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  #1  
Old 12-26-2010
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Surveyor vs. Surveyor Associate

Thinking about buying a Ranger 23' that just got posted on Craigslist. The problem is, it's in Lake Mead and the closest Surveyor I can find (using both namsurveyors.com and marinesurvey.com) is an Associate based in Las Vegas. For insurance/own peace of mind purposes, is an Associate suitable? Is it even worth paying for a survey as the boat's $1500 (I haven't been in touch with the SA yet to get a quote). I just sent the seller an email asking a few questions, so I haven't seen it yet, should I take a look before even talking to the SA? Cheers.

Rich
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Old 12-26-2010
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A Ranger 23' could be a nice little pocket cruiser for you. We regularly race with one in our Tartan 27' (both have PHRF of 240) and the Ranger 23' impresses me (by beating us fairly regularly).
An Associate Surveyor is just someone who is a more recent member of SAMS or NAMS that does not have the time on the job or educational credits for full membership.
The bottom line here is that YOU should go look at the boat yourself before calling a marine surveyor of any stripe. If, after looking at it you still want to buy it then it is time to think about getting a survey done.
$1500 sounds like a fair price but perhaps a little cheap. Does it have a working outboard? Cradle or trailer?
Perhaps the SA will give you a break on the price of the survey. You never know until you ask nicely. I think the last survey we had done on our T 27' cost around $400 - 450 and since the price is (or should be be the foot) your boat should cost less to survey.
You should use a surveyor to inspect the things you do not know how to inspect yourself. You don't say what year this Ranger 23' is from but given the relative age of that model I would be concerned about the chain plates, mast step and rudder fittings.
It is a nice boat if it was well cared for.
Good luck.
Cheers.
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Old 12-26-2010
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Ranger 23

Caleb sad t well. A $1,500. boat may not be worth spending the money for a total suvey. Go to the boat review section here and look at the opinions
of other owners.
lots of helpful info.
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Old 12-26-2010
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I hired TWO surveyors, not associate surveyors, to look at the boat that I eventually bought (for a lot more than $1500). Their prices (in the northeast US) were over $20/foot to complete a survey. I was not impressed with EITHER of them, and they both missed things that should have appeared prominently in their report.

However, having said that, I definitely would get a survey from a professional. It will buy you peace of mind from someone that is not emotionally involved in your purchase of the boat. If you are taking a loan, or buying insurance, it will probably be necessary anyway.

I would not hesitate to hire an associate surveyor over a fully accredited surveyor if I was confident in their ability, and comfortable working with them. Make sure that your surveyor (especially an associate) will be acceptable to your insurance company before you hire them.

In the hope that you can learn from the education that I paid for; here are a bunch of qualifying questions that you can use to vet your surveyors before hiring any of them:
  1. Can you please send me an example survey?
  2. If the survey is halted by me, because of a serious defect, will you charge extra should I wish to continue/complete the survey after the defect is addressed?
  3. Do you charge for travel time?
  4. Will you inspect the standing rigging?
  5. In the event that the survey is halted, how would you expect to be compensated? (hourly / flat fee / other?)
  6. How far in advance of the survey should I request that it be preformed? (ie. What is your lead time?)
I would expect that the answer from a reputable surveyor to question 1 to be an emphatic YES, and to questions 2-4 would be NO. Questions 5 & 6 are just to help you understand.
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Old 12-27-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eherlihy View Post
I hired TWO surveyors, not associate surveyors, to look at the boat that I eventually bought (for a lot more than $1500). Their prices (in the northeast US) were over $20/foot to complete a survey. I was not impressed with EITHER of them, and they both missed things that should have appeared prominently in their report.

...
In the hope that you can learn from the education that I paid for; here are a bunch of qualifying questions that you can use to vet your surveyors before hiring any of them:
  1. Can you please send me an example survey?
  2. If the survey is halted by me, because of a serious defect, will you charge extra should I wish to continue/complete the survey after the defect is addressed?
  3. Do you charge for travel time?
  4. Will you inspect the standing rigging?
  5. In the event that the survey is halted, how would you expect to be compensated? (hourly / flat fee / other?)
  6. How far in advance of the survey should I request that it be preformed? (ie. What is your lead time?)
I would expect that the answer from a reputable surveyor to question 1 to be an emphatic YES, and to questions 2-4 would be NO. Questions 5 & 6 are just to help you understand.
I have to disagree about your expectations for NO for questions 2-4

Excellent surveyors are always busy, they set upfront billing practices that reflect how valuable their customers find their time to be. So you can expect to pay only by the full day, and to include travel time, and to pay the full day, regardless of whether the survey stops after two hours, plus another day if you want them back. If you don't want to pay them for a full day plus travel, no problem as wiser buyers will keep them busy...

So you can find the run-of-the-mill survey who will charge by the hour, no charge for travel, charge only for time used, etc. A classic example of penny-wise and pound-foolish. So you save $500 on the survey, which becomes chump change if even one problem is overlooked.

But I guess I am preaching to the choir here, as it sounds like I am only calling on your own surveyor experiences...
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Last edited by sailingfool; 12-27-2010 at 11:43 AM.
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Old 12-27-2010
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I guess that I agree with you SF.

Prior to hiring either surveyor, I contacted Tony Knowles (IIRC you had recommended Tony to me). Tony called me back, but indicated that he was busy indefinitely. In an effort to be helpful, Tony pointed me to Surveyor #1.

I was disappointed with Surveyor #1, because;
  • When asked how much a survey would cost, he replied between 700-800 dollars. After I agreed to hire him, he told me that the charge would be $800.
  • He also wanted Ĺ up front, cash or credit card only, with an additional $10 surcharge to take a credit card.
  • The broker raised his concern that he had tried several times to reach the surveyor without success. The broker and the surveyor had offices on the same street of the same town.
  • On the day of the survey, this surveyor showed up 30 minutes late (Google tells me that this was 14 miles from his office).
  • The broker was shocked at the price/foot ($23.14) that he charged for his survey.
  • After a serious issue was discovered, he suggested that the survey be halted, but agreed to accept $100/hr for his time.
After the issue was addressed, I contacted him again to inquire what the cost of completing the survey would be. He told me he would complete the survey for the remaining $400, plus $200 for travel. It was at this point that I decided enough was enough.

I then contacted Tony again, but Tony indicated that he was still busy indefinitely... I therefore contracted with surveyor #2. I was tempted to contact surveyor #3, who would have charged $16/foot, and impressed me when I had the chance to meet him during the initial survey (he was surveying another boat). The reason that I did not hire #3 is that he was well known by the broker, and I did not want a potential conflict of interest.

Surveyor #2 had full SAMS accreditation, and was acceptable to my insurance company.
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Old 12-27-2010
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Forgot to mention that I never received anything other than a bill from Surveyor #1...
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