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Old 03-24-2020, 12:07 PM   #1
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Would you have issues with this Surveyor?

He wrote me up for expired portable fire extinguisher. I thought surveyors were supposed to follow USCG Regulations and/or ABYC "Recommendations? Keep in mind I hired this guy to do an in water survey.

See Below. What say you TF?



I sent the following to my surveyor:


Hi David,

This is just FYI.

I started to dig into the portable fire extinguishers and the expiration date. What I found was this.

ABYC does not address expiration dates of portable extinguishers.
USCG also does not address expiration dates.

Therefore the only one that does address expiration dates is NFPA 10, section 7.3.6.3.

According to NFPA the expiration is 12 years after the manufacture date.
None of the above requires or recommends that fire extinguishers be mounted horizontally. A USCG Auxiliary suggested it to me, which make sense if I have the room.

My fire extinguishers were manufactured in 2015, so they would expire in 2027.

It just so happens that these particular fire extinguishers had been recalled by the manufacture Kidde. They are shipping me new fire extinguishers at no cost to me.

I am not trying to criticize you or your ability to conduct a fair survey.

Have a great summer.

Tom


His Response:

Thanks. The information I received about replacing the fire extinguishers was by the pro technician at Huser fire whom weighs and certifies them. Not abyc and not nfpa. They recommend the replacement of the plastic head units because the potential of plastic degradation and failure. Metallic nozzeled units are 12 years of service before they are no longer serviceable. I don't always follow abyc standard because it doesn't always apply to real world situations, and sometimes it's flat out unreasonable. Sometimes the guide line does.
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Old 03-24-2020, 01:37 PM   #2
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In home inspections, the expectation is that they will find a few things wrong in their inspection. I have a friend who does this, and in his first inspection of a house he found things wrong, which were subsequently "repaired". In his second inspection of the same home, he found other things wrong that had not been "discovered" on his first inspection that need to be corrected. His credentials as an inspector are that he has worked in the construction industry for "X" number of years. He was a painter and dry waller...

I can only assume that a marine surveyor likewise has credential history that probably wasn't specific to his job as a surveyor, like being a Captain or Mate for "X" number of years before becoming a surveyor.

I think you did it the right way!
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Old 03-24-2020, 02:18 PM   #3
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A surveyor carries no responsibility for his survey, only his reputation. Even if you replace all of your extinguishers, say 10 of them, that would likely only be around $250 at Costco, which ticks the box for your insurer and you can move on. At least he didn’t find “hull issues” or tank issues. That could really hurt.
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Old 03-24-2020, 02:25 PM   #4
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It's a good thing he didn't mention the boat would look better painted blue.



My insurance company would have required me to paint the boat blue.


Get a new fire extinguisher.
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Old 03-24-2020, 02:27 PM   #5
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Ok understand. But I am paying the surveyor to do an inspection on my boat to make sure it comply with USCG and ABYC standards not XYZ fire extinguish Joe. I pay for accuracy not what the surveyor BFF states.
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A surveyor carries no responsibility for his survey, only his reputation. Even if you replace all of your extinguishers, say 10 of them, that would likely only be around $250 at Costco, which ticks the box for your insurer and you can move on. At least he didn’t find “hull issues” or tank issues. That could really hurt.
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Old 03-24-2020, 02:28 PM   #6
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I have 5 new ones coming
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It's a good thing he didn't mention the boat would look better painted blue.



My insurance company would have required me to paint the boat blue.


Get a new fire extinguisher.
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Old 03-24-2020, 02:29 PM   #7
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If the surveyor had a good reason for making a recommendation outside of ABYC / USCG standards, I'd be ok with that. If, for example, he had some kind of documentation that showed a fire extinguisher shop had been seeing a high rate of failure with a certain type of extinguisher past X years of age or something, I'd be happy to know that and replace them.

Stuff like that shouldn't just be based on the surveyor's opinion though.
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Old 03-24-2020, 03:32 PM   #8
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The surveyor should be working to ABYC, USCG standards and anything special that the insurance company specified. He should not be working to someone that weighs extinguishers specifications. Is he a NAMS or SAMS member? That would be the first thing I would look for when picking a surveyor. If he isn’t then the insurance company may decline to accept his survey. His reply to you is laughable.
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Old 03-24-2020, 03:33 PM   #9
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Not sure why you have a problem. Seems to me he gave you good information.
We routinely carried out fire safety inspection annually that involved checking all extinguishers ( I think we had about 10) and the automatic suppression system. Most of the cheap extinguishers are fine but do not last as long as you think. Fire is one of the most deadly events to happen on a boat. Best to have an overkill (excuse pun) approach IMO. On the other hand we had a boater friend who had never tested/inspected any of his fire safety systems in 12 years ownership!!
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Old 03-24-2020, 04:18 PM   #10
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I would expect that if in the course of the survey, the surveyor came across additional things that he noticed, reporting them to you would be appropriate. Yours was a unique survey request, but even so, I would want the surveyor to note expired extinguishers. He probably should have put it in an "other" section, noting it was not a USCG or ABYC issue.

I guess I always had strange relationships with auditors and consultants as they have specific work to do but with all the time and money they had to observe other things and I wanted those things brought to my attention.

In this case also I think not mentioning the extinguishers would have been wrong.
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Old 03-24-2020, 04:25 PM   #11
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What did you ask him to do?
Did you specify to those standards only?

