Whether you hired the Surveyor to look at your boat,  access a boat you want to buy or someone else hired them to assess your boat (to smell the sweet perfume of boat sale), there are common things to look for in a surveyor.  I’ve been through several survey’s now and in my own little mind, I think I’ve seen the differences between a good and other surveyor,,,,,so read on

Here goes:

  • Credentials: Surveyors should have National Association of Marine Surveyor (NAMS) or Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors (SAMS) or Association of Accredited Marine Surveyor (AAMS) Credentials.
  • Surveyors on boats are normally very prepared, organized and on-time.  Their time is literally money, so they should be punctual and factual, probably fairly focused on getting their survey done-  If you have hired a surveyor who chooses to talk about things other than the boat for more than 5-10 minutes straight,  you might want to cue in on it.  If you hire a surveyor who sits around during sea trial and isn’t down in the boat surveying,,,,you should cue in on it. 
  • Upon showing up for survey, a surveyor will normally present a business card to you and the second party (boat owner or boat buyer) as a means of introduction.  Someone who doesn’t would make me want to watch their work more carefully. 
  • Surveyor’s normally ask the boat owner some pertinent questions prior to starting the actual survey and may ask for boat documentation at this time.    If the surveyor has done their homework, they should ask some confirmation questions about the boat,,,but not a complete run-down of specs.  A surveyor who starts asking about the same specs that you could find online easily has not done their homework prior to the survey. 
  • The good survey’s I’ve been part of have included the initial conversation mentioned above, then the surveyor getting right to work, normally working from the bow to stern, with little skipping around so he doesn’t cover areas twice.  Remember, time should be money to a surveyor.
  • Prior to getting to work, a surveyor might also ask things like: location and # of through-hulls, current amount of water and fuel in the tanks and known problems with the boat.  I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a surveyor asking known problems with the boat,,,,,cause every boat is going to have a few defects and any owner or broker who tells you they have a perfect boat is a liar or concealing a defect.  Why not just ask the question?  I know a surveyor who does just that to see what the owner or broker will say, judging the rest of the day’s survey by the answers he gets.  And,,,,he says he’s usually spot on based on how much is known about the boat.  Who would you trust:  The boat owner who says that the boat is perfect at survey start to have thousands of dollars worth of repairs revealed throughout the day,,,,,or the owner who ruefully tells the surveyor he just didn’t get to everything or couldn’t afford to fix it all up but is VERY aware of the problems,,,,,and here they are?  I’d go with the person who told the truth,,,,if the surveyor bothers to ask this kind of question. 
  • Normally, anything a surveyor takes apart, moves, takes out of lazarette’s or cabinets, opens or changes,,,,the surveyor should put it all away like when they found it.  A surveyor who doesn’t do this is a lazy pig who should then be watched like a hawk, cause he or she is going to do this to something critical if they’re not careful.  This is also a bad sign to me and indicative that they may use that same laziness when representing the survey to the client.  If I had hired a surveyor to look at a boat who didn’t put things away and didn’t close up and restore the boat like it should be, I would not only apologize to the owner,  I would find a better surveyor. 
  • If you’re the boat owner and someone is doing a purchase survey on your boat,,,it’s ok,,,you own it.  However, make sure to give the perspective buyer their space, let them and the surveyor have time as needed, tell the truth when asked and remember that you’re there to be a resource about the boat.  Several times I’ve been on survey’s where I know I could have answered or asked multiple questions about the boat, but no one asked me or I didn’t ask the owner.  Also, a surveyor who doesn’t seem to want you closely watching the survey if you’re the client may warrant further attention.  Find a survey who doesn’t mind you watching closely or asking questions if you’re the client.  The very best surveyor’s I’ve seen have no problems with their clients asking questions or watching them work. 

Below, there’s a number of links with pics or stories about work we’ve put into our sailboat that’s for Sale in San Diego, Tulum IV.   And, we just dropped her price!!  She’s not perfect but the price reflects this, AND we continue to upgrade her as we go.





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