A good surveyor will know what to look for, however here are a few things to watch for:
1. Make sure the engine
discharge and the exhaust
should be slightly white. Any other color can mean somethng minor to major.
2. During the sea trial run the engines at about 85% of their max for a few minutes. Note to be sure that the vessel is not overheating
or studdering. If this is a Lagoon then it should have twin diesels. Make sure as you move the throttles up evenly the engines should engage evenly.
3. When backing down on the engines, do so quickly and have the surveyor watch the engines each time. If a motor
mount is loose or off completely you will see the motor
"jump" when suddenly backing down even if you can not sight the mount at all.
4. A good surveyor will have a moisture meter with him, have the top sides, deck
, and superstrutcture checked for excessive mositure which my be a pre-curser of delamination
and wood rot
in the core
between the fiberglass
5. As far as going aloft on the mast
. Do not expect all surveyors to do this. Some masts I have encountered were so old and corroded I was not going to bet my life that the gear
was going to hold my weight. In those cases I have a 12 megapixel digital camera
with a 10x zoom and I will photograph the top rigging
and later will take it home and zoom into the those areas on the computer to look for corroded parts
. The absolute best bet, is to have the boat in the yard and take the mast
down to inspect it up close. Although I know many boaters do not want to spend that kind of money
6. Look for signs of delamination
and crazing on the interior
and exterior of the hull
7. In many marinas
is an enemy to many boats. I have seen this especially in the Caribbean
standards are not exactly up to par like they are in the United States. Look for discoloration on underwater stainless steel parts
or areas on metal under the water
line that are pitted. This is an indication of galvanic corrosion
that is pulling less resistive metals out of the steel
such as zinc and magnesium.
8. Electrically, look to be sure the the wiring
grade cable and it should be labeled on the insulation
. There should be an "AWG" rating of at least 16 on most of the instrument wiring
. Be sure battery
terminals are protected and have no more than four connections on the positive terminal. Electrical
connections should not have reverse polarity when checked. No wing nuts or wire caps!
9. All seacocks should be able to open and close with little effort. If the valve is frozen, replace the seacock. No gate valves! When I was in the Coast Guard, the number one reason we saw vessels sink at the docks was from open seacocks that failed or had attaching lines that failed. When not in use, shut them off!
10. In the survey report, everything that was checked should be written in detail. There should be a cover page, table of contents specifying the vessel's systems, a findings and recommendations section, a hull
diagram with a list of seacock locations and vents, a replacement cost and valuation sheet, a signature page for the surveyor, and plenty of photos throughout the survey especially where findings are discovered. What it should not look like is a five page boat check off sheet.
Remember that the surveyor can only note what he can see. It is not a contest, let him know everything you have observed on the vessel even if he may miss it. A good surveyor will typically spend at least 5-8 hours on scene going through your vessel (given an average length of 30 feet). Longer vessels may take longer. I recently did a survey on a 76 foot wooden ketch
, which took me 16 hours (two days) to go through, and on the second day I brought a wood boat builder
to get his opinion on some unique findings on that vessel.
This is only some of the things I look for on a marine
survey. But I hope the few things I have written here has helped. When shopping
for a surveyor, many of them will have sample reports on their websites. They should look professional and be thorough in their content. Their rates are secondary. Sometimes going with the cheapest, well... you may end up with what you pay for as the old saying goes. I have seen excellent work from some surveyors, and a few others I have seen the five page boat check offs I have mentioned before. My experience comes from being a marine surveyor, eight years enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard (mostly at small boat stations), and as a live aboard boat owner of a sailing catamaran
for several years.
On another note, I personally love the Lagoon catamarans. Very beautiful boats and ideal for sailing and living aboard
especially in shallow water areas! I wish you all the best if the deal goes through!