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Old 20-08-2006, 02:20   #1
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Pre purchase Survey

I've put a deposit (subject to survey) down on a steel hard chine Roberts 44.
http://www.sydneyboats.com.au/search...px?BoatID=5256
I've even "asked" my wife if it is OK.
The boat is very basic, especially inside, but it should suit my circumstances.
The surveyor has indicated that he expects me to be there and he will go through all of the boat with me, in the water and on the slip.
For those of you who have been through this before could you give me some idea of what I should watch out for, listen to etc.
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Old 20-08-2006, 03:17   #2
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Don't do your own survey. Get a professional. The price is well worth it.

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Old 20-08-2006, 05:39   #3
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The surveyor will show you what to look for. One of the main things is to make sure a steel boat isn't rusting from the *inside*. That's very important. Look under and through everything to inspect the inside for areas where the rust is attacking the hull from standing/bilge water.

Other than that, there don't appear to be many systems, so you might have an easier survey than most.
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Old 20-08-2006, 06:08   #4
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The surveyor should be experienced with STEEL Boats, since that is what you are wanting to buy. Find out before you hire him, if he has specific experience with steel boats and how much.

There are a lot of things that the surveyor will do and look at - there are also a LOT of things that he cannot or will not look at. It will be up to YOU to also be observant and listen to the surveyor. I pre-printed some generic boat forms that I drew up on the computer before I did the survey. They were silhouettes of the port and starboard sides of the boat,from keel to about 15 feet up the mast. That way I could make notes - among other things, I noted all the through hulls (I had multiple copies of each side so if I ran out of space I would just start on another one).

I presume that you've done your 'sea-trial'? The 'sea trial' is where you get the owner or agent to demonstrate all the things about the boat (not limited to just the sailiing ability and characteristics - ie. does the autopilot really work, running lights, steaming light, anchor lights, radio (all types), water system, engine, head(s), electrical items - lights, outlets, inverter, batteries). AFTER the 'sea-trial', you will use that list of stuff you noted as unknown or not working to clue the surveyor in to some of YOUR areas of interest - also to negotiate the price.

This list of things before the surveyor goes to work is huge!

Good luck!
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Old 20-08-2006, 06:13   #5
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The "game" may be different in Australia but here in the states it is always a good rule to make sure that the surveyor did not come with the boat. In other words, that the surveyor is not helping to try and sell the boat by overlooking certain, possibly minor, repairs that detract from the value of the boat. A surveyor does work for and have a responsibility to the buyer of the boat. He also has a responsibility to provide a reliable survey. But he generally will work more frequently with the broker than with any one buyer and has to keep that relationship in good standing. Also make sure the broker and owner are NOT present at the survey. If they want a survey of the boat have them come up with the money. The prepurchase survey is your and yours alone. One last thought is finding a surveyor who specializes in the kind of boat you are buying. There is a lot of argument on this idea but a surveyor who spends all of his time on steel commercial boats may know a little more about steel boats than the guy who works primarily with fiberglass catamarans.
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Old 20-08-2006, 11:45   #6
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When the surveyor is going through the boat's deficiencies, even though you may plan o doing the repairs yourself, do not approach it with the attitude "I can handle that repair". Approach it with the attitude "Can I afford to have someone else do this?" If the repairs are within your budget, you are on the right track. If you can save some money after the fact by doing it yourself, great. Use the cost of the needed repairs as a bargaining chip. Keep in mind the value of your time. As kthe surveyor to explain in detail the needed repairs, including necessary removals. At the end, make sure the surveyor understands that you do intend to buy the boat, and ask if there are any issues he may have put off the list feeling the boat was too far gone to be a real consideration. Also, make sure the surveyor knows exactly what purpose you have in mind for the boat. A surveyor looking at a boat he believes will be used for coastal cruising will survey the boat for it's suitability for that purpose. If you let him know you will be taking it offshore, he will consider additional issues. If all that turns out positive, you will have an accurate survey. I would also strongly recommend and out of water survey if you have not already planned for that. Check ahead of time if the surveyor wants removals done so that the seller can plan to have that done.
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Old 20-08-2006, 11:56   #7
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the out of the water survey is very important - and it will cost YOU some bucks. Dunno what the costs are down there, but up here, a haul and hang for an hour is about $300 (it is dependent on the size of the boat). You'll need to make arrangements with a boat yard for that - or the surveyor may do that for you is you ask ahead of time.

Again - YOU are contracting with the surveyor - seller and his broker are not welcome to attend or see the results - Unless you wish to share them with them for cost. Otherwise, they will use the results to sell their boat and tout that you don't need a survey ... at your expense.
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Old 20-08-2006, 16:10   #8
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Sea Trial will be limited...

Unfortunatly any sea trial will be limited to what the surveyor and myself can do, most likely start the motor and motor to the slip.
The owner is aparently interstate and I would hesitate to seriously trial a large heavy short crewed boat with minimal untested equipment.
I am seriously out of sailing practice and have no experience on a boat this size.
I will keep this in mind and see just how much can be done.
Hopefully any deficiencies are adjusted in the price.
I did find the surveyor mysef.
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Old 20-08-2006, 17:28   #9
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If you have a good surveyor it should be a good experience. You should enjoy working with the surveyor as most good ones are interesting people and really want to help you. Being there means you'll pick up many many small things that may not be in the report. A good surveyor will help you and show you many things you did not know about boats in general and this boat in particular. He can tell you things that are fine but that you should watch for after you own the boat. These items won't be in the report since they may not be a defect but a point where trouble shows up easily. These are the things you want to know after you own the boat.

