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Old 21-05-2013, 11:45   #1
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Surveys

My wife and I are still looking for a small 'starter boat' to put out at Carlyle Lake across the River in Illinois. We know that a survey is a good thing and it could help us to avoid a serious issue or issues down the road after the purchase, but is there a point at which the cost of the survey seems excessive when the purchase price of the boat itself may not warrant the additional expense? Again, we are looking for a boat to learn to sail and enjoy on the weekends at Carlyle. We have found a few of them at or around the $3-5,000 range.

For the record, I am pretty good with engines and my oldest has worked at a few marinas here in the area and knows fiberglass.
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Old 21-05-2013, 11:58   #2
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Re: Surveys

Yeah, a survey becomes of diminishing value on a smaller boat like that. For one, the boats are simpler. If you are handy you can likely ferret it out yourself. However, ahidden reas of concern like wet deck core, keel bolts, chainplates (or hull ,if cored) need to be ascertained.
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Old 21-05-2013, 12:01   #3
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Re: Surveys

A lot of people will tell you to get a survey no matter what. I'm going to say that there is a point at which I wouldn't pay for a survey. But allowing that, you have to understand the risk.

A good surveyor increases the likelihood of identifying major and minor issues any boat has before purchase and gives you some leverage to negotiate in the sale if they find anything. If you forego a survey you must accept a higher risk of unforeseen issues. That risk basically translates into... If you screw up and buy the wrong boat are you okay taking a total loss? If the answer is yes, then you're okay. That is a rare answer though. At 3k investment though, I'd probably be okay with it if the "experiment" didn't work out.

To offset that risk somewhat I suggest you tell the buyer you're going to get a survey and then in lieu of a professional surveyor bring your most trusted and experienced boat friend(s) and do a sea trial and let them "survey" the vessel. Let their more experienced eyes and ears relay to you what is going on.
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Old 21-05-2013, 12:19   #4
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Re: Surveys

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Originally Posted by Mr Mac View Post
My wife and I are still looking for a small 'starter boat' to put out at Carlyle Lake across the River in Illinois. We know that a survey is a good thing and it could help us to avoid a serious issue or issues down the road after the purchase, but is there a point at which the cost of the survey seems excessive when the purchase price of the boat itself may not warrant the additional expense? Again, we are looking for a boat to learn to sail and enjoy on the weekends at Carlyle. We have found a few of them at or around the $3-5,000 range.

For the record, I am pretty good with engines and my oldest has worked at a few marinas here in the area and knows fiberglass.

If it has a diesel engine, and you know diesel engines, give it a good going-over. If you aren't really familiar with them, it wouldn't cost that much to have a certified marine diesel mechanic look at it -- and replacing a diesel is really expensive.

The other area of real concern to me would be the rigging. I know someone who took their new (old) boat out, sailed around, and came back in. The next day they went down to their boat and the mast had fallen down. Have a rigger look at the rigging, because that can be really expensive to replace, and can do serious damage if inadequate.
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Old 21-05-2013, 14:00   #5
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Re: Surveys

If you decide to go without a surveyor you may think about posting the make and model of the boat you are seriously considering on this site. With the number of people who visit the site there may be a fair amount of knowledge on the make and model of the boat you are considering.
If it isn't a model that is too far off the beaten path you may get some excellent pointers on what issues that model had and what to look for, I know that I've learned a lot about the strengths and weaknesses of the vessels I've owned over the years, but checking the rigging, deck and hull integrity, motor and electrical systems will get you through the most expensive parts.
Otherwise the advice given so far is practical and to the point.
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Old 21-05-2013, 15:17   #6
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Re: Surveys

For a lower priced boat you may be able to get by without but I would suggest you check with your insurance company as they may require it. If that is the case you might as well bite the bullet and get it before you buy the boat. I get clients that buy without the survey and then have to get it for insurance. Then find problems they wish they had found before buying. The point being if you are going to need it might as well get it before you are on the hook. Good luck and hope you get a good boat and have fun!
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Old 22-05-2013, 06:25   #7
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Re: Surveys

Take a look at "Marine Survey 101" ... over 100 photos on how to inspect a boat.
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Old 22-05-2013, 09:01   #8
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Re: Surveys

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Take a look at "Marine Survey 101" ... over 100 photos on how to inspect a boat.
Great article! Half-way through I was asking myself "why in the world would anyone ever buy a boat?"
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Old 22-05-2013, 09:08   #9
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Re: Surveys

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Great article! Half-way through I was asking myself "why in the world would anyone ever buy a boat?"


Not because they wanted a simple, uncomplicate life, I hope!!!
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Old 22-05-2013, 10:07   #10
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Re: Surveys

What a great read that was along with the CG rigging document! While we haven't yet found our boat, I will be sure to let you all know what we are looking at.

For now, the leading contender is this 1985 Starwind 223 that I hope to get a closer look at this weekend.
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