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Old 06-01-2010, 00:55   #1
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Surveying a New Boat

I have never bought a new boat and unless these 6 numbers ( 7,23,67.45.3.9) come up in Gold Lotto next weekend I almost certainly never will. But it amazes me that buyers can spend ˝ million dollars upwards on a new boat and not insist on a comprehensive independent survey before they take delivery. We all seem to agree that a survey of a used boat is absolutely essential and yet few people question the word of the seller when they buy a new boat.

What is a new boat anyway ? I personally think a boat that has sailed from Africa or Europe to be used. Is a demonstration boat that has been test sailed by a whole bunch of people a new boat ? If an independent survey was mandatory for every new boat before delivery wouldn’t this raise the standard of construction ?

What about an after delivery survey ? How would a manufacturer respond if you handed them a list of defects from such a survey ? You might think that not too much could go wrong with a new boat and that a survey wouldn’t reveal much. But such a survey could focus intense scrutiny on known or suspected high risk areas in particular models. It would be a small price to pay in the scheme of things if the survey revealed cracked bulkhead tabs, undersized backing plates, leaking cabin doors, undersized rigging and so on. You could fix up minor things before they became major things. What do you think?
Has anyone had a new boat surveyed ?
Do insurance companies require a new boat to be surveyed ?
How could this be used in conjuntction with the warranty period ?

Jim
p.s I’m going to change those numbers because other people might put in the same numbers and dilute the first prize….but if those numbers come up ? My head hurts.
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Old 06-01-2010, 01:39   #2
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Hi jpemb7,
Great question as I have been in the market for a while now and have narrowed it down to several boats.. I'm with you on several counts, to find out the defects of any new boat, a usual shakedown sail is always in order and most manufacturers/brokers will have you come back after a few weeks/months after that shakedown cruise to tell them what the faults are. This alone will tell you the value of the manufacturer/brokerage...

As for used boats, the few that I really liked, the owner already had a survey done and everything that was marked as concerns were all addressed with proof of invoice for each fix/upgrade. These are the sellers that I will only deal with as, how my mind works, is that, if someone really wants to sell their boat, they should have a survey done, at their expense and have it ready for all "serious" buyers. This to me tells me that the seller is really serious and honest about their sale.

I can never understand why most sellers insist that each buyer initiate their own survey?!?! Perhaps someone can fill me in on this logic...

Also, We lived in the mooloolaba for several years and LOVED it!! Hope to get back there soon..
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Old 06-01-2010, 04:17   #3
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Hi Shadow
Quote:
to find out the defects of any new boat, a usual shakedown sail is always in order and most manufacturers/brokers will have you come back after a few weeks/months after that shakedown cruise to tell them what the faults are. This alone will tell you the value of the manufacturer/brokerage...
I think a survey would add some impartiality and professionalism to this process. What about an independent survey after a few months as part of the whole package. This would represent a very small % of the overall cost unless some major defects were found. But any defects must be found and the manufacturer should acknowledge this.

Quote:
the owner already had a survey done and everything that was marked as concerns were all addressed with proof of invoice for each fix/upgrade.
This would be the complete package. A survey completed before the new owner takes possession with proof that defects were corrected. After all this not a new plasma TV. If it breaks down it could mean your life. You'd want to be confident that the survey was fair and impartial.

JIm
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Old 06-01-2010, 04:34   #4
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I bought my boat new; well, actually it was a "boat show" boat, and had about 50 hours on the engine. It never crossed my mind to get a professional survey done. I just kept a punch list of things that needed fixing, and the dealer had them fixed. It wasn't a long list, and the items were rather inconsequential. Anything major would have been covered by the manufacturer's warranty.

I think that if you bought a new boat and began to have major problems, a survey might be in order at that point, just to make certain the issues were clearly identified so they could be dealt with. Especially if the dealer/manufacturer were not responding favorably.
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Old 06-01-2010, 06:33   #5
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Originally Posted by shadow View Post
Hi jpemb7,


I can never understand why most sellers insist that each buyer initiate their own survey?!?! Perhaps someone can fill me in on this logic...
There are surveys and there are surveys. Which would you trust the most, the survey paid for by the seller or the survey you paid for?

Following that logic, if I were selling a boat I wouldn't spend any money on a survey because I would anticipate the buyer purchasing his/her own survey anyway.

If you're going to put your faith and money in a survey paid for by the seller, why not save everybody a lot of trouble and just take his word for it?

Caveat emptor.
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Old 06-01-2010, 06:44   #6
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If surveyors slant there surveys to favor the person paying are there no professional standards that they are held to?
Surveyors do insurance surveys all the time at the owners cost not the insurer and they are "supposed" to be independent and the insurers use them to base coverage. How do insurers deal with that uncertainty?

Jim
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Old 06-01-2010, 09:47   #7
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There are surveyors and there are surveyors.
They are no different from doctors/lawyers/indian chiefs.
Some are better than others.

If you want a quick dose of reality ask around in any large boating center and compare survey prices "just for the insurance policy" vs. a thorough survey.

