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Old 05-24-2017, 07:30 PM   #1
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Putting an offer on a boat sight unseen tomorrow

I knew that would get your attention. Allow me to splain....

Very very long story short, we live on lake Norman in Charlotte, NC. We have a 20' Mariah open bow and use it about 3 times a month. We love being on the lake. So does our 3 yr old. She's been boating since she her mom would allow her to go.

So...

We fell in love with a 36' aft cabin Mainship. But we absolutely wouldn't be able to ship it to the coast once a year because the fly bridge would have to come off.

So then we decided on an express cruiser. We looked at a very nice 32' Maxum 3000 SCR. It was nice but we just don't want an express cruiser. But it has a decent living space and will be easy to ship.

Then we found this thing.

Used 1996 Mainship 31 Sedan Bridge, Folly Beach, Sc - 29412 - BoatTrader.com

We have done the worst thing we can possibly when shopping for a boat...fallin in love.

We've read everything we can find on the internet about it and people with families really seem to like it. We've watched every YouTube video we could find and it's the boat for us.

It looks like shipping only requires removal of the radar arch and Bimini. I can handle that.

Our plan is to enjoy nights on the lake and maybe in a year ship it to the coast and explore the intercoastal and eventually get it to the Bahamas.

So, I'm thinking about skipping the survey. Before you guys fall out of your chairs, let me explain...

From what I've read they are kinda like house inspectors. They know a little about everything, specialize in nothing. (I mean no offense)

I'd hire a mechanic to look over the boat for us. We can't see the boat for another week and a half. So I'm thinking about making an offer contingent on a river trial and mechanic inspection.

Any and all opinions, good or bad or awful, will be appreciated.

Thanks guys.
Steve
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Old 05-24-2017, 07:42 PM   #2
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I would definately make the offer contingent on a sea trial and a survey. Whether you actually follow through and have a survey performed can be decided after you see the boat and what shape it is in superficially. I personally would have the survey done and your insurance company may require one. Having a survey can help you negotiate a lower price after the survey. I have bought boats sight unseen, but left myself the above outs in case the boat was not as described. I like the 31' Mainship although it isn't a trawler.
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Old 05-24-2017, 07:59 PM   #3
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I would definately make the offer contingent on a sea trial and a survey. Whether you actually follow through and have a survey performed can be decided after you see the boat and what shape it is in superficially. I personally would have the survey done and your insurance company may require one. Having a survey can help you negotiate a lower price after the survey. I have bought boats sight unseen, but left myself the above outs in case the boat was not as described. I like the 31' Mainship although it isn't a trawler.
Well I was thinking about not getting a survey and just using a mechanics professional opinion.

I will be oporating this boat at displacement speed. I wish it had twin diesels, or at least 350's, but such is life.
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Old 05-24-2017, 08:13 PM   #4
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Looks like a great boat for a small family, but...

Surveyor will be objective, you are already sold. e.g. the electronics appear to be original and would need to be upgraded if you do any serious ocean cruising. Surveyor can do the sea trial and mechanical such as oil analysis, compression checks, zinc checks, etc.

Your goal is not to lock the sale in, but take it off the market so you can do a thorough inspection, and have as many contingencies as possible so you can back out if the engines have been run hard and put away wet. "Subject to survey satisfactory to buyer" is a start.

Good survey will be $500-1000 and is worth every cent for a 20+ year old boat. THEN comes the offer contingent upon the owner either escrowing funds to repair the defects or discounting the offer.

Slow down. There are a lot of Mainship 31 sedans out there.
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Old 05-24-2017, 08:13 PM   #5
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Check with your insurance company or broker. Usually they will not insure a boat older than 10 years without a survey done by an accredited surveyor and all mandatory items found fixed.

Those twin 454s will burn a lot of gas. Even if you keep the speed down to 6-7 kts (displacement speeds) you will burn about 5 gph.

And when you open them up, wow!!!

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Old 05-24-2017, 08:21 PM   #6
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I think you missed ComoDaves point: Your insurance co will most likely require a survey. If you have to pay for one anyway, its in your best interest to get it BEFORE you own it, not after. A mechanics opinion does not fulfill the ins co requirement. Don't know why you want to shortcut yourself.
I have put a deposit down on a boat unseen; a production center console boat that I had time to spend mucho time on her sistership owned by a friend. Trust me, they rarely take pics of the bad stuff, only the good. No matter how good it looks in the pictures, there will be some problems that you want to see (or smell) in person. Never again!!!
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Old 05-24-2017, 08:26 PM   #7
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Well I was thinking about not getting a survey and just using a mechanics professional opinion.
I will be oporating this boat at displacement speed. I wish it had twin diesels, or at least 350's, but such is life.
Twin 454's? Probably burn more at idle than my twin diesels at WOT

A mechanic isn't going to check the condition of the stringers, the engine mounts, operation of the through hulls, etc etc etc. A boat is more than a smooth running engine.

