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Old 29-08-2015, 11:03   #1
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Finding an Honest Surveyor

Can anyone give me some advice on finding an honest and reliable surveyor? I am close to purchasing a new boat and would probably leave it up to the broker to help me find a surveyor, but the thought crossed my mind that if the surveyor found too much wrong with the boat and the sale didn't go through, the broker might not use that surveyor again, something which the surveyor might be keenly aware of.

Am I being overly paranoid about this issue? Has anyone had similar worries or useful experiences in this setting?

Thank you.
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Old 29-08-2015, 12:19   #2
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Re: Finding an Honest Surveyor

You are 100% correct. Never let the broker pick the surveyor.

Where is the boat? Your insurance company can recommend one, you could ask your local yacht club, or just ask here
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Old 29-08-2015, 12:50   #3
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Re: Finding an Honest Surveyor

Good day, Sevi,

If you want specific recommendations for surveyors, you need to tell the forum your approximate location, or where the boat to be surveyed is. (Since this is an international forum, there are participants all over, and from as far from me as Sweden and Tasmania.)

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Old 29-08-2015, 13:36   #4
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Re: Finding an Honest Surveyor

Good point, guys. The boat is located near the Florida-Georgia border. Thank you.
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Old 29-08-2015, 13:40   #5
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Re: Finding an Honest Surveyor

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Originally Posted by Sevi View Post
Good point, guys. The boat is located near the Florida-Georgia border. Thank you.
I've recently used CYA Maritime out of Jacksonville with great results. Ask for Mike Hagan~ & tell em Rock Head sent you.
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Old 29-08-2015, 13:49   #6
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Re: Finding an Honest Surveyor

Without a doubt, use Dylan Bailey from St Augustine. Dylan Bailey's Yacht Surveying | Marine Surveyor St Augustine, Florida

He has real experience building boats at his father's boatyard (Howdy Bailey Yachts), but he is still young enough that he's not afraid of the latest technology...he gives seminars to other surveyors on things like thermal imaging hulls (wood, fiberglass and metal). He's the best!

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Old 29-08-2015, 14:16   #7
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Re: Finding an Honest Surveyor

Sometimes the forum becomes very negative. Most surveyors are professional, and work for so many different people, that they won't risk there reputation because of one broker. Brokers are plentiful. He would probably like to do subsequent insurance surveys for you, or if you have an incident, be your surveyor. Ask your broker for three names, call each one and interview him for the job. Actually, do that with any surveyor that you contact. Possibly see if he can give you a sample of a written report so you can see the depth that his survey will include. my last purchase survey I was there during the survey and I picked up something he would have missed. He was very highly recommended, and had strong references and experience, but he is only human. The boat business is full of snake oil salesman, but I put surveyors above brokers because of the variety of work they perform, not just pre purchase inspection.
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Old 29-08-2015, 14:22   #8
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Re: Finding an Honest Surveyor

Good point about not using broker's list. I have had one experience where either the surveyor was just the "minimal attention to detail" type or the broker recommended him for a reason...


I think there is no doubt that if a surveyor is too tough he might be avoided... even if the avoidance is unintentional.
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Old 29-08-2015, 14:31   #9
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Re: Finding an Honest Surveyor

Quote:
Originally Posted by RainDog View Post
You are 100% correct. Never let the broker pick the surveyor.

Where is the boat? Your insurance company can recommend one, you could ask your local yacht club, or just ask here
And never let an insurance company which you have a claim against send THEIR surveyor.

SAFECO INSURANCE company did that to me and I had to eat the damage caused by THEIR insured idiot boat driver to my DOCKED boat.

Thanks again to a CF member Minaret for his suggestions to effect the repair.
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Old 29-08-2015, 15:54   #10
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Re: Finding an Honest Surveyor

I've seen a few criminally negligent surveys on recently purchased boats. I usually partly base my delivery qoute on the survey report. And I have been bitten by a few boats that where not seaworthy, when the survey painted a very rosy picture. I wouldn't trust a broker reccomended surveyor. Pay to fly a reputable local surveyor that you trust to inspect the boat.

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Old 29-08-2015, 17:17   #11
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Re: Finding an Honest Surveyor

A local boating industry is a very small town. Lots of rumors and back scratching. The surveyor will never see you again but will see the local brokers a lot. In my experience surveyors are pretty honest - but don't be naive.

