Surveyor Responsibilities

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Surveyor Responsibilities

Postby Sherwoodu2 » Thu Dec 27, 2012 8:44 pm

I thought I was doing all the right things. It’s been 20 years since I’ve owned a non-trailerable boat so I was unclear on (I forgot) all the issues to look into before purchasing a used boat. I researched on line, through forums like this, to gain a good understanding of potential problems with a 32' Grand Banks that I was interested in buying.

I also thought I was doing the right thing by hiring a specialized surveyor for the engine and a general surveyor for the boat hull and systems. Neither gave me a detailed checklist of what they would inspect and to what degree they would inspect each item. I thought they would check everything. Both men were highly recommended on forums like this one and by locals.

The survey, sea trial and haul out went well, I thought. They found some minor defects like a cracked exhaust hose, a few rusted hose clamps, and a few other minor issues but nothing expensive. So I bought the boat.

Once I got the boat on the hard, the yard did their standard condition check. They immediately detected a bad cutless bearing.

Along with doing the bottom, I wanted to personally fix the items listed on the survey while it was out of the water, so I put some beverages in the refrigerator, only to find out that it didn’t cool. It turned on, just didn’t cool.

While addressing issues noted in my surveyor's report I found the seawater strainer for the AC broken and half full of mud. This was not on the report.

Prior to hiring the surveyors, I specifically asked them to look for leaking decks and to inspect the fuel tanks for rust. I even asked for an ultrasound on the tanks but was informed that wouldn’t be possible. Guess what? My tanks have bad rust on top and whether they can be fixed is unclear, but more than likely they will need replacing. That would have been a deal breaker, or at least a huge negotiating point.

While I was inspecting the teak deck with a friend who was showing me how I should caulk it in the future I noticed an entire section of the deck was loose – not attached, and three pieces were broken. Also not on the surveyor's report.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think I received the level of service I paid for. Surveys aren't cheap. I contacted both of the surveyors once I found the problems. One denied any responsibility and the other has never responded.

So I am offering a message of caution to anyone considering buying a used boat: 1) Prior to hiring a surveyor, ask the surveyor for a detailed list of what systems will be inspected and to what level of inspection they will inspect each item. Then, share that list with a boat owner to insure every system is listed. 20 Only hire physically small surveyors so they won’t have the excuse that they couldn’t physically get to an item to inspect it. Mine were 250 lbs +each. 3) If you happen to be considering a boat in Sarasota Florida don’t hire Mike Davenport or David Downes.
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Fuel Tanks

Postby T_BOAT » Fri Dec 28, 2012 8:40 am

Hi, i have worked on many fuel tanks. Happy to talk with you about repairs. Mobile is 516 523 6796.
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Postby Bruce Marino » Fri Dec 28, 2012 8:44 am

Thanks much for sharing the info. We will be seriously looking for a 32 GB early this summer on the east coast. I would be must interested to hear what the other forum members have to say. Seems like you did all the right things.
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Postby Bob Lowe » Fri Dec 28, 2012 9:03 am

If the top of the fuel tank is not rusted through, it can be scraped clean, treated with Ospho or similar and painted. If rusted through, it can be repaired with epoxy resin and fiberglass cloth then painted. No need in either event to replace the tanks.

I don't believe any good surveyor will give you a detailed list of things they will/should check prior to being retained to do the survey. A very good surveyor of woodie and/or fiberglass GBs will look at everything visible looking for defects, but, it is not possible that they will discover all defects.

Many/most of the issues you mentioned could/should have been discovered by the buyer during a pre-purchase inspection although not all buyers have the experience and knowledge to make such a comprehensive inspection.

Most surveyors have their own way of inspecting a boat and will miss many a defect in doing their inspection. It takes a very good surveyor to provide a very good and comprehensive survey, but they still may miss some defects if not readily visible.

Therefore, the best way to obtain the best possible surveyor and survey is to ask several boatyards that specialize in the type of boat you intend to purchase, who they would recommend. They will recommend the toughest surveyor because that surveyor will uncover the most defects in the boat which means more work for the yard. You will probably find that if you talk with 6 yards, there will be a very short list of good surveyors.

