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Old 02-19-2007
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1st boat - Vancouver B.C. surveyor and insurance info


Have been looking at boats for a while now (in Vancouver and Victoria/Sidney, B.C., Canada) and getting ready to take the next step of making a conditional offer. prior sailing has been with family and friends, so i dont have much (read:any) experience with surveyors and insurance.

was wondering if anyone could recommend a surveyor in B.C. (vancouver pref), also a mechanic for an engine survey.

also wondering what to expect for insurance pricewise (34-36', 1990's, assuming reasonable outcome of survey), if anyone has any suggestions for an insurance company/broker in B.C./Canada.

thanks so much in advance for any responses.


-A. Bargle
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Old 02-20-2007
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Over the years we have had several boats surveyed, and of the various surveyors used we have been most impressed with Phil Oldham, here in Vancouver.

Insurance costs can vary, we have reasonable coverage (non-racing) from Premier Marine, with annual premiums in the $600 range for an insured value of $55-60K. Of course, we have yet to test the insurance with a claim, which is the only time you'll ever get the full story of how complete your coverage is and how interested the company is in helping you vs denying any claim.

BTW, after some extended research and shopping local brokers we ended up buying a boat in WA state - better selection, more quality examples and better pricing even after importation/duties etc. It takes less time to drive to Seattle than to go to the Island on some days!

Good luck with your hunt. Feel free to send me a PM if you have other questions.
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Old 02-20-2007
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I use Johnston, Meier (Marine insurance broker) in Port Coquitlam for both my 30' Ketch and (horrors!) my SeaRay. I do get a discount for being a Canadian Power and Sail Squadron member.

Haven't had a survey recently but others have agreed with "Faster" about Phil Oldham.
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Old 02-20-2007
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On insurance, my process has always been to call for quotes from several companies, and then compare not just the premium, but also the terms. Recently I got quotes for my new boat from TOS Hub International, Cowan (who does the coverage for the Canadian power and Sail Squadron), Cassells, BC Yacht Insurance and Dolphin. Google will find you their websites, quote requests and application forms.

All quotes were within 5% of each other, but an analysis of the various deductibles, terms and other fine print tipped my wallet toward Dolphin.
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Old 02-20-2007
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Be Careful....

When I got insurance last year, I shopped around alot, and found one key difference among policies, along with the price difference. The key difference was that some policies only covered "depreciated" cost, whereas others covered replacement cost on things like electronics. The former was a bit cheaper, but the coverage on the latter was much better. Also, some included tow insurance, others didn't.
I finally got the best deal through BC Yacht Insurance, and have been pleased with their friendliness when I have had questions, but have not had to submit an insurance claim.
It pays to spend a bit of time talking with all of them about what the coverage includes, to begin to discern the differences in the "fine print".
Good luck!
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Old 02-22-2007
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more questions on surveys

I have more questions than answers to your thread on marine surveys. I need the advice of some knowledgeable sailors!

A young friend of mine bought a boat last summer and made all the mistakes:
fell in love with a 27 foot fixed keel Scandanavian boat, '70 hull, bought it rapidly, then started discovering what everyone tried to tell him. He doesn't really know how to sail, and this is a big boat to learn on unless you are in very open waters.
It's hard to afford insurance if you have a bad driving record.
You have to get a boat surveyed in order to be able to insure it, but it's trickly finding someone who will pull and survey an uninsured boat.

Actually the boat he picked has proved to be fairly solid, but recently his friends and family have done an intervention and tried to get him to sell it to one of us so we can get it insured, pulled and cleaned up, and either sold or sold for salvage.

trouble is, it's hard to find anyone who wants to pull an uninsured vessel.
which, you have to get done to survey for insurance purposes!
I want to ask questions locally, but there are only so many marine yards here, and I don't want to ruin any chance of finding someone who will work with us. Has anyone else had any similar experience, or can you offer any advice on how to proceed? Even if the boat (bought for $5000) is not really worth anything, everyone and the environment would be better off if we could move forward, rather than leaving this uninsured situation to deterioriate. Any wisdom would be much appreciated.
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Old 02-23-2007
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I have never been asked if I had insurance when having a boat hauled in over 30 years. I would suggest you try another marina and don't mention it. Of course if the boat LOOKS like it will break when lifted...the boatyard is gonna ask!
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Old 02-23-2007
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I'm in Vancouver too I just put an offer on a boat today, After searching like you I decided to take a trip down to WA... and I agree with Faster, MUCH greater selection of boats and lots of them are better priced. highly recommend the trip.

I never thought of insurance though... Just doesn't feel right insuring a boat like a car... Kind of takes the soul and mystery out of sailing

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