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Old 12-22-2015, 11:51 AM   #101
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In most cases, new safety standards aren't applied to older boats (or cars or buildings), but you can be assured that they are a good idea and should be applied to your boat, car or building if practical.

A well known yacht club building in Annapolis, MD just burned down. It had no fire suppression system because none was required when it was built. If it had one, there would likely have been minimal damage.

So - looking at your propane system, fuel system, electrical system, etc. if there's a practical way to bring it up to current standards, this would be a wise thing to do. It could save your boat, it could save your life.
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Old 12-22-2015, 12:11 PM   #102
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Greetings,
Mr. b. "Like doctors, plumbers, dentists or the contractors...". Not quite my friend. The above mentioned, for the majority, are required by LAW and licensing organizations to have met minimum requirements to practice/pursue their chosen crafts. Doctors? 6-8 years of training. Plumbers? 2-5 years of training. Contractors? About a vague a term as marine surveyor.
Point being, by your own admission, the vast majority of marine surveyors in Ontario, and I suspect other jurisdictions are similar, are incompetent. This is NOT a trade where "smarts" or ANY sort of formalized training/testing is required to hang out one's shingle. Again, by your own admission there ARE competent people about and I'm sure you're one of them but the fact that insurance companies will accept the opinion of almost anyone who is "certified" (SAMS, NAMS etc.) doesn't mean a whole hell of a lot and does nothing to justify the title of "marine surveyor" particularly in non-commercial vessel application.
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Old 12-22-2015, 12:48 PM   #103
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Greetings,
Mr. b. "Like doctors, plumbers, dentists or the contractors...". Not quite my friend. The above mentioned, for the majority, are required by LAW and licensing organizations to have met minimum requirements to practice/pursue their chosen crafts. Doctors? 6-8 years of training. Plumbers? 2-5 years of training. Contractors? About a vague a term as marine surveyor.
Point being, by your own admission, the vast majority of marine surveyors in Ontario, and I suspect other jurisdictions are similar, are incompetent. This is NOT a trade where "smarts" or ANY sort of formalized training/testing is required to hang out one's shingle. Again, by your own admission there ARE competent people about and I'm sure you're one of them but the fact that insurance companies will accept the opinion of almost anyone who is "certified" (SAMS, NAMS etc.) doesn't mean a whole hell of a lot and does nothing to justify the title of "marine surveyor" particularly in non-commercial vessel application.
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Sorry RT, I know this will be a shock but I still don't disagree with you
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Old 12-22-2015, 03:49 PM   #104
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Greetings,
Mr. b. So am I incorrect in assuming that AYBC is a self governing non legally binding body of individuals and manufacturers who have agreed amongst themselves to maintain certain arbitrary minimum "standards" in the manufacture of new vessels keeping in mind USCG rules must be abided by? If so, that would suggest to me that they are in cahoots with the insurance industry and as such serve no useful purpose other than self perpetuation of a non necessary function. Ie: a survey. Oh, and I'm not easily shocked.

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Old 12-22-2015, 04:43 PM   #105
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So - looking at your propane system, fuel system, electrical system, etc. if there's a practical way to bring it up to current standards, this would be a wise thing to do. It could save your boat, it could save your life.
This seems like a pretty common-sense approach to the issue of propane (and other) systems on a boat. I see this whole deal as two separate issues.

One is the "best-practices for boat systems" as described by the ABYC. These are (I assume) based on the continually growing data base of problems that can occur in the systems used on boats.

Seat belts didn't use to be used in passenger cars and trucks at all. As the database of accident details grew, it became more and more apparent that people being thrown around in or out of vehicles was a major contributor to serious injury or death. So the notion of seat belts caught on and they were at first optional or used only in certain models and then spread to all vehicles and eventually became mandatory in new vehicle designs.

I see the ABYC recommendations as being like that.

The second issue is one of common sense. Boats like the cabin cruiser we have in the PNW that was built in 1973 has a propane system for the galley that was deemed safe in 1973. As such, it is safe. The locker is the molded fiberglass seat base on the port side of the flying bridge, and the two penetrations into the cabin below-- the propane line itself and the handle of the manual shutoff valve--- are sealed against propane intrusion. There is a vent in the seat base that leads overboard. And the entry into the box is a removable, lipped lid in the top of the box. The lid is NOT sealed with any kind of gasket and latch system as that was not considered necessary in 1973.

I think it is reasonable to expect today's more rigid recommendations/standards not be applied to vessels that were designed and built prior to the establishment of these recommendations/standards. Depending on the difference between the original and recommended systems, compliance could involve a major effort and expense.

But..... I think it is smart on the part of a boat owner, regardless of the age of the boat, to look at the existing system, compare it to the current recommendations, and think about how the recommended configuration might improve the current system. Some things may not be practical to do given cost and effort considerations. And if the original system is objectively deemed to be safe under most or all conditions it will encounter, then leave it alone.

