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Old 01-27-2014, 01:12 PM   #1
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Competent Marine Surveyor needed in Alaska for 30 year old boat

Hi Guys,
We had a great time at the Seattle boat show. We even went to LaConner to check out a few boats.
I have my heart set on a boat that is in Seward, Alaska, but i dont want to get to far ahead of myself. This is a boat that is not listed with a broker- the owners approached me through an owners association after I expressed interest in buying that brand and model. I am thinking I should have the boat and the engine surveyed before I even go and look at the boat personally. Is this a good approach ? I have already been on a sister boat and know what I am getting into, I just don't really know the true condition of the boat. What I do know is that the first owner spared no expense on the boat in maintenance and it was bristol until the second owners bought it in 2006. The second and current owners seem to have taken pretty good care of it and have even made some improvements in electronics and cosmetics. They told me that they love the boat but have lost interest in boating and have moved out of the area for other reasons. So I'm guessing maintenance has been pretty lackadaisical for the last couple of years.
Anyhow, the owners are ready to sell, I am ready to buy, but the boat is in Alaska in the middle of winter and I am not sure what is the best strategy to proceed. I would like to have a boat by spring time. Even though I couldn't bring the boat down to WA till the spring, I want to know if it is the boat for me so that if it isn't , I can continue my search for the boat and hopefully close on another one before summer.
So anyhow, I am looking for one or two marine surveyors in the Seward Alaska area that could survey a 15 ton boat in the winter , an engine surveyor for a ford Lehman and any advice as to how soon, in the spring, you could safely bring a boat south along the AK/CA coast to WA.

Thank you all in advance for your help.
Scott
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Old 01-27-2014, 01:42 PM   #2
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Scott: The one marine surveyor listed by SAMS in Seward is Matthew Jones, and I bet he knows the boat if for no other reason, by possibly for doing the insurance survey. Membership Roster for Alaska

We ran into a conflict with a surveyor in Sitka. At the time there was only one, who everyone used. He did the last insurance survey on Hobo before we bought her. When he did the pre-purchase survey for us, the value of the boat was 55K less than he had told the seller it was worth. The seller was pissed. The surveyor was OK around diesels but really didn't know anything about our Fl.

What we should have done was fly a surveyor up from Seattle. We got lucky and didn't get burned but it could have gone the other way. Something to consider.
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Old 01-27-2014, 02:04 PM   #3
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Scott: The one marine surveyor listed by SAMS in Seward is Matthew Jones, and I bet he knows the boat if for no other reason, by possibly for doing the insurance survey. Membership Roster for Alaska

We ran into a conflict with a surveyor in Sitka. At the time there was only one, who everyone used. He did the last insurance survey on Hobo before we bought her. When he did the pre-purchase survey for us, the value of the boat was 55K less than he had told the seller it was worth. The seller was pissed. The surveyor was OK around diesels but really didn't know anything about our Fl.

What we should have done was fly a surveyor up from Seattle. We got lucky and didn't get burned but it could have gone the other way. Something to consider.
I saw matt jones, but couldnt find any other info on him. I also found (via google) Ronald Long out of Seward. I also found some guys out of Anchorage which isnt too far away. I am hoping that some TF members have some good recommendations for a surveyor up there so I don't have to fly someone up there. Id rather have three surveyors up there do 3 separate surveys as opposed to flying one guy up there from WA to look at it, unless I really knew the surveyor was top notch and could help me out on this one.

Does anyone have any direct experience with Matt Jones?
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Old 01-27-2014, 03:57 PM   #4
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What kind of boat? That may make a difference.
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Old 01-27-2014, 04:04 PM   #5
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Scott, if I were in your position I would go up and look at the boat first, and have a surveyor poised to look at it if what you found was to your liking. This could potentially save you the cost of a survey, but more importantly if you are present during the survey you will pick up significant knowledge of your possible new purchase directly from the surveyor. (Some surveyors don't mind you looking over their shoulders while others prefer to work unhindered, although the latter will usually point out interesting observations along the way.)

Good luck!
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Old 01-27-2014, 05:14 PM   #6
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Scott : If its on the hard no competent surveyor will survey a frozen boat and unless you can get her out of the harbour and up to operating temperature he won't be able to give you a complete story on the engine either. My two choices up there would be.

Jim Sepel AMS in Juneau
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and

Jim Steffen AMS in Sitka
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Old 01-27-2014, 05:28 PM   #7
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If you are going to bring in a surveyor from Sitka (see post#: 2), which I wouldn't, I would fly one in from the lower 48 or CA. Matt Harris, from Bellingham, would have my vote. Just saying.

Harris Marine Surveys, Div. of Marine Consultants Inc., Matthew L. Harris, NAMSŪ CMS, SAMSŪ-AMSŪ Bellingham, Washington, USA - About Us
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Old 01-27-2014, 06:28 PM   #8
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What kind of boat? That may make a difference.
Its a European fiberglass trawler. I dont want to identify the boat itself for obvious reasons.
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Old 01-27-2014, 06:41 PM   #9
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Scott, you have to go look at it personally first. You would do that instantly if it was in the next town, this is no different. You will get an overall impression, plus some detail, to tell you whether or not you start the buying process.
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Old 01-27-2014, 06:44 PM   #10
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Hi Bligh,

I also recommend Jim Steffen in Sitka. He's done excellent work for me.

