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Old 11-04-2021, 22:49   #1
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Is a survey a must have with an older boat?

The seller has a survey from 3 years ago on a 1969 power boat. The survey looks ok, no major issues, itís a full survey with hull out. If the boat was docked at the marina most of the time during those 3 years, can I skip the current survey when I buy it, or is it a must have to do in terms of issues that may arise?
The engines are original, no recent service documentation, over 4500 hours. Can I save those few thousands and buy it as is, based on the previous survey, or will it be a foolish thing to do , and a survey is a must have in this case? Thank you
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Old 12-04-2021, 03:44   #2
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Re: Is a survey a must have with an older boat?

The proper way is to get the survey, to prevent you having nasty surprises. However, if the costs of the survey exceed the cost of the surprises, it might make sense to skip it.

If you feel confident that you covered in some way what is important to you, then you should evaluate how much benefit the survey brings compared to the costs. No point in doing a $1000 survey on a $2000 boat.
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Old 12-04-2021, 04:45   #3
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Re: Is a survey a must have with an older boat?

There are two reasons to get your own survey:
1. Common sense - you shouldn't buy a used car from a used car dealer based only the used car dealer's inspection report (and especially not a 3 year old inspection), and
2. Assuming you want insurance, the underwriter will require a recent survey.


There are other reasons but if you ignore these two, the rest are irrelevant.
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Old 12-04-2021, 05:05   #4
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Re: Is a survey a must have with an older boat?

You can do anything you want. Insurance is the only reason you are forced to get a survey.

I’ve bought a couple boats without a survey. You really have to understand boats to a great degree to do so and a sea trial is a must.

Otherwise, probably best to get a survey.
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Old 12-04-2021, 05:15   #5
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pirate Re: Is a survey a must have with an older boat?

A survey is like the UK annual MOT test of roadworthiness for cars.. only good for 24hrs in real life.
If the 3 year old hull survey was good and the boats had little use since then there's all likelihood it still is, short of any groundings/collisions.
Your main concern is the engines so get the owner to give you a trial on the water.. do they fire straight up, is the shift smooth along with acceleration, do they run hot after a half hour run.
If diesels 4500hrs is no big deal but if unsure hire a good marine mechanic to ride with you to check the engines.. especially if turbos.
How big is your Risk Tolerance..???
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Old 12-04-2021, 05:30   #6
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Re: Is a survey a must have with an older boat?

Do you plan to insure the boat? Generally they want a fresh survey.
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Old 12-04-2021, 08:27   #7
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Re: Is a survey a must have with an older boat?

If the survey is accepted by the insurance fine. But if the survey did not include surveying the engines, compression tests, clutches, gearbox and sea trials, then you need to do those as they are the expensive side of a power boat.
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Old 12-04-2021, 08:32   #8
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Re: Is a survey a must have with an older boat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Moretolife View Post
The seller has a survey from 3 years ago on a 1969 power boat. The survey looks ok, no major issues, it’s a full survey with hull out. If the boat was docked at the marina most of the time during those 3 years, can I skip the current survey when I buy it, or is it a must have to do in terms of issues that may arise?
The engines are original, no recent service documentation, over 4500 hours. Can I save those few thousands and buy it as is, based on the previous survey, or will it be a foolish thing to do , and a survey is a must have in this case? Thank you
In my experience you will need a marine survey to insure and posssibly to berth the boat AND with that many engine hours recommend an engine survey AND at that age recommend an electrical survey.
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Old 12-04-2021, 08:55   #9
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Re: Is a survey a must have with an older boat?

I think it depends on the value of the boat. Like one previous thread said, "don't pay $2000 for a survey on a $1,000 boat". I had a survey when I bought my boat it found enough problems that I was able to get a $5,000 reduction on the sales price. A lot can happen to a boat in 3 years.
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Old 12-04-2021, 09:24   #10
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Re: Is a survey a must have with an older boat?

Unless require for insurance it depends totally on your experience and confidence. I have never had a surveyor see a problem I missed but generally will se issues the surveyor did not look at. A basic survey does not cover the condition of the engines, wiring, instrument and domestic appliances. I basically assesses whether their are any hull or other problems that may lead to a total loss and whether the price paid is market price. This allows the underwriters to assess their risk but tells you little useful about the boat. A full engineers report can tell you more but gets expensive real fast as you need a mechanic for the engines and machinery and an electrician for the wiring as a min on top of the hull survey.
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Old 12-04-2021, 09:38   #11
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Re: Is a survey a must have with an older boat?