Caveat emptor.
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Old 06-01-2010, 11:08   #8
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So you wouldn't go to a doctor your company pays for? or a lawyer that works for an independent agency if you weren't the one specifically paying them? I don't know much about what Indian chiefs do. I guess it all just depends on what the expectations are. I would probably accept a truly "independent survey" on a fairly new boat as well as I would accept one I paid for. It would seem that finding a good surveyor in a strange town is a crap shoot anyway. If the one that did the owners survey had a good reputation (as good as you can tell from the hearsay stuff you can access) I would probably be just as satisfied. Particularly if I could discuss it with them as well. I guess you can tell how good my last survey was can't you.
I guess I was wondering if they are really supposed to be independent at all and if they are are there any enforcing agency that they belong that tries to uphold the standard.
I am still surprised that an insurance company would even care if they got a survey if they didn't carry an benefit at all. If I were an insurance company I would wave the survey and attract a bunch of clients by being cheaper then my competitors.

Jim
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Old 06-01-2010, 15:19   #9
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If ever were to buy a new boat I would have it surveyed.

I was researching a model the other day and was on the owners association for the make (to be nameless). I started reading old newsletters and they were full of stories of boats with problems at delivery. Why would you accept the manufacturers and brokers word blindy for a new boat when you wouldn't do same from the owners of a used one?
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Old 06-01-2010, 15:44   #10
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Surveys vary. But at least most work to a check list.
Mine threw up issues I don't consider to be issues, and failed to spot a couple of minor issues like water getting into the GRP superstructure. But did mention a leaky window.
If it's a reputable manufacturer and dealer (now there's a subject for surveying) there won't be a problem. Will there?
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Old 06-01-2010, 18:59   #11
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If more buyers demanded/insisted/required/requested a pre-delivery survey on a new boat it would improve production quality. (prepare the soapbox )

If we developed a culture (as wth used boats) were it was the norm to have some form of survey before a buyer takes ownership of a new boat it would improve production quality. When I sell my boat I am going to make sure everything is working and I am going to fix any defects because I know the buyer is going to get a survey done. ( And also because I am a nice guy and don't want to read about them in the newspaper.)

Quote:
Hud3.... I just kept a punch list of things that needed fixing, and the dealer had them fixed. It wasn't a long list, and the items were rather inconsequential. Anything major would have been covered by the manufacturer's warranty.
This works fine if you have good after sales service and the support is easy and convenient but is this always the case ? And what if you bought a boat and found design problems... that the backing plates on your horn cleats were inadequate. Would your dealer willingly beef them up as part of the after sales service ?
Now, if someone advocates strongly for themselves then you might be able to get everything you want under warranty. (Squeeky wheel gets the oil )
But imo this whole warranty thing is designed in the manufacturers favor and encourages timed obsolescence. In addition, they rely on most people not bothering to get minor things fixed. This just encourages poor quality all round. Why do you think manufacturers like these "cash back" discounts as opposed to instore discounts ? Because they know most peolpe won't bother to fill in the torturous paperwork to get the cashback.

Jim

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Old 07-01-2010, 15:49   #12
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Why would you accept the manufacturers and brokers word blindy for a new boat when you wouldn't do same from the owners of a used one?
I guess the difference is that you can't take it back to the old owner and get it corrected.

I am trying to think of something a surveyor would be able to pick up on a new boat that you wouldn't be able to yourself or isn't a conscious decision by the manufacturer such as the size of rigging or backing plates. I always think of surveyors looking at hull for blisters, throughhulls for corrosion, obviously dangerous electrical installation, poorly done repairs or additions, etc. None of these would be present on a new boat and if they were bad enough to be a problem surely the owner would pick it up during routine haulouts or checks.
I guess it all depends on how much you trust the manufacturer vs the surveyor and how much difference that trust is worth in money.
If you hired someone to put in a new radar arch and battery bank and charger, etc you probably aren't going to pay someone to check their work. Sometime you have to trust the professionals/manufacturers or just buy from one you do.

Jim
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Old 07-01-2010, 17:01   #13
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I can only hope and assume that any surveyor will have enough of a good reputation that he/she would NEVER compromise their integrity in favor of the money holder. I would hope that if that happens, the new owners would sue that surveyor to the fullest extend of the law, as the purchaser can only make proper and educated decisions based on his survey.

Perhaps another option, which may be fantasyland, but if a boat owner signs an agreement with a brokerage, perhaps they should split the cost of a thorough survey and have it ready of all incoming prospective buyers. In the long run, they would both be reimbursed with the purchase of the boat and I would suspect that the reputation of the brokerage would gain some levels with this kind of transparency.

Perhaps I am wishing way too much but, like some people, I tend to be way too honest, especially when selling things to other people. I want them to be beyond happy with their purchase...

Just my .00002 cents
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Old 07-01-2010, 18:36   #14
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Always get your own survey. If the seller gets it, how do you know it was not done by his brother-in-law. Choosing a surveyor is a whole other thread but it should be done with as much care as choosing your boat if not more..

I survey 3-4 new boats each year and generally have found $4k-$5K required reapairs on each one with one 34' powerboat requiring $35k in repairs (while still in the show room). I have just gotten home from an ongoing consultation on a new 40' sailboat whose liner has de-bonded from the hull.

Caveat emptor
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Old 07-01-2010, 19:14   #15
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Exactly !
What about a preservice survey that includes a hull sounding. If it finds voids in the laminate, you walk away and tell the dealer to get you another one. If this happened a few times you can bet they would be more careful with there layups.
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