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Used Boat Survey questions

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Old 02-02-2012, 11:49 AM
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Recently I was surprised to learn that some (perhaps all?) boat surveyors do not perform any procedures that are intrusive to the boat, such as an engine leak-down test, compression test, check of the out drive fluid for metal particles, etc. I was told that if I wanted those engine/drive tests done that a mechanic would need to be hired.

In my mind, buying a boat without it being fully tested is like buying a car without test driving it, or buying a house without a home inspection.

For those who have purchased a used boat and had a survey done, I'm curious to know what your survey consisted of, did you do an in-water prior to agreeing to the boat purchase, and were engine & drive tests run?

Thanks in advance
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Old 02-02-2012, 12:08 PM
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Surveys are done to varying levels but a general survey is just that, general. All you mentioned above are things that can (or should) be coordinated by a good survey tech either by himself or with a mechanic. My survey guy up here is one of the best and has a good ability to give a great "general" assessment of a boat and i trust his experience, for more in depth intrusive info he will coordinate a mechanic for whatever else is needed but keep in mind you can take a five hundred dollar or so survey and get over a grand and up real quick. It just depends on the boat you are looking at i guess.


I dont really feel any need to go beyond a good general survey (for me anyway being in the biz). Things like internal drive and engine condition are a crap shoot and i feel are beyond something i would like to rest on someone elses shoulders. I would rather make that assessment on what i know of the seller and info i have on the history of the boat in question.


Funny thing is i have been in this biz for a while and my survey guy catches things i overlook all the time. He puts together a nice report with pics and suggestions and a nice breakdown of the entire boat. Would not consider a boat without his input.
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Old 02-02-2012, 01:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SR-71 View Post

For those who have purchased a used boat and had a survey done, I'm curious to know what your survey consisted of, did you do an in-water prior to agreeing to the boat purchase, and were engine & drive tests run?

Thanks in advance
Here's a copy/paste of a reply I had on another thread a few days ago.

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Originally Posted by huskyrider View Post

One suggestion I may offer is that if you can get there in person you would be well served.
I bought my boat last year, sight unseen, based on pic's from e-mails, a Team Merc marina's powertrain's/SC's/outdrive's survey, and a marine surveyors survey and seatrial. I MUST SAY it was the worst inner feelings I've ever had having to completely rely on another man's input on a purchase I never laid eyes on.
All in all it worked out good as the surveyor noted something completely nondisclosed by the seller, and assisted me in knocking my purchase price down significantly. But I had already dropped quite a bit of money for the multiple surveys and would have been super pissed and filed suit for his hiding an issue if he didn't drop the price for the value of the repair.
We had a contract in which he stated "no known mechanical and structural issues" and he knew about them even though he didn't disclose it.

Good luck, I hope you get the boat of your dreams at the price your wishing to pay.
Remember, it ain't about the asking price, it's all about the agreed sales price.

See ya,
Kelly
To my seller I offered a purchase contract based on passing all surveys and and that the seller was unaware of any known mechanical or structural issues. My surveyor found many little baby blisters in the gel coat below the freeboard which were not noted by the seller. When I addressed him on these he said that they were no big deal and not an issue.
He was wrong on both accounts, it was huge to me.

