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Old 23-08-2006, 02:47   #1
Bob Norson
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WHY I DON'T TRUST SURVEYORS

On this Forum and in other situations, the subject has come up. I got stung hard by a XXZZXZXX surveyor and since I've been Queenslands unofficial marine complaint department... I've heard of others as well. My conclusion is that about 1/3 third of surveyors are worth while, about 1/3 are sorta well meaning but too ignorent or lazy to be useful and the remainder are downright crooks, keen to sell you out.

My point is that if you don't feel you are knowledgable enough to proceed on your own or worry your judgement may be clogged by romance, go ahead and hire a surveyor but never under any circumstances give up YOUR responsibility to make the decision.... or this could happen to you.

see www.thecoastalpassage.com/rust.html

beware!
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Old 23-08-2006, 04:46   #2
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Looks just like most Indonesian bulk carriers plying our waters,So,Are you saying you gave up that responsability that you talked about??What really worries me Bob is that I've been straying away from FC's towards steel as a strength issue in the type of yacht I think might suite my purposes,and,as you have been into yachting for years and years and also a metal man to boot,it is a bit daunting to see that even you did not pick up on that amount of problems with the boat in Question.That was not in Queensland,so,what stories have you herd of or whittnessed in QLD.That would help myself out more seeing that I live here.I have no doubt at all that the surveying business in OZ has just as many bad,useless,make-a-fast buck people within it's realms and probably attached to a good percentage of brokers to boot.Mudnut.
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Old 23-08-2006, 08:56   #3
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Old 23-08-2006, 09:29   #4
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i also have found that the surveyor might be more interested in making sure the boat sells. for instance: he did find some bad water hoses and a chainplate issue. but totally overlooked the fact that the 4 batteries were not in a box nor were they secured in any way. so if the boat leaned over a little while sailing then the batteries would also shift over 6" in their little compartment. what a crock!! of course i did not see it either but then again i am not a marine surveyor that i paid to find these things!!
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Old 23-08-2006, 10:41   #5
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I've used five surveyors in the last few months. I studied Dan Casey's book on how to do your own Survey and found it very helpful. Of those five surveyors here is a run down.

1) Engine Surveyor: J105 less than 500 hours on Yanmar diesel. Ran tests found leaking water pump - owner replaced pump at a cost of $250 paid for survey. and a few other problems wich owner paid to have fixed.

2) Marine Surveyor: J105 very thorough job. Found out he grew up in the same neighborhood as I did used to use his sister for sail repairs, sailed with his brother briefly in college, There was nothing wrong with the boat so I'd say he did fine.

3)Marine Surveyor: Islander 36 Mexico- Boat was pretty obviouly a wreck. He got on the boat and asked if I was sure I wanted to go ahead with the survey. I said "No." he said wise choice. No charge. Owner really wanted to sell the boat told broker that he would fix anything that needed to be fixed. We started going thru the boat he found more and more problems called the yard manager over got a shirt sleeve estimate on fixing the problems and suggested the boat probably wasn't what I wanted but if you want to offer him $10k for the boat you'll end up with a decent boat for $15k to $20k. Owner didn't accept offer. Surveyor charged me a half fee. No written report.

4)Marine Surveyor: Sceptre 41 didn't find any problems with the boat. Don't know if he is right yet. Manufacture had gone through and fixed almost everything on the boat so hopefully surveyor was right.

5)Engine Surveyor: Asked him to run a compression check and then if all was right replace injectors and adjust valves. Did it in the opposite order and said engine was fine. Talked to Yanmar dealers and got info that compression on some cylynders was already below spec and rest were only 1 lb. above minimum.

That's my experince. Most of them were good to very good but the last was very bad. I'm going to fight with the engine surveyor over the bill.
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Old 23-08-2006, 13:42   #6
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Went through a similar exercise with Surveyer during the buy process of my boat. The lesson I learn't was, you need to be very clear about what you want in a survey. What I wanted and expected was very different to what I actually got. The problem was, I did not realise the difference to well after the fact. I did get a good FC hull inspection and it passed with flying colours. So that was the main issue ticked off I guess. But I also expected the surveyor (who was a proffesional boat builder by the way, PLUS he had his chief engineer with him) to have gone through every inch of the boat and given me a full report. I was "lead to believe" this had happen with a comment that the only issue he found was a morse control cable have a bit too tight a bend for his likeing. So if he made that comment, I assumed he had clambered through and visited every area. Either that, or he was too incompatent to advise on other area's.
Lessons learn't! I should have specified exactly what I wanted in the survey. No I don't believe I should have to, but never the less, I now would insure it.
I should have been there with the guy and asked questions as he went.
No1 lesson learn't: No matter how helpful and how nice and how much of a friend your Boatbroker is, NEVER EVER trust him to have followed the things you have asked him to carry out UNLESS, you have it written down as part of a legall contract.

