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  Topic Review (Newest First)
10-13-2003 10:25 PM
Picking a surveyer

I did a two step process to find our surveyor. Asked local owners of great looking boats which boat yards they used & liked. Then asked the owners of the boat yards which surveyors were the toughest.

It worked, and two names that came up tops were also the ones used to survey the big $$ boats. My survey moved $7k off the purchase price. That funded repairs to furling, rig and nav systems that we considered important.
09-15-2003 03:18 PM
Picking a surveyer

My 2 cents worth: the buyer will always pay for the survey -- always. If the broker(s) work out the price of the survey in the cost of the boat, you pay in the price of the boat. Most likely you will hire your surveyor and haul out on your own with the borkers'' or seller''s permission. No matter how you break it down, that suveyor works for you. He will get paid whether the boat sells or not. It is up to you to find the best for the price you are willing to pay. I agree with Mr Walden here that anything above $15K or a boat loan is worth the $500 bux for a survey. At least you get it out of the water and get a good look/feel of the sweet thing''s bottom.
09-09-2003 07:24 AM
Picking a surveyer

In his book, "Inspecting the Aging Sailboat", Don Casey made a point I hadn''t thought of. If the boat price is high (subjective--you decide), then a pro survey makes complete sense since you''re likely to find enough to quibble with to reduce the price by the cost of the survey + haul. Ie, knocking 1,000 off a 80,000 pricetag is reasonable. But on a 5,000 boat, you''re probably at rock-bottom already. More likely, what you should do is have her hauled and check her yourself. If you don''t like what you see, walk away. You''ll only be out the price of the hauling. A lot of boats on sale for 5,000 are in fact worth nothing--if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Get a good book on surveying--Don''s is great--and go for it. Even if you''re going to have a pro do it, the cost of the book ( has several on the subject) is well worth it as you''ll be able to anticipate what the surveyor should be doing and what he won''t. I''ll never be a real surveyor, but after reading Don''s and other books and walking around a few boatyards now, talking to folks doing repairs and bottomwork, I think I can now protect myself from the biggest risks involved in buying old, small boats. Emphasis here on "small"--I think if the pricetag was above about 15,000, I''d get a pro. Odds are, I''d have to anyway for the loan to be approved.

Just my .02, of course.

09-08-2003 06:22 PM
Picking a surveyer

If you aren''t willing to pay $350 for a survey and $100-200 for the haul be ready to be suprised. A big blister repair can be $7000 and up and a surveyer was telling me about a boat where the hull needed to be peeled and rebuilt. That could be $20k, which is a boat that would fail survey for me. If the surveyor pointed out some issues with thru hulls, props, blisters, the join of the hull and the keel, or something else I would consider the haul out money well spent.

On my first boat I did not do a survey, but it was a $4k boat and I paid cash. On the second boat, I planned on a survey, but the bank and insurance companies both required it, so if I didnt want a survey I wasn''t going to have the boat.

I used a surveyor from a list provided to me by my broker. I was happy with his work and plan to call him for my next boat. My broker came to the survey and I know of two items the surveyor pointed out that were fixed before I took possesion of the boat by either the broker or the seller who was told by the broker. I never brought up either item as they were minor.
My surveyor clearly stated that he was not an engine surveyor, but he did look at the engine and make some recomendations.

09-08-2003 08:57 AM
Picking a surveyer

All great advice, especially if your budget is unlimited...imagine your investment in hiring a general marine surveyor, a rigging surveyor, an engine surveyor, and paying for a haul out all before closing the deal.

Seems to me that by that time the owner has the upper hand in final price negotiation, knowing how heavily invested you are already....

09-08-2003 06:04 AM
Picking a surveyer

PS - if the boat has an diesel engine, hire an engine surveyor also, and be sure to get a compression test - a sea trial doesn''t do it!

09-08-2003 06:02 AM
Picking a surveyer

Ditto the comments to not rely on a broker''s recommendation - like house inspectors, there is a wide divergenge in skills and expertise amongst surveyors, and a broker will sensibly recommend "good" surveyors, but not necessarily "tough" surveyors.
When buying a boat you want to be as well informed as possible, as it''s very easy for a "good" surveyors to get a lot of details, but miss big things. Out last "good" surveyor missed a leaking fuel tank, bad engine mounts, and the tired state of the diesel, needed repairs found after purchase, amounting to about 40% of the purchase price.
To find a "tough" surveyor, I had contacted several local top-end yacht firms ( Hinckly, Little Harbor, etc.) and asked who surveyed their big boats. I came up with a small number of area names - surveyors who operated at this level are special, expensive, and hard to schedule. You may have to pay them for the day, plus travel expenses, as they know thier value and can demand such compensation.
Unfortuantely, none could schedule our survey in less than two weeks (because they are so in demand!), so we went with a "good" local surveyor.
Big mistake. Pay extra and get the most capable surveyor (someone who is trusted with $1MM+ boats) and it will be the best money that you spend on your boat.

Good luck.
09-07-2003 07:39 PM
Picking a surveyer

I had an excellent experience with a surveyor recommended by a broker. He belonged to NAMS and SAMS, had an excellent knowledge of all systems, was a sailor himself, and knowing I was a novice took me under his wing so to speak and showed me a lot of things I did not know to look at. So IMHO it is okay to use the broker list, but like others have said above check if they belong to NAMS or SAMS. My two cents worth.

07-10-2003 04:05 AM
Picking a surveyer

hamiam is right - DO NOT use a surveyor recommended by the broker unless he is also one you have found through other sources. The best source is:

These surveyors have been screened by BoatUS, are members of one of the two major surveyors associations, and are accepted by their insurance.

Next best is a search of NAMS or SAMS (google search to find) and pick one from their list.

I strongly suggest not hiring a surveyor who is not a member of the two organizations unless you can personally vouch for their ability.
07-09-2003 11:58 AM
Picking a surveyer

I think you both overlook an important detail. No reputable surveyor is going to be swayed by a low life broker and expect to eat regualrly. As the last broker I worked with stated, he would rather have the very best vs. a poor one because the validity and clarity of the survey becomes a negotiation tool. If that data sways a buyer it should also sway the seller to move as well. A high quality survey will help the buyer move the seller closer to a negotiation that works becuase there is real data to sway both parties. Good surveys help close deals not just warn you off poor boats.

Most boat deals that go bad are not because the surveyor found out there was a 3 ft hole in the hull. They often end up at an impass over a collection of large and small issues that can be negotiated with MONEY to the satisfaction of each party. When you both agree to terms you have a deal and the broker gets paid. yes the broker has a vested interest in closing the deal, so do I when I''m trying to buy a boat.

Getting a list of names from a broker is nothing to worry about. You still have to check them out with other sources and look for real credentials and experience to make sure they are qualified.

Getting a list of names should include talking to anyone you can talk to including the broker. It''s up to you to hire a qualified person you really want to work with. Most professionals go with the money. As a professionsal (not a surveyor) it always works for me and my relationships with clients. If you pay - I work for you 100%. What idiot surveyor would rig a survey for a broker that isn''t going to pay them a nickel vs. the client that will spread word all around about what a jerk he was?

If you need to come in from out of town call local marinias and it usually comes out after a few calls which names are the good ones. Unless you are in a alrge boat market everyone generally knows everyone else. It''s not a bad thing.
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