Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 12-27-2012, 08:17 PM   #1
Member
 
City: Jacksonville
Country: USA
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 12
Surveyor Responsibilities?

I thought I was doing all the right things. Itís been 20 years since Iíve owned a non-trailerable boat so I was unclear on all the issues to look into before purchasing a used boat. I researched on line, through forums like this, to gain a good understanding of potential problems with the brand and style of boat I was interested in buying.

I also thought I was doing the right thing by hiring a specialized surveyor for the engine and a general surveyor for the boat hull and systems. Neither gave me a detailed checklist of what they would inspect and to what degree they would inspect each item. I thought they would check everything. Both men were highly recommended on forums like this one and by locals.

The survey, sea trial and haul out went well, I thought. They found some minor defects like a cracked exhaust hose, a few rusted hose clamps, and a few other minor issues but nothing expensive. So I bought the boat.

Once I got the boat on the hard, the yard did their standard condition check. They immediately detected a bad cutless bearing.

Along with doing the bottom, I wanted to personally fix the items listed on the survey while it was out of the water, so I put some beverages in the refrigerator, only to find out that it didnít cool. It turned on, just didnít cool.

While addressing issues noted in my surveyor's report I found the seawater strainer for the AC broken and half full of mud. This was not on the report.

Prior to hiring the surveyors, I specifically asked them to look for leaking decks and to inspect the fuel tanks for rust. I even asked for an ultrasound on the tanks but was informed that wouldnít be possible. Guess what? My tanks have bad rust on top and whether they can be fixed is unclear, but more than likely they will need replacing. That would have been a deal breaker, or at least a huge negotiating point.

While I was inspecting the teak deck with a friend who was showing me how I should caulk it in the future I noticed an entire section of the deck was loose Ė not attached, and three pieces were broken. Also not on the surveyor's report.

Correct me if Iím wrong, but I donít think I received the level of service I paid for. Surveys aren't cheap. I contacted both of the surveyors once I found the problems. One denied any responsibility and the other has never responded.

So I am offering a message of caution to anyone considering buying a used boat: 1) Prior to hiring a surveyor, ask the surveyor for a detailed list of what systems will be inspected and to what level of inspection they will inspect each item. Then, share that list with a boat owner to insure every system is listed. 20 Only hire physically small surveyors so they wonít have the excuse that they couldnít physically get to an item to inspect it. Mine were 250 lbs +each. 3) If you happen to be considering a boat in Sarasota Florida donít hire Mike Davenport or David Downes.
__________________
Advertisement

Sherwood is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-27-2012, 08:27 PM   #2
Guru
 
bobofthenorth's Avatar
 
City: Cowichan Bay, BC
Country: Canada
Vessel Name: Gray Hawk
Vessel Model: Defever 43 Offshore Cruiser
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 570
C'mon in - the water's warm:

Surveyor Recommendations

__________________

bobofthenorth is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-27-2012, 09:30 PM   #3
Guru
 
MurrayM's Avatar
 
City: Kitimat, North Coast BC
Country: Canada
Vessel Name: Badger
Vessel Model: 30' Sundowner Tug
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 3,321
Yikes...

Hopefully this experience will fade away under many enjoyable miles at sea!

I found this link helpful when I was looking;

Port Credit Marine Survey, Marine Surveyor, SAMS Accredited Marine Surveyor
__________________
"The most interesting path between two points is not a straight line" Murray Minchin
MurrayM is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-27-2012, 09:40 PM   #4
JAT
Guru
 
JAT's Avatar
 
Country: US
Vessel Name: Just a Tinch
Vessel Model: Gulfstar 44 MC
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 595
Find out if either of them have Error and Omissions Insurance. You paid for a service, and if you are not satisfied and they did not perform according to standards and did not find deficiencies in the boat that the yard found without much effort...then you, in my opinion, have grounds to demand either your money back, or even funds to offset the repairs as needed that they missed. (NOTE: I am not a lawyer. So what you think of what I say is up to you.

