Don't place any faith in any survey you didn't commission yourself.
First, the survey may not have been commissioned for the same reason you are wanting to. An insurance survey is going to be different from a boat buyer's pre-purchase survey. Also, you don't know who paid for it...and the person paying for the survey can have a fair bit of effect on what the survey says.
Any survey is a snapshot in time as pointed out previously. However, that snapshot can be very different from what the actual case is. For instance, a survey before a hard winter with really cold temperatures might indicate that the boat is in good shape—but what if the boat wasn't properly winterized for the really cold temperatures—many things could be damaged that are not reported as damaged in the survey. An engine block could crack in the cold weather if not properly winterized... but the pre-winter survey might say the engine was in fine shape. If the boat sat in a slip in an electrically hot marina for a month or two after the survey, the through-hulls could all be shot, as could the prop shaft and prop... but the survey wouldn't reflect that.
Originally Posted by elkscout
For someone in the market for a used boat, how much faith should he place in an old survey/one provided by the seller? For instance, if the survey was 6 mos old, would anyone run with it and do the deal, assuming they were satisfied with the report? What about a survey one or two years old?
Or with any of the above cases, should they holdout for a new survey? What if the boat is say less than $15K (talking 25 yrs. plus in age, 27' and over). It would seem that if the thing sails and the motor/transmission work, then you could also be assured you're getting your money's worth. Any condition above and beyond that would be bonus.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.
—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)
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