Monday, July 16, 2012

The Marine Survey


By nature, a marine survey is supposed to uncover problems with your boat.  That's what you pay them for.  So when a boat goes to survey, you should brace yourself because (if you have a good surveyor) issues, be them big or small, will rear their ugly heads.  If they don't, it could be reason for concern.  Our recent survey uncovered a few large issues that total about 25K worth of "complications".  Let's do some math: $25,000 - $1,500 = $23,500.  Yeah.  I'd say paying for a survey was worth it.

Marine surveys are one of those things that some boaters scoff at.  I'm not sure why, but there are people who feel they can inspect boats better than professionals or that the professionals who inspect boats aren't worth their salt.  I'm sure both of these scenarios are true in some circumstances, but for us - we have found neither to be the case.  In our humble opinion this is too big a purchase to take a gamble on.  I mean, we'd never buy a home without a home inspection - why would we buy a boat without a boat inspection?  Seems like a no brainer to us.  When we "inspected" the boat a couple months ago, she looked "pristine" (minus a few minor issues that we noted).  Guess that goes to show what the heck we know.  At the moment, I am literally thumbing through a ten (count that, ten) page report detailing the surveyor's "recommendations".  Sa-weet.  One line item reads "replace stainless steel anchor shackle with a conventional galvanized swivel and shackle" while another notes that there is significant water damage in areas of the balsa core deck.  These are just two extremes to be found among the eighty-six that were listed.  Eighty-six. In restaurant speak that means you're out of something.  As in, "Eighty-six the prime rib".  Sigh.  Is it time to eighty-six this boat?  Hmmm....

The big question now is, will the owner compensate us for these issues by agreeing to lower the price of the boat?  This remains to be seen.  While we don't want to nickel and dime and be difficult, 25K is not chump change and we're not ready to eat that.  We're doing some research and getting a bunch of quotes at the moment - so we'll see how this whole thing pans out.

Either way, it's not the end of the world.  Everything happens for a reason and if this boat is meant to be ours, it will be.  If it's not, it's not.  It's really that simple.

Love,
Brittany, Scott & Isla

12 comments:

Chris and Amanda said...

Since we don't know the price agreed for this boats purchase, it is hard to know the percentage of price the $25k reflects. I read once that any boat requires annual maintenance of about 10% of it's value and a refit should run 30% or more. If the seller has deferred his maintenance for a couple years the survey is reasonably right in the ballpark and shouldn't be unexpected. Hope it all works out for you.

Lisa said...

We had a boat recently "pre-surveyed" as the trip to see the boat in person was long. The surveyor found water damage to the balsa core in several places. Estimates for repair were around $40K.

Windtraveler said...

@Chris - I guess I should have specified that the 25K is in no way the sum of "all" the issues, but the estimated cost of a balsa core deck repair that is pretty substancial as well as re-doing the entire bottom (there was an issue there as well). We understand that most of the line items are to be expected and we'd never calculate them all together to get a "discount", however these few BIG issues that the surveyor found are deal breakers if we can't agree on a price. Such is boat buying!
@Lisa - ugh. Balsa core blows. We're concerned to say the least. 40K is A LOT!!

Iceman said...

Keep Rasmus! IIts paid for and all fixed up ready to go..Small is ok..Tom

jacquie said...

Sorry to hear this...... maybe TOM's comment should be considered.
When does Scott go to Grenada?

Dani said...

That's too bad about the major issues. I hope you can get them to come down on the price, or keep your current boat.

In all of our refitting over 2 years, one ideal has resonated more than any other. Don't fix if you don't know it's broken.

We won't add anything that we will "think we will need", without actually knowing we'll need it.

Maybe the universe is trying to get you to get back to Rasmus and see how it goes with the little one. You may find it works just fine.

Goodluck!

Scott said...

When I bought my first boat, I had the engine, rig and hull surveyed by three different experts. They missed everything of moment, including substantial delimitation in the balsa cored hull on the starboard side and substantial rot in the starboard main bulkhead where the chain plate had leaked for years in the Pacific Northwest.

They pointed out that the "bilge was well flooded with diesel", but when I asked them if the tanks were leaking, equivocated. Guess what? The tanks were leaking.

My distinct impression was that they were there to facilitate the sale. Let's face it, if a surveyor queers every deal, no broker will use them.

I'll survey my own boats from now on, including getting the owner's permission to disassemble stuff to truly determine the fundamental soundness of the hull, deck and rig.

Scott

Ben Eriksen said...

Cool, better now then later ;-) Whos the surveyor you used.. sounds pretty good.

Deb said...

I wasn't going to rain on your parade, but since Scott said it first...we also had 3 different inspections done on our Tartan 42: electrical, rigging (both standing and running) and full marine survey. They did not find any of the major problems we ended up with, including the demise of the V-drive and transmission a short 10 hours after we bought the boat, damage that had been done long before we bought it. We chose the inspectors and surveyor by qualifications and excellent reputations but, as with Scott, we will do our own in the future - unfortunately it will be in addition to the required survey that Boat US demands in exchange for an insurance policy.

Deb
S/V Kintala
www.theretirementproject.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

I love your blog.The boat has too many issues and is too old. 25K for core repair? Core repair is hard to estimate and is always more expensive. Friend of mine did buy a boat with 2K core repair estimate. After work started the damage was bigger then anticipated and the boat was a total loss. The boat has too many issues walk away please.

Habibi ♂ said...

Reading this, first you may think "deal buster" On the other hand, I would consider something else as well: All older boots have issues - so if you found them and can properly address this with money from the seller you may end up with a better boat. Just imagine you buy an older boat and this kind of damages are minor/undetected but "grow" while you use the boat. That would be then YOUR problem. So fixing an older boat up with someone else's money can actually be the better choice! Finally, the major thing to know is the following (but this depends on your local law): The owner knows now the issues - so if he hides this knowingly from the next buyer this could be illegal!! He would be responsible, even if he sells without warranty. Check If this is true for your country as well, as a matter of fact the boot can become unsellable in the current state and this may give you major "negation" point, even over the estimates! Good Luck!

Unknown said...

Wise words about marine surveys. Sounds like you are taking a reasonable approach on price, I hope it works out well for you.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...