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Old 05-05-2018, 05:31 PM   #1
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Survey Pointers?

Not new to boating but I have never been involved in a survey. I am having a survey and haul out done next week on a potential purchase and wanted to see if anybody has any do or doníts or things I should be doing while survey is being preformed?
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Old 05-05-2018, 05:55 PM   #2
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I have a very good relationship with my surveyor. I act as his secretary writing down everything he calls out. What you don’t want to do is distract the surveyor from his job by constantly asking questions. Wait until the surveyor is done crawling around the boat before battering him with a million questions. If you are buying a turnkey boat there is really no reason to even be there. If you are buying a project boat then you should be on site.
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Old 05-05-2018, 05:56 PM   #3
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Not new to boating but I have never been involved in a survey. I am having a survey and haul out done next week on a potential purchase and wanted to see if anybody has any do or doníts or things I should be doing while survey is being preformed?
It depends on the surveyor. Some will allow you to tag along and ask questions during the survey while others prefer to do the survey uninterrupted. I've had both, and the surveyor who preferred to be alone did call me on occasion to look at at various items he found. (I did stay close to the vessel through the process.)

Usually the surveyor will be clear up front about his or her preference.
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Old 05-05-2018, 06:02 PM   #4
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If you have an insurer or lender in mind, find out what their requirements are for the survey. They will likely require the surveyor to have credentials, so ensure your chosen surveyor meets their requirements. Otherwise you'll be paying for another survey.
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Old 05-05-2018, 06:41 PM   #5
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Good pointers. I plan on being there, but as others pointed out, lurking in the shadows and waiting to be called upon. The first Surveyor I called said he couldn’t do it but said make sure the person has credentials from the Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors. I haven’t done much shopping for insurance, that’s another task in the process, leaning to Boat US at this point. Thanks again, fingers crossed.
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Old 05-05-2018, 07:01 PM   #6
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I have a very good relationship with my surveyor. I act as his secretary writing down everything he calls out. What you donít want to do is distract the surveyor from his job by constantly asking questions. Wait until the surveyor is done crawling around the boat before battering him with a million questions. If you are buying a turnkey boat there is really no reason to even be there. If you are buying a project boat then you should be on site.
Isn't it the findings of the surveyor that make the difference between a turn key and a project boat ?
I like to be hanging over the surveyors shoulder asking as many questions as possible and hope in return "he" the surveyor explanes his findings as he goes. And keep a look out for the surveyors relationship with the broker some are just a bit too close for comfort .Take your own list along and compare with the surveyors .Don't be to worried about asking questions and pointing out things do remember its you paying for the survey and the boat
https://youngandsalty.com/boat-survey-checklist/
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Old 05-05-2018, 07:09 PM   #7
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For a used trawler where the replacement cost of a bad engine could be 25-50% of the total boat cost, I would consider doing a separate engine survey. They are expensive, maybe $1,000 but they can be a good investment.

I have worked with several surveyors over the last few years, mostly with me on the selling side, and I never thought that they knew enough about engines to protect the buyer- not that there was anything to worry about with my boats ;-).

I just went through a survey last week. The surveyor didn't watch the temps as the boat ran at wot. He only asked me to run it at wot for maybe 30 seconds and all he cared about was wot rpms- dash rpms in fact and not phototached rpms. It takes several minutes of wot running to see if the temps are creeping up too high.

If the engine starts quickly from cold, don't smoke after warm up, runs up to rated phototached rpm in gear and don't overheat, no gas bubbles in the antifreeze overflow tank, fluid levels don't change after running, no water emulsion, valve train is clean with no rust, then you can probably forego an engine survey. But if any of these look suspicious, then do an engine survey.

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Old 05-06-2018, 01:08 AM   #8
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your surveyor should be SAMS or NAMS. Yes check with your insurance company. My surveyor is neither but happens to be at the top of my insurance companies preferred list.

A Surveyor’s job is to look for deficiencies, with engines this would be looking for leaks, missing hose clamps, excessive smoke, RPMs, oil pressure, water temp and alarms. Anything more would not be the surveyor’s responsibility.

I believe an oil analysis is should always be done but that is not part of a surveyor’s job.
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Old 05-06-2018, 12:52 PM   #9
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Before I got the surveys done on our boat I met with both surveyors over breakfast (yes, I bought).


I explained to them that this was my first venture into a "big boat" and told them I wanted them to help me avoid buying the proverbial pig with lipstick.


Both were very good about explaining how things worked, what they were looking at and looking for, etc.


