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  #1  
Old 02-16-2013
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Question What to expect from a survey

This will be our first boat purchase. What can we expect a boat survey to cover?
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Old 02-16-2013
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Re: What to expect from a survey

Generally a good surveyor will inspect structural details, look for evidence of leaks (both hull related and deck/portlight related), evidence of good care and maintenance, visual/cursory inspection of deck level rigging, inventory of required equipment, esp safety compliance issues (fire extinguishers up to date and present, etc.). They will recommend priority items to be addressed/repaired and often 'nice to do' but not urgent items too. You'll get a written report, nowadays with photos. This report will be used by you to evaluate the deal and possibly renegotiate based on flaws/issues found, it will also be needed by any financing institution and insurance provider.

It's very important to be present and you'll glean a lot of info as the survey progresses. Try to book a seatrial on the same day and take the surveyor along.. If the surveyor doesn't want you there, look for another one. Few surveyors will actually, properly inspect rigging or machinery like engines and generators. Many buyers commission such inspections by separate experts.

Expect to pay between $10-20 per foot OAL.. with probably 10-12 the average. Tough to say if you'll get a 'better' survey from a more expensive one.. try to get some recommendations from locals (not the seller's broker)

Good luck!
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Old 02-16-2013
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Re: What to expect from a survey

They generally do not inspect rigging above deck level OR the engine other than a visual external inspection. Both are expensive items.

My [ expensive ] surveyor missed a major oil leak on my boat. Mind you I KNEW it would be leaking there. It is a Perkins after all. The strategically placed babies nappy was a clue. Nor did he inspect the spinnaker, being content to leave it undisturbed in it's bag.
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Old 02-16-2013
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Re: What to expect from a survey

Basically, there's two kinds of surveys, an insurance survey and a more detailed, pre-purchase survey. I'm guessing an insurance survey will be in the $12-16 per foot range and because a pre-purchase survey is more intensive and time consuming, it will be in the $15-24 per foot range. Usually, location and experience are the driving factors in price. The more experienced surveys with good reputations will command top dollar especially, if they are in the high rent areas of boating.

Totally agree you should be there for every step of the survey and the surveyor should be part of the sea trial.
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Old 02-16-2013
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Re: What to expect from a survey

Education is your best defence. Take a look at Marine Survey 101, it will show you how to inspect the boat yourself before spending money on a surveyor.

Most marine surveyors do things their own way so go on line and look at a few sample survey reports and never hire a surveyor without seeing samples of his work. Take a look at my samples for an idea of what to expect.

I also have some suggestions on the Ten Questions to Ask Your Surveyor

PS this is not a solicitation of business, I am not in your area and I'm booked for the forseeable future anyway
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Old 02-16-2013
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Re: What to expect from a survey

In my experience, surveyors do not spend a lot of time checking out the engine. Mostly, they make sure it runs and that there are no obvious problems (smoke, vibration,etc.). You may want to consider a separate engine survey if you have any questions or concerns about the engine.
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Old 02-16-2013
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Re: What to expect from a survey

Peter Hunt, a Marine Surveyor (not in your area) with an excellent reputation, has a web page that specifically addresses your question. Look here
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Old 02-16-2013
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Re: What to expect from a survey

You got some good advice so far. I'd like to add (somewhat tongue in cheek); Ask not what you will get from your survey, but, what you will add to your survey.

1. Show up early.
2. Have a flashlight, digital camera, paper, pencil, etc.
3. Expect to get hot, sweaty, down and dirty.
4. Prepare to fill water tanks, run power cords, hold a flashlight, help bend sails, flip a switch, whatever.
5. Ask questions. Lots of questions.

If you are really motivated, use information available to conduct your own survey first and have any questions you have come up with ready for the expert. Boat Inspection Trip Tips

In addition;
Find a surveyor who will let you buy them out early for less $$ if they find a major issue.
If the broker takes issue with the survey results, laugh in his face.
Be prepared to walk away.
Don't ever fall in love with something that can't love you back.
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Last edited by RobGallagher; 02-16-2013 at 10:58 PM.
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Re: What to expect from a survey

All the information above is great and to add....I would pick a surveyor who will go up the rig. In the Annaplis area all of the good ones do. Most I have been with will do an engine test at low RPM and the factory settings for max rpm to see if the test the engine and cursorarily look for oil , leaks as mentioned above. If the engine is old ( hours wise) or has sat you may want to send oil away or have an engine analysis done. What kind of boat and what os the purchase price.

Our surveyors have given us an extensive list of defects and placed them in categories. One which needs to be done to bring it up to code, on which we should attemnd to asap, and one which can be for projects down the road,
'
Do as much presyrvey as you can so you can direct him to look at suspect areas and ask questions. The surveyor works for you...let him educate you.

Dave
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Old 02-17-2013
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Re: What to expect from a survey

Quote:
Originally Posted by RobGallagher View Post
You got some good advice so far. I'd like to add (somewhat tongue in cheek); Ask not what you will get from your survey, but, what you will add to your survey.

1. Show up early.
2. Have a flashlight, digital camera, paper, pencil, etc.
3. Expect to get hot, sweaty, down and dirty.
4. Prepare to fill water tanks, run power cords, hold a flashlight, help bend sails, flip a switch, whatever.
5. Ask questions. Lots of questions.

If you are really motivated, use information available to conduct your own survey first and have any questions you have come up with ready for the expert. Boat Inspection Trip Tips

In addition;
Find a surveyor who will let you buy them out early for less $$ if they find a major issue.
If the broker takes issue with the survey results, laugh in his face.
Be prepared to walk away.
Don't ever fall in love with something that can't love you back.
The option of stopping the survey early is a great point to ask when you speak with the surveyor.

I was able to do this, and my surveyor was happy to stop the after 4 hours, and charged me $100/hr for his time. I received no report on the vessel, other than confirmation of the obvious issue.

Continuing the story, however; the owner fixed the major (keel) issue which halted the survey, and I asked the surveyor if we could resume the survey from where he left off. The surveyor said that he would, that he would charge me $100/hr again (which I would have done) PLUS $200 to cover his travel expenses to make a 5 mile trip.

This is when I learned that not all pirates have eye patches. I found another surveyor.

Ask your surveyor how s/he would handle halting a survey if a major issue is found. Also ask if, after an issue is addressed, s/he would continue a survey, and what the charges would be.
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