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Old 30-08-2015, 11:22   #16
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Re: Finding an Honest Surveyor

SuenosAzules capt John banister will be my next surveyor after seeing some criminal surveys from supposedly surveyors with the best reps in Fl. He is an expert on thermal imaging and all the latest survey techniques.
Whoever you use. Make sure they are accredited not some fuzzy non legible photo of Sams or Nams on their website . make sure they carry errors and omissions insurance and don't have a waiver or some type of written disclaimer that they have zero liability if they miss something huge like structural or electrical issue that should have been found. Don't be afraid to ask for proof. You don't want a 100k 200k mistake because of a shady supposed surveyor

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Old 30-08-2015, 11:24   #17
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Re: Finding an Honest Surveyor

A certified hull surveyor is usually required by your insurance company. And insurance is usually required by your marina. Since you generally need to hire a real surveyor, anyway, try to find a good one close by the area where the boat will be hauled. Make yourself instantly available. But don't hound or distract him; let him do his work.

Most of the boilerplate in the survey is cut and pasted from a previous survey or from manufacturer's specs. Don't worry about it. What you are most interested in are the surveyors verbal remarks to you, immediately following the physical survey, and before the formal copy is typed.

Besides a hull survey, it is common and prudent to obtain surveys of other important equipment, such as: mast, rigging and sails; engine and machinery; hull potential, bonding, electronics and electrical system, ... As these surveys are completed, there is the opportunity to immediately begin addressing the survey recommendations; this can be even more important with hull survey recommendations, as you might save the cost of another haul and launch.

Beside the costs of the surveys* are the costs to bring the boat into compliance with the surveys' recommendations. Some repairs might be postponed. But your insurance company might disapprove of hull survey rec's not repaired.

*It is good business, as well as good manners and good karma, to pay a specialist for his time to do a thorough inspection and to workup estimates to effect the repairs and/or replacements that you might order; this fee is often waived if the estimate is accepted and the work contracted.

1st rule of yachting: When a collision is unavoidable, aim for something cheap.
"whatever spare parts you bring, you'll never need"--goboatingnow
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Old 30-08-2015, 12:08   #18
Doug Annapolis, Tartan 3700

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Re: Finding an Honest Surveyor

If you will describe the year and brand of the boat you are considering, ask the forum what to look for. We all know boats have characteristics, good spots and weak spots. You want to know in advance where to probe in. what type of main rigging, in mast, in boom, what electronics, areas where leaks have developed on similar boats etc.
On the electronics, make sure you cycle through every function (depth, wind speed, auto pilot, etc) - you want to know in advance if you have a fully functioning system. Some surveyors are good at hull integrity, but lousy on chart plotters.

Forum can give you 3+ names of surveyors, then call each and ask for references.
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Old 30-08-2015, 12:11   #19
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Re: Finding an Honest Surveyor

I have read the posts in this thread. They were all pretty good. I will honestly say that with some surveyors that dynamic of the broker / surveyor relationship does exist. With the new boat buyer, especially from other parts of the U.S. that will be nearly impossible to detect. Trust me, years ago, as a boat buyer, I was victim to a surveyor that had a personal relationship with the selling broker and did a "Stevie Wonder" through the boat I bought. I had major issues with the vessel a short time later that costs lots to fix. Trust me, any decent surveyor would have caught it, but I put blind trust into him.

So here are a few recommendations I have for anyone looking for a good surveyor:

1. Make sure they are professionally affiliated with SAMS or NAMS.

2. Talk with them on the phone first. Use your instincts. If the surveyor is not willing to talk to you and answer your questions (for example: He is short with you on the phone) that will speak volumes for the type of service to expect.

3. The surveyor should have a good website that has his qualifications and experience, sample survey reports, and services he/ she provides.

4. Ask for a sample survey report if he does not provide one.

5. Do not get caught up so much in the cost for the survey. Cheaper is not better. Most times the findings from the survey will more than cover the cost of the survey.

6. Verify the surveyor's professional affiliations. I still see some surveyors that claim they are with SAMS or NAMS, or they are certified thermographers, certified mechanics, etc. and they are not. Some even post this false information on their websites!

7. The most important in my opinion are forums like this. Go by the experiences and referrals of other members that have used these surveyors in the past. If five or ten people are giving bad reviews (also check the Google reviews and Yelp reviews) most likely you will have the same experience.
Capt. John Banister, AMS«
SAMS« Accredited Marine Surveyor
Palm Beach Gardens, Florida
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Old 30-08-2015, 21:53   #20
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Re: Finding an Honest Surveyor

I've found surveyors used and recommended by friends to be the most reliable.
I've just had a nasty experience with a surveyor found through the internet who is a member of a number of associations and trade groups. It still didn't stop him from screwing the whole deal up and costing me a lot of money.
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Old 30-08-2015, 21:54   #21
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Re: Finding an Honest Surveyor

