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Do You 100% Trust Your Boat Surveyor?

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  • bobofthenorth
    commented on 's reply
    Evidently I didn't read carefully enough. Mea culpa maximus.

  • Steadfast70
    replied
    I've had two boats surveyed, the last one a 3870 done by the guy the insurance company recommended. He found some potential rot I had missed but missed one big item I had found. Two of the rot items were in fact not a problem. The mechanical surveyor found one exhaust riser shot and recommended both be replaced. The boat surveyor recommended I look for another 3870 in better shape or negotiate a much lower price. I did the later as I felt I could do the repairs identified myself.

    This boat had sat form two years in Port Alice and needed lots of love mostly in a cosmetic way but ugly none the less. I bought the boat as it had a number of expensive upgrades, fair electronic, sea wise davits; electronic controls, digital tacks, a great skiff and OB, low engine hours along with a fair price. I have now owned the vessel for four years and am still very happy with my purchase! After everything that is the true measure of a good deal.

    I would not hang my hat just on any surveyor report. Being around boats and working on them for 45 years I am confident in my own knowledge but insurance companies do not feel the same way. If you don't have the experience find that old salt that does that you trust to help you. Both of you be with the surveyor when he does his work. If he is any good you will learn a lot from him answering any questions you have.

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  • Pcpete
    commented on 's reply
    Bob, read the post from MerlinV again. You have some mental auto correct going on. 😉

  • bobofthenorth
    replied
    Originally posted by MerlinV View Post
    Like the old adage - 99% of all surveyors give the other 1% a bad name.
    You're being unduly generous. Maybe I'd accept 50% give the other 50% a bad name but that "profession" is polluted with charlatans.

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  • MerlinV
    replied
    Like the old adage - 99% of all surveyors give the other 1% a bad name.

    I say this in jest, but as this profession is by and large unregulated, the quality of reporting seems to be all over the map. There are many really well qualified and diligent surveyors, and I’m sure we all know examples of difference between buyer’s surveyors, and sellers surveyors.

    Over the years we have been lucky when buying boats, that our structural and mechanical surveyors have proven to be efficient, and have provided unbiased quality survey reports. There have been occasions when we didn’t particularly like the reports, but if we hire them and don’t like the result, to ignore them would be irresponsible.

    On one occasion, we needed an insurance survey on our M490, and chose a well known Vancouver surveyor with a reputation of being picky, after all, if you are paying the survey fee, at least find out all of the deficiencies that require attention. After almost two weeks of chasing the written report I discover that he has mailed it directly to our insurers back east - WTF? who did he think was paying his bill, and who did he think was he working for? I finally received my copy three weeks after the survey, and to say I was disgusted with the contents is an understatement.
    He had basically photocopied a previous report from a 4788, and couldn’t even be bothered to tidy up the details. Here are just some of his printed responses on a standard survey form;

    Heating system - None evidenced - (We had Espar Hydronic Heat plus 3 zone Reverse Cycle Heat and Air Conditioning)
    VHF - Single iCom at lower helm - (We had Standard Horizon lower, Standard Horizon with RAM Mic at upper helm, plus stand alone Standard Horizon at upper helm)
    Radar - None evidenced - (We had Raymarine 48 mile radar plus AIS that he also never noticed.
    Fuel Capacity 300 gallons - The 490 and 4788 carry 444 gallons
    Dinghy/Tender - Blank - (8 month old Zodiac Yachtline with 8 month old Yamaha 40 HP engine on upper deck)
    Bow Thruster - None - (sidepower thruster installed since new)
    Canvas - Bimini only - (Full upper enclosure plus full cockpit enclosure)
    Batteries - 4 x 6V lead acid golf cart - (We had 4 x L16 AGM batteries 2 months old)

    This list of incorrect information went on and on to the point where I personally called the insurers to clarify how poor the report was and give them the correct information. Luckily, it never did impact us financially, but the S.O.B. had already been paid. I did not seek recourse at the time, but word of mouth travels fast around here, so hopefully no-one else will be burned by this outfit.

    Leave a comment:


  • pgiconch
    commented on 's reply
    +1 - I like using the blue painters tape. Can write on it and it always comes off easy with no damage.

  • stanfromhell
    replied
    Before purchasing my 4788 in Anacortes I hired a general surveyor and a mechanical surveyor, both were highly recommended..
    The general surveyor stated there were only a few minor items that ought to be taken care of and now after two years of ownership I haven't encountered anything important that he missed.
    The mechanical surveyor found many things wrong, some minor and some quite major. He included a repair estimate which totaled 20K.
    I've been a heavy duty mechanic for 40 years so I used the survey to negotiate a 20K reduction in the purchase price with the intention of doing the repairs myself.
    The sad part of this story is that about 30% of the repairs he said must be done were absolutely not necessary.
    Examples:
    Both Cummins fan belts worn and must be changed.... they were in perfect condition
    Both seawater pumps leak and must be rebuilt ( two years have elapsed and they still are not leaking)
    Both shaft seals leak and must be changed. ( Neither have shown signs of leaking yet)

    He somehow missed the fact that the Cummins low oil pressure/ high water temp alarm system was not working and the preheating system on the starboard engine also was not working.
    Forrest Gump said "Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get next
    Sort of like hiring a surveyor I think.

    Leave a comment:


  • Pcpete
    replied
    Toni, stick to him like a second skin. If he finds something like a soft or hollow sounding stringer, have him mark the area. During my purchase survey the guy didn’t say anything about the stringers, but there was a finding in the report. I still haven’t found anything, but it’s going to be interesting next month when I have the boat surveyed again. I’m going to hand him a big marker. In your case it may be better to use post its or tape. The current owner may get touchy if someone starts marking up his boat.

    Leave a comment:


  • courtjester
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • Pcpete
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • Centerline2
    replied
    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.

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  • WorkerB
    replied
    I think a good DIY guy or an old salt generally could give you a better survey than most “surveyors”.

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  • bobofthenorth
    replied
    If a surveyor told me it was raining outside I'd walk outdoors and look up before I even started looking for an umbrella.

    Leave a comment:


  • Squidward
    replied
    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

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  • kwb
    replied
    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.

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