You can also ask the surveyors on that short list for past clients with similar boats to contact for recommendations. Not fool proof, but can be helpful.
Good luck,
Bob Lowe
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Postby Bruce Marino » Fri Dec 28, 2012 9:38 am

one issue I've had on two occasions were the broker would not start the engine until he had a contract - not an agrreed contract - just a contract to buy - Is that a standard procedure ??? Seems to me that would be one of the buyers pre - purchase, pre-survey responibilies as Bob mentioned.
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Postby Stretch Head » Fri Dec 28, 2012 9:49 am

bmarino wrote:one issue I've had on two occasions were the broker would not start the engine until he had a contract - not an agrreed contract - just a contract to buy - Is that a standard procedure ??? Seems to me that would be one of the buyers pre - purchase, pre-survey responibilies as Bob mentioned.


This is probably a nice way of getting the tire kickers from wasting the brokers time. Real estate agents want a pre qualified letter from a bank before they show houses. This would be my guess.

When I was shopping I found the broker eager to fire up the engines, however.
Capt Head
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My personal Banned List; All Polyester resins, Silicone, Bondo and sea sick crew.
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Postby SeaSport » Fri Dec 28, 2012 12:41 pm

Surveyors .... not really worth the time, expense and effort, but the insurance company requires them.

Here is my story.
I looked at 6 32'woodies and decided on 1 with an offer subject to survey, sea trial etc. The day prior to haul out and survey, myself and a friend spent the afternoon and night on the boat and looked, smelled, turned on every light, appliance, pump and toilet. Minor things were found and to me all was acceptable. We then had the boat hauled and ready for the all mighty 'surveyor', (who was recommended by the broker) and who's first words were, "She's a beauty" (I said, "How do you know?") After him spending an hour doing his 'thing' he said all was fine except for a couple of minor issues which didn't bother me. I bought the boat, motored her back home and tied to the dock. Good so far. The next day I had a shipwright friend take a look and within 10 minutes he found he could push a car key through 3 different places under 2 different windows. I was pissed as I'd told the surveyor this was a concern with these older boats and he said he'd make sure to inspect.
I got back in touch with this guy and told him what I'd found in less than 10 minutes and that I had to assume one of two things, either he was incompetent or he was instructed not to jepordise (sp) the sale and that I wanted my $500. back or I was going to pass his name on to the many pnw boating forums I was a member of. Long story short, I got my $$ back, fixed the 2 windows and now have a very original and sound woodie.

If I were to do it again, I'd hire a shipwright of my own choosing to do a good look with me then get the minimal required survey for insurance purposes only.

Other than that little rant, it's all good
"Silver Wake" 32-416
see- www.32woodie.com
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Postby Bob Lowe » Fri Dec 28, 2012 12:46 pm

I hate to say it and I mean no offense to anyone, but the last person one should accept a surveyor recommendation from is the broker or seller. They have a conflict of interest in that department as their interests is to sell the boat. And the surveyor has a vested interest in giving a "good" survey on the boat to facilitate the deal. Not a good situation for the buyer.

There are buyers' surveyors and sellers' surveyors. A buyer wants a good buyers' surveyor.

Go talk with yards that specialize in the type of boat you are buying and get their recommendations. They like competent surveyors for reasons I have already stated. :)
Good luck,

Bob Lowe
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Postby SeaSport » Fri Dec 28, 2012 12:51 pm

Bob Lowe wrote:I hate to say it and I mean no offense to anyone, but the last person one should accept a surveyor recommendation from is the broker or seller. They have a conflict of interest in that department as their interests is to sell the boat. And the surveyor has a vested interest in giving a "good" survey on the boat to facilitate the deal. Not a good situation for the buyer.

There are buyers' surveyors and sellers' surveyors. A buyer wants a good buyers' surveyor.

