Monday, November 8, 2010

Marine Surveyors Earn Their Fee

Not all serious problems are this obvious, which is why a surveyor is a must-have for used boat buying.

KYS Note: One of the many benefits of working with a YBAA broker is the professional handling of all aspects of your Boat purchase or sale process.  One of the components is identifying a Marine Surveyor to review and inspect your brokerage boat.   Enclosed is a good article that breaks down the necessity of Marine Surveyors. 

Marine Surveyors Earn Their Fee


Most of us would be able to spot obvious structural problems with a boat, but many issues are too subtle for anyone but a professional surveyor to catch.

November 8th 2010. By Chris Caswell.


It was an eye-opening experience because, as a long-time boat owner, I thought I knew a lot about boats. I was buying a used 25-foot fibreglass sportfisherman, and I’d already spent most of a day crawling around the bilges and poking into the corners, and I had given the boat a clean bill of health. But my insurance company had insisted on a marine survey, so I was following the surveyor as he examined the boat. A tiny crack in the gel coat at one corner of the cockpit led him, just like Sherlock Holmes in pursuit of a clue, to the main cabin bulkhead. I’d examined that same hull/bulkhead joint too, but the surveyor found another hairline crack that indicated the whole bulkhead had broken loose. In fact, all the bulkheads had “let go” from the hull to some extent, and they were so hard to spot that I’d missed them completely. In a few minutes, that surveyor had saved me more than 40 times his bill!

Even if you think you know everything about boats, you still need a marine survey. A survey assesses the structural condition of a used boat and will include electrics, plumbing, gas and other equipment, or if there is something the surveyor is concerned about, he will suggest a further inspection by a relevant expert (e.g. mast or engine). If you require a valuation you need to request it, as the surveyor won’t otherwise include it.

Although you can buy a used boat without a survey, you probably can’t arrange financing or insurance without one. So any idea of cutting costs by eliminating the survey is just going to make life difficult after you’ve bought the boat, especially if it won’t pass survey and you’ve already paid the buyer.

How to find a reputable surveyor

The first question faced by any prospective buyer is finding a reputable marine surveyor. Unfortunately, there is no licensing program for this profession, so anyone can have business cards printed up and call themselves an expert. Reputation is the key to finding a good surveyor, however, and you’ll need to do some sleuthing of your own to find one. Start with your finance company and ask them for a list of surveyors that they deal with. They’ll often have a list of “approved” surveyors from which you can pick. Call your insurance agent for his recommendations, and compare the two lists to see which surveyors are on both lists. From that point, you should call yacht brokers or boat dealers in your area and, if you know anyone who has recently purchased a used boat, ask about their experience or ask around a sailing club.


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