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Old 14-10-2014, 21:11   #1
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Surveyors: San Carlos, Mexico

Hello All,

I am looking for my best option for obtaining a pre-sale sailboat survey in San Carlos, Mexico. I have some names, but NO info on recommendations or references.

This was a thread in this group back in 2010. Does anyone have any recent experiences that might help guide us in our search?

My research has yielded three names:

Gary Goldstein of Gary's Dive Shop
Joe Lewis of Wheeler Maritime
Allan Smith (not answering email--not in business anymore?)

Any information would be GREATLY appreciated.

Thanks in advance,

Steve
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Old 15-10-2014, 02:01   #2
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Re: Surveyors: San Carlos, Mexico

Steve, if you can get a trustworthy recommendation out of San Diego, go that way. Surveyors vary considerably in ability and dedication, so if you get a good name (and one was mentioned a few months ago on another thread, in San Diego), it would be a reasonable expense to fly him/her down and supply lodgings, etc., for the assurance that the survey would be well done.

You know the saying that the person who represents himself at a murder trial is a fool? Well, unless you're pretty knowledgeable yourself, you need not just "a" surveyor, as they are NOT all created equal, you need a GOOD one.

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Old 15-10-2014, 04:50   #3
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Re: Surveyors: San Carlos, Mexico

Hi ss87106 & welcome to the forums. The finding a surveyor south of the border has my interest piqued also.
Have you tried the NAMS/SAMS Website? The Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors, Inc.® - (SAMS®) I can't say that I've checked it in depth as yet. But they're one of the first places which I'd start.

Though, as a tip, in my "life experience" file, it seems that one gets the best results are yielded by pursuing answers in the following order: A live visit, (next) A phone visit - the type where you spend 10 minutes on the phone with the company finding THE guy, meaning the one who's worked there for 20yrs & is more than happy to talk your ear off on all things technical. And that you can call back 5yrs later, ask for him & he still remembers you... immediately asking what he can do for you (or a friend, if you tell your friend his name, & to use you as a reference).
Barring those, there's email. But still, like the other 2 above, work on establishing a rapport with one or several folks who work there.
It's like that old saying, "it's not what you know, but who you know." I know, it sounds a touch sleazy, but... if it works.

- Also, odds are it'd pay dividends, to talk to a couple of insurance companies; about whom they're the happiest to work with. And also, to get a list from them (with as much specificity as possible) which delineates what firms in that area they'll work with. Plus, ask them, if they've had clients fly in surveyors, & if so, whom.
And of course there's the flipside - who, in area X, which they categorically they won't work with..

Ah, one more idea. Get a sample survey/surveyor's checklist from one of the better firms up here (that insurance companies are "wild" about his/her work, or at a minimum, more than happy working with). And at the same time, ask a few of the companies south of the border for the same thing.

That way, by looking at what the perspective surveyor's do & especially, don't, look at/for, you'll have a decent way to judge how thorough the perspective surveyors are.

I'm kind of going off of the top of my head on this, & am doing it on nada for sleep, but relatively speaking, I'd put a decent wager on the above concept(s) being sound.
And if not, or if there are some holes in the idea/process, which need filling in, I'd SURELY welcome comments/feedback. Ones of the sort with thoughts having a lot of depth of thought/experience(s) behind them.

Also, in addition to some of the other ideas in here, odds are that various (US)
banks/lending institutions have a list of Surveyors with whom they'll work, outside of the US.
For if naught else, they must possess such a list, so that they know who to call to assess the damage to a vessel(s) when a claim is filed outside of the US.

And (as always) Ann T Kate's recommendation is spot on. Meaning to find a good surveyor, who's got solid (real world) credentials. And that the Financing & Insuring "System" are more than happy to work with this persona in CONUS.
Ones who are happy & willing to fly, for a stipend, to do the survey at locale Y. Be sure to ask them about (location) Y, as odds are they have a decent idea of where best to do a survey in Y. Or if not there, then it's likely that they'll know of another spot nearby (which has better facilities, easier folks to work with, etc...).

