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Old 07-17-2017, 11:15 PM   #1
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Skip the survey?

I know the title alone probably makes most of you laugh at me or get sick to your stomach. Lets get past that. Help me out. I'm green.

The 1977 40' MT DC we're considering is the first "live aboard size vessel" we've ever considered purchasing.

The boat had a survey done in 2014. There were a few C level recommendations but no A or B level things wrong with her.

No mechanical survey was done at that time.

We're still negotiating the price thinking we may come to terms tomorrow. Shooting for the sea trial on Friday. Bringing two guys that know a lot more about boats than I do with me. One to look at the motor and the other to evaluate the boat's overall condition.

Here's my question.....

For a boat that's negotiated down to the mid 20's is spending 2 k on surveys really the best use of my money?

Am I foolish to think...

throwing on a mask and belly flopping into the drink to look at the hull for blisters is good enough.
figuring that if there were no major deficiencies in 2014 there likely aren't any now.
the sea trial will tell us all we really need to know about the motor and the tranny.
we can spend a couple hours on the boat combing it over with a fine toothed comb and identify if there are any major red flags.

Yes I'm serious.

From our initial inspection the boat needs lots of cosmetic love but appears to be overall a sound vessel.

Is there a situation in which you would buy a boat and skip the survey?
Thanks in advance for the feedback!!

-Perry
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Old 07-17-2017, 11:30 PM   #2
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Do not skip the survey. Period. Its cheap insurance and you will need it later anyway, (for your insurance company). You will be lucky to find a surveyor at this short notice. And $2000 is way too expensive. It should be less than a grand.
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Old 07-17-2017, 11:34 PM   #3
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I paid about $600 a year and a half ago for a survey on a 41' boat.
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Old 07-17-2017, 11:39 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PerryH View Post
I know the title alone probably makes most of you laugh at me or get sick to your stomach. Lets get past that. Help me out. I'm green.

The 1977 40' MT DC we're considering is the first "live aboard size vessel" we've ever considered purchasing.

The boat had a survey done in 2014. There were a few C level recommendations but no A or B level things wrong with her.

No mechanical survey was done at that time.

We're still negotiating the price thinking we may come to terms tomorrow. Shooting for the sea trial on Friday. Bringing two guys that know a lot more about boats than I do with me. One to look at the motor and the other to evaluate the boat's overall condition.

Here's my question.....

For a boat that's negotiated down to the mid 20's is spending 2 k on surveys really the best use of my money?

Am I foolish to think...

throwing on a mask and belly flopping into the drink to look at the hull for blisters is good enough.
figuring that if there were no major deficiencies in 2014 there likely aren't any now.
the sea trial will tell us all we really need to know about the motor and the tranny.
we can spend a couple hours on the boat combing it over with a fine toothed comb and identify if there are any major red flags.

Yes I'm serious.

From our initial inspection the boat needs lots of cosmetic love but appears to be overall a sound vessel.

Is there a situation in which you would buy a boat and skip the survey?
Thanks in advance for the feedback!!

-Perry
I bought a boat of similar vintage and price without a survey. Not saying that's right for you. For me it was. But when I closed on the boat and went shopping for insurance I ended up needing to have a survey done to get the insurance I wanted. Duhh. So do your homework in advance on whether anyone other than you might need the survey. If you've gotta have one it might as well be before you write the cheque!

Surveyor *loved* my boat, if anyone's wondering :-)
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Old 07-18-2017, 02:05 AM   #5
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Imagine when you do the insurance survey that you are told the bottom needs to be redone. You may not see this while it is in the water. Cost: $10k. Delamination of glass, a couple more grand. I know a lot about boats, but in the day I spent with two surveyors, i would never have found all issues.

Boaters are easy to buy, costly to repair. Work required to make her safe and usable could easily run more than the price of the boat.

