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Old 11-13-2016, 07:26 PM   #1
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Survey and Sea Trial Question

Hi there, I am looking at purchasing a boat that is located about 800 miles from home. I flew out to see the boat in person along with my buyer's broker, and we are now under contract.

Next step is the general survey, mechanical (engine) survey and sea trial. It's going to be hard for me to be there in person for this. My question is whether or not I should have my broker go (I'd likely pick up the cost of the flight), or not.

My broker is vetting the surveyors pretty carefully, and is relying on his network to find a respected surveyor in the area in which we are buying the boat.

So should I trust that the surveyors will do their job thoroughly, and await the results, or should I plan to have my broker there if I can't make it?

Looking for some guidance, as this process is new to me.

Thanks!
Mike
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Old 11-13-2016, 07:51 PM   #2
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I would be there for the sea trial and survey no matter what. I bought our boat last year about 900 miles from home. Made sure to schedule the sea trial and survey when I could be there. I spent 2 days before the survey poking around the boat by myself. Learned a lot. When the survey was done I was able to tell the surveyor everything of note when he got there. He did ask me why I was paying for a survey, but the insurance required it. However if I had found anything that would have killed the deal, I could have cancelled the survey and saved the cost of the survey. You will learn a lot about your boat from the surveyor if he/she is good, but you would not have that opportunity if you are not there.
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Old 11-13-2016, 08:06 PM   #3
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I wouldn't have your broker go out. He is more useful after you get the reports and you need to negotiate through the findings. In fact most brokers understand the buying and selling process more than the hull and engine mechanics.

Frankly I would use the money to be there yourself. The surveyors are working for you, they will point out things to you as you go along and help you better understand them.

Fully understanding the findings is critical. Boat and engine survey reports can be scary things. There will be dozens of findings. However only a few may be important, the rest less so. Being there with your surveyors will help you know the difference.

Worst case, not being there could mean you overreact to the findings, cannot come to a settlement, and lose the boat.

Good luck to you.
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Old 11-13-2016, 09:29 PM   #4
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I would go there as well. If you find it's just impossible, I'd find someone to represent me there who has no involvement in the deal. It could be a captain or an engineer in the area. A professional in the industry, but one with good references and that you can trust to represent you.
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Old 11-13-2016, 09:42 PM   #5
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I recommend attending in-person also.

I went to upstate NY in January to meet the surveyor, seller, and see IRENE for myself. The surveyor was a real professional, and he essentially walked me through the survey. IRENE is very simple, but I learned a bunch from the surveyor...time well spent.

Good Luck,

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Old 11-13-2016, 10:06 PM   #6
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You need to be thier I have a boats that I was selling and the survey was done very fast the buyer was not.thier you need to be thier
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Old 11-13-2016, 10:19 PM   #7
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Thanks for the guidance. Unfortunately, it's going to be a challenge for me to be there. I do trust my broker. He actually checked out a boat for me down in FL and was very forthright in reporting all the issues with what seemed like, in photos, to be a very clean and problem free boat. So even though he is incented to sell me a boat, he's a very experienced broker who, based on his actions, has demonstrated that he's had my best interests in mind. So might not be a bad idea to have him go.

For further context, the boat is relatively new. It's a 2014 with 160 hours.
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Old 11-13-2016, 10:34 PM   #8
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Assuming the boat is of significant size, complexity and cost you should be there. As to paying for your broker to be there I wish that was the standard but it is not. Your broker if he can be, should be there on his own dime as he is paid when you make the purchase. It is part of doing business as a buyer's broker unless you mutually agree to different terms.
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Old 11-13-2016, 11:12 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelB1969 View Post

For further context, the boat is relatively new. It's a 2014 with 160 hours.
Then why is it for sale? What is it the previous owner didn't like? Seriously, I would want to understand the reason for selling. May be very logical, may be something that wouldn't concern you, may be something that would bother you as well. They did use it a reasonable amount.
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Old 11-14-2016, 12:04 AM   #10
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I would find a way to get there or schedule another time when I could be there.
There is soooo much that can be learned from the survey, sea trial and haul out that will aid you in your buying decision.
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Old 11-14-2016, 09:15 AM   #11
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I agree with others. I have purchased a boat 1,500 miles away about being there in person.

I lined everything up, haul out, survey, and engine survey all on one day.

Learned a lot about the boat. Was able to discuss maintenance areas with both the surveyors. Identified who was going to perform the work if the deal closed.