Norcoast Marine Surveyors, Inc., Jim 'Stef' Steffen AMSŪ, Sitka, Alaska, USA

Regards,

Pete
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Old 01-27-2014, 06:48 PM   #11
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Scott, if I were in your position I would go up and look at the boat first, and have a surveyor poised to look at it if what you found was to your liking. This could potentially save you the cost of a survey, but more importantly if you are present during the survey you will pick up significant knowledge of your possible new purchase directly from the surveyor. (Some surveyors don't mind you looking over their shoulders while others prefer to work unhindered, although the latter will usually point out interesting observations along the way.)

Good luck!
I certainly could do that, but I think the survey would cost a lot less than me going up there myself. round trip flights just for me will run about $900 bucks from the bay area, plus car rental, plus hotel, plus the cost of missed work
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Old 01-27-2014, 06:50 PM   #12
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To me there are two reasons you will buy a boat. One is the mechanical condition of the boat, which the surveyor can give you a good idea. The other is how you feel on that boat. No surveyor can tell you that. All boats are different and a sister boat is just that, a sister. I very highly suggest you go the the boat with the surveyor.
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Old 01-27-2014, 06:55 PM   #13
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Scott : If its on the hard no competent surveyor will survey a frozen boat and unless you can get her out of the harbour and up to operating temperature he won't be able to give you a complete story on the engine either. My two choices up there would be.

Jim Sepel AMS in Juneau
marinesurvey@gci.net

and

Jim Steffen AMS in Sitka
inorcoast@gmail.com

The boat is in the water , but is winterized.
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Old 01-27-2014, 07:01 PM   #14
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Scott, you have to go look at it personally first. You would do that instantly if it was in the next town, this is no different. You will get an overall impression, plus some detail, to tell you whether or not you start the buying process.
Thanks Bruce. I agree that I will have to look at at at some point before purchase. But it is different that the boat is not in the next town. The owners have sent me extensive photographs of the boat already. I am just thinking that if the surveyor finds a deal breaker, I will have saved myself a bunch of time and money by identifying it before investing in the travel expenses of seeing it myself.


From what I am hearing a survey while I am there would be the most ideal option, but not the least expensive if I choose not to purchase.
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Old 01-27-2014, 07:03 PM   #15
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If you are going to bring in a surveyor from Sitka (see post#: 2), which I wouldn't, I would fly one in from the lower 48 or CA. Matt Harris, from Bellingham, would have my vote. Just saying.

Harris Marine Surveys, Div. of Marine Consultants Inc., Matthew L. Harris, NAMSŪ CMS, SAMSŪ-AMSŪ Bellingham, Washington, USA - About Us
Thanks Larry,
I will contact him and see what he charges for a job like that.
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Old 01-27-2014, 07:05 PM   #16
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ANy suggestions for a surveyor out of Anchorage? I do plan on getting at least two surveys anyhow.
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Old 01-27-2014, 07:40 PM   #17
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To me there are two reasons you will buy a boat. One is the mechanical condition of the boat, which the surveyor can give you a good idea. The other is how you feel on that boat. No surveyor can tell you that. All boats are different and a sister boat is just that, a sister. I very highly suggest you go the the boat with the surveyor.
From what I see so far, this is the good looking sister!
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Old 01-28-2014, 09:18 AM   #18
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Hi. I had our survey done by Matt in Seward. He is very competetent. At that time, last summer, he was living on his sail boat in the harbor there. He wasnt exactly timely but I think he was very busy then. Very sharp on electronics and power issues. I would recomend him but have a specific time frame in mind and hold him to it. I think it cost me 600 and no travel expense. Hes good>>
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Old 01-28-2014, 09:31 AM   #19
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There are several TF members with boats in Seward/Whittier. You may want to contact them and carry on a cell phone walk through inspection.
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Old 01-28-2014, 12:40 PM   #20
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Some surveyors can be hired to do a "quick check" for reduced cost. Go look at the big things, and if all looks good then come back and finish the little things. No point in doing a full survey if engine is rusted badly, bilge full of sewage, windows leaking with rot below, soft decks, etc.

Also second bringing a surveyor in from out of town. In some small port towns, the local guy can get a little incestuous with the locals. Seen it a few times. Bring a guy from the next town and he knows nobody, no little "favors" or such in play. You probably don't need to drag someone up from lower 48, but maybe just the next town over.

Call brokers, boatyards, marinas, other surveyors, friends etc and ask for surveyor rec's. Don't be bashful about calling lots of folks. Make alot of calls and you will start to see a pattern of two or three getting mentioned often. Those are your guys.

There are some bad surveyors out there, and local folks know who they are.
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