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Old 14-03-2012, 11:22   #16
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Re: Low cost boat worth a survey?

OOH. I forgot a couple
Check prop, tap with a piece of metal, it should ring like a bell, if not you have electrolysis.
Check drive shaft, packing,...
Check bilge; stains, water marks, tell a story.
Check tanks, in inspection ports if they have any, and under and behind if acessable, if not figure they probably haven't been replaced since the boat was built and will need replaced someday if not now.

Good luck. Buying a boat is an adventure, it will break anyway, you will spend thousands of dollars repairing it anyway, it will spend a portion of it's life in a shipyard no matter what.

A survey just gives you the initial list of things that are broke.
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Old 14-03-2012, 11:25   #17
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Re: Low cost boat worth a survey?

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I have not needed any survey for liability......just doesn't make sense as they're not insuring the vessel at all.
I agree, but just experienced this conundrum this month. Thirty days to get liability or termination of lease. Most everyone required an out-of-water, no less, survey even for liability. Those that didn't require survey were three or four times higher in price for the insurance.

One explanation was the concern for a sinking at the dock, the resulting fluids spill and high cost of environmental cleanup. So I guess that is vessel related.

Progressive insured my boat for liability without a survey. And cost was about twice of the quotes from companies requiring survey.
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Old 14-03-2012, 11:30   #18
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Re: Low cost boat worth a survey?

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I agree, but just experienced this conundrum this month. Thirty days to get liability or termination of lease. Most everyone required an out-of-water, no less, survey even for liability. Those that didn't require survey were three or four times higher in price for the insurance.

One explanation was the concern for a sinking at the dock, the resulting fluids spill and high cost of environmental cleanup. So I guess that is vessel related.

Progressive insured my boat for liability without a survey. And cost was about twice of the quotes from companies requiring survey.
Twice the cost for me still didn't equal the cost of a survey over several years.
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Old 14-03-2012, 12:14   #19
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Re: Low cost boat worth a survey?

Proof of adequate liability coverage is much more common now at many Marinas. All the Ins quotes I received a few years ago required a current Survey and the lowest cost Ins quotes also required that corrected many of the Survey identified items in need of attention ( even somewhat minor ones and provide proof BEFORE they would underwrite the policy. The more reasonable companies just wanted my Survey Deficiency "action" plan.

If you are just mooring your boat you may have less issues .. liveaboard dockside likely more complicated (depending on location)
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Old 14-03-2012, 12:17   #20
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Re: Low cost boat worth a survey?

I just paid 7k for my first boat and I had it surveyed. I'm glad I did because now I have a nice list of things to fix and keep an eye on that I wouldn't have found. It also gives me peace of mind that i made a wise purchase. To me that is worth the $400 + haulout.

I second the book "Inspecting the Aging Sailboat". I read it and then I looked at about a dozen boats which I quickly found to be poor candidates. Without it I very well could have picked up a lemon.
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Old 14-03-2012, 12:22   #21
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Re: Low cost boat worth a survey?

I "third" getting Don Casey's "Inspecting the Aging Sailboat" boat. Then you can inspect before you put money into hiring a surveyor. In fact, all of Don Casey's books are good.
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Old 14-03-2012, 13:14   #22
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Re: Low cost boat worth a survey?

If the Boats in the water, you certainly need to pull it to do a proper survey. If your gonna pay for a in and out, mite as well have a pro look it over and for 4 or 5 hundred it's well worth it ! I feel this way, and ive bought over 10 boats so far and bilt 2 steel boats ! And I still always use a pro. And so far Ive never needed a syrvey for Ins ??
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Old 14-03-2012, 13:33   #23
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Re: Low cost boat worth a survey?

Get the survey but not just to know if the boat you are looking at is the right boat for you. Find a good surveyor who does not mind you shadowing him during the survey and asking a million questions. THEN you are not just getting a survey as to the condition of that particular boat but an education in what to look for when boat shopping. That will be something of value you take with you forever.
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Old 14-03-2012, 14:15   #24
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Re: Low cost boat worth a survey?

I always get a survey but there's more money involved. In this case, I'd probably skip it. Survey's are often used to negotiate price. Given the low price of the boat that's hard to do, you just need to spot a "run away!, run away!" boat that require repairs worth more than the boat.

The best first step is to get Practical Sailor's review of the boat. These list common problems for the model in real detail. It's easy to check once you know what you are looking for. If the model has a owner's site, you'll also find incredible detail on the likely problems and how to fix it. You might find a local owner online who would be glad to run over and look at it with you for the price of a beer. Casey's book is great too.

