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Old 15-03-2012, 17:52   #46
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Re: Low Cost Boat Worth a Survey ?

Originally Posted by Ex-Calif View Post
I'd like to clarify my position in light of Bash's response and I won't use ten smileys - LOL

There was a distinct advantage when I surveyed my boat over a surveyor. I spent one full day on the hard and extended the sea trial to two days. The boat was on the hard first and I actually had a pretty good idea of the boat before we sea trialed.
That settles it. I'll be asking Ex-Calif to conduct me next survey. I'll check the chainplates myself.

(You might admit, however, for the sake of argument, that few CF members will equal your mechanical background, which works to your advantage when self-surveying.)

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Old 15-03-2012, 18:31   #47
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Re: Low Cost Boat Worth a Survey ?

Originally Posted by JDRichlen View Post
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?
Boat searches can give you the boat that you want with the first that you see or make take tears if you are fussy. As to if you should have a "professional survey done" the answer is probably yes BUT dont have a survey done untill you find a boat that you are going to pay your money over. The more money that you are prepared to pay for a boat more more willing that you should be to get muliple surveys done. In your case the cost of a survey is a high percentage of the expected purchase price so apply your own due diligance before you pay others to apply theirs.

The books that have been recomended are a good start.
The generic list given on this thread are good focus points
researching on owners/model sites will help to focus on problems experienced with that particular model.
Asking questions about a particular boat on this and other forums with good photos should be productive.
Asking questions of the owner is some times more valuable in what is avoided rather than what is said. If the owner thinks that you are a novice they are more inclided to BS. Ask them if they mind if you bring a friend along who is an experienced sailor who has owned that model for years, but ask that question at the start of the conversation. Tell the owner that you want a sea trial with him/her on board before asking about the sails and motors.
Asking marina staff what they know can be useful, but remember to ask if there will be any problems in keeping the boat at that marina even if that is not your intention. They have been know to say nice things just to get a boat out of the marina before it sinks.
If you get a chance get to look at a similar model in good condition, every boat that you look at is a learning oportunity.
Network with sailors in the area, Network with owner of models you are interested in.
Take some one who knows boats (hopefully that model) with you, but make sure that you have told them exactly what you intend to do with the boat and what your needs are. Dont be reushed in your inspection , dont be rushed into decisions.
Still want the boat, agree on a price subject to the boat being as presented. Then seriously consider a professional survey.

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Old 15-03-2012, 18:55   #48
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Re: Low Cost Boat Worth a Survey ?

Originally Posted by Sailmonkey View Post
Ok, I'll concede.........and I keep forgetting that a huge portion of the population has not had as much exposure to boats as I have. I worked for a few years as a marine mechanic/installer. I am currently employed as a commercial surveyor (no plastic only steel, and not pretty). The survey will in fact give you a document to work from , and is a great negotiating tool.
If you have the skills to DIY then that's fine, but I don't get the impression the OP does. I would be fine with surveying my own boat, but if you don't have the experience you don't even know where to start.

Most professional surveys I've had done were for insurance purposes, the underwriters want to see the report from a licensed surveyor, but in this case I don't think insurance is worth the cost -- except maybe liability only.
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Old 15-03-2012, 19:15   #49

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Re: Low cost boat worth a survey?

Originally Posted by belizesailor View Post

Keep in mind that a "cheap" boat is not necessarily a good buy -- unless you can bring it back up to par at wholesale rates you are likely to spend more money fixing it up than you would to buy one in average condition.

A survey, even on a relatively inexpensive boat, is money will spent -- it can help you avoid issues that may cost more to fix than the value of the boat at this price level.

There ARE bargains out there on boats, just as there are on houses -- people who need to sell, etc. But you really do need to know exactly what is and is not sound on that bargain boat. I had to replace the engine on this one six months after I bought it -- OUCH! The surveyor didn't do engines, and I didn't realize there was such a thing as an *engine* survey.

If you know what you're doing you can do a pre-survey evaluation yourself using a book, but you should still have a professional survey it.
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Old 16-03-2012, 04:05   #50
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Re: Low Cost Boat Worth a Survey ?

Originally Posted by Ex-Calif View Post
Finally, I missed something big. A cracked chain plate fitting. It failed under a lot of stress about 4 months later and we almost lost the rig. I then replaced all the chain plates. The point being don't shortcut.
A Surveyor would have covered his disclaimers .

Unless there was a visible crack at time of inspection, then IMO simply an age related failing. The "answer" is either precautionary replacement or take a punt - in this case you took both approaches!.....which is what most folk do, including in this case the PO.

The most a Surveyor (or you) would or could do is closely inspect the chainplates / fittings, but that not definative even when nothing looks amiss. and of course the chainplate fixings are usually not visible for inspection without dissassembling the interior - kinda like an iceberg, only 10% visible!.........therefore the a "good" Surveyor would phrase his inspection report carefully to include lots of CYA, using a long form of NFI (no idea ).

I didn't go up the mast. I recommend a self surveyor do so even though most surveyors don't and won't.
My guess is that most surveyors have the wit not to go up the mast on unknown boats - given the approach to maintanence that many owners have. it might be only a 1 in 100 chance of something going wrong, but if you are Surveying several hundred then sooner or later pretty much guaranteed that something will go which point you discover how every Vendors definition of "everything is fine" varies .

Personally I would be happy to buy without someone going up the mast, either because the mast came down for the inspection or simply because the mast would be coming down after purchase and the thinking being that anything amiss would be (relatively) cheap to fix....and in practical terms as not all Vendors would be happy to drop the mast as always the risk of something going wrong - minor or major.
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Old 16-03-2012, 05:33   #51
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Re: Low cost boat worth a survey?

Originally Posted by Mimsy View Post
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.
I strongly agree with this! This is what I did and it saved me so much time on research and frustration. Basically...I knew the boat before buying it.
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Old 17-03-2012, 19:53   #52
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Re: Low Cost Boat Worth a Survey ?

How to do your own survey .... Marine Survey 101
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Old 18-03-2012, 10:32   #53
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Re: Low Cost Boat Worth a Survey ?

Originally Posted by boatpoker View Post
How to do your own survey .... Marine Survey 101
This is a great article, be sure to read it. Dont forget to click on and read the link at the very end about moisture meters!

"I spent most of my money on Booze, Broads and Boats. The rest I wasted" - Elmore Leonard

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