a used boat should find some problems. If he didn't, you will later.

Valuations are generally unrealistic so as to not otherwise sour a deal. I bet the surveyor either knew or asked how much you were paying for the boat, right? What does that tell you?
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Old 05-12-2012, 18:00   #10
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Re: How did you find your survey

Quote:
Keep in mind that in most places there is nothing to keep someone from hanging out a shingle that says "marine surveyor" on it. Most states have no licensing or other requirements. They vary a lot.
There is SAMS / NAMS. Usually insurance requires such a qualification.
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Old 05-12-2012, 18:30   #11
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pirate Re: How did you find your survey

I've tended to do my own surveying except for once... a 2001 'Bendi' whuch was a co-ownership deal (bad idea..lol)... he missed loads and despite an agreement to do it in my presence turned up early and it was done when I arrived at the agree'd time... local surveyor and Moorings agent met me with... 'Flying colors'..
Found problems later... in my opinion the surveyors fall into 2 types... Sellers and Buyers..
I get to see loads of insurance surveys in my line and often wonder how some rigging etc got through.. and with elec's... all he has to say is "It worked fine when I tested it"... my infamous delivery to OZ had sails that had been passed A1.. but when unpacked it was obvious he had not de-bagged them... a couple had mouseholes chewed in them..
If it gets you Full Insurance its worth it for that alone if thats your need... but if your just going 3rd Party and have some previous with sailboats its likely you'll do as good a job... if not better... as you can take your time... he'll be trying to get it done in the minimum... fixed price = time is money...
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Old 06-12-2012, 10:17   #12
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Re: How did you find your survey

I ran into the opposite problem. I had a great surveyor who went into every little problem in great detail. That made it a great purchase survey, not so good as an insurance survey.
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Old 06-12-2012, 10:29   #13
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There are several "types" of survey available from most surveyors.

A "purchase survey" tends to be the most detailed should tell you more than you ever want to know about the boat.
A "valuation survey" is a much less detailed survey to establish a reasonable value for the vessel for either insurance or pre sale for the seller.
A "voyage survey" is generally about structural and safety equipment without a value attached.

In larger vessels you also will encounter "Flag" and "Class" surveys which are completely different from surveys mentioned above. They will be conducted by a Flag or Class appointed surveyor and cover items specific to the Flag or Class requirements for the given size and type of vessel.

Generally speaking, don't let the seller or his broker recommend a surveyor (they may be friends and slightly biased). If you do need recommendations from the seller's broker request at least three different surveyors/companies and call each for a brief chat to let them know you expect minute detail and a very complete evaluation. Expect to call in a separate company for engine surveys (and generators if required) and on large boats a specialist rig surveyor as well. A complex vessel will usually also require an electrical survey which is an additional charge.

On most boats I work with (generally over 100 feet) we expect to pay about $1000 per day or $14-20/ft for a survey.
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Old 06-12-2012, 11:57   #14
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Re: How did you find your survey

I feel that the major risk in purchasing a boat is that something enormously expensive is wrong with it:
  • Leaking diesel tanks.
  • Soggy core.
  • Rotten wood inside the stringers underneath the mast step.
  • Steel trim ballast rusting and expanding underneath the floorboards.
  • Bulkhead tabbing delaminating from the hull.
  • Glassed in chainplates rusting behind furniture.
  • Mast seriously corroded at the collar or step.
  • That thing some fiberglass rudders do, where the metal framework inside rusts.
(The common thing for many of these is that you have to disassemble interior furniture to fix them, or do a whole lot of glasswork)

So I think it's important to tell the surveyor that these are the kinds of things you want them to look for. If your boat has sisterships, go and find out what the common problems are, and make a list for the surveyor. Make a list of major problems boats of the same vintage tend to have. Go through each one with him or her, and even if they can't tell you definitively if the problem is there or not, they should be able to discuss with you how they can make a good guess. Talk about this up front, that this is what you want them to spend their time doing.

I would be very cautious purchasing a type of boat with a history of a major problem that is hard to figure out during a survey.

With my recent purchase, we found a potential problem, and because I'm so paranoid, I paid the surveyor more to investigate it to a much greater degree than usual (with a boroscope and additional ultrasounding).

Without direction, many revert to spending their time making a very thorough list of the equipment and checking that it works:
  • Depth sounder -- AOK
  • VHF Radio -- AOK
  • Cabin Fan -- AOK
  • Bilge pump -- AOK
  • Liferaft -- Present
  • Anchor -- Present
  • Windlass -- Goes up and down
  • Propane solenoid -- Present
  • Fire extinguisher -- Present
Which... is stuff I can easily check myself, and in the context for a 6 figure boat -- who cares? I expect those things to break (often), and none of them are a 'big deal' to replace. The real value of the boat, and risk when you buy, is in the hull, mast, and engine.

Matt.
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Old 06-12-2012, 19:55   #15
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Re: How did you find your survey

Our surveyor asked the PO for a previous survey and basically walked through the boat. Did spend a little time tapping on the hull and things. I asked him what he thought and he said oh it is a good boat. Not sure how he knew that, got the report and it was basically a copy of the old one the PO gave him. I found out later they are good friends and am paying the price for being trusting. I did not want to accept it but my wife said "He is such a nice guy it must be okay". I should have trusted my instincts and turned away.

I've replaced the charger already, one toilet still need to do the other, the water system pump today, had exhaust work done today also. I am having another survey done next week with one I know is competent then going after the PO and her friend.
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