Gordon
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Old 07-18-2017, 02:33 AM   #6
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Don't skip the survey, but don't spend $2,000 on it either. You could find that the boat you're buying for mid 20's needs that much more work.

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Old 07-18-2017, 04:01 AM   #7
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Insurance surveys and surveys for a prospective purchaser are two entirely different things, even if done by the same surveyor!
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Old 07-18-2017, 04:55 AM   #8
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Many friends including myself have bought boats without a survey, then got liability insurance or no insurance at all. These were boats in the similar price range. If you want insurance, you can get an insurance survey which is less detailed and for less money. Or your agent may accept the one from three years ago.

With the quality of some of the surveys I have seen, three knowledgeable guys crawling around for a few hours looking over things intently could get just as good or better a grasp on condition and issues.

Regarding insurance, some if not most marinas will demand your boat be covered so as a minimum you may need an insurance survey.
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Old 07-18-2017, 05:10 AM   #9
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I've bought boats with and without a survey. There comes a point, if you have owned enough boats and done most of the work and maintenance on them yourself, where you probably are qualified to spot issues on a boat on your own.

That is fine if you're not needing a survey for financing or insurance and the purchase price is so low that you are willing to accept anything you might miss. (For example, my center console, that I bought for $9000, wrote a check for, and only carry liability on, where the idea of a survey for it never even entered my mind).

But, the problem, is if you need financing or full insurance. Because, in that case you're almost certainly going to need one these days.

But, $2000 is a crazy figure for anything under 80 feet long.
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Old 07-18-2017, 05:54 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ski in NC View Post
Many friends including myself have bought boats without a survey, then got liability insurance or no insurance at all. These were boats in the similar price range. If you want insurance, you can get an insurance survey which is less detailed and for less money. Or your agent may accept the one from three years ago.

With the quality of some of the surveys I have seen, three knowledgeable guys crawling around for a few hours looking over things intently could get just as good or better a grasp on condition and issues.

Regarding insurance, some if not most marinas will demand your boat be covered so as a minimum you may need an insurance survey.
On the survey for insurance made on my boat, the surveyor recommendation on things to fix was... "replace expired flares"

L.
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Old 07-18-2017, 07:07 AM   #11
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I have a different prospective. You may want to get a survey so you know exactly what needs to be done immediately, what can wait and what is on the "would be nice to have list." Here are a couple of things to ask yourself:

Are we ever going to move the boat?

Are we ever going to use the plumbing?

Are the air conditioners running?

Electronics? Are they in working order?

Is your prop protected and in good shape?

When was the last time it was bottom painted?

Is the seller honest? Do you trust him/her?

Overall condition of the engines and generator?

Its a boat. No matter what condition, expect to dump some money into her. If you have a survey, at least you will have something to refer to, something to work off of, to check off the boxes. I refer to mine often. Regarding insurance, I was REQUIRED to
have a survey. As mentioned above, if you pay more than 6-7 hundred dollars, you got ripped off.

Get the survey.
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Old 07-18-2017, 07:35 AM   #12
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"I'm green" = Get a survey. Not necessarily a $2000 one.
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Old 07-18-2017, 07:43 AM   #13
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Would you marry a woman without getting to know her first?


Get the survey.
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Old 07-18-2017, 07:50 AM   #14
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You know nothing about the circumstances of the 2014 survey or anything since then. Picture you going to a doctor but instead of them wanting you to fill out forms on how you are today, they ask for how you were three years ago.

Sea Trial may eliminate the boat and need for survey. Otherwise spend up to $1000 on one. Although the boat is $20k, not having a survey could cost you that or even more.
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Old 07-18-2017, 08:15 AM   #15
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Little red flags should have popped up here. A live aboard boat in the 40 foot range for mid $20,000 ? What drove the price down so low? Could be that there have been one or more surveys done since the 2014 one, that found serious defects, driving down the price. There is no obligation on the owners part to tell you about these failed surveys. Buyer beware. The outside condition of a boat will tell you how well the mechanical systems have been taken care of. Boats go to hell fast when they just sit and not used.

