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Marine Surveys

A marine survey can mean different things to different people. For instance, to an inexperienced eye, polished, shiny, and clean constitutes good condition. To an experienced marine surveyor’s eye, one that can look deeper into the boat, shiny and clean is easily looked past and problems and past issues can be spotted.

WHAT IS A MARINE SURVEY?

My basic definition of a marine survey is an inspection of a vessel to determine its overall condition that day of the inspection. The marine survey should be comprehensive, thorough, and cover all systems in the boat as well as structure, cosmetic condition,  include findings and recommendations, and valuation. If you’re  intending to invest several thousand of your hard-earned dollars in purchasing a boat, a marine survey may be the least expensive and most valuable tool you have to assist you in that purchase.

WHAT I DO

 I go through a boat with a fine tooth comb. What I mean by that is that I slowly and methodically inspect every part of the boat that I can get to. Obviously I can’t see through walls or panels but you get the idea. That being said, if there are panels or coverings that are removable, I will make every effort to remove panels to inspect. For instance, I normally start in the bow of the boat and work my way aft and out of the boat. That way, I have a reference of where I’ve been, where I’ve inspected, made notes, and take photos. Along the way I will also test electrical and mechanical systems, and develop an inventory. It’s a lot of on my hands and knees and contorting my body but that’s what it takes to get a handle on the condition of the boat.

OUT OF WATER INSPECTION

Out of water inspections include assessment of the bottom paint condition, above and below waterline through hull fittings, propellers, zinc protection, rudders, keels, and cutless bearings. In addition I inspect for laminate condition using several different methods such as acoustical tapping on the hull with a lightweight hammer to moisture meter reads and if necessary will employee a thermo-imaging camera. The tools I use range from basic hand tools and flashlights to higher tech devices such as moisture meters for checking wet laminate coring, true RMS digital multi-meter, magnification devices, bore scopes, ultrasonic testing instruments, and thermo-imaging cameras. But tools are just that, and in the end, it takes experience and knowledge to know how to use and interpret what is inspected. I have surveyed well over 3,500 power and sailboats, commercial fishing vessels so I have the knowledge and experience.

TYPES OF SURVEYS

Condition & Valuation (C&V) for Purchase & Insurance:

  • This is the survey you want when purchasing a boat. The survey goes into great detail about all systems aboard, structure, and attached to the boat. Whether its a powerboat or sailboat, I’ll get the job done thorough and efficient manner.

Condition & Valuation (C&V) for Insurance

  • Periodically required by your insurance company to renew your insurance policy.

Damage Inspection

  • When a boat has suffered any damage large or small, a trained eye is required to determine the extent of damage, and as important, how to repair it. I have inspected hundreds of damaged boats and have the experience required to help get your boat repaired and you enjoying your boat again.

Appraisals 

  •  Estate settlement, taxes, donations and court cases are common requests for appraisals. The process is normally not as intense as a purchase survey and a fair market value is established after inspecting the boat and then using different tools at my disposal such as value guides, proprietary vessel sold databases, standard scales of depreciation, and my professional opinion.

Corrosion Inspection

  • Normally performed with the boat in the water using a meter and a silver-silver chloride half cell probe placed in the water. Then, all underwater metals fittings are tested to determine if any stray electrical current is affecting the fittings. In addition I test the shore power supply on the dock and the water around your boat – all these things can play a part in helping me get to the root of the problem.

HOW MUCH DOES A SURVEY COST?

I think it’s all about what value the survey brings to you. Normally the initial cost of the survey is outweighed by the information gained and gathered and the problems that are found or averted.  I can’t tell you how many boat owners that I have saved thousands of dollars for not to mention the life safety issues. I also understand that you want to spend your money wisely and I’m sure that I can help with that. Click here for the current Rate Card.

CAN I BE PRESENT AT THE BOAT DURING THE SURVEY?

You bet! In fact, I prefer that my clients are aboard when I am inspecting the boat so that I can explain the process as well as what I am finding that are good and not so good. A few minutes of conversation and explanation about a situation can make the issue clear. If there is a problem we can discuss the severity of the situation and how much repair coats might be. Plus I like company and someone to help me move things.

HOW MUCH TIME DOES A MARINE SURVEY TAKE TO DO?

Normally between 3-8 hours. It just depends on the boat size and condition. If the boat is extremely simple and clean, it’ll take less time and of course a boat that is the same size in poor condition, dirty, or full of extraneous stuff, or complicated systems will take longer. But rest assured that no matter the boats condition; I will take my time and get the job done no matter the time. As I am inspecting the boat I am making notes, photographing, testing and recording that information to my note pad, laptop or iPad. That way, I can get the report back to you quickly.

WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FOR WHEN YOU SURVEY MY BOAT?

Of the half a dozen or so common questions I get when talking with a new client, this one question is the most difficult one to answer. It’s hard to know where to begin with it and if I try to answer that question to literally I could spend days answering it – there really is just so much that I am looking for. But my normal standard answer is that I look for the things that could sink the boat, cause fire, or endanger lives. So I look at everything. And as important I am looking for what is not there or missing. Safety devices, fuses, breakers, lack of handholds, placards, guards – I think you get the idea. Needless to say it’s a lot to look for.

WHEN DO I GET MY MARINE SURVEY REPORT?

I normally can supply the written report to you within 24-48 hours. Same day report delivery is available for boats under 30 feet or so that are inspected early in the day.

STANDARDS I USE AS GUIDELINES

  • The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR)
  • American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC®) standards and recommended practices
  • Value determinations by BUC® Value, NADA©, Soldboats.com, ABOS, and Power Boat Guide
  • Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors (SAMS®) code of ethics and rules of practice
  • National Fire Protection Association (NFPA©)
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