Ah, and if you're in REAL need of a good local surveyor, I'd put down a big wager on the fact that local banks, near or semi-near to where the boat is located, likely have a list of whom they trust to do high quality boat inspections, prior to extending large volume loans to folks. So again, it's another resource worth looking into. And a bank or three up here likely has ties to, & or branches open within the vicinity of where the boat is that you're looking at.
The bank may have another name, etc. but with a bit of digging, you'll be able to find one which has ties to a local branch. And if/when you find it, it's likely that they've done a lot of the leg work for you, in terms of finding a quality surveyor & such.

Anyway, if naught else, perhaps I stirred the neurons North of Your Neck, into following a few different pathways. Which will likely yield info useful to a lot of us on here. So please, once you get things sorted out in terms of your success(es), if you could share the items in your win column, as well as the loss/don't bother column, I at least would appreciate it. And likely some other members on here would be in your debt as well, on this topic. It's definitely worth your having brought this up.

Thanks, & good luck with the search(es).
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Old 15-10-2014, 08:38   #4
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Re: Surveyors: San Carlos, Mexico

Here is the problem Steve...

With the very limited Surveyor options in San Carlos you have to remember that they are all friends, the broker, the surveyor and what's more important to them? Pointing out a major flaw in your boat OR keeping in good standing and friendship with their local gringo cruiser community. Look I don't intend to question the reputation of anyone..but I have seen this ugly game play out first hand down in Mazatlan where a all too cozy relationship was in place with all the surveyors and brokers.

I saw the same boat surveyed in Mazatlan 3 and 4 times by the same surveyor. Now he knew the engine had hot/cold spot issues in the cylinders (how do I know...he told me) but if he wasn't asked and paid to do the engine mechanical survey he didn't mention it. The broker also knew of the engine problems from the other failed surveys when the owners bailed...but did they share this with the perspective fly down buyers, nope. The prior survey after all they argued were the confidential property of the prior buyers that bailed. So the surveyor got to survey the same boat over and over as if it was his first time and the local back rub game continued.

Now to be fair, this can happen in Anytown USA, so it's not specific to Mexico, but in Mexico your recourse if things go bad are a lot less than in the USA so more caution is needed on the part of the buyer.

Your safe solution (and what I would do if I was in your shoes) is to bring in a surveyor from outside the area who doesn't have a relationship with the local marine industry. Sure it will cost a bit more...but it can also save you a disaster of omission.
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Old 15-10-2014, 08:47   #5
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Re: Surveyors: San Carlos, Mexico

You might check into what the local surveyors will do if they find a U.S. competitor without a work permit doing what they feel is there work. I dont know what the laws in Mexico are, but you would hate to spend airfare, hotel, and probably the full cost of a survey, and then get your surveyor booted out. Call the yard where it will be hauled, and gently get around to the question of an outside surveyor. Maybe it will be OK. Good Luck. ______Grant.
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Old 15-10-2014, 08:52   #6
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Re: Surveyors: San Carlos, Mexico

as a certified yacht surveyor for the last 35 years. you have been given good advise by all of the above. there are No certified surveyors in mexico
fly some down to the location don't rely on anyone local
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Old 15-10-2014, 08:53   #7
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Re: Surveyors: San Carlos, Mexico

Quote:
Originally Posted by gjordan View Post
You might check into what the local surveyors will do if they find a U.S. competitor without a work permit doing what they feel is there work. I dont know what the laws in Mexico are, but you would hate to spend airfare, hotel, and probably the full cost of a survey, and then get your surveyor booted out. Call the yard where it will be hauled, and gently get around to the question of an outside surveyor. Maybe it will be OK. Good Luck. ______Grant.
Oh that's easy...if the locals found out about it ahead of time he could be arrested and thrown in Jail for working illegally in Mexico. But it's also legal to have a FRIEND come with you and if he happens to be a Surveyor then so what, but I would NOT tell anyone he is more than a friend.