Both did a great job and both were worth ever penny.
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Old 05-06-2018, 03:11 PM   #10
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Tell the owner that you want the engines to be stone cold including generators. You want to know what a true cold start is like, have the surveyor on board when they start it up to move to the haul out location. You want the bottom and running gear inspected before you do any in-water performance checks.

And why not hang around and ask questions of either the hull or the engine surveyor? They are your employees while working on your survey.... Most of these guys love to bend your ear with war stories and you can generally steer the conversation the way you want if you have a particular concern. It's a great chance to go to school on boats and engines and you are already paying for it.
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Old 05-06-2018, 05:21 PM   #11
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Yes - I'd definitely hang around and ask lots of questions. I don't trust surveyors as much as some others do.
Although the buyer is paying for his services, sometimes he may try to keep both parties happy. This is especially the case when the boat owner is from his local community and you are a non-local.
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Old 05-06-2018, 07:23 PM   #12
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You need to be there,observing. Way easier for the surveyor to explain while the issue under consideration is right in front of you both.
Be thoughtful about interrupting the flow of survey. Pick the time to ask questions or direct attention his attention.
It is likely you overlooked some issues in checking the boat yourself. Equally,while a surveyor is a professional,he`s still a human being subject to error,so if you have concerns about something, raise it.
You can pretty much assume something will be missed and only show itself later. That`s boats.
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Old 05-07-2018, 05:44 PM   #13
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I second the many points above.


Before hiring the surveyor I would visit with 2-3 over the phone. Look for who is a good communicator.


Don't rely on the written report, you need a written report, but you need to be present and engaged during the survey. I have asked surveyors about whether they would stop and show me any issues as they find them. After the survey you will be negotiating resolution (who pays for what) with the owner. The better you understand an issue, having seen it with your own eyes the better position you will be in.


If you see something on the boat your not sure about, ask your surveyor to explain why it is ok, or is not.


Of survey's in the past, most I have had to have a clarification call with the surveyor after receiving their report. Any of us can make mistakes, surveyors can forget to include an item in the report.


At the end of the survey, same day, do a debriefing with just you and the surveyor. Owner or broker not included.


Run through the list of issues found. Ask any questions, get clarification on issues.


Before hiring a surveyor I want to make sure that they will communicate with me (privately) during the survey, willing to hang around 15-30 minutes to debrief, and I want a commitment on when they will have the report and all photographs in my hands.


Also any research you can do about known issues with a particular model. Specific items you want the surveyor to look at closely. On our last purchase the particular model was known to have issues with trim tabs. Don't depend on the surveyor being an expert on the quirks and idiosyncrasies of a particular brand/model.


I always do both a hull survey and an engine survey.


Hope this is useful.
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Old 05-07-2018, 06:45 PM   #14
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These might help

Marine Survey 101

Sea Trail. it ain't just a boat ride.

Oil Analysis, is it worth it ?
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Old 05-07-2018, 06:56 PM   #15
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I would urge you to not be underfoot asking a lot of questions DURING the survey. The surveyor is going through systematically, your mind will not be. You will absolutely be distracting him. Yes, if he stops to show you something, then certainly ask tons of questions. However, save all of your questions for the end. Make notes for things you want to discuss and append them as the survey proceeds.

He's there to report on the value and soundness of the vessel. He's not there to teach you about your boat, but most will take the time to go over everything with you. Respect their time and process and they will respect yours.

When I was in high school my buddies father was a mechanic that had a sign in his shop for labor rates:

$20/hr
$30/ hr if you want to watch
$40/hr if you want to help
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Old 05-07-2018, 07:31 PM   #16
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He's there to report on the value and soundness of the vessel. He's not there to teach you about your boat, but most will take the time to go over everything with you. Respect their time and process and they will respect yours.
Absolutely not. A surveyor is there for you and hired by you... You are his client (the customer)... And the ones that are anywhere remotely worth your money and time ARE there to teach you. A lot! While you must try to stay out of his way (some things do take a while and you should go grab a coffee or something while he climbs and raps and measures) but the best ones will kinda drag you behind them while they work. That is my experience anyway.
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Old 05-08-2018, 12:11 PM   #17
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Iíd start by doing your own survey. I believe that concept was discussed elsewhere. Perhaps you can source surveys from similar makes and models to determine the issues and check those specific areas. Then you can decide whether moving to the actual survey makes sense. Iím somewhat of a neophyte, but after 5 years of boat ownership, I could probably find many significant problems myself before hand.
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