I posted this on another board, but I'll do it here as well....
I've said this before... if you grew up on boats, have webbed feet, owned more holes in the water than cars, don't have to finance it or insure it, can look beyond the impulse/heartflutter/firstgirlfriend impressions you have, and have a clue as to what repairs are going to cost,(in time and materials) you don't need a surveyor.
You're going to buy what you want to, pay what you think its worth, and live with your decision. You've got the experience you need. Good for you. I'm happy for ya. really I am. No, really!!!
However, when is the last time you bought a house for over 90k without having an inspection?
As far as brokers and surveyors go... there are always going to be bad apples. There are some brokers that won't call me ever again because I "chased away a buyer".
Oh well, maybe the broker should have known that the boat that he had listed as a 1999 had a diesel in it that was out of manufacture in 1985. (Nope, he "didn't know anything about a repower, hmmm, he'll have to call the owner about that") and the previous survey (in 2004) listed it as original equipment!
Or, on another boat, perhaps he should have informed the owner about the salvage title BEFORE I got there.
Or, why another partcular boat was said to be in "bristol condition".... Yes, the brightwork was lovely, you could see yourself in the toerails, the cabin had candles and incense, light jazz on the 1000.00 stereo. Engine and room were **** and span. The deck was freshly scrubbed, and teck & holly sole was as shiny as a new penny... when I reached under the hull/deckjoint and pulled out a handful of rotted wood, that survey was over.
Each one of these instances were with a client that was brand new to purchasing a boat. Each one had spend weeks if not months on other peoples boats, looking at the listings, narrowing their choices.
I also know enough about what to "include" so the client can get his policy and or financing. If I list every gelcoat crack around every stanchion, They'll all have to be repaired. Of course, if I don't point them out, the purchaser can come back to me and say "this boat is junk, you should have told me about these crazings..." (even if they are cosmetic only) thats why I like for the buyer and owner to be there. I don't care if the broker sells a boat. I don't really care if that particular client buys that particular boat. I don't make a dime either way. What I do care about is quite simple. Is this boat going to be safe, what is its history, what is its current condition, and what is likely to bite the puchaser in the behind in the future. If I don't know about a particular chrome plated tittilator valve, I'll say so. I'm not that good. I can't BS with a straight face.
There are some surveyors that specialize, thats fine. I don't know diddly squat (thats a technical term) about those baja/fountain/cigarette things. Don't want to, don't need to, and will steer clear of any thought of a survey concerning one. I'll do "some" larger motorized pleasure craft, but not many. I'm a sailor by heart. There are some fine fellows that will survey a 19ft sea-ray listed for 5500.00.
I'm not one of them. If that floats, and the engine doesn't knock, the transom isn't falling off and the outdrive steers and doesn't sound like moms blender in the bathtub, buy the darn boat, you'll be fine. If however you're looking at a 30-65ft sailboat, and have no idea what you're looking at and know it, call a surveyor.
In water vs out of water:
I know hauling and sitting on the hard is expensive especially if you in the "looking" phase.
Look at doing an "in-water" first. If the boat is already in the water, and you have it hauled, you're only going to get minimal return for the first blush. A moisture meter on the hull won't help much unless its been on the hard awhile. Yes, you'll see blisters if they're there. It will help to see the "smile", how many times it may have been grounded and how well its been repaired, the general condition of the bottom, rudder, prop, cutlass, and adnodes... (while I'm at it, unless the boat is a rare bird, its going to have some blisters. get over it. ymmv) A plastic hammer is going to give me a better idea than a moisture meter.
A few years back, I surveyed a 40 footer. nice boat, deal was done, eveybody was all smiles.
Three weeks time passes and theres a knock on my door from the local constable. I've been sued. It seems the fellow that bought this boat rammed into the dock, caused damage to the dock and two other boats. He sued me because of my "gross negligence". I failed to inform him that because of the prop size on his 30,000lb boat, it would not be able to stop from a speed of about 3 knots within the 50 ft of his finger pier. Silly me.
We are not primarily on earth to see through one another, but to see one another through
Some people are like slinkies: not really good for anything... but you can't help laughing when you push them down the stairs