My recommendation would be to bring in a surveyor from La Paz.
There are plenty of reputable surveyors in La Paz who have all the legal paperwork to do the survey in San Carlos. Dennis at Ross Marine Services comes to mind and he travels to Cabo and other locals in Mexico all the time for surveys.
Ross Marine Services and Consulting, S de RL de CV La Paz
Tel:+52 1 612 136 46 13 / +52 1 612 104 42 30 ,VHF Channel 22A "Two Can Play" or "Ross Marine"
yachtmanagement@bluewaterketch.com , marinesurveys@bluewaterketch.com
Yacht Management, Project Management, and Marine Surveys. Certified Master Marine Surveyor (USSA #60508.) Specializing in services to the cruising community. Seven Seas Cruising Assn. Cruising Station Hosts.
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Old 15-10-2014, 09:29   #8
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Re: Surveyors: San Carlos, Mexico

Just a couple of comments. If you want a survey that can be used for insurance purposes you must have a registered surveyor. That may limit your options. If you just want to know the boat condition, that's a bit different. You should probably be present when the survey is done. Then you may not need a "surveyor", just someone who is very knowledgeable. We had a (retrospectively) bad experience with a survey in Florida where, in retrospect, I'm sure that the surveyor and the broker were closely acquainted. And...it wasn't even the surveyor that the broker recommended.

Now, if you are not buying through a broker but just from the owner then the story might be a bit different. Find the local surveyor who is pissed off at the owner!

I'll be in San Carlos in about a week so maybe I'll have something more to say later.

Bill
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Old 16-10-2014, 13:14   #9
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Re: Surveyors: San Carlos, Mexico

Hello All,
Lots of great information, recommendations, and collective wisdom across these many replies.
It looks like the general tenor of this advice is to 'watch out'! Point well taken!
At this point, I think I'm going all in on buying a boat in San Carlos. I'll be the guinea pig for the group, I guess. I'll make a point to report back and let you know what unfolds--good, bad, or ugly.
I can see a lot of effort was given towards answering my initial post. Thank you for that! In addition, it is clear that many of you have been around the block a few times and I appreciate your willingness to share your wisdom with a newbie.
Take care,
Steve
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Old 16-10-2014, 13:20   #10
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Re: Surveyors: San Carlos, Mexico

Hey Steve....
The good news is that people buy boat in Pacific Mexico and the Sea of Cortez weekly, and the vast majority of them have a good experience. many of our comments are not really Mexico specific but to boat buying in general. Enjoy amigo and have a Taco for us while down there!
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Old 16-10-2014, 13:20   #11
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Re: Surveyors: San Carlos, Mexico

Bill--Yes, if you are going down to San Carlos in a week, I'm ABSOLUTELY interested in anything you find out that might assist me. The survey I'm looking for is more about establishing the condition of the boat than satisfying an insurance company. This is a relatively low-stakes purchase, but I can't afford a project boat and need something safe, seaworthy, and ready to sail (pretty much).
I see your location is New Mexico--so are we (Albuquerque-UNM).
Thanks,
Steve
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Old 16-10-2014, 14:47   #12
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Re: Surveyors: San Carlos, Mexico

There was a thread recently (in the last 6 or 8 months) about buying in Mexico. There were a lot of opinions, and I am not sure if there ever was agreement on how to go about it. If you are using a broker, I would ask (in an Email) just what the steps are. Dont trust telephone information, in writing is much better. There is a lot of recent info about the TIP, and Visas, over on Latitude 38, since the BaHaHa is about to start, or maybe is already going. If it is a private seller, they will tell you "sure, no problem" but probably dont have a clue what the actual rules are, and wont be there if a problem crops up. There are lots of boats sold in Mexico, so it is just a matter of finding the correct rules, and sticking to them. Best of Luck. ______Grant.
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Old 18-10-2014, 07:36   #13
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Re: Surveyors: San Carlos, Mexico

if you want a GOOD survbeyor, bring kjels christian to your boat. he will cost a bunch but he is best i ever met. excellent and honest.
SAMS certified, also.....
christian and associates in san diego and he will travel.
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Old 18-10-2014, 15:53   #14
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Re: Surveyors: San Carlos, Mexico

Thanks, Zee,

That is the name I saw before. Great reputation.

Ann
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Old 19-10-2014, 14:44   #15
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Re: Surveyors: San Carlos, Mexico

Outstanding! Great information, advice, and recommendations across this thread.
Steve
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