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Old 05-29-2002
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capss is on a distinguished road
Can you trust a survey??

All things being equal how much faith can you put in a survey? If the survey comes up with "seems like" or "appears to be " or "with only limited access"
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Old 05-29-2002
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Can you trust a survey??

Whenever I have a boat surveyed, I do careful research of current and previous owners, etc. and compile a list of "typical" items found to be lacking/problems of the particular design/model. That list is handed to the surveyor prior to survey and to be completed by him --- in addition to the normal survey routine - costs more to do this. Surveyors are only human, dont know the foibles of each and every boat.... anything you can do to ''help'' them will benefit both of you.
"Seems like" or "appears to be" are indeed actually quite valid as many times it is only possible to have a visual inspection - not destructive testing to verify the strength or integrity of a part / component, etc. You must remember that there are various types of surveys: 1. an "insurance survey" - will the boat sink or hurt someone during the term of the insurance policy and become a casualty risk for the underwriter. 2. a comprehensive mechanical, structural, etc. survey (including nondestructive testing of critical components to validate integrity, etc.) ..... more time consuming and vastly more costly than a plain vanilla "insurance" survey.
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Old 05-29-2002
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Can you trust a survey??

Write a protocol for the surveyor and give him a clear understanding of what you expect. Tell him or her that you''re not looking for an inventory of equipment but are asking for their expertise to inspect the vessel for moisture, bulkheads properly tabbed to the hull, standing rigging inspection, rudder and steering inspection, chain plate inspection, plumbing and electrical inspection, seacock inspection, water pump inspection and a complete engine inspection. Most of the surveys I''ve seen are glorified equipment lists with a few personal comments at the end, which normally don''t mean beans. If your surveyor is not willing to provide this service drop him like a used condom and find another.
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Old 05-29-2002
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hamiam is on a distinguished road
Can you trust a survey??

Be VERY, VERY careful who you choose as a surveyor. I bought a boat in the spring of 2000 from a dealer in the Chesapeake. Picked a local surveyor with all the correct credentials including NAMS and SAMS. He did the survey and found a few minor things and I completed the deal. To make a long story short, I am still paying for his almost unbelievable incompetence; so far have replaced the water pump, the water heater, the engine, all the lexan, the bilge pump, electrical wiring, steering cable, rudder stuffing box, fiberglass repair to the rudder, and, most importantly and most extensively sturtural fiberglass. Do you own survey first and make sure the guy you hire to do the survey finds all the things you noted and more. You have little legal recourse against these guys as they usually make you sign something that severely limits their liability.
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Old 05-29-2002
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Can you trust a survey??

Just purchased my boat and used a surveyor out of Annapolis, MD.
Since this is my first boat and with limited knowledge on what to expect from a surveyor I got info. off this site from other boaters out there and proceeded from there.
I contacted several surveyors and had them explain to me what their servicers consisted of.
I then picked who I thought was the best from those spoken to and went from there crossing my fingers. I also spoke in depth with my broker who had recommended several. I didn''t opt for any he recommended due to the fact that he was selling the boat and I felt they might be partial to him. When I gave him the name of the person(company) I was thinking of he said they were good.
I got what I paid for and felt quite satisfied in the results.
If your on the east coast and within a reasonable distance from Annapolis, MD and want the surveyors name and contact info. send me an "e" mail
Ray
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Old 05-29-2002
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Can you trust a survey??

Usually you can trust a survey if you know what to expect out of it and you use a little common sense. A surveyor does not have Xray vision and can''t disassemble and examine the internals of things but a surveyor should be able to examine what can be seen and touched and smelled and make reasonable educated guesses at what is might be happening. If you do a seatrial the surveyor can take guesses at the engine condition and if the boat is the water a surveyor can evaluate how well seacocks move but maybe not if they close completely.

To a great extent using a surveyor you can only find out what is reasonable to find out. But that is often way more than you as an individual can find out on your own.

Jeff
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Old 05-29-2002
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Can you trust a survey??

Like Jeff says, a surveyor is useful in pointing out what is reasonable to point out. He can''t know what isn''t apparent, and can''t know everything. I have seen a driveshaft that an owner says he purposely kept oiled to prevent rust. The surveyor thought it might indicate leaks in seals or gaskets. A surveyor we hired told us a boat we were looking had extensive, major moisture absorption problems in the core. We used common sense to question this -- if the boat''s core was so wet, why hadn''t that winter''s extremely cold freezing temperatures caused extensive delamination problems (the surveyor had found none). I got a second opinion from another surveyor. The second surveyor also had a moisture meter. When he placed it against the hull on the inside, where there was no paint, there was no moisture. When he placed it against the outside, which had bottom paint and awlgripped topsides, there was moisture. That was an expensive ($100?) ten minutes, but we''ve been happy with the boat ever since. Ask lots of questions, and try to be there to learn as much as you can when the survey is done. The surveyor always finds something.
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Old 05-30-2002
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Can you trust a survey??

Excellent advice. Perhaps the most important single source of pre-survey information for me was asking questions on the specific sailnet list of owners of the same mfg/model. At the survey I was armed with their experiences too and provided guidance to the surveyor. I also realized that not everything gets written down so I carried a portable tape recorder and did an informal Q&A with the surveyor...I''m still using that tape to remind me of things...most minor.
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Old 05-30-2002
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Can you trust a survey??

Here is an opinion from the other side. I had placed a deposit on a new boat with my present boat as a trade, subject to a survey. The guy showed up and spent the next hour mostly tapping on the hull and deck with a rubber mallet and looking in lockers and other things. "For a 28 year old boat looks like you''ve taken good care of it" says he. Well, when the dealer called up and told me the guy had found "wet spots in the deck and one of the cockpit lockers" I flipped! Ther are no wet spots, I know because I hade rebedded all deck hardware and checked the core in several locations myself just a few years ago. There is no buckling, softspots or mushyness anywhere and I had both locker covers completely redone - i.e. they were NEW ! So, deal cancelled, no new boat and I stay with my oldie but goodie. And this "marine Surveyor" is supposed to be one of the best? B.S. ! I wonder how many other deals these "experts" have screwed up like mine ?
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Old 05-30-2002
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Can you trust a survey??

...or maybe the dealer found a different buyer with enough cash for the new boat you were going to buy, and didn''t want your old one in trade any more. Did he show you the written survey? (The surveyor, hired by the dealer in your case, should find it unethical to give you a copy of it himself.)
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