Get the survey with a sea trial. A 1969 powerboat with the OG motor with 4500 hrs? That’s 86 hrs a year in a power boat that is 52 years old.
The sea trial and survey won’t tell you everything but it’s a good knowledgeable second opinion from an unbiased perspective. Use an established surveyor.
Good luck.
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Old 12-04-2021, 10:42   #12
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Re: Is a survey a must have with an older boat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Moretolife View Post
The seller has a survey from 3 years ago on a 1969 power boat. The survey looks ok, no major issues, it’s a full survey with hull out. If the boat was docked at the marina most of the time during those 3 years, can I skip the current survey when I buy it, or is it a must have to do in terms of issues that may arise?
The engines are original, no recent service documentation, over 4500 hours. Can I save those few thousands and buy it as is, based on the previous survey, or will it be a foolish thing to do , and a survey is a must have in this case? Thank you
You don't give much info about the boat other than year.

My feeling is that you always get a survey to disclose the things that need attention. If the surveyor is good his inspection may save you money in the long run. Important things could have been overlooked by the other surveyor who was working for someone else...your surveyor is working for you. Thousands for a $urvey?...shop around and pick your own, not one recommended by anyone else or the broker.

Since it is a power boat (the dark side) I would most definitely get an engine surveyed during the on-the-water portion...I did and did not buy the boat based on his findings.

In the end you want to start with a good understanding of what you are buying and gaining confidence in the boat.

Good Luck.

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Old 12-04-2021, 10:42   #13
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Re: Is a survey a must have with an older boat?

How much do you knowledge do you possess on all the nuances of power vessels and can interpret the signs of delamination, core saturation, failing seacocks, dry rotted hoses? Boat = significant investment & maintenance; old boat (not updated) = hole in water where you dump your money.
If the boat has not been updated, I would assume the things like seacocks and hoses & clamps may not have been addressed.
Have you ever been on a power boat when a main raw water cooling hose blows while cruising at 12-15 knots? I have... You have literally minutes to deal with it before you sink. No joke.
Not certain of the length, but boats under 50' are, typically, less than a $1,000 for structural and systems and another $500 for mechanical. Peace of mind. A survey will not uncover everything but it will give you an idea of condition for safety and potential $ investment that will need to be made (in addition to the typical break/fix from every day use).
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Old 12-04-2021, 14:46   #14
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Re: Is a survey a must have with an older boat?

A survey will be required if you are financing the boat.

If not required, it depends upon your experience, knowledge, and understanding of boats.
If you think a 3 year old survey will tell you any current problems, you probably do not have the experience to buy without a survey.

Don't depend on a surveyor. I hired "the best" surveyor in Seattle and got 5 pages of errors. (36' hull instead of 45', wrong anchor rode size, VHF was turned off so reported as not working, wrong engine specs, ignored my order for engine oil analysis, missed the two frozen seacocks that I discovered after purchase, etc.)
So have a survey done and also have experienced friends or boaters look at the boat with you. Listen to them and trust yourself.
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Old 12-04-2021, 15:10   #15
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Re: Is a survey a must have with an older boat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Moretolife View Post
The seller has a survey from 3 years ago on a 1969 power boat. The survey looks ok, no major issues, itís a full survey with hull out. If the boat was docked at the marina most of the time during those 3 years, can I skip the current survey when I buy it, or is it a must have to do in terms of issues that may arise?

How much is the boat worth? How good of a deal are you getting? What are your expectations for the boat? Do you know enough about boats to perform at least some evaluation of the boat yourself?


I have bought and sold numerous modest boats. None of these deals have involved a surveyor. None of them have involved much money. I spent more than the purchase price of the boat on the first two years maintenance in all these cases, which I expected. I have no regrets.



Quote:

The engines are original, no recent service documentation, over 4500 hours. Can I save those few thousands and buy it as is, based on the previous survey, or will it be a foolish thing to do , and a survey is a must have in this case? Thank you

Are they original to the boat? Gasoline or diesel? If they're original to the boat they're probably gasoline and are probably almost run out based on hours alone. Marine gassers don't last much longer than that.


If diesel, how old (years not hours)? How long do you want them to last? Can you do a sea trial as described upthread?
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