A few hints:

Try to find a surveyor who has surveyed the same kind of boat. It's invaluable for them to compare the two in their minds.

Be there during the survey. A good broker will tell you a lot about your boat that isn't going to go in the written report (remember, the report goes to your insurance company). Especially useful feedback are things that might be fine now but should be watched.

Don't let the broker be on the boat or hear what the surveyor says to you during the survey. And don't let the broker take the surveyor "aside" for a discussion before or after the survey.

The broker is going to try and find enough wrong so you can negotiate the price down by at least the amount of his fee to you. Everyone's expecting that. In this market, you can usually negotiate a little more discount post survey. But don't assume that the seller is going to fix everything in an old boat or knock 25% of the price. If you need a perfect boat, buy new.

Decide what are the "deal killers" - My list is very short. Hull damage, delamination or structural problems, rotted deck core, teak deck that has to be replaced, engine that has to be replaced, bad wiring throughout the boat, signs of previous sinking, bad corrosion in rigging, spars, or deck hardware, really terrible mold, rot, signs that the previous owner didn't spend any money on maintenance (tip of the iceberg issue).

I always ask the surveyor to first thoroughly check my deal killers first. If there's a deal killer, then the survey's over. No need to pay him to check for two hose clamps on each thru-hull.

And even the best surveyor is going to miss some things that are ultimately quite expensive to fix. There's only so much he can check in 3-4 hours. If you hired him for a week, he'd probably find almost everything. But you probably don't want to pay the $5000 or so that would cost.
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Old 30-08-2015, 09:43   #12
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Re: Finding an Honest Surveyor

I think you should NOT use a surveyor! Better use professionals to look at your boat:
a rigger, an electrician, an GFK Specialist for osmosis and an engine specialist,

Surveyors have very strong guidlines and you will find your survey report stuffed with:

I have seen an engine Serial No:.
If you are lucky he will write: We started the engine and it did not smoke blue or black.

Mine was: On the rail there was an Outboard - four stroke 3,5 hp that seems to be in good condition.

Sorry but this is not what you expect as buyer.
should be like:
Run all electric curcuits without no errors. The visual survey of the electric installation shows 1A connectors, mostly with ringshoes, screws and shrinked, glue hoses. The cables are all in very good condition, all charging wiring is according to standards and work well. All consumers are fused properly.

I bet you will never ever find this in a survey report. So please save your money.
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Old 30-08-2015, 10:32   #13
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Re: Finding an Honest Surveyor

I second the ideas of being present during the survey and (if you have many candidates) getting a surveyor that is preferably closer to your home town and friends than to those of the broker or the previous owner.

When I bought my first bigger boat my surveyor went through all the details while discussing all the properties with me. I learned a lot (a very valuable part of the survey). I learned also where some small problems and faults were of no concern and where they might be. I din't get a written report. That would probably have been very formal and too simplifying anyway. What I needed was just a reliable person telling me that the boat seems to be ok, and me asking him numerous questions on topics that I considered potentially risky (or interesting and worth learning).

You already got some names, probably from some quite independent sources. That gives you at least some direction on who might be reliable, competent and informative.
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Old 30-08-2015, 11:03   #14
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Re: Finding an Honest Surveyor

Call your boat insurance company for a referral.
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Old 30-08-2015, 11:56   #15
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Re: Finding an Honest Surveyor

The trick is you want a surveyor who is REASONABLE.


You don't want him to gloss over issues but...


Even brand new boats will have issues. An overzealous surveyor can kill a deal. Also, if he is not judicious regarding his wording, an item that you are OK with may become a major hassle for your insurance company.


I would recommend asking for a few copies of recent surveys and a listing of exactly what is and is not included (not in legalise either).


We've bought 3 larger boats. 2 of the surveys, we were very pleased with the surveyor and I felt he really helped with the purchase process by giving us good information.


The most recent, I messed up and didn't clarify exactly what was included and didn't get sample surveys. He failed to take any pictures whatsoever. He failed to so much as start the engines, let alone putter around the harbor on what was a calm day because he didn't trust the engine mounts (????). He made blanket statements such as a claim to need a new electrical system throughout the boat, when pressed, it was the age of the boat not that he found a problem that caused him to make the recommendation. Unfortunately, it was a long distance purchase and I was relying on him to give us useful information and he was a complete waste of money.
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