Try to talk to the owner and the yard manager. I only buy a boat when I'm sure the owner cared about the boat and tried to maintain it. If they aren't proud of their boat, I don't want it. And boat yard managers are usually glad to talk about work they did on a boat. You'll be able to read their body language about what they think of both her condition and owner. They tend to be lousy liars. Obviously, do not believe the broker's opinion.

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Old 14-03-2012, 15:51   #25
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Re: Low cost boat worth a survey?

hello

I thought I put my 2 cents worth in. I have purchased boats and had surveys done only because the insurance companies want a survey. My experience, all the surveyors were very nice people with good intention, but their knowledge did not stand out from anyone with reasonable experience and being technically inclined.

Issues were missed, typical brand related problems unknown to them. I would at least do a research before I show up. inspections are generic, cursory at best. Basically going down the list.

None inspect the inboard beyond looking at it that its there or start it if possible in water. No standing rigging inspection past a visual look over. Mast head looked at with a binocular. LOL. They all pulled out equipment that was on board to basically write up an inventory.

They noted basic obvious issues that were apparent and known to me from my own inspection. They sounded out the deck for delamination, core rot, used a moister meter on hull and deck, which at best will give you a questionable result, since the boat was just hauled and pressure washed after its been in the water basically since its last haul out who knows when.

Anyways, when I received the report, there were several pages of disclaimers that basically told me that..., yes I've looked at your boat, but regardless what I did or did not found, I am not responsible because, 1; I know nothing about it, hire professional rigger or diesel mechanic, and 2; could not get to it to inspect without taking apart or destroying something else to get to it. This basically covers about 60-70 % of the boat.

Funny thing is, insurance companies base their coverage on those reports. They also look at age of the vessel. Even if the boat was rebuilt to factory new condition they either will not insure it or only do it for a ridiculous amount of money for yearly premiums.

I suspect, that a great number of surveyors are guys who was into boating, retired from some profession and had the means to complete the necessary courses for several thousands of dollars, managed to apprentice with an other surveyor, if even required, and also able to fork out the yearly fees for the different associations they have to belong to be considered accredited.

So, I do not believe that they know so much, some will have experience by default, looking at many different boats, and many have fair knowledge, but none can do a job that any buyer can rely on 100%.

Again, they are mostly good people, but I don't feel that they worth the money. We are pressured into spending hard earned dollars on questionable value by the insurance and finance companies.

The results of the survey will not assure that the boat is in fact seaworthy any more than if any competent technically inclined person would be able to determine if he or she did their due diligence to learn about how to inspect and what to look for on a boat before purchase.

I do believe, that any buyer who is intend to do their own inspection should do so if they did their homework, learn about the particular boat they looking at, have a workable list to check off, boat specific known shortcomings listed, and emotionally they can separate themselves from the boat and be objective as they are doing their inspection.

Also, spend the time that needed to thoroughly look everything over don't let the owner of the boat rush you.

Again only my 2 cents worth, if I were to buy an old $5000-$10000 boat, I would do my own survey, and I bet I would not be off mark.
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Old 14-03-2012, 16:06   #26
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Re: Low cost boat worth a survey?

Yeah, well written. I had one surveyor who seemed to know the idiosyncrasies of that type boat. But as you say, most dont seem to. If you really want a boat inspected... it seems you need 4 people. A mechanic. A rigger. A sailmaker and a surveyor.
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Old 15-03-2012, 04:54   #27
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Re: Low Cost Boat Worth a Survey ?

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Originally Posted by JDRichlen View Post
I'm thinking about something between 26-30 foot for my first liveaboard. From what I've seen i can find something reasonable in my area for around $5-8k.
The boat definately needs surveying before purchase - the question is whether you can do that or need someone else to. I would personally favour the DIY approach given the boat value, for that Google is your freind - both from any Owners / Owners Groups for that specific model and in general.....and price up at least ballpark for any fixes that are likely.

Given the price point, any boat in your range will have issues (actually they all do - even the new ones!) - the trick will be buying one with issues that you can address (either DIY or proffesionally - or a bit of both).....and / or simply live with (IMO the latter point is the key to a low budget boat).

Easy to buy something that would take 5 years and $10k+ to make into a boat that is still worth only what you paid for it, if that. .......and the answer may be to buy something that has 1 or 2 major issues instead of one with dozens of minor issues (or vice verce!) - but that choice really depends on the capability you bring to the boat (own skills and / or $$$'s) and what result you are trying to acheive.

One thing to bear in mind is that any Surveyor will only be able to tell you so much (no destructive testing and no x-ray specs) and will be unable to say if the boat condition is right for you.