You could even file a small claims court action for refund of the fees you paid, or possibly even for the items they missed that needed repairs. Costs of filing for Small Claims Court are not that high in FL....
JAT is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-27-2012, 09:59 PM   #5
Guru
 
bobofthenorth's Avatar
 
City: Cowichan Bay, BC
Country: Canada
Vessel Name: Gray Hawk
Vessel Model: Defever 43 Offshore Cruiser
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 570
Their liability has nothing to do with whether or not they have E & O insurance. They're either liable or they aren't. If they are and they have E & O insurance then it may or may not pay on their behalf but that's none of the OP's concern. I don't know if I'd bother dragging their asses into court but if I did I'd spend exactly zero seconds worrying about whether or not they were insured.
bobofthenorth is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-28-2012, 07:25 PM   #6
Senior Member
 
Duvie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 177
To me it comes down to time spent on the boat by the surveyor. No one is going to give you an accurate survey with 2 to 4 hours spent on the vessel. To me it should be a two day event. I think often more time is spent on the write up than on the boat. Time = money and you get what you pay for.
Duvie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-28-2012, 08:05 PM   #7
Guru
 
Tony B's Avatar
 
City: Joe Wheeler State Park, Al
Country: Cruising/Live-Aboard USA
Vessel Name: Serenity
Vessel Model: Mainship 36 Dual Cabin -1986
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 1,250
If I that happened to me, I too would publish their names and locations on here and other boating forums. Now that is "useful information".
Thanks.
__________________
Cruising the Eastern U.S. Inland Waterways and Gulf Coast. Presently on the ICW in Louisiana and heading Back to Texas.
Tony B is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-28-2012, 08:47 PM   #8
Guru
 
BruceK's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 7,564
Whether or not a surveyor has pro neg insurance only helps determine whether he is worth the "powder and shot" of suing. His insurer is only liable to pay if he is; detail of that depends on the terms of his cover.
A surveyor should spend as much time as necessary to produce an accurate thorough report unless he tells you he won`t, in which case get another surveyor. If he finds time being extended by what he is finding he ought tell you,you may want to "pull the pin" on that boat and stop the survey.
Past performance is a guide, not a guarantee, of a good job. The same surveyor did a much better job of my last boat than the current one, I won`t use him again.
One measure of loss would be the cost of restoring to reasonable standard consistent with the rest of the boat (ie not new condition) the items missed. You could start with a fresh survey by someone else to demonstrate what he should have found and to cost work not already done.
Watch for exclusions/limitation of liability by the surveyor. They should come when the contract to do the survey is made, rather than in the survey itself, but limits placed on aspects of the survey report may have similar effect.
Some kind of less legalistic "Consumer Claims Tribunal" if one exists, rather than a Court system, is better than getting bogged down in litigation. You could go through the briar bush for little gain, throwing good money after bad, let down by so called professionals only to lose more $ chasing them. You have to be practical deciding what to do.
Not knowing your defamation laws, I don`t know the wisdom of naming these guys.
__________________
BruceK
Island Gypsy 36 Europa "Doriana"
Sydney Australia
BruceK is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-29-2012, 08:44 AM   #9
Member
 
City: Jacksonville
Country: USA
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 12
Bob, I showed my wife your first response and we both had a good laugh. Thanks!

Unfortunately I don't have time to drag them to court, plus they are 100 miles away from where I live, making it cost prohibitive. I can only hope that I have, in some small way, helped someone to "Think" before hiring a surveyor.

The last part of my sad story is, I had researched and chose the guys I hired prior to asking the broker who he would recommend... they were on his list. I knew better. I almost hired different surveyors, but ran out of time. Another problem of mine. Time is money.

Thanks.
Sherwood is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-29-2012, 11:16 AM   #10
Guru
 
Phil Fill's Avatar
 
City: Everett Wa
Country: US
Vessel Name: Eagle
Vessel Model: Roughwater 58 pilot house
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 2,919
I always try to be there/with anybody that comes on the boat for repair survey and ask a lot of questions. I have found the best list is from banks, finance and insurance companies as they usually have a preferred list. Also we could have send you a list of things the surveyor should check.

When we bought the Eagle we were green newbies so we relied on known resourses, asked alot of question, learned alot, and varified what I could. I agree the surveyor should have cacht and reported most of what you mentioned. I would definitly contact then, talk to an attorney, usually the first metting if free, and at least file a small cliams court action. Then there is legal, public action, notice.


However.your money and time maybe better repairing and replacing the items. The first two major concerns are the tanks and decks. So start a new discussion giving as much detail and pictures as you can. Most/some of us who own older boats have been thete a.d done most of what you mentioned.
Phil Fill is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-29-2012, 12:26 PM   #11
GFC
Guru
 
GFC's Avatar
 
City: Tri Cities, WA
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Beachcomber
Vessel Model: Sea Ray 550 Sedan Bridge
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 2,685
Before I hired either of the two surveyors to do Beachcomber, I asked them to send me a sample report from a survey they had done. I didn't care about the quality of the boat they had surveyed, but I wanted to see how thorough they had been and how thorough their report was.