End Result: I now have my eyes opened very much wider and am no where near as nieve as I was when I first bought a boat.
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Old 23-08-2006, 15:11   #7
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Greetings Y'all

Alan... yes, it shouldn't be an adversarial relationship, like pulling teeth to get truth and facts. A footnote to my story.. regarding the broker involved, While sponsoring a festival on Lizard Island a couple years ago, The broker who sold me the boat (and who knew what I was getting into)fronted up to me and apologised, saying she had been concerned for years over the incident. This from a broker of ...ah.. tough reputation. She asked for forgivness which was granted so done but the surveyor... no deal for that SOB.

Hey Charlie... sounds like you are doing as well as can be expected so far. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you on # 4!

gonesail... count your blessings.. you just got a lazy one!

ID... I was thinking of maybe feeding the XXXXZZX a pound of laxative after removing the light bulb from his WC and sticking a few very hungry rats in the toilet! ahhh fantasy!

Another note to this... I remember on another thread in here somewhere dealing with surveyors, Gord May made a comment that when he does surveys, he advises the client to take his report as info but not gospel. Wonder where it is??

I would hire Gord... and take his advice!

Cheers
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Old 23-08-2006, 15:30   #8
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I was told to ask several brokers in the area (who you are not using) which surveyor did they least wanted to see come inspect a boat they were selling because they were so detailed oriented. May dad said after the third broker gave him the same name he figured he knew who he was going to hire.

My dad did that when he bought his 38' Hans Christian Christina and came away with a really good survey with a lot of detail and an excellent understanding of issues with the boat. After living on it for two years the survey was right and hadn't missed anything that didn't break with time and wear and tear.

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Old 23-08-2006, 17:47   #9
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I did exactly what 2divers did when selecting mine. Other than geographic concern, I found the guy who was most "detail oriented" when speaking to him on the phone. He had gone to MIT and decided he liked boats better than science. He sounded a lot like the computer programmers I know, have employed, and am one of.

We went through survey expectations and he did everything, including checking if systems were working since I was purchasing remotely.
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Old 23-08-2006, 19:41   #10
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Sturgeon's Law: 90% of everything is trash. [Theodore Sturgeon, author]

Why should surveyor's be different from any other alleged professionals? Ever try to find a competent, honest mechanic? For your car? Or a contractor for home? Couple of tile guys? Gardeners? A good dentist?

Sadly that's become the way of the 21st century, take what you can and screw the rest. My new definition of common courtesy is "Yell GRENADE before you pull the pin." No question about pulling it or throwing it, the only question is whether you give that little extra warning.
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Old 23-08-2006, 20:35   #11
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When selling a boat, I always suggest the buyer hire a surveyor, and I never recommend the one good one I know Not to say I am out to do anyone any wrong, and I will gladly show the boat's problems to anyone who asks, but it seems that most of the surveyors I have come across are so lost when they get aboard one of my boats, they cant find any of the problems I have already pointed out to the buyer. Unfortunately, I think it far more a cas of ignorance than malice. When we bought our first wood cruising boat, the survey was 5 nicely written pages that included a number of issues of concern, that were not yet problems, however, when I made my list a few months into the refit, the basic list was 10 pages without all the fluff. I believe that most of the things I found were not things he missed, but things he did not feel needed to be said because of the overall poor condition of the boat. Unfortunately, I took his survey as a "to do list" and bought the boat thinking that was most of what needed to be done. In my case, I did not have the knowledge at the time to spot these problems, and had to rely on the surveyor to spot them for me. OTOH, at least he understood why it wasn't practical to remove fasteners on a copper riveted boat, unlike the surveyor for the people that bought the boat from us
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Old 23-08-2006, 22:49   #12
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The real interesting thing is, when a survey goes wrong for one of us, and we have, ummmm,eeerrrrr, "learned by experiance" we have become some of the best experts out there. I reckon a surveyor should have to be made to buy and fix up at least one real bad boat before they ever get the credential of surveyor. In kow if I ever go through the process of buying another boat again, I ain't no where near as nieve in regards to what to look for myself, nor what to ask for survey.
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Old 23-08-2006, 23:41   #13
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I couldn't agree more.
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Old 24-08-2006, 01:30   #14
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The biggest problem with ”learning from experience” is that the test comes before the lesson.
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Old 24-08-2006, 02:49   #15
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Arrrr yes. the saying goes. "Experiance is a cruel teacher. she gives you the Exam first and the Lesson afterwards".

Never did know the author of that proverb.
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