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stencil 11-30-2001 09:00 AM

concerning surveyors
I have just found the boat of my dreams and my broker, who is a certified Marine Surveyor, has offered to inspect the boat free of charge saving me the five hundred or so an independent surveyor might charge. My question is: are marine surveyors legally bound in any way to report the condition of the boat honestly and accurately? Or is this one a moot question and I should just cough up the five hundred with not conflict of interest?

RichH 11-30-2001 10:07 AM

concerning surveyors
Surveyors being human (I''m not a surveyor) can often times not find nor report all the findings that are pertinent. I suggest that before hiring a surveyor that you ***yourself*** deeply reseach your intended boat through owners-groups, literature (reviews), etc. to compile a listing of known or developing ''problems'' specific to your intended purchase. Give that ''pre-qualified'' list to the surveyor for ''extra-special'' scrutiny during the actual survey - make it part of the contract. You and your surveryor will both benefit from that partnership. By all means once you establish a ''suspicion'' list, do an informal precursory / "pre-survey" by yourself. You also might further contract the surveyor to do an especially "extremely detailed" survey (costs more) and includes an evaluation of all the machinery, rigging (top as well as bottom) etc., instead of the usual "insurance" survey. Ya usually get whats ya pays for. ;-)

hamiam 11-30-2001 10:12 AM

concerning surveyors
Generous offer but it is a complete conflict of interest in my opinion. You would NOT have your real estate broker inspect a home you were interested in, would you? In my experience, the money you spend on a surveyor is very well spent. That being said, I would let him do a once over and see if he finds any deal breaking problems.

Good Luck


VIEXILE 11-30-2001 11:12 AM

concerning surveyors
Any lender or insurer would undoubtedly be a little hinkey under such conflictive circumstances, but hey, your broker is laying a ton of liability on himself . . .

bporter 11-30-2001 03:11 PM

concerning surveyors
Personally, I tend not to use a surveyor recommended by the broker in the first place unless you are very comfortable with the broker. Nevermind having the broker, who stands to collect anywhere from 2-10% of the purchase price of your boat if and when you close, do the survey.

Not that I am insanely paranoid, but unless you have a signed buyer-broker arrangement with this guy or you are married into his family I would find an independent surveyor who has your interest in mind.

You are about to make a sizable purchase, and even a survey isn''t cheap. You need someone absolutley, irrefutably 100% in your court.

Like any business there are honest & dishonest people. So - trust your broker for doing the deal with him in the first place, but cut the cards by using your own surveyor.

paulk 11-30-2001 04:46 PM

concerning surveyors
The free survey your broker offers may be worth $500, or it may be worth what he charges for it.... $0.00. Or it may cost you several thousand to fix things hs fails to find problems with. Having worked as a broker, the offer, however well-intentioned (or not!) seems unethical.
A note on surveying... After getting out of brokering, I had a surveyor I knew was reliable check out a boat I was interested in buying. He determined from his moisture meter that the hull core appeared to be saturated with moisture all over, and though he found no delamination in the ''glass, he suggested we get out the proverbial 10 foot pole and keep away from it. I couldn''t believe that such a wet hull had no delamination, since we had had a really cold winter. The freezing moisture should have caused delamination all over too. A second surveyor I asked about this came by and put his moisture meter on the inside of the hull, instead of the outside. The second surveyor''s readings showed everything dry. It seems the moisture was in the outer layers of paint-- awlgrip and Micron CXC -- not the hull. Five years later, we''ve done some work on the boat, but the hull seems to be holding up ok. The upshot: No one''s perfect, you get what you pay for, and boats are too complex for anyone to know everything. You can learn a lot from a surveyor, however, even after you''ve done your homework as suggested in posts above. The "extra" cost is an investment in your education, and it''s well worth being present as the surveyor goes around. He or she can point out things that don''t make it into his written report and you can ask questions that occur to you on the spot which would never occur to you from reading a terse written document.

bporter 12-01-2001 03:14 PM

concerning surveyors
Have to second the opinion on being there. I''ve had three surveys done, done for each boat I''ve purchased. I missed the first one, but I learned a ton about boat care, construction, building, and deterioration at the last two. I''ll never skip another one.

stencil 12-03-2001 05:04 AM

concerning surveyors
Thank you all for your input and advice. I do trust my broker but it seems clear that I should trust common sense more in this instance. Since the boat is on the opposite coast, the plan is now to spend three days with it: One on my personal inspection, one on sea trials and the third with a surveyor.

bporter 12-03-2001 06:52 AM

concerning surveyors
You probably want to do the sea trial with the surveyor - if possible check with to see if he would prefer to do that as a part of the survey. A good surveyor will want to be there for the sea trial.

Typically the surveyor will perform load testing on the engine, look at how thinks stretch & move under load, etc. The more realistic the better, so running the boat is a better test then cranking up the RPM''s tied to the dock. Also, the surveyor will check to ensure that things work in a "real world" condition, so there is opportunity there to test things out under way to ensure they work instead of just flipping them on dockside to make sure the lights come one.

There is a good article on sea trials recently published on Sailnet.

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