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  #1  
Old 10-12-2008
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Survey Cost and what to expect

I'll be buying on the west coast, probably SF bay area. Has anyone had any recent, or somewhat recent experience in buying a boat on the west coast and can give me an idea of what the survey will cost? I'd also like to know what to expect as in will the surveyor accompany me on the sea trial etc.
I'll be looking for a used 32 to 36 foot sailboat, maybe this coming spring. I'd like to keep my expenses down, but do understand the necessity for a survey. So, I will be requiring a survey of anything I buy.
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Old 10-12-2008
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input for you - but from east coast....likely expect anywhere from $10-20/foot for a land and sea trial. surveyors vary - they typically pull together written reports anywhere from 5-25 pages long. there are 2 surveying "associations" that try to maintain professional standards - however it is an unregulated profession.

google marine surveying to get an idea of the process - and talk to several on the phone to understand their process/prcedures.

also, recommend that you get don caseys book on surveying boats first - read it and do some first level surveying yourself - limit the population to 1 or 2 boats before hiring a surveyor.

good luck - now is a great time to buy a boat - good deals can be had.

Rick
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Old 10-12-2008
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Popeye...somewhere around $15 a foot is average but highly qualified/ in demand guys can be more. Sea trial accompaniment is usually extra. I would suggest instead, hire a marine diesel mechanic for sea trial as they can put the engine through its' paces and other than testing stuff that you can't on land (depth sounder, radar, head, etc.) the engine is the big deal on sea trial and a mechanic is generally more qualified to evaluate one.
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Thanks for both replies. I didn't know about the surveyin book. I have Don Casey's "Sailboat Hull and Deck Repair." It was easy to follow and informatinve. It's earned a place in the "future" onboard library.

I hadn't thought about a mechanic, but it sure makes sense.

The "home inspector" I hired 4 years ago for the house I'm in now missed several things, but I was new to the area and the realtor recommended him. I'll probably be doing a lot of research before I choose, or try to get on a surveyor's schedule.

Thanks again for your replies.
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link below is for Don's survey book. a good quick read.

also, Cam's recommendation on a mechanic is good advice - most surveyors are not equipped to properly inspect an engine. However, I would still hire a surveyor - you may need one for insurance purposes too.

ALSO - once you have narrowed your choice to a SPECIFIC MODEL - search the web for a class association or "enthusiast" web site - they often contain pointers on what to look for regarding the purchase of that specific model - often areas that are prone to problems. another chance to do your own filtering until you narrow down your choices.

Amazon.com: Inspecting the Aging Sailboat: Don Casey: Books
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Last edited by rperret; 10-12-2008 at 10:32 PM.
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Old 10-13-2008
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IMHO, the surveyor will probably turn up nothing that you didn't already know about through your own simple inspection. The survey is required for insurance and loans, however.

I would suggest finding an experienced boat owner to help you go over a prospective purchase prior to actually having a survey done. There are many "problems" that come up over and over again in used boats. Someone who has owned a few boats should know what the problem areas are through personal experience.

Good luck with your choice!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sander06 View Post
IMHO, the surveyor will probably turn up nothing that you didn't already know about through your own simple inspection.
I am going to disagree here. I consider myself fairly knowledgeable about boats and systems but in each case where I have hired a surveyor, they have turned up stuff I had not found and in EACH case...the savings I got from knowing what was wrong exceeded the cost of the survey. I don't look on surveys as an additional COST of buying a boat...I look on them as a way to SAVE $$ buy not buying problems that should rightfully be the problem of the seller.
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Survey advice

Popeye

It sounds like you have not been through the boat buying process before and know little about the survey process. I am a SAMS Accredited surveyor and think you could benefit from checking out my website. I have sample surveys that show you what you should expect to be covered in the report and quite a few articles on boat buying. I also have a couple of photo albums of some of the typical horrors I find on a daily basis. I can't post a link but if you put "port credit marine surveys" in to one word and add ".com" you should find it .

Good luck
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Quote:
Originally Posted by camaraderie View Post
I am going to disagree here. I consider myself fairly knowledgeable about boats and systems but in each case where I have hired a surveyor, they have turned up stuff I had not found and in EACH case...the savings I got from knowing what was wrong exceeded the cost of the survey. I don't look on surveys as an additional COST of buying a boat...I look on them as a way to SAVE $$ buy not buying problems that should rightfully be the problem of the seller.
I'm with camaraderie on this one.
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Thanks for all the info. A second set of eyes is always useful. I'm hoping not to have to finance, so I won't be doing a survey for a loan, but I figured an insurance company would probably want to see a survey. I would if I were in their shoes.
I will also follow the link info and do some reading.
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