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Old 11-04-2011, 10:15   #1
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Question Surveyors

Can anyone with the gift of smooth talking hang out a shingle claiming to be a marine surveyor? Is this a certifiable and recognizable trade? What documentation and proof of competency would you be looking for, when looking for one?
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Old 11-04-2011, 10:43   #2
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Re: Surveyors

anyone can. But there are two major national organizations that require some dedication to proficiency and regular education to be a member.

SAMS
NAMS

Most insurance companies accept surveys from members of either.
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Old 11-04-2011, 12:21   #3
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Re: Surveyors

I have yet to see a survey that is any more than a description of the vessel and then a whole bunch of excuses for not climbing the mast /checking the electronics/ or generally giving a professional/ informed and personal opinion of the boat and it's equipment, without reams of disclaimers about " latent defects notwithstanding" and all those other "covering my ass" disclaimers that make the survey worthless. Don't waste your money on these charlatans. Go over the boat yourself, make up your own mind, accept or reject defects according to your ability to rectify or the cost thereof and take personal responsibility for your decision. BE YOUR OWN PERSON . !!!! Take charge of your own life.
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Old 11-04-2011, 12:48   #4
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Re: Surveyors

Good point, holmken... if you have the experience, time and perseverance by all means go over the boat yourself. Many folks don't possess these important qualities and therefore must rely on anothers 'expert' eye.
Eeven though I kicked around boats for over 50 years, the last several I bought, I engaged a licensed surveyor in addition to first going over the vessel myself. I shared with the surveyor what troubled me and wanted confirmation that I hadn't missed something or that my assumptions were correct. Another set of eyes and a different investigative background I always felt would help in my decision making.
It also helps in having an independent opinion when negotiating the purchase price. I always felt I was in charge but wanted as much info as I could get... just sayin'... Capt Phil
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Old 11-04-2011, 12:49   #5
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Re: Surveyors

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Originally Posted by holmek View Post
I have yet to see a survey that is any more than a description of the vessel and then a whole bunch of excuses for not climbing the mast /checking the electronics/ or generally giving a professional/ informed and personal opinion of the boat and it's equipment, without reams of disclaimers about " latent defects notwithstanding" and all those other "covering my ass" disclaimers that make the survey worthless. Don't waste your money on these charlatans. Go over the boat yourself, make up your own mind, accept or reject defects according to your ability to rectify or the cost thereof and take personal responsibility for your decision. BE YOUR OWN PERSON . !!!! Take charge of your own life.

All very good unless you don't know what you're looking for, or you want someone that knows more than you do.... or you need to insure your boat........or don't feel comfortable making a commitment of your money without knowing the issues the thing you are buying may have.......

I have a great surveyor for you. He was recomended to me by a broker selling me the boat..... sooooo I started out with a pretty grim view of the guy... however he gave me a very accurate survey, a negative one for the broker with a lot of things wrong with the boat... the broker put a lot of pressure on him to change his survey, but the guy stood by what he said... also he went through the boat with a fine tooth comb and was excellent... not cheap ... but he did identify the major and minor problems..... He also surveyed the boat i brought in the end, with enough detail that I used the survey as the squak list of things to fix on my boat. Excellent surveyor, professional and honest... not the cover your ass ones described above.

Brian Stettler :

bstetler@amarinesurveyor.com(bstetle...surve yor.com)
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Old 11-04-2011, 12:59   #6
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Re: Surveyors

I have worked with some great surveyors and have learned alot from them. I think the best way to find a good surveyor is to ask fellow boat owners who they used and if they were happy with em. If you ask around these parts (Texas) you usually get one of three names, even though we easily have a hundred. Most people buying boats ask their yacht broker, but most brokers usually recommend a surveyor that is "easy" on the boat and any issues she may have.



No matter how much experience you have, I think it is good to get an unbiased report about the vessel you want to buy, another pair of eyes can be a good thing, spot something you might of missed. Surveyors are not perfect but the good ones can save you a ton of money and hardship.

Erika
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Old 11-04-2011, 14:26   #7
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Re: Surveyors

I would suggest you find a surveyor that is SAMS certified. We had a lightning strike and was told at that time by our insurance company that although they would reluctantly accept our locals NAMS certified surveyors recommendation in no uncertain terms it would be better if he was SAMS certified. We were able to secure insurance with the survey done by the NAMS certified surveyor but in the future would be looking for SAMS certified due to the advise I was given by our insurance company.
Hope that helps.
Jackie
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Old 11-04-2011, 14:30   #8
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Re: Surveyors

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Originally Posted by jackiepitts View Post
I would suggest you find a surveyor that is SAMS certified. We had a lightning strike and was told at that time by our insurance company that although they would reluctantly accept our locals NAMS certified surveyors recommendation in no uncertain terms it would be better if he was SAMS certified. We were able to secure insurance with the survey done by the NAMS certified surveyor but in the future would be looking for SAMS certified due to the advise I was given by our insurance company.
Hope that helps.
Jackie
In the surveyor world, NAMS is generally considered a more difficult rating to obtain than SAMS. (disclosure, I was as SAMS SA for 5 years) I would suspect that the insurance company knew who the local NAMS surveyors were, and recommended on over the other for their own self interests.