But if an original system is objectively deemed to pose potential safety issues---- for example a propane tank stored in a closed space containing electrical equipment like instruments, electronics, an electric air horn compressor, wiring for lights, etc.--- and the tank can be relocated to a more isolated enclosure without tearing the boat apart and incurring a high expense, then it would seem to be the smart decision to do that even if there is no legal requirement to do so.

The issue of surveyors and their reports and how insurance companies react is another matter. So far, the three surveyors we have used in the process of buying and then complying with insurance inspections have been very logical and practical. In the case of the initial buyer's survey, the surveyor wrote up everything he felt compromised the boat's operations, integrity, and safety. That's what we wanted him to do, and the things he determined needed fixing or changing we felt it was smart fix or change them regardless of the fact the insurance broker wanted them done, too.

In the case of the subsequent insurance surveys, the surveyors wrote up things they felt compromised the operation, integrity, or safety of the boat and would also be of concern to an insurance company. Other less-critical items they found which they felt would not be of concern to an insurance company but that the surveyor felt we should know about and thus be able to correct per his recommendations, they wrote on a separate list that they gave to us.

In all cases with all three surveyors we felt that what they found and their recommendations were valid and would be smart--- and in some cases required--- to correct.

For example in the case of the boat's new-at-the-time replacement fuel tanks, which are made of stainless steel which in 1998 was not a fuel tank material recommended by the ABYC, the surveyor we'd hired to do our buyer's hull/systems survey (we hired a separate surveyor for the engines and generator) told us that the tank material was not recommended by the ABYC, explained in detail why the material was not recommended, but also said that if fabricated correctly, he'd seen stainless steel tanks in boats in his area go for years and years with no problems whatsoever. So he made sure we understood both sides of the issue and what we could to in the operation of the boat if we bought it to minimize the potential risk of stainless steel might pose, but he did not write it up in his formal survey report.

I think surveyors are like the people in every other profession. There will be good, bad, and indifferent ones. In my opinion, it is on the owner or potential buyer to be smart in learning about judging and selecting a surveyor. It's no different than choosing a company to put a new roof on one's house, which we recently went through. It's not a matter of "you get what you pay for," it's a matter of "you get what your skills at research, evaluation, and judgment get you."

Ending up with a bad or incompetent surveyor is not on the surveyor. He (or she) is what he is. Ending up with a bad surveyor is on the person who vetted and then hired him.

At least that's my take on it.......
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Old 12-22-2015, 05:05 PM   #106
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As they say...most safety ideas are written the blood of others...


But many times that blood was from those that also won or should have won Darwin awards...


Risk management goes hand in hand with the old basic concept of safety.


One is about rules...the other is about reason.


ORM was developed to keep safety rules from immobilizing the planet.


Balance should be part of the equation too.
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Old 12-22-2015, 05:19 PM   #107
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Greetings,
Mr. b. So am I incorrect in assuming that AYBC is a self governing non legally binding body of individuals and manufacturers who have agreed amongst themselves to maintain certain arbitrary minimum "standards" in the manufacture of new vessels keeping in mind USCG rules must be abided by? If so, that would suggest to me that they are in cahoots with the insurance industry and as such serve no useful purpose other than self perpetuation of a non necessary function. Ie: a survey. Oh, and I'm not easily shocked.

I guess you could say the same about NFPA, UL, ULC, SAE, LLoyds, NACE, ISO, CE, ABS, Det Norske Veritas or any other standards producing organization if that is your inclination.
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Old 12-22-2015, 05:48 PM   #108
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Greetings,
Mr. Marin. Party pooper . Actually, I feel a good survey is much more of an advantage to me than anyone else. In anticipation of our insurance "survey from hell" I went over the boat myself so as to attempt to see any potential problems. I, in fact, did find a major fault that would have sunk the boat if it had not been attended to and it was subsequently repaired to the tune of $800 BUT it was absolutely necessary. Oddly enough, that particular item was overlooked in the "sfh". Not a locker was opened nor any storage container moved to examine behind same. As mentioned, the rusty swim platform brackets were noted and cited. Yup, it takes all kinds and another insurance survey will not be needed for 10 years.
Ah, Mr. b. Just saw your post. There ARE certain standards agreed upon within various industries that are required by law. AYBC is NOT one of those industries although certain AYBC recommendations ARE law under USCG regulations.
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Old 12-22-2015, 06:18 PM   #109
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Greetings,
Mr. Marin. Party pooper . Actually, I feel a good survey is much more of an advantage to me than anyone else. In anticipation of our insurance "survey from hell" I went over the boat myself so as to attempt to see any potential problems. I, in fact, did find a major fault that would have sunk the boat if it had not been attended to and it was subsequently repaired to the tune of $800 BUT it was absolutely necessary. Oddly enough, that particular item was overlooked in the "sfh". Not a locker was opened nor any storage container moved to examine behind same. As mentioned, the rusty swim platform brackets were noted and cited. Yup, it takes all kinds and another insurance survey will not be needed for 10 years.
Ah, Mr. b. Just saw your post. There ARE certain standards agreed upon within various industries that are required by law. AYBC is NOT one of those industries although certain AYBC recommendations ARE law under USCG regulations.
While I respect a good surveyor as much as any pro...even some of the best as "highly recommended" amaze me with comments that require immediate attention by the insurance company like my last boat's survey...

