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post #31 of 41 Old 12-21-2013
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Re: Survey say's.......

I'm a marine engineer with 40 years experience and I kind of have to agree with boatpoker. There are however some very good surveyors out there that I have a lot of respect for. If I were going to hire someone, I would want to know what their background is to qualify them as knowing what to look for, more than the certificate.

I usually only get involved when there is serious damage to a boat that I engineered in the first place. It usually involves a collision with another vessel or else a substantial immovable object. In those cases, I really wouldn't expect a surveyor to do anything more than document the extent of the damage.

However, the other time I often become involved is when the surveyor finds a "hidden defect" often with a moisture meter. The first thing I do is look on the inside of the boat where they got the "suspect reading". Half the time there is a water tank or a bottle of some kind of liquid there. They find "voids" in the laminate where it transitions from core to solid or where there is a stringer, floor, or bulkhead on the opposite side.

I think a surveyor should be able to accurately detect most problems in the hull and deck & rigging, check out the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems. They should be able to tell you if more involved tests are warranted. If the report came up missing obvious problems and incorrect information, why would you pay them?
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post #32 of 41 Old 12-21-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: Survey say's.......

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Originally Posted by Foxy View Post
I'm a marine engineer with 40 years experience and I kind of have to agree with boatpoker. There are however some very good surveyors out there that I have a lot of respect for. If I were going to hire someone, I would want to know what their background is to qualify them as knowing what to look for, more than the certificate.

I usually only get involved when there is serious damage to a boat that I engineered in the first place. It usually involves a collision with another vessel or else a substantial immovable object. In those cases, I really wouldn't expect a surveyor to do anything more than document the extent of the damage.

However, the other time I often become involved is when the surveyor finds a "hidden defect" often with a moisture meter. The first thing I do is look on the inside of the boat where they got the "suspect reading". Half the time there is a water tank or a bottle of some kind of liquid there. They find "voids" in the laminate where it transitions from core to solid or where there is a stringer, floor, or bulkhead on the opposite side.

I think a surveyor should be able to accurately detect most problems in the hull and deck & rigging, check out the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems. They should be able to tell you if more involved tests are warranted. If the report came up missing obvious problems and incorrect information, why would you pay them?
In the end the report achieved what we wanted, insurance.
Would you give a customer a survey report without receiving payment first?

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post #33 of 41 Old 12-21-2013
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Re: Survey say's.......

Dog Ship,

I am not a surveyor, but I never ask for final payment until my services are rendered and the client is satisfied with what he received. In the case of a damaged boat, that would usually be we written report of the repair procedure along with any drawings or testing required. In some cases, the procedure must be plan approved by an agency like GL or DNV. I have never had a client not pay me.

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post #34 of 41 Old 12-21-2013
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Re: Survey say's.......

I never refuse payment in advance of the report but do not require it. I issue the report in a locked draft format by email that may be read but not printed. No bank or insurance company will accept a report in this format
(Like the survey sample reports on my website).

This serves two purposes, one - It proves I have done the work and now deserve payment. two - it gives me a chance to make corrections (yes ! I do occasionally make mistakes) and provide more detail if an issue is not understood.

I have done insurance surveys for people who don't want to pay me when they find they cannot get insurance due to problems I have discovered and reported on..... it's my fault they can't insure an unsafe boat !

On occasion I have found it hard to collect on pre-purchase surveys because I found enough issues that the buyer walks and decides he shouldn't have to pay because he did not buy the boat (twisted logic).

Over the years I have taken about 12 people to small claims court to get paid. Curiously (or not ) all but one was a lawyer. If I find out my client is a lawyer, this is the only time I want cash up front, no cheques thank you.
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post #35 of 41 Old 12-21-2013
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Re: Survey say's.......

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Originally Posted by Foxy View Post
...

However, the other time I often become involved is when the surveyor finds a "hidden defect" often with a moisture meter. The first thing I do is look on the inside of the boat where they got the "suspect reading". Half the time there is a water tank or a bottle of some kind of liquid there. They find "voids" in the laminate where it transitions from core to solid or where there is a stringer, floor, or bulkhead on the opposite side.

