Apparently there are many satisfied customers. Wallace/Boat Poker always chimes in against DIY's owning or using one, so nothing new in this thread.
In a perfect world, we as boat owners would not need them and all brokers would be honest. In this world all surveyors would have a fee schedule just to do specific items such as decks, in a pre-survey " boat shopping" mini-survey. Sadly most surveys will not do this and many even wait to do the decks until the end so you can't walk away from the survey if you're on-site and see that the decks are mush.
I wrote that article because I had seen soooooooo many boaters get screwed by wet decks, and a $600.00 survey they walked away from, only to lay out another $600.00, two possibly three more times before finding a boat.
They are also not a bad tool to have to monitor your own decks. You can map them and then have your own baseline. This baseline map can be compared to future readings to check for any additional water ingress.
In terms of boat bucks $170.00 is a mere pittance in the whole scheme of things in terms of expenditures. It is always amusing to watch some folks squirm at the mere mention of a DIY with a moisture meter, coincidentally, and not surprisingly, it is usually a surveyor.
Yes, a $9.00 brass hammer is cheaper but please don't show up at my boat with one, unless you are a surveyor, or you'll be asked to leave. You as a DIY though are more than welcome to go over my decks, as a buyer, with a meter.
I have yet to meet many boat owners or brokers who will allow a potential buyer to begin sounding on a deck with a hammer, brass, plastic or not.
Here's what someone who read my article on the CT-33 actually thought.
This came in off my web site via email.
Dear Compass Marine,
I wanted to thank you for your dissertation on a moisture meter for boat buying. I bought one and used it as you described to exclude boats with severely wet decks. My wife and I fell in love with a beautiful C&C. It displayed like new, inside and outside, and the decks seemed solid when we walked on them. The day before we went to look at it my meter came from Canada by post. I quickly went to the marina and began checking boats of friends to get a feel of it as fast as I could.
The next day we went to the C&C with your article. The decks had many areas that locked the needle at max wet. The decks were dry externally, no dew, and I confirmed no metal in the areas of high wetness. Approximately 35-40% of the decks were totally wet according to my new meter. I was unsure of my results being new with this meter so still talked with the broker to get more input.
It was not until after I let him know what I found with my meter that he admitted there had been a recent survey. The result of the survey was that the boat had considerably wet decks.
My wife and I walked away. Three months later I ran into a guy at the marina who had been looking at boats and he actually surveyed the C&C, the same broker never told him of the wet decks or the survey. It cost him over $650.00 to find out it was a junker. My meter cost me about 1/3 of that survey price so I consider it free, like you said. I would have wasted $600.00 on a survey for nothing because the boat showed so well. Brokers are not always honest but that is anther subject.
Thank you for my free moisture meter.