Safety recommendation...."fix or replace nav compass due to bubble in dome." The bubble was small and in no way affected the operation of what was a very nice, expensive compass compared to most boats.

My nav limits on my insurance at the time were the Delaware and Chesapeake Bays....yet a compass bubble theoretically kept me tied to the dock despite other basic and electronic means of navigation.


Not sure why he didn't recommend a medium priced sextant as a backup just to be safe enough.

The system is broke to a point...and I have no idea how it will be fixed.
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Old 12-22-2015, 07:20 PM   #110
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Several of you have mentioned that the insurers have insisted that trivial things reported in a survey be addressed before a policy would be issued. My experience has been the opposite albeit I am in a different country and perhaps things are done differently. My survey reports class my comments in three distinct categories. The three categories shown below are exactly as they appear in my reports ...

A: Issues in need of immediate attention.
B: Issues that may enhance safety and or value of vessel.
C: Offered for information or suggested as maintenance or upgrades.

I have never experienced a client being denied coverage for a B. or C. item.
Painting swim platform brackets would not be an A. item for me. An A. item in my reports would be something like the photos below, each from an actual survey with the exception of the last photo of a brand new French built trawler taken at the Toronto Boat Show two years ago.
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Old 12-22-2015, 08:02 PM   #111
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Greetings,
Mr. b. So am I incorrect in assuming that AYBC is a self governing non legally binding body of individuals and manufacturers who have agreed amongst themselves to maintain certain arbitrary minimum "standards" in the manufacture of new vessels keeping in mind USCG rules must be abided by? If so, that would suggest to me that they are in cahoots with the insurance industry and as such serve no useful purpose other than self perpetuation of a non necessary function. Ie: a survey. Oh, and I'm not easily shocked.

Reminds me of a sign (allegedly) seen in Ireland which bore the words:
"Do Not Lean Bicycles Against This Sign".
Nothing else, just that.
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Old 12-22-2015, 08:38 PM   #112
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If so, that would suggest to me that they are in cahoots with the insurance industry and as such serve no useful purpose other than self perpetuation of a non necessary function. Ie: a survey. Oh, and I'm not easily shocked.
[IMG]
The solution is simple. If it is "unnecessary" ,,,, don't get one.
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Old 12-22-2015, 08:57 PM   #113
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The solution is simple. If it is "unnecessary" ,,,, don't get one.
A solution is expand self survey programs such as the one my carrier has in place for boats up to the 30 foot range. Would require a level of confidence in the owner and his/her experience along with prep work on the part of the insurance companies, but it's certainly viable for the typical owner operator on this forum. Another partial solution is to extend time between surveys, which seems to be happening in some companies.
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Old 12-22-2015, 09:30 PM   #114
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Several of you have mentioned that the insurers have insisted that trivial things reported in a survey be addressed before a policy would be issued. My experience has been the opposite albeit I am in a different country and perhaps things are done differently. My survey reports class my comments in three distinct categories. The three categories shown below are exactly as they appear in my reports ...

A: Issues in need of immediate attention.
B: Issues that may enhance safety and or value of vessel.
C: Offered for information or suggested as maintenance or upgrades.

I have never experienced a client being denied coverage for a B. or C. item.
Painting swim platform brackets would not be an A. item for me. An A. item in my reports would be something like the photos below, each from an actual survey with the exception of the last photo of a brand new French built trawler taken at the Toronto Boat Show two years ago.
Good point and accurate from what I have seen.

As long as the discrepancies are correctly listed and explained....many are appropriately addressed by the insurer.