I think a surveyor should be able to accurately detect most problems in the hull and deck & rigging, check out the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems. They should be able to tell you if more involved tests are warranted. If the report came up missing obvious problems and incorrect information, why would you pay them?
I have a friend surveyor that developed a sophisticated way of perfecting readings when they are suspect on the moister meter. He is in the process of patenting it. He can get images that are are very clear. We can really see the different hull layers, if there are delamination, water or if the core is not glued anymore.

Recently I had a bad accident (not my responsibility) and I sailed almost a 1000nm myles to have the boat surveyed by him and repaired on a shipyard that he trusts. And I was right, if not for him and the evidence he could prove with that device the insurance instead of paying 12000 euros for the repair (the core under the force of the blow was badly compressed and in some places it is not glued anymore) would only have paid 5000 euros for "cosmetic" work. He charged 600 euros for his work that the insurance is going to pay anyway.

Regards

Paulo


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post #36 of 41 Old 12-21-2013
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Re: Survey say's.......

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Originally Posted by boatpoker View Post
i never refuse payment in advance of the report but do not require it. I issue the report in a locked draft format by email that may be read but not printed. No bank or insurance company will accept a report in this format
(like the survey sample reports on my website).

This serves two purposes, one - it proves i have done the work and now deserve payment. Two - it gives me a chance to make corrections (yes ! I do occasionally make mistakes) and provide more detail if an issue is not understood.

I have done insurance surveys for people who don't want to pay me when they find they cannot get insurance due to problems i have discovered and reported on..... It's my fault they can't insure an unsafe boat !

On occasion i have found it hard to collect on pre-purchase surveys because i found enough issues that the buyer walks and decides he shouldn't have to pay because he did not buy the boat (twisted logic).

over the years i have taken about 12 people to small claims court to get paid. Curiously (or not ) all but one was a lawyer. If i find out my client is a lawyer, this is the only time i want cash up front, no cheques thank you
.

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post #37 of 41 Old 12-21-2013
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Re: Survey say's.......

PCP,
Thermography and radiography are used a lot now to diagnose the extent of problems that used to require digging in with a hole saw or grinder. It works in some situations but not all.
Boatpoker,
I understand the issues you face are different. My clients own the boat and face an expensive repair that requires an engineering evaluation and repair procedure. Or else my client is a builder who wants to make sure that the surveyor found a legitimate issue. If so they want it fixed right and also want to know if it's something that may recur on other boats.

Hard to believe that people don't want to pay you for finding a problem that would have cost them many thousands of dollars. But in the boat business you soon learn to size up potential clients and just be too busy to work for the ones that you have to count your fingers after shaking hands with.
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post #38 of 41 Old 12-21-2013
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Re: Survey say's.......

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PCP,
Thermography and radiography are used a lot now to diagnose the extent of problems that used to require digging in with a hole saw or grinder. It works in some situations but not all.
...
I said it was being patented so obviously is not anything being used on surveys. Not thermography neither radiography. I now basically how it works but I cannot say anything about it till the patent is completed

Regards

Paulo


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post #39 of 41 Old 12-31-2013
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Re: Survey say's.......

We had a very similar experience with our survey. There were things mentioned on the survey that our boat wasn't even equipped with and it seemed the whole survey was originally used on a different boat that he went in and changed as many things as he could to seem like it was of our boat.

For a moment, I thought you must have been speaking of the surveyor we used until I realized that yours wasn't from Fort Lauderdale. We paid $20 per foot that should have included a sea trial. I asked him if we were going to get a price break since there was no sea trial granted, and he said since the boat was in such bad shape, he was going to still charge us the same price because the survey was to be so "extensive".

He assessed the boat in "restorable" condition which should have placed a value of $50,000 to $75,000 but in his assessed value of the boat, he said it was worth $120k. When asked about why he placed it in "restorable" condition but assessed its value at 120k, he said that boat was worth it. Well if its worth 120k, then obviously the condition should have been "fair" seeing as that would have placed it in the correct appraised value.

In the end, the survey wasn't worth the paper it was written on and we should have never hired him to begin with - another one of those "money" lessons that I'm getting tired of learning.
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post #40 of 41 Old 12-31-2013
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Re: Survey say's.......

Boatpoker,

Please do me a favor and report those attorneys to the local bar association. We spend a huge amount of time, effort, and money here enforcing ethics rules on our attorneys, and I hate hearing stories like this. A few complaints like this and I can promise you they won't be attorneys for long.

At least here in Louisiana this is ground for suspension if not disbarment.

Greg Rubin
Attorney
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