Guy in the slip opposite me just bought a used 35 ft with twin crusaders. No survey. He was towed into the marina. So far he has replaced a starter, all the oil coolers, mechanic was there yesterday for couple of hours because one engine idled somewhere past red line. He now thinks he overpaid for the boat.

(EDIT - Note that you can get a basic liability and oil spill coverage policy (mandatory if you keep boat at any marina) but you won't be able to get hull insurance without a survey)
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Old 05-24-2017, 08:27 PM   #8
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It looks nice in the photos, but so do some really bad boats. Try to be objective when you look at it. That is where a surveyor come in handy. Also if you finance it, the bank will probably require a survey as well as the insurance company. Cover your rear end when you make the offer and have as many outs as possible, you don't have to use the survey if you don't want to, but put it in the offer.
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Old 05-24-2017, 08:30 PM   #9
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Sorry guys forgot to add that my insurance does not require a survey.
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Old 05-24-2017, 08:30 PM   #10
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BTW, no one is trying to rain on your parade, just help you protect yourself. We are on our 23rd boat and I am one to fall in love with one and overlook problems. Then I have to deal with the problems, but that is my passion in life, working on boats.
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Old 05-24-2017, 08:33 PM   #11
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I don't know this boat but skipping a survey could be disastrous. Too many boats have serious problems which could cost as much to repair, or more, as the boat cost you.

Certainly there are good surveyors and bad surveyors. Ask around and ask HERE for recommendations in the area of the boat's location. Same for a good mechanic to assess the engine[s].

As mentioned the insurance co, will likely demand a survey as they will want to cover themselves. I'll bet the bank will also require it if you are in need of a loan.

Self surveying can work IF you had some serious boat experience but from the sounds of it you are not there.

Word it as suggested above other wise you could open yourself up for a disaster, both boat and financial.

Now you have not suggested the asking price and it does not matter. If the boat is just a few thousand dollars and you can afford to kiss it off if the boat is a failure and you lock yourself in, fine. But otherwise that missed survey could save your bacon.
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Old 05-24-2017, 08:39 PM   #12
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It's hard enough getting good boats when you do see them.

Good luck. Keep in touch. Best wishes...
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Old 05-24-2017, 10:20 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by djmarchand View Post
Check with your insurance company or broker. Usually they will not insure a boat older than 10 years without a survey done by an accredited surveyor and all mandatory items found fixed.

Those twin 454s will burn a lot of gas. Even if you keep the speed down to 6-7 kts (displacement speeds) you will burn about 5 gph.

And when you open them up, wow!!!

David
David is right.
This is the most important reason for a survey. I would have happily dispensed with one when I bought our boat, as the surveyor found nothing I had not already, but the Insurance co insisted, and without insurance cover it is hard to go anywhere - like a marina berth, even temporarily, etc.
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Old 05-24-2017, 10:24 PM   #14
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Sorry guys forgot to add that my insurance does not require a survey.
Wow, sorry missed this post, hence comments above, but that is one very accommodating insurance co. I wonder how they stack up in the insurance world..?
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Old 05-24-2017, 11:15 PM   #15
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Have you checked with your insurance company about this specific boat as to needing a survey? Some companies don't require a survey on smaller boats but do with larger boats especially over 10 years old. However it turns out, hope you end up with a great boat.
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Old 05-24-2017, 11:24 PM   #16
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Make your offer contingent upon your final sea trial approval. Maybe by then you'll come to your senses and pony up for a proper survey. If not, you'll have no one to blame but yourself if it becomes a money pit.

What kind of range are you expecting out of this vessel? Enough for the Bahamas?
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Old 05-24-2017, 11:31 PM   #17
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An offer sight unseen?.... That's a brave move.
I've bought a house sight unseen but I don't think I'd do it with a boat.

Make sure the photos are dated.
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Old 05-24-2017, 11:34 PM   #18
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Curious, why bother asking here if you have already made up your mind?
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Old 05-24-2017, 11:37 PM   #19
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How to do your own survey. Marine Survey 101
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Old 05-24-2017, 11:40 PM   #20
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Curious, why bother asking here if you have already made up your mind?
Maybe so we can all play being Sir Humphrey Appleby, and tell him "it's very courageous"..?
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