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Do You 100% Trust Your Boat Surveyor?

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    Do You 100% Trust Your Boat Surveyor?

    I know, I know, the guy works for me and I'm better off trusting him than the damn broker.

    That said, have you ever gotten a survey report for a used boat and wondered if his recommendations are overly perfectionist, or if he's trying to refer you to his "buddy" at the local yard to get shit fixed?

    No easy answer to that probably. I'm just sitting up late, grumbling and trying to weigh whether or not my perspective boat actually needs 3 grand worth of bottom paint...
    "Binti B"
    1996 2855 Ciera Sunbridge

    So, what all work is involved with this three boat unit bottom paint job? If it’s a 1950 Capri, then that’s a lot. If it’s a 5788, maybe not so much. Does the current paint need to be stripped off because of buildup? Is there a blister issue? What all is being rolled or sprayed on?
    On my 38 the current paint is dried out and I can scrape it off with a stiff pity knife. It’s no big deal because I’m dry stored, but it does look ragged. If I were to pay a yard to do the repaint, I would expect there would be $200 in tarps and tape then probably 10-16 hours of labor scraping the very dry flaky stuff off. Add another 4 hours for misc paint removal and surface prep. I’d have the Seahawk barrier coat rolled on, 2 gallons at $100 each, plus four hours labor and $50 in shop supplies then three coats of Seahawk Smart Solution at 2 gallons per coat times $250 per gallon, $100 shop supplies and 12 hours labor. Then four hours of cleanup. So, $2050 in materials plus 40 hours labor at $100/hr for $4000. A total of $6,050! I’m probably long on the labor, and in my current storage I’d do a heavy single coat rather than three, but it’s an estimate.
    Most of the $3,000 estimate may be the most expensive of everything. You’ll have to break it down to properly understand it.
    P/C Pete
    Edmonds Yacht Club (Commodore 1993)
    1988 3818 "GLAUBEN”
    Hino EH700 175 Onan MDKD Genset
    MMSI 367770440


      I've paid for two surveys, and I didn't buy either boat. I'm not bragging here, but I felt I knew more about the boats than the surveyors or the owners. During the surveys I found issues the surveyors did not, which really damaged their credibility. So we decided on our current 3388 to forgo the survey, and we've had no regrets.
      Jeff & Tara
      (And Ginger too)
      Lake Havasu City, AZ

      2000 Bayliner 3388
      Cummins 4bta 250s

      In memory of Shadow, the best boat dog ever. Rest in peace, girl. July 2, 2010


        Interesting topic....a friend just bought a used Skater race boat and explained he was required by his insurance to have a survey. The guy showed up to survey and my bed asked him, what training or certification do you need to be a surveyor?...the response...I've been around boats my entire life.

        What?? ...we were talking and determined we are qualified to be surveyors too, which means nothing.

        I feel confident in checking out a bowrider...kinda, but would be lost on a race boat or any boat with more complicated systems such as generators or plumbing systems etc....or boats with Outboards. Pretty much means most boats I would be guessing on majority of systems needing to be checked.

        Point being....some surveyors may hold certifications but not sure this is required. I would ask up front....what certifications they hold.

        Bottom paint may be a more general knowledge topic, but let's face it....each model boat and make of powerplant has certain issues to be aware of.

        2008 H210SS Four Winns
        Volvo Penta 5.7 GISX
        Prior: 1997 2050SS Bayliner
        Brad / Texas Gulf Coast


          Nope, just like a mechanic or even a doctor, the person is only as good as he is, some simply suck and others are a gem. Just because you have a piece of paper that says you are someone means very little in todays world.
          Cheers, Hans
          2007 Carver 41 CMY
          Twin Volvo D6-370
          Montreal, Canada
          Midnight Sun I Photos


            I've had three boats surveyed prior to purchase. In all cases I feel the surveyors did a good job and found things that I would otherwise not have found. Moreover on the last two boats the insurance required a survey, so I could not do it all myself and call it good.

            If I'm buying a boat I welcome an overly perfectionist surveyor, because I use the survey findings to negotiate more concessions from the seller.
            1999 3788, Cummins 270 "Freedom"
            2013 Boston Whaler 130 SS
            Anacortes, WA


              There is no requirement to be a marine surveyor, that being said I would require that the marine surveyor be school certified or be able to show adequate references and/or experience..
              Also check with your insurance company.
              Pat says: DO-IT-RIGHT THE FIRST TIME!