See ya,
Kelly
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Old 02-02-2012, 11:04 PM
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You can plug a scan tool into the pcm and see how hard the engines have been worked. Alot of info is given. I have a rinda model.
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Old 02-03-2012, 07:28 AM
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When I had a survey done. It was extra for a mechanical survey. I thought that it was worth it since I thought my boat was a good deal and I wanted to move on it. I wish I could think of the Surveyors name, but I can't I'll post it later. I didn't do any diligence myself on finding the surveyor except asking the brokerage's recommended financial person. Get a good recommended Surveyor that has no bias with the seller.
The survey was to include oil analysis, compression checks, etc.... I did test the boat in fog and slowly and everything worked. After I got the boat home, being the maintainence freak that I am, I started checking things. The first Dipstick I pulled was broken off. So this made me wonder since nothing was mentioned in the survey. Then I pulled a drive oil plug and everything but a complete gear came out.
I called the surveyor and asked him what the results of the oil analysis and compression checks were. I knew he could not have even checked the oil because the Dipstick was broken. I confronted him on the findings and he told me next conversations would be in court. I'll have to post this ex military mans honorable name again. Works well with google search's.
Bottom line, it is an expensive purchase, get a good surveyor and do your diligence. Try to keep your emotions out of it.
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Old 02-03-2012, 08:27 AM
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A potential buyer just hired someone to survey my boat last week. What a Joker.. He did the survey earlier in the week at the boat yards indoor storage building. He then met with the buyer and myself on Saturday to go over his findings.First was a mention of body and paint work on the port side.He said he could see where the paint was blended. I walked over,wet my finger and rubbed off a 4 inch long water line that I missed when waxing in the fall. It only got better from there.He told the buyer that the boat had extensive electrical problems.Nothing worked,blowers,bilge,nav lights,cabin lights,etc. I asked if the batteries were on,his reply,"Yes,I have been doing this for 30 years".I asked,"how about the breakers?".He said he checked them all.I jumped up in the boat,pushed in every breaker,(the boat yard disables everything)and turned everything on.I turned to the Surveyor and said "I think we are done here,no?"The buyer handed back the report and requested his survey check back.Made my day.. Do your homework on your surveyor.
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Old 02-03-2012, 08:53 AM
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Originally Posted by BONDO10 View Post
A potential buyer just hired someone to survey my boat last week. What a Joker.. He did the survey earlier in the week at the boat yards indoor storage building. He then met with the buyer and myself on Saturday to go over his findings.First was a mention of body and paint work on the port side.He said he could see where the paint was blended. I walked over,wet my finger and rubbed off a 4 inch long water line that I missed when waxing in the fall. It only got better from there.He told the buyer that the boat had extensive electrical problems.Nothing worked,blowers,bilge,nav lights,cabin lights,etc. I asked if the batteries were on,his reply,"Yes,I have been doing this for 30 years".I asked,"how about the breakers?".He said he checked them all.I jumped up in the boat,pushed in every breaker,(the boat yard disables everything)and turned everything on.I turned to the Surveyor and said "I think we are done here,no?"The buyer handed back the report and requested his survey check back.Made my day.. Do your homework on your surveyor.
Holy crap...who was that??? also what are u getting?
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Old 02-03-2012, 09:03 AM
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This is a great question. i was going to ask this question but in regards to fuel tanks.

Does or will a survey include checking fuel tanks and how do they do it? is it a pressure check or scope it?

Does anyone worry about this? I understand the obvious fuel smell, but on a boat that hasn't been used and tanks are nearly empty is it a concern? I have been told that aluminum tanks have a longevity of 20 yrs. after that is borrowed time?

I ask because replacing tanks on a boat could run well north of 5k.

thanks- Bryan
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Old 02-03-2012, 09:17 AM
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Be aware, not everyone who charges to do a survey is certified. I had one joker who told me his qualifications were a class in admiralty 20 years ago! A good non mechanical survey will at least include moisture measurements on bottom, transom and bulkhead/stringers. A good mechanical survey is usually best performed by a good marine mechanic or VERY technically qualified person. Just because someone has been "inspecting" boats for 20 or 30 years does not make them competent to access engines and other mechanical condition.

Last edited by supercat; 02-03-2012 at 10:19 AM.
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Old 02-03-2012, 09:19 AM
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Scarab63 I'd rather not post his name,but he was from Cape Cod. Not sure what I will end up with.I looked at the 38 Ilmore Donzi in Key West.Really like the set-up,but the boat was well used,and needed a cosmetic re-do.Would really like to get into a 39 Top Gun with 700's or a 700 Quattro. But a little out of the budget.

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