You may have an option to say "stop now" during the survey and get a lower survey bill. That would be in case the boat has some fatal problems and there is no point to survey any farther. Ask the surveyor if you can get a break if you cancel the survey in progress and no longer require a written report.

Some things may be wrong but maybe not fatally wrong. Even if very minor you'll need to get it done. Expect that anything in the report that needs to be fixed will be required in order to obtain insurance and / or a loan. The agent will want a copy of the report too.

Good luck and I hope you have a fun time at the survey.
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Old 20-08-2006, 21:24   #10
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All excellent points Paul!
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Old 21-08-2006, 03:52   #11
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A good surveyor

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pblais
You may have an option to say "stop now" during the survey and get a lower survey bill. That would be in case the boat has some fatal problems and there is no point to survey any farther. Ask the surveyor if you can get a break if you cancel the survey in progress and no longer require a written report.
The "stop now" option may just be one of the signs of a good surveyor. I've worked with two different surveyors. One is in a different part of the state and if I was looking at a boat in his area he would swing by and review the boat simply to see if a survey even makes sense. If the boat looks promising he will offer an "in the water" and depending on the results of that schedule the time to have it pulled out.
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Old 21-08-2006, 15:46   #12
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I know I'm going to piss some people off here... cause I loathe surveyors! Why? Because I depended on one when I bought my steel boat. It took a year and a half of brutal full time work to bring the boat up to the spec the surveyor claimed it was to start. Also when I sold the boat very shortly ago, I could have sold a wreck and the surveyor that was hired by the buyer wouldn't have caught it.

Get a surveyor, listen to what he says.... with a ton of salt. But do not, under any circumstances give up your own responsibility to determine the quality of the craft.

Here are a few items that will help you help yourself.
1.. any timber trim or decking on a steel boat is a sign of trouble.
2... find the deepest part of the bilge and check the condition of the steel. Is it accessable at all? Has it been recently painted? (means damage hidden) IS IT DRY?! I mean bone dry... cob webs and dust. If you can't get to that low point due to obstruction or you find it wet..... WALK AWAY!
3... look around hatches and port lights/windows. Is there signs of corrsion or "bubbling" under a coat of paint? Is there fresh paint topsides or deck? Check screws for even minor signs of water leakage because on a steel boat there is no such thing as a "minor" leak.
4.. look in stowage areas, especially in the cockpit under seats. What does the steel look like? Look for containers of acid!! Hydrochoric and phosphoric etc are used to remove rust stains.. (evidense)
5... is the fitout in panels that can be largely if not entirely removed for inspection or service of the paint system on the inside of the hull plating??
6... check condition of the tanks, water and fuel. Is the fuel tank full? Should be. Are there inspection ports on the tanks? If so USE THEM.

And there is much more I could clog up this thread with but these are ones that come to mind quickly. In short, a lazy sailor makes a steel boat rubbish in about 15-20 years. Then when they figure out they are in trouble, try to find a sucker...guilty as charged but wiser now. BTDT!

proceed but with caution... a surveyor is a TOOL, not an answer.

Cheers
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Old 21-08-2006, 17:22   #13
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Surveyor in Sydney

Hi Chris

we bought our boat from Sydney( she was officially ours last Wedneday!) ( we are Adelaide based) and the surveyor was worth every single cent. He did have a gift of the tha gab but everything was worth listening to, we learn't lots. He cost about $18-$20 per foot of boat, there were a lot double that price. She was slipped up at river keys marina for just under $500, again worth it to see the bottom condition, keel etc. A friend of mine bought a steel bought and got access to a flexible bronchascope and scoped every section of the boat he couldn't get into to check for rust, a bit over board but it worked for him.

Glenda
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Old 21-08-2006, 19:51   #14
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Quote:
I know I'm going to piss some people off here... cause I loathe surveyors! Why? Because I depended on one when I bought my steel boat.
A surveyor is there for one part of one day to see what they can. They don't come with the ability to predict the unknown. I would agree with Bob. They can't know everything, but then neither do you nor can all of us come along to help. You take with you all you can and never hire a surveyor you don't like. There are enough good ones to go around. You only get one shot to decide to walk away. We all attempt to survey boats we like and we enter into it with a bias in favor of the boat. With that in mid you need a voice of reason to convince you to walk away sometimes.

Don't fall in love with a boat til after you pay for it.

After 3 years I know know all the things the surveyor missed but it was the things he got right that mattered more.
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Old 22-08-2006, 17:06   #15
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Steel boat problems...

Thanks to all for their advice. I'll try to keep an open mind.
Bob,
When I looked at the boat there was about 2" of water in the keel cavity (bilge). Should this really be a walk away point, or what should I do to check this?
There were some rust spots on one port hole and one hull fitting that I saw.
How should I regard these?
In general the condition of the paint work was not pristine. Is this a walk away point?
I am buying this boat as a project, so I am not expecting perfection but I really don't want years of work to go nowhere either.
A lot of it comes down to how hard it is to fix rust spots on a steel boat. Any suggestions?
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