              Bayliner 3870 "ALASKA33)
              Twin 350 GM power
              Located in Seward, AK
              Retired marine surveyor


                Do you trust yourself to get the big chunks of information to assess the condition of a used boat? Three surveys, one walk away boat. I just read my current boat's survey. When I made my offer on the boat, the broker said they weren't open to adjusting the price based on findings of the survey, yet they did fix some things based on the survey. My last boat, I bought as the survey presented only minor deficiencies.
                I think what you want from a survey is "no big surprises" a year down the water. My answer: I trust them more than I trust myself.
                Tally and Vicki
                "Wickus" Meridian 341
                MMSI 338014939


                  I put them in the same category as a home inspector. Some good some really bad, neither is really accountable for anything. The insurance thing probably keeps most of them in business.

                  Being one that fixes all of my own stuff I have gotten pretty good at recognizing where things are failing and they bring very little value to me.
                  1999 Sandpiper Pilothouse - Current
                  1989 3888 - 2011-2019, 1985 Contessa - 2005-2011, 1986 21' Trophy 1998-2005
                  Nobody gets out alive.


                    Spoke to my surveyor again. He's passionate about maintenance, and it may have made things sound worse than they are, but I believe his sincerity. The items he named will still have to be dealt with sooner than later, but at least I don't feel a sense of doom anymore
                    "Binti B"
                    1996 2855 Ciera Sunbridge


                      If a surveyor told me it was raining outside I'd walk outdoors and look up before I even started looking for an umbrella.
                      R.J.(Bob) Evans
                      Buchanan, SK
                      Cierra 2755
                      Previously 43 Defever, Response LX
                      Various runabouts, canoes & kayaks


                        I think a good DIY guy or an old salt generally could give you a better survey than most “surveyors”.
                        1995 3988 250 Hinos
                        "When mad yell, when really mad curse"


                          there is no document or requirement to call yourself a marine surveyor, and although there are some firms that require their employed surveyors to pass "in-house" testing to prove their knowledge (which if they pass, they are certified for that company), but after the testing is complete, its anybodys guess as to how complete of a job they will do.

                          i have found that on a larger boat one cant trust a single surveyor to give a full and accurate survey, but if one hired 3 of them, with each knowing their work is being "check" inspected by another surveyor, you would get a reasonably good report by combining the information of all three reports....

                          its rare to find a single surveyor that can and will do a thorough job on a boat with "systems"....

                          on a small runabout, there is little excuse for anyone calling themselves a "surveyor" to miss anything, unless its in a hidden and non inspectable part of the boat, such as below the sole or behind other components or "non" removable panels enclosing the inside of the gunnel

                          its not that surveyors are dishonest, but some of them seem to get complacent in their job... and some will over emphasize some things knowing you may be able to use the information to negotiate the purchase price, which is not fair to either buyer or seller, as its not accurate information..... and there are some that have no business calling themselves a marine surveyor.
                          Last edited by Centerline2; 01-25-2020, 11:25 AM.

                          NU LIBERTE'
                          Salem, OR

                          1989 Bayliner 2556 Convertible
                          5.7 OMC Cobra - 15.5x11 prop
                          N2K equipped throughout..
                          2014 Ram 3500 crew cab, 6.7 Cummins
                          2007 M-3705 SLC weekend warrior, 5th wheel
                          '04 Polaris Sportsman 700 -- '05 Polaris Sportsman 500 HO
                          Heavy Equipment Repair and Specialty Welding


                            Good on you for doing the reality check. My purchase surveyor noted some hollow sounds in the stringers, but I can’t find it. Since I have a survey coming up, I’m about to do some exploratory drilling. I really think the guy did it to cover his backside given the errors in year, specifications and model number.
                            P/C Pete
                            Edmonds Yacht Club (Commodore 1993)
                            1988 3818 "GLAUBEN”
                            Hino EH700 175 Onan MDKD Genset
                            MMSI 367770440


                              timely topic. We've made an offer on a 4788 and its set for a general survey next wednesday, followed by a mechanical the next day. I know and have worked with the mechanical guy before and feel confident between him and me, and fluid samples, we'll have a pretty solid picture. I don't know the other fellow, but comes very highly recommended by a couple folks I trust. We'll see how it all turns out, although actually, it could be a few months before you know for sure.

                              Yelm, Washington
                              1994 Hino powered 4788