For example, did not necessarily have to do some work, but chose to replace belts, raw water pumps, and some hoses. I knew when the deal closed I was going to take the boat 800 miles or so.

Much easier having that face to face contact, hearing the surveyors comments as the day progressed rather than just relying on a report.

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Old 11-14-2016, 09:33 AM   #12
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I am just another person agreeing that you really should get there yourself as opposed to utilizing your broker. I would not leave this in a brokers hand and it appears this group does not completely rely on brokers either.
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Old 11-14-2016, 09:58 AM   #13
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Another: Reschedule so you can be there.

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Old 11-14-2016, 10:54 AM   #14
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I agree with the above. If I couldn't be there though, I would take BandB's advice and find somebody you can trust that is third party. I have numerous friends that aren't necessarily professionals but are extremely knowledgeable about boats that I would trust to go in my absence. I am sure your broker has your best interests, but even then, like someone said, they are their to facilitate the deal and are not necessarily all that boat savvy....kinda like a car salesman that knows WAY less about the car than you do. Anyway, I would feel pretty good about having a trusted third party go along in my place.
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Old 11-14-2016, 11:07 AM   #15
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Wifey B: Sorry, but I have to ask the hard question and hope it doesn't upset you, but it's a real concern. If you can't get away two days for the survey, the first really important thing involving the boat, how are you ever going to find time to use the boat? I'm not faulting you but seems a lot of people buy boats but don't have the time to use them, much less maintain them, because of other responsibilities. Maybe this is like a little test of your time for boating and having a boat?

Maybe I'm way way way way off target. Wouldn't be the first time, but, especially in this country, we seem to under-prioritize our leisure and pleasure and family time. Hubby can talk ad infinitum about the sad ways of the business world and expectations.

Do you have kids?
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Old 11-14-2016, 11:16 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BandB View Post
Wifey B: Sorry, but I have to ask the hard question and hope it doesn't upset you, but it's a real concern. If you can't get away two days for the survey, the first really important thing involving the boat, how are you ever going to find time to use the boat? I'm not faulting you but seems a lot of people buy boats but don't have the time to use them, much less maintain them, because of other responsibilities. Maybe this is like a little test of your time for boating and having a boat?

Maybe I'm way way way way off target. Wouldn't be the first time, but, especially in this country, we seem to under-prioritize our leisure and pleasure and family time. Hubby can talk ad infinitum about the sad ways of the business world and expectations.

Do you have kids?
A very astute observation!!!!
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Old 11-14-2016, 11:32 AM   #17
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I always suggest the buyer be at the survey. The written report will have most of the information but an in person description by the surveyor of items he finds can give the buyer much more information. The surveyor might find issues with the build of the boat that have never been noticed besides finding more recent issues. I often ask surveyors to explain some items in more detail to a buyer so the buyer understands if the problem is minor or needs to be dealt with sooner or later.
However I have also gone long distance to surveys without my client on board when I have had a long term relationship with that client. I prefer not to do that but someone must be there to represent the buyer.
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Old 11-14-2016, 04:22 PM   #18
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There can be many reasons other than a permanent lack of time or commitment for the OP to be unable to attend the sea trial and survey.
It is highly desirable to be there even if it requires rearranging other obligations, but if it`s not possible it`s not, the next best arrangement has to be substituted.
It is hard to see how a sea trial, a kind of "test drive" as well as a survey component, can be much use with the buyer absent.
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Old 11-14-2016, 04:31 PM   #19
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Another vote for the "be there" camp.
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Old 11-14-2016, 04:55 PM   #20
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I live near Tacoma, WA and purchased a 40' sailboat out of Marina Del Rey back in 2010. I also used a buyers broker.

There are a number of reasons for a sea trial, but one of the more important ones is to actually be on the boat underway. Boats are expensive and unless you know this particular type of boat very well and have spent time on that brand of boat at sea, I would definitely be there for the sea trial.

Look at it this way. Suppose you were looking to buy a Honda S2000 and found one that sounded good. If you had never driven one, never sat in one, would you buy it just because a mechanic you trusted said it was a good representative of the make/model? I wouldn't. I use this example because I have purchased sports cars in the past and have decided not to purchase some because after I actually did test drive them I found that the "fit" just wasn't good enough. A boat is a lot more expensive than a car and a much more expensive mistake to make.

I took my broker with me to CA for the sea trial. It cost me a day of production being out of my office, plus air fare and meals for the broker and I. I would strongly recommend scheduling for a day when you can get to the boat to be at the sea trial. You don't say why it would be hard to get away, but WifeyB makes a great point above.
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