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Old 10-09-2014, 05:12 PM   #1
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One good reason for a survey

Several years ago a friend of my purchased a 38' Mediterranean in Long Beach. My friend had been dreaming of owning a 38 Med for several years, found this one for $38,000. The boat was powered with twin 3208 Cats and looked pretty clean. My friend had very little big boat experience but was an avid fisherman who fished often as much 70 miles offshore in a 24' center council outboard, mostly out of Half Moon Bay or Moss landing. He had a lot of time in rough conditions in a small boat. He paid cash and was able to insure the boat without a survey.
His plan was to bring the boat up to the Bay Area over the July weekend. When he told me of his plans I told him that I thought this was unrealistic and he better plan on coming up at 6 knots instead of the 24knts he was counting on. I also told him you can't pound a big boat like you can a light center council deep V.
My friend enlisted two fishing friends none of which had any large boat experience for the delivery.
When I saw my friend the following Monday, I asked him how it went, He said not well, I sunk my boat. I said where , he said in the Harbor in Santa Barbara.
It turns out they had left Santa Barbara at 5am expecting to round Point Conception in light conditions , not long into the trip things were rough enough that my friend and one of the others were too sick to run the boat and the remaining man at the helm had almost no experience in the ocean and no experience running a large boat.
My friend sick, trying to sleep in the salon was woken by his boat landing off a wave large enough to fill the salon with dust from the headliner. He jumps up and looks around he says we were in breaking twelve footers, at that point he says to the others, I don't know about you guy's, but I don't have the male parts for this, were turning around.
Back in the harbor in Santa Barbara he arranges for a professional delivery skipper, rents a car and drives home to the Bay area.
11 o'clock that night he gets a call from the harbormaster telling him he needs to get down to the harbor his boat has sunk.
My friend is crapping his pants as he only has verbal from his insurance and he's not sure he's covered.
The insurance comes through and they salvage the boat and put in on stands for it's first hull inspection since my friend has owned the boat. He didn't think he needed survey, he thought he was sharp enough to see any problems.
Well it turns out that the hull had split along side the keel, about a four foot crack that had been painted over with bottom paint. This boat had been fished hard and maybe someone knowingly hid the damage or misjudged the extent of it. A survey probably would have found the crack.
He was lucky, the insurance made good, and the three of them didn't have to swim. Once around the point the next dry spot is a long way up the coast. They probably would have drowned. No raft, no eprb.
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Old 10-09-2014, 06:12 PM   #2
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Damn good reason, at that!
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Old 10-09-2014, 06:24 PM   #3
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I agree that anyone with that level of experience should have a survey, insurance and financing requirement or not.

OTOH when I bought my ninth cruising boat, a 9-3/4 year old Mainship Pilot 34, I decided to do it myself. Three years later and I still haven't found anything that I missed.

Not to toot my own horn, but checking a boat out thoroughly isn't rocket science, particularly if it isn't that old. And in my previous eight surveys, I found a wide disparity in surveyor competence. Some were great, others just got out of surveyor's school.

If I could be assured that my last boat purchase was surveyed by someone as competent as the best three of the last eight, I probably would have done it. But the odds were against me.

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Old 10-09-2014, 06:45 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by djmarchand View Post
I agree that anyone with that level of experience should have a survey, insurance and financing requirement or not.

OTOH when I bought my ninth cruising boat, a 9-3/4 year old Mainship Pilot 34, I decided to do it myself. Three years later and I still haven't found anything that I missed.

Not to toot my own horn, but checking a boat out thoroughly isn't rocket science, particularly if it isn't that old. And in my previous eight surveys, I found a wide disparity in surveyor competence. Some were great, others just got out of surveyor's school.

If I could be assured that my last boat purchase was surveyed by someone as competent as the best three of the last eight, I probably would have done it. But the odds were against me.

David

David, I think you are being a little too modest here. Your mechanical knowledge and experience in boats is far superior to that of the average boater. I have little doubt that with a certification and boiler plate forms you could easily start professionally surveying boats.

I have been around boats and engines for more years than I would like to say. I think that I can look at a boat as to its general condition. The problem is that laymen can't know what they don't know. I get the best surveyor that I can find. the average boater that thinks he can survey a boat is fooling himself.
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Old 10-09-2014, 07:09 PM   #5
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To paraphrase Dirty Harry, " a man has to know his boat's limits."
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Old 10-09-2014, 07:44 PM   #6
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The problem is that laymen can't know what they don't know. I get the best surveyor that I can find. the average boater that thinks he can survey a boat is fooling himself.


On larger more expensive vessels a sharpie like RickB is pretty standard especially when backed by a firm that banks and insurance companies recognize.

Two years ago we were getting ready to make an offer on a vessel that was in a large boat show. Amongst the visitors to the vessel were two that we had engaged from a well respected yard that commissioned this particular brand. They walked amongst the spectators on this vessel taking notes on issues they found, about half a dozen in all that were necessary repairs. This short list was part of the negotiations in the form of "deducts" and were indeed items that would have been addressed had we closed the deal. In addition an instrument guy did the same as we were curious if our desired nav and radar additions would be compatible with existing.

The point being, good yard guys familiar with brand specific build issues, costs and vessel systems can be a worthwhile part of pre purchase boat inspections.
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Old 10-09-2014, 08:13 PM   #7
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I misquoted the price

He had paid $83,000 for the boat. He now has a very nice Riviera about 40'. The owner is a plumbing contractor and like a lot of us overconfident, and probably underestimated the pitfalls of boat ownership. The workmanship of the Mediterraneans I've seen is very good, they might not be a Viking or a Riviera, but they look very well built. What you can't always tell is what kind of abuse a boat has been through. I looked at a KK Whaleback that had been next to a boat that burned to the water, if I hadn't been fore warned I would not have known. It had been repainted, but who knows what condition the laminate is in. There is a Valiant 40 in Portage bay that was struck by lightning. It was one boat over from mine. Lightning came out of the Valiant at the water line and jumped to the Advanti between us and burned out all of electronics and wiring. The Valiant was completely rebuilt and looked as new. The Advanti was rewired, Who knows what they really are like structurally. I had the honor of rewiring a Albin trawler that had the breakers switching the neutrals on the 120 and the shore power reversed. Would the average buyer pick that up?
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