In the course of my job I have fallen out with most of my local boat brokers, but after a period they seem to forgive me and start handing out my phone number again. None of the brokers I deal with want to get a bad reputation so while they may be pissed at me for costing them a sale they sort of understand.
Surveyors should work for the buyer not the broker.
Some people on this forum are complaining how vague surveys can be. Which is fair enough, but the likes of myself I am a qualified boat builder and marine surveyor (IIMS), not an electrician or mechanic. So I can offer my unqualified opinion of 24 years experience about the wiring and mechanics but that is it. If I am sued then you can bet I will be crucified for offering expert advice on something that I am not qualified to report on. So I endeavour to do the best job I can do...... But boats are very complex and it is possible to miss something.
Besides all that surveying is the best job in word. Where else do you get to go on hundreds of boat, meet hundreds of new people and get an occasional sail in as well?
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Old 31-08-2015, 05:35   #22
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Re: Finding an Honest Surveyor

I just had a 1978 Bristol 35.5 keel/cb surveyed last September in Boston area. i looked up surveyors thru Boat US, called a few within the area, asked for examples of previous boats surveyed to get a sense of their experience and familiarity with sail vs power. Checked our local marina harbor master for suggestions, but recommended individual was unavailable. Ultimately the surveyor did an okay job. i havent found anything major, but he did not check a few systems (eg stove, autopilot and heater). My real gripe was having the boat short-hauled and the surveyor did not check the condition of the board, pin, or terminal end of the centerboard cable. If at all possible, would recommend that you attend the survey. good luck, Dave
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Old 31-08-2015, 05:57   #23
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Re: Finding an Honest Surveyor

Moseriw is the only one who had given you good advice.
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Old 31-08-2015, 06:46   #24
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Re: Finding an Honest Surveyor

only hire a certified surveyor
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Old 31-08-2015, 07:22   #25
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Re: Finding an Honest Surveyor

Originally Posted by Rock-Head View Post
I've recently used CYA Maritime out of Jacksonville with great results. Ask for Mike Hagan~ & tell em Rock Head sent you.
Add Robin to that recommendation too, tell him it's the Limey he surveyed my Benny 36 Roxanne for in Fort Lauderdale 2013. Mike does surveys all over the world too, not just local.
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Old 31-08-2015, 10:34   #26
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Re: Finding an Honest Surveyor

I highly recommend Bill Gladding. I have used him twice several years ago when I lived in St. Augustine. Once he talked me out of a boat I really wanted (to the dismay of the brokers) and second time was the charm. He taught a lot. He his honest with a deep character.
Here's his contact info:

Bill Gladding AMS #810
Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors
Gladding Marine Surveying and Consulting, LLC
1738 Pickwick Place
Fleming Island, Florida 32003
Phone: 904-945-0511
Fax: 904-215-9243
Skype: bill.gladding
Web site:
David Hipschman
Skipper of S/V Windstar
Punta Rassa, FloridaŚ352-682-2921
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Old 31-08-2015, 15:41   #27
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Re: Finding an Honest Surveyor

Hood Sail has the right idea about being there on the day of the survey if at all possible. I prefer it if the buyer is present, that way if any faults are found I can show them to the buyer and discuss the options. Often the buyer will get a quote on the repairs while I finish the survey. This is way better than just taking photos and writing a report.
Also some buyers need a kick in the pants to realise that whatever particular boat they have set their heart on is just not worth buying. Every year I end up helping newbies select a better boat than the first one they got me to survey.
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Old 31-08-2015, 15:58   #28
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Re: Finding an Honest Surveyor

Oh yeah, You MUST be there in my opinion.
"I spent most of my money on Booze, Broads and Boats. The rest I wasted" - Elmore Leonard

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Old 31-08-2015, 21:18   #29
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Re: Finding an Honest Surveyor

Bringing your own surveyor to the table is a smart move, preferable from out of the local area. The game is that all the brokers and surveyors know each other and work with each other over and over. Sometimes even doing multiple surveys on the SAME BOAT for different customers. By bringing in your own surveyor from outside of your brokers circle of friends...ah.... I mean list of brokers in the area...your surveyor won't have to worry about pissing off the broker and not getting a call next week for more work.

Seriously, I don't think the problem is finding an "honest" surveyor, the problem is in finding a competent one that actually knows more than you do about the boat!
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Old 01-09-2015, 17:32   #30
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Re: Finding an Honest Surveyor

A few decades ago I taught celestial navigation at a local college. As you'd expect, I was often asked "How do I choose a surveyor?" I asked if it is for your information or is it for a possible purchase?" If it was for possible purchase or insurance it is necessary that the surveyor be accepted by your insurance company, and, if you are borrowing, the surveyor must also be acceptable to the lender. If it was for purchase or insurance my stock answer was get a list of surveyors recommended by the broker (1), another list of those acceptable to the insurance company (2), and another list of those acceptable to the lender (3). Then choose one that is not on list 1 and is on both 2 and 3. And if it was for the owner's use and not going to be seen by either the insurer or the lender, well then I had a particular surveyor in mind (he has long since retired). This third choice found EVERYTHING that was not perfect. I have a 45 year old boat that he surveyed for me 35 years ago. He found a defect that I judged not serious and didn't fix. I still haven't. But if I had given the survey to either the insurer or the lender I would have been required to fix a defect that really wasn't (and isn't) a problem.

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