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Old 04-17-2013
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Angry at my surveyor....

I just got my survey, and I'm not happy with my surveyor. It was an insurance survey, and thus the information contained therein may be used against me by insurance lawyers in the event of a claim.

My boat is not in an unsafe or unseaworthy condition, and it even says so much at the beginning of the survey. What I am mad about, is that he has outlined 10 findings that he says need to be corrected to be in compliance with ABYC standards and I don't believe there really is a standard for 2 of them.

What I'm REALLY mad about is that he seems to have totaled up a bunch of small stuff and made the broad, general, nonspecific (and damning statement) that "The vessel is well found but needs work before any cruising is commenced."

Great. Well found, yes, but needs "work" before "any cruising" is commenced??? I'm afraid the insurance company won't read "well found" but will only read the part about "work before any cruising".

There is a very lively thread started by Brian about what cruising means. It doesn't seem like a well defined term. What about "any". Can I not take this boat back to my slip, or anchor overnight 1km from home? What most peeves me is the word "work". Surveyors, I believe are supposed to use precise language. While a couple sentences ago he says that findings 1-10 need to be done to meet abyc standards (that's precise language) "work" needing to be done is completely nebulous.

Now I know what some of you are thinking. "MedSailor's boat is a death-trap and he's blind to the real state of the hulk. He's lucky to be alive and it might sink in dry-dock tomorrow." I'll let y'all decide if that's true. Here are the 10 findings that he says are out of ABYC standard compliance, with comments in brackets by me:

1: Soft wood at the tab in a forward bulkhead. (Is a soft bulkead really an ABYC standard??? Couldn't find it if it is. They also don't provide much strength to my boat.)
2: Household wire nuts found in 3 locations. (2 are decommissioned wires and one was unknown to me)
3: Start of soft wood at the aft end of the bowsprit (been keeping an eye on this. Again, is there an ABYC standard for this?)
4: Fuel gauge wiring is bare wire and needs terminal. (gauge broken, is on the to-do list)
5: Shifting cable starting to rust through. (Just found this at haulout definitely need to replace)
6: No carbon monoxide detector aboard. (Yes, I have one but he didn't find it)
7: Engine exhaust hose single clamped (don't know how I, or my previous surveyor missed something so obvious)
8: Inverter positive wire terminal exposed (news to me. I never use it. Will fix)
9: Flares expired. (wrong. Got new ones, he only found the expired stash)
10: Fuel fill hose at deck is single clamped. (didn't know it needed double)

So tell me if I'm wrong. Is there really an ABYC standard for a soft bulkhead inside the boat or "start of soft wood" on a bowsprit? I'm not arguing that they need to be on my fix-it list, but is there really an ABYC standard that I'm not in compliance with?

Also, what do you think about the "work needs to be done before any cruising is commenced." I think that statement is too general and might prompt the insurance company to freak out.

What do you think?

MedSailor
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Last edited by MedSailor; 04-17-2013 at 11:51 PM.
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Old 04-18-2013
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Re: Angry at my surveyor....

I think that "Minor repairs should be completed as soon as possible" would have been more appropriate.
I'm pissed at a surveyor today too. I called him to ask when he was available. He said Fri. or Wed. I called the owner, the buyers, (my in-laws who are out of the area)the boatyard, and my PAYING CUSTOMER that I had lined up for some work for Fri. and rescheduled him, and set it all up. I call the flakey ass back an hour later and he says, sorry, Friday's out. He can only do it next Wed when the boatyard will have their travelift down for maintenance!!!
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Old 04-18-2013
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Re: Angry at my surveyor....

Can the ABYC regs be found or searched online? I was able to find the standards at abyc.com but there were very short summaries for about 40 topics that I could purchase for $50 each. Ummmm...... no.

Dang! I thought paying $250 each for medical textbooks was bad!

MedSailor
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Old 04-18-2013
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Re: Angry at my surveyor....

My surveyor said something similar on my survey, although he was more specific; "The following items should be corrected before sailing". They were similar things to yours. Not soft wood, but some separated tabbing that needed to be re glassed, replace a few hose clamps, etc.

As far as my insurance company was concerned they just told me that they trusted that I would remedy the deficiencies in a timely manner because otherwise my policy would be void. Fair enough. It didn't effect my premiums at all.
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Old 04-18-2013
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Re: Angry at my surveyor....

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Originally Posted by SchockT View Post
My surveyor said something similar on my survey, although he was more specific; "The following items should be corrected before sailing". They were similar things to yours. Not soft wood, but some separated tabbing that needed to be re glassed, replace a few hose clamps, etc.

As far as my insurance company was concerned they just told me that they trusted that I would remedy the deficiencies in a timely manner because otherwise my policy would be void. Fair enough. It didn't effect my premiums at all.
Right! This is not my first survey either and I'm used to precise language such as "the following items should be corrected".

Do you think I can/should ask him to change his wording? How should I go about that?

MedSailor
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Old 04-18-2013
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Re: Angry at my surveyor....

Depending upon how well you know the surveyer, they may be willing to change some things. My last survey two yrs ago he did just that. Altho, a number of items were not what I really had on the boat.......like a bronze shaft, which was really SS!

You should also be able to get him to say you have the correct flairs on board, being as he did not see/find the updated ones........or at least let the agent know you have updated ones.

Not sure about some of the other stuff.........not sure the survey is as damning as it seems to be!

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Old 04-18-2013
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Re: Angry at my surveyor....

Yeah he sounds like a dick.

Shouldn't he talk to you before this write up to see if he missed things like flares and what not? Also, since you are the one paying him, and probably alot, shouldn't he, you know, like write what you want him too, as long as it isn't anything major?

If you have a cracked hull and are about to sink, I know he has a reputation and all, but it doesn't sound lie that. I don't know much about surveyors(besides they are overpriced) but since we the sailors pay them, you would think they would give two surveys, one for you that is accurate, or for a potential buyer, and one for the insurance company. I would think that word would get around which surveyors to go for for good insurance surveys. Is this not the case?
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Re: Angry at my surveyor....

I don't think it is unreasonable to ask him to change his wording to be more accurate. Does he mean that the "soft wood" must be repaired before you use the boat again?

As for the idea of getting "less than accurate" survey for insurance purposes, surveyors have an accreditation that recognizes their qualification to perform the surveys. If word got out that he was selling fraudulent insurance surveys, you can be sure he would lose that accreditation. There IS a big difference between a buyer's survey and an insurance survey, and a good insurance survey should only look at items that could result in damage or loss. That's all the insurance companies care about.
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Old 04-18-2013
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Re: Angry at my surveyor....

My lesson learned from this exchange is that I will continue to be on hand during any future survey. Not only do I get to see parts of the boat that I never or rarely look at and discover niches and crannies that only a surveyor can find, but simple questions or problems such as the flares or unused wiring could have been verbally explained and would never have made it into the survey.
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Old 04-18-2013
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Re: Angry at my surveyor....

A few points:

- It sounds like you weren't present, or weren't supervising the surveyor during the survey. You could have prevented some of these comments from making it into the report, if you had been present.

- It sounds like all items except #1 and #3 can be quickly and easily corrected by you, without hiring outside workers.

- Could you speak to your surveyor and have him re-word the statement about repairs and cruising?

- Take photos with your smartphone or digi-camera, of your repairs, email them to your insurance company, and you should be good to go.

I don't think your boat is a death-trap, but you might want to start saving your pennies for those expensive wood repairs.
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