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  #11  
Old 12-12-2012
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Re: Is a marine survey really worth it for an inexpensive boat?

I am in the same boat (pun intended) here. The one advantage is that mine was already on the hard so hull inspection was easy. To pay $500 or more to survey a $3-4K boat just seems too much to swallow unless insurance requires it.

Just my opinion but common sense and some reading should get you through.
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Old 12-12-2012
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Re: Is a marine survey really worth it for an inexpensive boat?

I wouldn't do a survey due to the cost.
However, be aware that because surveys are so often used for boat the seller and sellers broker don't mind lying through their teeth about the boat as they assume your surveyor will sort it out.
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Old 12-12-2012
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Re: Is a marine survey really worth it for an inexpensive boat?

I did not get a survey on my first boat (cheap boat) - I read the one from three years previous. If available that's a good option.
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Re: Is a marine survey really worth it for an inexpensive boat?

It a risk an reward answer, if you can justify the risk of not having a survey then save the money and purchase Don Casey's book. My first 27" Keel boat was only 3500.00 it was sound with a strong outboard and good sails. I did all the rigging checks myself and took the risk of no survey. Did I find issues after I owned the boat..you bet, but I could live with them or fix them myself.
My new boat was to much of an investment and I wouldn't have thought of not getting a survey, well worth every dollar. Thanks Rob Eberle out of New Bern NC.
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Old 12-12-2012
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Re: Is a marine survey really worth it for an inexpensive boat?

It's worth talking to a surveyor or two and finding out what they are willing to do for you. Most are really good guys, some semi-retired and not making that much money anyway. The real work is writing up the report so if all you want is a verbal opinion they may cut you some slack. Can't hurt to ask.
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Re: Is a marine survey really worth it for an inexpensive boat?

Ask your insurance company if they require one. Could answer the question for you!
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Old 12-12-2012
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Re: Is a marine survey really worth it for an inexpensive boat?

I'm also in Seattle and bought my first boat without a survey. It was a Catalina 25 tall mast/fin keel that I kept on Lake Union. I currently have a larger boat that I keep at Shilshole Bay.

I read all of the DIY survey instructions that I could find and think I did a pretty good job of finding all of the major issues on the boat. I was able to get the price lowered by $1500 (more than 25% of asking) as a result. I didn't have the boat hauled, and if I were doing it again (especially at this time of year) I would have it hauled. It would be good to see what the hull really looks like.

A surveyor really has two jobs, one is to be completely objective (if not defaulting towards telling you not to buy the boat) and to have more experience in knowing what to look for. I think you can learn the latter for a simple boat like the ones that you are talking about, but only you can decide how objective you can be.

I wouldn't think too much in terms of "how bad can it go" and what parts can you sell off of the boat. An outboard that is $1700 new will sell for under $1000 on Craigslist here, even if it is only a few months old. Disposal of the boat is going to be very expensive and probably cost more than your purchase price. You really do need to survey the boat, you just need to decide if you can self-survey or pay someone for it.

My second boat did get a survey. It was useful and paid for itself in negotiation value. It was also required by my insurance (they require a survey for boats insured for over $20k I think). I'm not sure that I learned much from the survey that I hadn't already figured out myself, but the negotiation power was stronger.

If you do buy a boat and keep it on Lake Union you really need to come out for Goose Bumps (Jan/Feb) and Duck Dodge (May through August). They are very fun casual weekly races and even if you aren't competitive you'll learn a lot about boat handling. Go out a few times with someone who has raced before so that you learn the rules and get comfortable on the course, then do it on your own.

I know of a cheap slip on Lake Union that is available (it is right in front of my old boat), PM me if you want details.

Even if you aren't required to have insurance you should get it. Insurance on this cost of boat is very inexpensive (a couple hundred a year) and liability insurance is going to save you a lot of money if you get into even a minor accident while docking or sailing. If you are sailing on busy Lake Union or going through the locks you'll really want the peace of mind that it offers.

Last edited by Alex W; 12-12-2012 at 12:35 PM.
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Re: Is a marine survey really worth it for an inexpensive boat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by davidpm View Post
It's worth talking to a surveyor or two and finding out what they are willing to do for you. Most are really good guys, some semi-retired and not making that much money anyway. The real work is writing up the report so if all you want is a verbal opinion they may cut you some slack. Can't hurt to ask.
I agree, it costs nothing to ask. I am not semi-retired and do need to make a living however, I have spent time looking over boats in this situation for little or no charge depending on A. If I liked them as people B. if I was in the neighborhood.

I have also on occasion completed survey reports free of charge for young people who impressed me with their passion for the endeavour and whom I knew were squeezing every penny to get on the water.

It might be a little much for a boat of this type but take a look at Marine Survey 101 that will give you an idea of what to look for.
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Re: Is a marine survey really worth it for an inexpensive boat?

Thanks everyone. Very very helpful. Alex W I will PM you once my sailnet account is 7 days old and they allow me to.
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Re: Is a marine survey really worth it for an inexpensive boat?

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Originally Posted by matthewwhill View Post
Thanks everyone. Very very helpful. Alex W I will PM you once my sailnet account is 7 days old and they allow me to.
Matthew.. I think you'll need 15 posts before you can PM..
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