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  #61  
Old 04-22-2013
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Re: Angry at my surveyor....

I have followed this thread for awhile, and can appreciate and even commiserate with many of the posters. Probably don't need to add my opinion, but I have observed the following from the several pages of posts:
1. Surveys are typically a pain in the rear. I have had a couple of surveys, and been present for each one. learned a lot from all of them, and found them very valuable, but also frustrating. Remember, what is being surveyed is typically a 15, 20, 30, or more old sea-going vessel that has spent most of it's life in a hostile (to the boat material) environment - there are ALWAYS going to be problems.
2. Being present at a survey is essential. The last survey for my current boat, I drove 6 hours one way around Lake Huron to be there and follow the surveyor - invaluable.
3. Boating is not like medical malpractice (for Med sailor). I would challenge anyone to find a boat in perfect condition with no problems. That's different than saying a boat is not seaworthy (which, by the way, is on opinion, not a factual finding). In medicine (yes, I'm a physician too) we try to get everything right and always need to cover our asses, but with sailing, we try to do the best we can to keep the boat in as good a shape as possible and sail as safely as possible.
4. All the surveyors I have worked with have been professional, but it is there job to identify as many flaws or imperfections as possible, and then to document them.
5. Sailing for most of us is recreation or past-time (though sometimes full time as well). It makes sense to enjoy it, worry about the big stuff, and fix as much of the small stuff as we can. Anyone out their have a boat project task list without anything left unchecked? I don't.
So get out and sail, have fun, and let the insurance company try an prove that whatever problem you had must have come from some minor fault found on a survey of an old boat.
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  #62  
Old 04-22-2013
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Re: Angry at my surveyor....

I like that amendment, before cruising offshore. That's good and specific.
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  #63  
Old 04-22-2013
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Re: Angry at my surveyor....

I just had a survey done and was very pleased with the results. If there are problems, I want to know it. Safety always comes first; fix accordingly. However, I am curious about the application of ABYC standards in general. If you have a boat that was not required to be built to those standards, is there a rule that says it must be upgraded to meet them? Sort of like driving an old car that was built before air bags were required.
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  #64  
Old 04-22-2013
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Re: Angry at my surveyor....

Hate to say it, but how do you define offshore? For most sailors, we think of it being more than a day from shore. However, a layperson would define that as any distance "from the shore". How an insurance company defines it may yet be another.
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  #65  
Old 04-22-2013
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Re: Angry at my surveyor....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
Hate to say it, but how do you define offshore? For most sailors, we think of it being more than a day from shore. However, a layperson would define that as any distance "from the shore". How an insurance company defines it may yet be another.
Logically, it will be defined as the Coast Guard deliniates inland vs. coastal waters.
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  #66  
Old 04-22-2013
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Re: Angry at my surveyor....

Quote:
Originally Posted by pdqaltair View Post
Logically, it will be defined as the Coast Guard deliniates inland vs. coastal waters.
Perhaps, but logic is not what the interpretation of insurance contracts is based upon.

Still, it would be pretty restrictive if contained only to inland waterways. At least around here.
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  #67  
Old 04-22-2013
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Re: Angry at my surveyor....

Quote:
Originally Posted by radcat View Post
...However, I am curious about the application of ABYC standards in general. If you have a boat that was not required to be built to those standards, is there a rule that says it must be upgraded to meet them? Sort of like driving an old car that was built before air bags were required.

I'd have to say that boats SHOULD be up to the new standard where ABCY is concerned. ABCY, IMHO is a very good set of standards that are largely safety oriented.

When my 1925-built house was inspected they found some knob and tube wiring. Standard at the time? Yup. Fire hazard? You bet! Less houses burn down these days and that's largely due to the application of good standards and building codes.

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  #68  
Old 04-22-2013
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Re: Angry at my surveyor....

Yeah, that's true about how would the insurance companies define offshore, but it's still an improvement on the word cruising. I could see cruising being defined as a half not out in the bay, where I would define cruising as anything overnight away from your home port.

Hopefully offshore can be easily defined from his home port of Anacortes as anything outside the Strait of Juan de Fuca, i.e. the Pacific Ocean. Inshore is Puget Sound, the Strait of Georgia up to Port Hardy.

I honestly don't know how any older boats could ever pass. Look around at your local marina. Anything over 10-20 years old, which is alot of them, they don't look like they would pass to me. Especially when you read the list of things the surveyor put, what boat doesn't have a list like that, and I'll bet you, and many people that take the time to post here, well, that tells me you care, you want to learn, I want to learn, so I'll bet you've got a really nice boat in great shape.
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  #69  
Old 04-22-2013
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Re: Angry at my surveyor....

Fix the 8 easy items. Send a certified letter to the insurance company (and surveyor too I suppose) stating that you repaired them. Also state in the letter that you intend to make the other two repairs in the near future. If the boat sinks and it can be determined that it isn't caused by those two issues, they will pay. If if not, they may not pay.
Everybody happy happy happy.
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  #70  
Old 04-22-2013
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Re: Angry at my surveyor....

For myself and I think most surveyors use a good bit of common sense. For a 30 year old boat if it does not meet every standard in the latest Book that is ok but I am going to want it to come close on some things like AC wiring and fuel systems. These are things that kill. I am not going to write it because it does not have a high water alarm which is now required. I might suggest that but not in the recommendations.

Most surveyors will not use the word "seaworthy" as that is a law suit waiting to happen, using the word "cruising" is a bit tricky as well. It has gotten to the point where I can't use the expression "sea trial" anymore, it now has to be "water trial" unless I take the boat to sea meaning 3 miles offshore. Why? because like Mcd's and the coffee someone got sued. This is why some of you may have vague wording in your reports. Blame the lawyers.

I used to survey boats for a major manufacture, would do every boat they built starting in lamination and finishing with the sea trail before delivery. I would have at least 2 pages of write ups on those boats. On a 30 year old I will not nit pick it anywhere near that extent.

This is why an insurance company cannot send out a agent with a 3 week training course under his belt to look at your boat. There is a lot of judgment used on the part of a surveyor, a balance between safety and not making the boat look like a wreck better left for the scrap heap. Most surveyors look to protect their clients from major problems and general safety issues. I read the forums and it sometimes surprises how little some owners know about things like AC power and why it has to be grounded. I am not putting them down you cannot expect everyone to know everything about their boats that is why they hire us to point these things out.

So most surveyors are not out to make life hard but rather help the owner better understand their boat. The sad truth is we often have to be careful because we know there is someone out there just waiting to sue us because we worded something wrong.It is a balancing act for sure some are better at it then others.

This has been an interesting discussion and I have enjoyed seeing just how some owners see us surveyors. hopefully some of my input will help some understand it from the other side.
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