Both reports well done, both surveys had been well done, and both surveyors got the job.
__________________
Mike and Tina
Beachcomber 1995 Sea Ray 550 Sedan Bridge
GFC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-29-2012, 03:32 PM   #12
JAT
Guru
 
JAT's Avatar
 
Country: US
Vessel Name: Just a Tinch
Vessel Model: Gulfstar 44 MC
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 595
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobofthenorth View Post
Their liability has nothing to do with whether or not they have E & O insurance. They're either liable or they aren't. If they are and they have E & O insurance then it may or may not pay on their behalf but that's none of the OP's concern. I don't know if I'd bother dragging their asses into court but if I did I'd spend exactly zero seconds worrying about whether or not they were insured.
Not trying to be argumentative, and I agree that the insurance question does not solve their liability....however....in the event that they made a major error...or three, and missed some very serious defects that would have had a significant effect on the buying decision or price adjustment....it could make a difference in recompense for their sloppy work.

Lets say the fellow doing the survey on the engine(s) does a really poor job....and it turns out that the engine is in very bad shape, though represented on paper as good.... Surveyor fails to find fault. Big $$ mistake.... I'd rather pursue all avenues than just one....
JAT is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-29-2012, 04:40 PM   #13
Guru
 
bobofthenorth's Avatar
 
City: Cowichan Bay, BC
Country: Canada
Vessel Name: Gray Hawk
Vessel Model: Defever 43 Offshore Cruiser
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 570
You're missing the point JAT. The surveyors' liabiility or lack of liability is independant of their decision to carry E & O insurance. In point of fact the OP may have BETTER success claiming if his surveyors DON'T carry insurance. That's because in the case of an insured claim he will quickly find himself dealing with the insurer's lawyer who doesn't really care how long it takes to settle. In the case of an uninsured contractor the guy you're dealing with has to write the cheque. He may just want to make you go away and consequently be more willing to pay up sooner.

I think you're confusing ability to pay with liability for payment. The liability (or lack of liability) rests with the surveyor. Depending on the size of the claim he may simply be unable to pay and in that case obviously the OP would hope he carries insurance. However if he was as sloppy as he appears to have been then the chances of him carrying E & O insurance are lower IMHO.

As I said in the other thread, if you are hiring a toy boat surveyor then in the vast majority of cases you are simply on your own. You better understand the boat and its systems well enough to survey them yourself. My guess is if the OP carefully reads whatever contract he signed with his surveyor he will find some weasel words that let the surveyor off the hook completely no matter how great the disconnect between the survey results and the actual vessel condition.
bobofthenorth is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-30-2012, 12:36 PM   #14
JAT
Guru
 
JAT's Avatar
 
Country: US
Vessel Name: Just a Tinch
Vessel Model: Gulfstar 44 MC
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 595
Actually, I didn't miss the point...., and in fact I pretty much agree with you.

And I especially agree with you that a buyer should be very knowledgeable about the systems on any boat he or she is buying...and do as much pre-surveying as possible.

When we looked at boats...my wife and I would go through any prospective boat with a fine tooth comb. I think we even rattled a few brokers, and got challenged on a couple of occasions. We weren't doing anything "invasive or destructive"....but I have no problem crawling a bilge, lifting access hatches, checking bilge pumps, rubbing a cloth on the belly of an engine...you get the point....

Here's the rub though....engines and generators...not too many people wandering around willing to write a check to cover one of them.... That is where the insurance comes in.... And yes, I am well aware of the hassles involved in litigation, afterall I live in what is probably the most litigous state in the US.... And I can also tell you, that here in FL....fine print is just fine print...and won't prevent recourse....in any event.
JAT is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-30-2012, 06:30 PM   #15
Guru
 
BruceK's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 7,564
Quote:
Originally Posted by JAT View Post
. And yes, I am well aware of the hassles involved in litigation, afterall I live in what is probably the most litigous state in the US.... And I can also tell you, that here in FL....fine print is just fine print...and won't prevent recourse....in any event.
Not sure about USA but here, agreement terms by which one party tries to limit a liability which would otherwise exist, are read/construed narrowly or down, ie against the person trying to limit liability, so as to reduce the effectiveness, where possible. Which fits with the comment about "fine print" being just that.
Life has taught me that often the greatest knowledge of systems/equipment regularly used is with the user. But it takes a long while to develop that expertise with boats,as distinct from say autos we grew up with, so we use surveyors, because we don`t know, or because we want back up opinion or to fill gaps in our knowledge, or because our lender or insurer wants it. Even good surveyors have an off day. Anyone without great expertise, who buys a used boat and sets off on a 500mile delivery voyage based on a good survey, invites trouble.
__________________

__________________
BruceK
Island Gypsy 36 Europa "Doriana"
Sydney Australia
BruceK is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off





All times are GMT -5. The time now is 02:03 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.0
Copyright 2006 - 2012