I had those fire extinguishers. The handle could break on actuation. Not really when you want it to. Kiddie replaced all mine.

Not only did he possibly help you out, his answer makes perfect sense. Only metal nozzles are good for 12 years. The new Kiddie are metal.

So although the code does not require it. He was ahead of the code. Be interesting to see what else he noticed.

The Kiddie issue is well know to marine surveyors.
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Old 03-24-2020, 05:16 PM   #12
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What did you ask him to do?
Did you specify to those standards only?

I had those fire extinguishers. The handle could break on actuation. Not really when you want it to. Kiddie replaced all mine.

Not only did he possibly help you out, his answer makes perfect sense. Only metal nozzles are good for 12 years. The new Kiddie are metal.

So although the code does not require it. He was ahead of the code. Be interesting to see what else he noticed.

The Kiddie issue is well know to marine surveyors.
Well all my extinguishers were bad due to the recall, not because of plastic handles. From what I researched absent the recall, my extinguishers were legal and outside the 12 year expiration.

I asked him to do an in water survey for insurance. All haul out facilities are closed.
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Old 03-24-2020, 05:57 PM   #13
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Well all my extinguishers were bad due to the recall, not because of plastic handles. From what I researched absent the recall, my extinguishers were legal and outside the 12 year expiration.

I asked him to do an in water survey for insurance. All haul out facilities are closed.
And why would you consider his fire extinguisher comments outside the scope of the survey or inappropriate. Legal doesn't mean good. So yours are bad due to recall and otherwise undesirable even if legal. I'm just not getting why you feel he did wrong. If I was an insurer, I would definitely expect the report to include fire extinguishers.
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Old 03-24-2020, 06:51 PM   #14
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I recently switched my insurance carrier and had to complete a new out of water survey. The survey noted several fire extinguishers of the plastic handle type which needed to be turned over to Kidde for exchange. The surveyor told me that I had to have the fire extinguishers certified by a fire equipment company, which I did, but now the fire equipment company says that the only way my extinguishers would remain insurance certified would be with a yearly inspection costing $25 per extinguisher and $125 for the Fireboy system in the ER. That’s eight 2.5 lb.. and two 5 lb. units. I watched the inspection and it involved observing the gauge to be in the green, and then tagging each unit. $375 per year? I want my boat to be safe but I could probably save $100 or more by just replacing all but the Fireboy with Costco units on sale. Still thinking about it.
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Old 03-24-2020, 07:03 PM   #15
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And why would you consider his fire extinguisher comments outside the scope of the survey or inappropriate. Legal doesn't mean good. So yours are bad due to recall and otherwise undesirable even if legal. I'm just not getting why you feel he did wrong. If I was an insurer, I would definitely expect the report to include fire extinguishers.
Yes I do have a problem with it. The Surveyor relied on non-marine requirements to make a write up that "could" mean the difference in insurance costs. As stated here he should have known of the recall. He didn't. Instead he suggested I take the bottles to his friends shop to have new handles installed.

Again I paid for a qualified marine ACMS surveyor. I want the report to be accurate and complete. These inspections has a direct influence on your insurance.
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Old 03-24-2020, 09:38 PM   #16
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I would expect a survey to meet the USCG minimum standards for a recreational vessel. Those would include minimum number and type of fire extinguishers with current inspection stickes or hang tags. The USCG does require that current sticker from an authorized service company. The assumption is that the service company will make sure all requirements for the extinguisher are met before issuing the tag.

Cost of the inspections varies widely and has no bearing on quality. My Maryland facility charges $7 per tank and usually does them while I wait. The one time I did it in Fort Myers, it cost 3 times the price.

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Old 03-24-2020, 11:19 PM   #17
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Yes I do have a problem with it. The Surveyor relied on non-marine requirements to make a write up that "could" mean the difference in insurance costs. As stated here he should have known of the recall. He didn't. Instead he suggested I take the bottles to his friends shop to have new handles installed.

Again I paid for a qualified marine ACMS surveyor. I want the report to be accurate and complete. These inspections has a direct influence on your insurance.
But regardless of the reason you still need to replace your extinguishers. That's all the insurer will do is require that, not charge more.
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Old 03-24-2020, 11:43 PM   #18
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But regardless of the reason you still need to replace your extinguishers. That's all the insurer will do is require that, not charge more.
True
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Old 03-24-2020, 11:56 PM   #19
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You lost me at the mounting of the equipment was supposed to be "horizontal". Every extinguisher I have (other than my halon unit in the ER) is mounted vertically. Can someone explain the horizontal mounting thing?
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Old 03-25-2020, 12:13 AM   #20
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I do not recall if you shared the wording from the survey.
It sounds like the surveyor gave you the bottom line, your extinguishers need to be replaced but not the reason why. He and perhaps the extinguisher guy consulted should have told you they are under recall. Neither seems to know they are good for 12 years before the recall. Surveyor had to ask as he did not know your extinguishers and then was given misleading info.

With CGA we were also told to suggest horizontal mount to spread the powder and reduce compaction event. Back then no rules about testing annual, so we shook them, tilted to feel powder flowing, otherwise it was a fail.

I thought the recall was to do with the plastic nozzle?

Your letter to surveyor was well worded and his reply also. He may have since learned more about it.
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