It is when they aren't because of a strong "personal" opinion of the surveyor misplacing the priority that many feathers get a bit ruffled.
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Old 12-23-2015, 12:33 AM   #115
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Hi, We have a 34 CHB trawler and need to add a Propane Locker. The current setup isn't to ABYC standards. I would like to mount it in the space in front of the upper helm.
Any thoughts on what product would work best?
Thank you !
On our pocket trawler's fly bridge there is a center locker that is a new build installation that holds two of the 5 gallon bottles in one of those center bold lock down threaded stock. It works fine. the line runs to the side of the bridge under works, and then filters down a molded trim piece into the house proper where it meets the galley sink top and then behind to the back of the stove.. There is an auto electrical shut off at the tanks and a manual on/off valve at the back top of the stove. All in all a very clean good use of space.
Good luck on the project

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Old 12-23-2015, 06:54 AM   #116
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On our pocket trawler's fly bridge there is a center locker that is a new build installation that holds two of the 5 gallon bottles in one of those center bold lock down threaded stock. It works fine. the line runs to the side of the bridge under works, and then filters down a molded trim piece into the house proper where it meets the galley sink top and then behind to the back of the stove.. There is an auto electrical shut off at the tanks and a manual on/off valve at the back top of the stove. All in all a very clean good use of space.
Good luck on the project

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Old 12-23-2015, 10:16 AM   #117
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Several of you have mentioned that the insurers have insisted that trivial things reported in a survey be addressed before a policy would be issued. My experience has been the opposite albeit I am in a different country and perhaps things are done differently. My survey reports class my comments in three distinct categories. The three categories shown below are exactly as they appear in my reports ...

A: Issues in need of immediate attention.
B: Issues that may enhance safety and or value of vessel.
C: Offered for information or suggested as maintenance or upgrades.

I have never experienced a client being denied coverage for a B. or C. item.
Painting swim platform brackets would not be an A. item for me. An A. item in my reports would be something like the photos below, each from an actual survey with the exception of the last photo of a brand new French built trawler taken at the Toronto Boat Show two years ago.

Calling "B" items "issues" triggers response requirements from insurers. In some cases the only solution is to take an exception in the policy.

"C" items do not belong in a survey. All they do is raise flags with the insurer (obviously the intent).

The last photo of the French boat appears to show a bottle sitting in a depression in an isolated compartment, presumably with an overboard drain. The compartment cover appears to have a perimeter seal. So far so good. From what I can see in the photo the "packaging" is likely consistent with voluntary ABYC recommendations for new builds (again not a Coast Guard requirement). No it doesn't have a top lid, but the seal meets the intent. With perhaps an inspection/replacement protocol for the seal, it would be considered an alternate means of compliance on an FAA airplane approval. No obvious reason for a group A (safety) classification.
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Old 12-23-2015, 11:04 AM   #118
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I guess you could say the same about NFPA, UL, ULC, SAE, LLoyds, NACE, ISO, CE, ABS, Det Norske Veritas or any other standards producing organization if that is your inclination.
This response conveniently doesn't address the point. None of these industry standards have the force of law unless the applicable government authority incorporates provisions by reference. In every case when this is done, the process affords the user groups (such as AOPA in the airplane world...you in the small boat world), to have say in both the technical content and the impact. Grandfathering is always an element. This is a case where insurance companies have partnered with what amounts to a private, unlicensed "mall cop" surveyor operation, who in turn have informally adopted informal hip pocket safety codes (ABYC and others) that are not approved by any government entity.


It starts with the insurance companies who are holding the user community captive. While they have a right to understand what they are signing up for, I believe that right has limits. There are government oversight implications associated with abusing their customer base and stepping outside of established safety requirements to, in effect, set up their own regulatory safety regime.

To RT Firefly's original point, the actions by the insurers do indeed create "business" opportunities for organizations like ABYC and SAMS/NAMS. Some of them are in the vacuum cleaner salesman category. In the case of the surveyor I dismissed, there was clearly an installation opportunity lost by one of his installer buddies. The system is feeding on itself and you pay unless you raise hell with the insurance companies and try to put a stop to what's going on. The small airplane community has AOPA to help protect member rights. The closest thing I've found in the domestic recreational boating world is Boat US....and guess what...they have an insurance arm.

The last time this discussion took place, I spent a lot of time looking for a source of government oversight for marine insurers. Turns out they are very conveniently, largely self regulating. Time to shed some light on this farce and I'm drafting a letter to the Coast Guard for starters with a copy to the (rotating) chair of the insurance industry group. I don't have a problem with surveys if they focus on the condition and value of the insured asset. When they move into forcing upgrades to systems without a basis in government regulation or a documented service safety issue they are stepping over the line.
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Old 12-23-2015, 11:41 AM   #119
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I had to go back to page one to find out what this thread was supposed to be about. It wasn't about insurance or surveyors it was about installing a safe propane locker.

I think the question was answered.
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Old 12-23-2015, 12:02 PM   #120
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I had to go back to page one to find out what this thread was supposed to be about. It wasn't about insurance or surveyors it was about installing a safe propane locker.

I think the question was answered.

The answer depends on who you ask, the surveyor who looks at it down the road, and which insurance company you're dealing with. The OP said his current system doesn't meet ABYC. That doesn't mean it isn't safe. A number of safe home made installations have been presented that don't meet the letter of ABYC. Insurance and surveyors are at the very heart of the question (although they shouldn't be).
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