Just a guess.
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Old 11-04-2011, 14:45   #9
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Re: Surveyors

The greater majority of surveys that I see are nothing more than an inventory of the boat. There are disclaimers about not running engines, turning on instruments, checking electrical operation.

Unless they know what to listen for....tapping the hull is all show.

The surveyor I use has all the equipment and then some.....i.e. Television on a flexible stick, moisture meters etc. Plus he is agile enough to crawl in the holes and light enough to haul up the mast.
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Old 11-04-2011, 14:48   #10
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Re: Surveyors

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Originally Posted by doug86 View Post
In the surveyor world, NAMS is generally considered a more difficult rating to obtain than SAMS. (disclosure, I was as SAMS SA for 5 years) I would suspect that the insurance company knew who the local NAMS surveyors were, and recommended on over the other for their own self interests.

Just a guess.
ahhh I was afraid I may have it backwards so take my recommendation with a grain of salt....should have checked into it better before I posted or have a better memory
If I can find the paperwork I will clarify.
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Old 11-04-2011, 15:06   #11
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Re: Surveyors

hey all I am in the process of switching ins and boat uS insists on a survey. My current broker told me he could not insure my boat in Keyport ,in the raritan bay, as anything south of Jersey City is in the hurricane belt.He has been insuring the boat without a problem for the last 15 yrs, so I figure he doesen,t want to write boat ins. The 4 suveyers I called wanted a range of $15 to $ 17 per ft. I told one I was on the hard so it may be easier, he wanted to know when it would be ready for sea trials.....bottom line is another $650 or so lbs of flesh. What a scam..I am looking at Haggerty Yacht Ins right now. They are calling my old boat a classic yacht now...I guess its their game and if I want to play......... Red
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Old 11-04-2011, 15:16   #12
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Re: Surveyors

While you might be able to spot any possible problems, the seller is less likely to negotiate the price based on your opinions. A survey, completed by a surveyor with initials after their name is more likely to give you negotiating power. I think the usefullness of a survey is drirectly proportionate to the number of zeros in the price.
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Old 11-04-2011, 15:36   #13
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Re: Surveyors

Agreed to use a professional, even if you think you are well versed in boats.

In a past life, I was in the used car business, and have bought thousands of cars for my employers and when I was on my own. I can nail most deficiencies, but when it comes to my own cars that I buy to drive, I always have a professional mechanic look at them.

Does the Holmek think he is better at spotting sailboat issues then I would be on an automobile? He must be really, really good.

Perhaps he should open up as a surveyor and join the "scam".
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Old 11-04-2011, 16:27   #14
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Re: Surveyors

I agree with avb3's comments, and others, on using pros to survey a vessel you are considering. I'm using a surveyor, a rigger, and a mechanic on my next survey. Even if the surveyor is only "an expensive guy with a moisture meter", he's of value to my ultimate decision & will mean the difference between getting liability insurance, or not. Spend less than $1,000 to possibly save 10's of thousands? Makes sense to me.
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Old 11-04-2011, 17:20   #15
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Re: Surveyors

Quote:
Originally Posted by doug86 View Post
anyone can. But there are two major national organizations that require some dedication to proficiency and regular education to be a member.

SAMS
NAMS

Most insurance companies accept surveys from members of either.
What Doug said is the bottom line. The key here is what will your ins co/bank read and the SAMS/NAMS guys set the standard. Yes there are bad apples in both groups but the standards needed to maintain your cert are high and weed out the weak.

While I'm sure many who post here are ABYC certified, have the CFR's memorized and own and are competent with a GRP-33 or Sovereign and maybe even own a Monroe or similar Infrared Thermography camera not to mention the needed ins. to get on the yard, but most buyers are not and depend on a pro. So do your home work, get ref's and contact your lender/ins co for their preferred list.

As for the OP's question, yes any snake oil salesman can hang a shingle but will he last...... Yes I'm a ex-SAMS guy, sold my practice in 09' and went cruising.

PS: You often DO get what you pay for.
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