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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest > General Discussion (sailing related) > Rdy to buy HOW to Inspect?
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Topic Review (Newest First)
06-29-2012 04:06 PM
Re: Rdy to buy HOW to Inspect?


On a boat you are buying for 2-3,000 it doesn't make sence to pay for a surveyor. I have a list of the really good ones I have dealt with, but they all charge a minimum of $1,500-$2,000. It just isn't possible to get a good survey for much less than this. You can get an insurance survey, but those are worth very little to a new buyer, or to determin the amount of work necessary to fix a boat up.

For instance a good survey should at a minimum go up the rig, check every fitting on the boat, check the spreaders and rigging, confirm every electrical system as working, and on and on. I figure anything less than an 8 hour survey just isnt quality work. Even on a small boat there is just too much stuff that needs checking to do it quickly.

So how do you justify spending 1/2 or more of the purchase price of the boat on the survey? You really cant, and so the owner needs to be able to check this stuff him/her self. This is part of the reason I discourage new boaters from buying large complicated boats... At least with a 2k investment if it all goes belly up, you can take it to a scrap yard and likely get close to that for the metal bits.
06-29-2012 07:26 AM
Re: Rdy to buy HOW to Inspect?

I know my surveyor should absolutely be either National Association of Marine Surveyors (NAMS) or Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors (SAMS) and they should be the accredited or certified members, not the SA or Apprentice members. What I wanted was to hear about individual surveyors people have hired and their experience.
05-14-2012 09:26 AM
Re: Rdy to buy HOW to Inspect?

One of the things they recommend is tapping the hull with a plastic hammer in order to listen for sounds of delamination. Good enough advice, as far as it goes. Only problem is, a lot of owners will get rather upset if they see you whacking away at their boat with a hammer. (I know, you're not really "whacking away," but that's what it looks like to the owner!)

Interestingly enough, I have discovered that no one seems to object when you tap, tap, tap with one of these... Rhythm Band RB2320 Plastic Ball Mallets: Musical Instruments

Or, if you want the "professional" model, for a bit more money...
Balter Unwound Series Black Birch 93BB Extra Hard Phenolic | Marching Keyboard Mallets | Marching | Steve Weiss Music
05-12-2012 10:19 AM
Re: Rdy to buy HOW to Inspect?

At this price point, and for a first boat, don't bother with a survey. It's just not cost effective to spend 20% of the purchase price.

Most reasonably intelligent people can look at a boat and determine if it's junk or if it's a good boat. You do need to know what to look for.

The link to Don's book above is what you need, but I'll go a step further and say get this: Don Casey's Complete Illustrated Sailboat Maintenance Manual: Including Inspecting the Aging Sailboat, Sailboat Hull and Deck Repair, Sailboat Refinishing, Sailbo (9780071462846): Don Casey: Books Don Casey's Complete Illustrated Sailboat Maintenance Manual: Including Inspecting the Aging Sailboat, Sailboat Hull and Deck Repair, Sailboat Refinishing, Sailbo (9780071462846): Don Casey: Books

This is all 6 of Don's books in one volume, including the Inspecting the Aging Sailboat volume. It will be a very valuable book for you before and after the purchase.
05-11-2012 09:13 PM
Re: Rdy to buy HOW to Inspect?

You could tell us where you are, and someone nearby may volunteer to give you their opinion.

You could join an owners group for Catalina 22s, and ask them to share their insight.
Here is one; Catalina 22 -
Here is another; Home

What I did was; look at a lot of boats, take a lot of pictures of each boat, take copious notes on each boat, made offers on the boats that I thought had fewest modifications, were in the best shape, and were priced "right."

Then I spent a fortune in time and money bringing her up to snuff.
05-11-2012 07:32 PM
Re: Rdy to buy HOW to Inspect?

Originally Posted by MobiusALilBitTwisted View Post
A very good, detailed link. On a smaller boat that you are interested in a lot of that info may not apply. Suggest you be wary of cored hull and decks. Check inside bulkhead tabbing to the hull very carefully as it carries a lot of stress. Look for stress cracks or de-lamination. Same for outboard well area or transom mounted outboard brackets. Wiring should probably be simple on boats that size. I have no experience with swing keels or centerboards but, as on the inside and outside inspections, look for anything that looks like it has been patched or repaired, is frayed, or corroded. Spider like surface cracks in the gelcoat may not be critical but look on the inside of the area. If there are cracks inside , they may be stress cracks indicating excessive movement of joint areas. Don't be in a hurry.

Paul T
05-11-2012 07:21 PM
Re: Rdy to buy HOW to Inspect?

Thx alot all.
05-11-2012 05:33 PM
Re: Rdy to buy HOW to Inspect?

read this How To Do your Own Marine Survey by a Marine Surveyor
05-11-2012 05:30 PM
Re: Rdy to buy HOW to Inspect?

Even an inexpensive boat can be a colossal money pit. Try this book: Inspecting the Aging Sailboat (The International Marine Sailboat Library) (0639785803447): Don Casey: Books Inspecting the Aging Sailboat (The International Marine Sailboat Library) (0639785803447): Don Casey: Books

05-11-2012 05:29 PM
Re: Rdy to buy HOW to Inspect?

At that price paying a surveyor does not make sense.

Don Casey's book Sailboat Maintenance has a section on being your own surveyor.

There is a good thread in this forum here. clicky

I recently spent several months looking for my forever boat and the two things I relied on were

1 a checklist with space for comments.

2 a digital camera and lots of pics with comments.

BTW my first boat was a Jaguar 22 which is a British Catalina 22. Mine had the swing keel. It treated me well and took me all over the West Coast of Scotland and the Adriatic.
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