I just wrote this up last night to include on my website documenting my experiences with my new boat
We live in New Hampshire. We bought a boat
. How did we find a surveyor
? Even if we were buying
closer to home, how would we go about finding a surveyor? You want the most detail-oriented and experienced curmudgeon you can find to survey
your potential purchase
Boat/US maintains a national directory of marine
surveyors from whom they accept survey
reports for their insurance
business (see http://www.boatus.com/insurance/survey.htm
). In addition, most professional surveyors are a member
of either National Association of Marine
Surveyors (NAMS): http://www.nams-cms.org/,
and/or the Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors (SAMS): http://www.marinesurvey.org/.
Both organizations maintain on their websites searchable directories of their members. But still, how do you choose from among the many who will be listed among these sources?
One can always go on to internet forums
, discussion boards, and mailing lists to ask for recommendations from fellow boaters. But not many boaters regularly buy and sell boats, and so their experience with surveyors may be limited. Certainly, you should be wary of any recommendations you might get from any brokers involved in the transaction. When I bought Greyhawk, the selling broker
respectfully declined to offer any names when I asked. But maybe you could try asking the broker
which surveyors they would NOT use, and why -- it may be that such a surveyor is exactly who you DO want!
Besides brokers, the people who will likely have had a lot of interaction with the various surveyors in the area are boatyard repair managers. You could call up several boatyards
-- those not involved in the transaction you are about to make -- and ask their service
department about who they would recommend for a surveyor and why. But how do you know whether you can really trust these recommendations? What is the reputation of the boatyard making the recommendation? This is where referrals from other boaters help. Walk the docks and talk to other boaters about the boatyards
they use for repairs
. If you are not in the area, contact local sailing clubs and yacht clubs to see if they can put you in touch with any of their members, or can tell you which yard most of their members use.
Once you've identified a well-respected boatyard manager, go ahead and ask him (usually) who he would hire to survey a boat he was buying
, and why. Also ask who his second choice might be, and perhaps who he would avoid.
By now, you should have some good strong recommendations, from several sources, and one or two names should rise to the top. Call them up and/or visit their websites. Ask for (or download) a sample survey report for a boat similar to the one you are looking at. Certainly ask about their qualifications, their procedures, and what you can expect. Ask about their pricing and their availability (the best surveyors are often the busiest -- it may be worth the wait). Make your choice, schedule a date, and make every effort to be present for the inspection
. Good Luck!