Like others have said, if you are going to want to moor this boat in a marina, it will need insurance, and not $20,000 worth of insurance. You will need several hundred thousand dollars of liability insurance, and this will require a survey.
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Old 07-18-2017, 09:14 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Russell Clifton View Post
Little red flags should have popped up here. A live aboard boat in the 40 foot range for mid $20,000 ? What drove the price down so low? Could be that there have been one or more surveys done since the 2014 one, that found serious defects, driving down the price. There is no obligation on the owners part to tell you about these failed surveys. Buyer beware. The outside condition of a boat will tell you how well the mechanical systems have been taken care of. Boats go to hell fast when they just sit and not used.

Like others have said, if you are going to want to moor this boat in a marina, it will need insurance, and not $20,000 worth of insurance. You will need several hundred thousand dollars of liability insurance, and this will require a survey.

Winner Winner!

IMO the survey in this instance is critical- it's the unbiased review of the boat that may keep the buyer out of a financial morass.

Insurance wise- at one time a survey was not a requirement for liability only, but more and more carriers are requiring a survey for this coverage.
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Old 07-18-2017, 09:24 AM   #17
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Insurance wise- at one time a survey was not a requirement for liability only, but more and more carriers are requiring a survey for this coverage.

This makes sense. If you are an insurance company and you insure someone and their boat for damage they cause to others, it isn't just about you running over a kayaker and killing them.

If your electrical and fuel system is risky, you could lose the boat but also cause the destruction of other boats in your marina along with personal injury or death.

If your fuel tanks are rusty sieves you could leak fuel making the insurance company liable for a fuel spill and the resultant clean up. The same is true if your boat sinks at the dock, causing a fuel spill.

There are all kinds of reasons for an insurance company to want to know that at boat is safe and seaworthy even if they are only going to insure you for liability.
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Old 07-18-2017, 10:16 AM   #18
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This makes sense. If you are an insurance company and you insure someone and their boat for damage they cause to others, it isn't just about you running over a kayaker and killing them.

If your electrical and fuel system is risky, you could lose the boat but also cause the destruction of other boats in your marina along with personal injury or death.

If your fuel tanks are rusty sieves you could leak fuel making the insurance company liable for a fuel spill and the resultant clean up. The same is true if your boat sinks at the dock, causing a fuel spill.

There are all kinds of reasons for an insurance company to want to know that at boat is safe and seaworthy even if they are only going to insure you for liability.
Insurers have become more diligent in many areas on new policies and new customers. Credit worthiness is reviewed carefully even for those with automatic payments. It's not the credit they're worried about but the history of irresponsibility that translates into other areas.

Huge losses are often a result of insurers not knowing well the person being sold insurance.
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Old 07-18-2017, 10:20 AM   #19
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Wow! So much info so quick. Thanks everyone. I quickly read all the responses. I'll take the time today to read through a little slower and digest more.

Quick points of further clarification.

I would be writing a check for the boat.

I've priced liability insurance only at 500k/1M Seems like a survey is not required but I didn't find that out for sure. I do not plan to purchase full coverage insurance.

The guys I'm bringing with me have spent their entire lives (at 65 and 40 years old) on and around boats and diesel engines. They are the quintessential handymen, fabricator, do it your selfer, problem solver type of guys.

2k was not a quoted price for a survey. It was a word of mouth price from other guys who have had surveys done in a completely different location. Obviously it would have been better of me to get a quote from a couple different LOCAL surveyors. Hindsight. So 2k vs 600 really changes the perspective.

Such a boatload of great comments and perspectives. Thanks a ton everybody. You are a helpful bunch.

I'll keep you posted.

-P
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Old 07-18-2017, 10:22 AM   #20
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FWIW, I paid a bit over $600 for a survey on a 43' boat last year. The cost of the haul and hang was in addition to that.
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