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Old 12-09-2009
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Looking at a boat - need some advice!!

In the next couple of days I will look at a boat for sale that is currently out of the water for the winter. Since its out of the water, it is definately a good time to look at the condition of the hull and confirm there are no blisters; however I am now unable to see/hear the inboard diesel yammar engine run since it is now winterized.

What would you recommend I do in regards to determining what shape the engine is in? What other concerns are there to consider when buying a boat that is "on the hard".

Also, this boat has been used on a slow moving river. Are there any concerns with buying a river boat? The river is not a fast moving river; however I am concerned that the engine would have been worked hard if the current was at times strong.

Also, how much is a survey? At what point does it stop making sense to have a survey performed?

Thanks for your assistance!

Last edited by manhattan08; 12-09-2009 at 05:38 PM.
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Old 12-09-2009
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What type of boat? year? etc... What part of the world is the boat in? Might help in getting a better response. Dan
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Old 12-09-2009
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More info would be helpful... what size/make/type of boat?

Determining engine condition without a sea trial is difficult, but a mechanical survey can still be at least partially done - if it's FWC it may be possible to briefly start the engine to confirm that it runs.

Being a "river" boat will have no direct bearing on wear on the engine.. a diesel should work hard anyway and the only effect on the engine will be that the ground speed may have been down so the engine ran and extra hour or two.. no big deal. The fact that it's been in fresh water is a plus.

Surveys generally run between 10 to 15$/foot of length - so a 30 footer will run you between $300 - 500. Worst case is you "waste" a few hundred dollars if you survey and don't buy, compared to buying without enough information and "wasting" a few thousand.

Even on a inexpensive boat this is a worthwhile exercise - and in many cases the surveyor will find enough issues to negotiate a new price that will pay for the survey in the end. -
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Old 12-09-2009
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If you can have part of the purchase price held, pending the commissioning of the engine in the spring with any necessary repairs pulled out of it, then. Of course, this might discourage the seller or just be pointless if the boat price is at or below the potential cost of repairs. Folks could probably give you much better advice if you gave some details about the boat you're looking at.

I paid $25/ft + travel mileage for my surveyor and it was totally worth it. Heck, I'd even get a survey on a boat someone gave me for free .

If the engine is nice and clean and the bilges below it are too...that's a good sign, but you can't be sure.
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Old 12-09-2009
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Also if you intend to insure the boat then the carrier is going to want a survey in any case.

Colin bought a beautiful wooden boat - I suspect his surveyor came at a premium that (hopefully) was worth it!
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Definitely, a high-end surveyor. He's over-seeing all the projects at Rockport Marine these days, and he was totally worth it. Alas, he could only find the most minor things wrong with the boat (e.g., expired flares, stuck floorboards, a rusty anchor chain, etc.); she was too well maintained to have anything remotely major needing work.
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Old 12-09-2009
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I guess that depends on the winterization process.

If fluids were not changed, then a chemical analysis of the oil could be informative. A change makes more sense before restarting in the spring. You should be able to do a compression test or leak-down test although those are not regularly promoted for some reason.

Could you put some money (maybe $5K) in an escrow account with the release contingent on acceptable performance in the spring? You would have to pay a premium, but it would be a safeguard.
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I really appreciate all of the responses. This website is an incredible help.

I am going to meet with the seller this weekend and if the boat looks ok, pursue a surveyor since I believe the insurance company will require it.

I will let you know how it goes and will provide pictures if it is a sale.


Thanks!
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