Finally, likely that any boat in your price point will have had a number of PO's - and their skill levels, pockets and ideas of what is ok will all vary.....somethings you will only discover after buying. An "innovative solution" is ok for me, for you it may be a bodge! (and vice verce!).
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Old 15-03-2012, 05:41   #28
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Re: Low cost boat worth a survey?

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If you self survey, be sure to look up the known issues with a particular model you intend to check out.

Also research how to detect flaws in things like standing rigging and other items.

If you're mechanically inclined and do this research it will help negate the need for a professional survey to a large extent.
Chuck Gustafson's book "How to Buy the Best Sailboat" has a self survey contained in the appendix and the book is a quick and worthwhile read, packed with good evaluative information

How to Buy the Best Sailboat: An Updated Edition of the Leading Consumer Guide With a New Chapter on Selling a Boat: Chuck Gustafson: 9780688109875: Amazon.com: Books

I think the major concern besides what is mentioned in the quotes above is ensuring that there is not structural damage of any kind. There are several specific areas you should be checking, as well as the general structure of the boat.
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Old 15-03-2012, 06:13   #29
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Re: Low Cost Boat Worth a Survey ?

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Originally Posted by David_Old_Jersey View Post
The boat definately needs surveying before purchase - the question is whether you can do that or need someone else to. I would personally favour the DIY approach given the boat value, for that Google is your freind - both from any Owners / Owners Groups for that specific model and in general.....and price up at least ballpark for any fixes that are likely.
That pretty well sums it up. All boats need a survey, it's just a matter of deciding who does the survey. If you can't DIY then you'll need to pay a surveyor or find someone you trust to do one for you.

I did my own survey. Mostly based on the Don Casey book mentioned above, and with a list of 'known' issues for this particular boat that resulted from many hours of googling.

And honestly, I did more of a preliminary quickie survey first, bought the boat, had it put on the hard, then did a complete survey in my own time.
The reason for this, is that when I was boatshopping I found it pretty easy to determine the overall condition of a boat based on how the owners had taken care of them. This particular boat had 15 years worth paperwork showing every single purchase and work done. All work done by the yard, 3 older insurance surveys, and a trustworthy previous owner. It was a no-brainer...

Other boats I looked at were obviously not well taken care of and I would have needed a more thorough survey before the purchase to ease my mind. I Also assumed that no matter what boat I bought, it would need tons of work and money. I was just trying to get the best boat for the buck and work out the details later. Lucky that has worked out for me so far.

I have both liability and comprehensive hull coverage (with a pre-set value for the hull, set pretty low to keep the insurance cheap and avoid the survey) that did not require a survey. There were several insurance companies I checked into that did not require a survey for liability insurance. Never heard of a marina asking for a survey...

insurance surveys are not very thorough. Don't trust them...they are not the same as pre-purchase surveys. The more thorough a survey is, the more expensive it is. Doing your own survey is valuable on many levels, as long as you trust you're up to it.
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Old 15-03-2012, 07:27   #30
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Re: Low Cost Boat Worth a Survey ?

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So I will start seriously looking at boats in may - sept. Im planning to be living aboard by october. Iv'e been doing a lot of browsing online at sailboats in the area, but haven't check any out in person yet. I'm thinking about something between 26-30 foot for my first liveaboard. From what I've seen i can find something reasonable in my area for around $5-8k. Would this be something that definitely needs to get surveyed before purchase? Or, would a survey be a waste on such a low cost boat? Also, should I be looking for boats in dry storage, or boats on a slip and have them hauled if need be for a survey?
JD if you're looking in that price range, you're looking for a bargain. IMO that's smart but ONLY if you do it in an intelligent way. If that boat has lots of hidden flaws you didn't spot before (like a leaky hull joint, for instance, or a compromised keel or engine), your bargain's price just skyrocketed.

You don't give any indication regarding expertise when it comes to sailboats, so I'm going to tell you what I did. I most definitely was NOT an expert on sailboats, but I had friends who were. These friends were professionals, so I didn't take advantage of them. I paid them, $35 an hour, to look the boat over and search out obvious flaws, before hiring a surveyor. A friend found not only oil as thick as peanut butter but dry rot where the shrouds met the deck, a very serious problem caused by a leak. He spotted the signs of the leak on deck from sealant put around the base of the shrouds, an inadequate solution to a serious problem. He knew exactly where to look for the damage because he knew what he was doing.

In that way, I paid for only one survey, on the boat I eventually bought. Although both my friend and the surveyor found problems, they weren't deal breakers.
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