Go talk with yards that specialize in the type of boat you are buying and get their recommendations. They like competent surveyors for reasons I have already stated. :)


Bob,
I agree with you 100% it was my mistake believing in the broker and 'his' surveyor and will never conduct business like that again. Above all else I learned re: brokers, surveyors, used car salesmen etc., their mantra is-
"From the customers back pocket to my hand, that is the goal"
"Silver Wake" 32-416

see- www.32woodie.com
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Postby CrabGuy » Fri Dec 28, 2012 1:24 pm

Guess I've been lucky, both fellas I had hired were Woodie "specialists",
one in San Diego at sea trial time, the other after my local yard had completed some repairs.
I was sure to instruct both I had no desire to know the stem ware count, nor list the electronics, give me hull & running gear facts.
they both agreed they would spend those extra hours not counting knife & forks, and spend it on stuff that made a sound vessel.
anyone need names in San Diego of SF bay area, let me know.
I also asked if they minded me watching, neither said no, but some might.

I too had a 250# fella show up one time, he had never heard of a KevlaCat, not a common boat, but wasn't comfortable with him so he went on walking.
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Postby Sherwoodu2 » Sat Dec 29, 2012 7:59 am

Thanks for the good news that I don't have to replace my tanks. My pocket book thanks you too. Starboard side tank has minor surface rust on top in one small area. Port side tank is worse. I removed a huge chunk of rust by hand. I haven't had time yet to cut out the top piece of wood that helps keep the tank in place, so I can scrape the rust away and determine if it goes completely through the tank.

Should I drain the Port side tank prior to doing this work? How? I have a fuel polishing system.

If there is a hole, how do I plug it prior to treating with Ospho. I don’t want Ospho or paint going inside the tank. I was thinking of using ribbon epoxy like JB Weld.

Bob, you mentioned using epoxy and fiberglass. Care to elaborate?

If no hole, I was planning on scraping, wire brush it, Ospho (2 coats), Petit Rust blocker primer, and paint. Is this correct? Any suggestions on the paint?

I was planning on cutting out that top piece of wood in two two-foot sections. Then after repair and painting the tank, I would splice the wood back with some aluminum flat bar splices I made. Each is about 5” long with 4 holes (two holes left of the cut and two right). I plan on marking the place I plan on cutting the wood, and pre drilling the holes using the aluminum splice as a guide prior to cutting. Label every thing.

One last important question: how do I prevent water from standing in this area in the future?
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Postby Bob Lowe » Sat Dec 29, 2012 8:31 am

Keep in mind that rust flakes are about 10 times as thick as the metal loss, so what looks like a lot is typically not much metal loss.

To prevent standing water in the future, resolve the source of the water, which is typically either the engine room air vent or the fuel deck fill or both.

No sense talking about how to do the repair until we have identified any problem.

However, I have never cut out any of the overhead structure to facilitate any tank repairs. It is much better and simpler to move the tank towards the center of the boat where there is more vertical space to perform the repairs.

I prefer to make any repairs so that there are no telltale signs of the repair which usually means that it is a good repair.

As for plugging the hole to treat the surface with Ospho, there is no need to do that as you will only be brushing the Ospho on with a brush, just wetting the surface.

I would use CPES, epoxy resin and fiberglass cloth for any such repairs if needed.
Good luck,

Bob Lowe
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Postby Sherwoodu2 » Sat Dec 29, 2012 9:20 am

Thanks. I'll inspect further before doing anything destructive.
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Postby Sherwoodu2 » Fri Jan 04, 2013 5:30 pm

I've scraped all the rust off the tanks that will come off, wire brushed it well and no signs of a hole. It's thin in places but no hole that I can tell.

I've run water on the deck and see no signs of a leak.

I plan on cleaning the tops of my tanks well then roll on some Ospho (two coats). I need to use a roller to get all the way back to the back of the tanks.

Any recommendations for primer and paint?
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Postby Bob Lowe » Fri Jan 04, 2013 5:35 pm

Probably the most reliable would be to apply a good coat of Ospho, then wipe any residue off, apply a couple coats or so of CPES, then an epoxy undercoat and epoxy topcoat.

If the heavy rust is removed and only the fine rusted surface remains, the Ospho will convert the iron oxide (rust) to iron phosphate which is passive.
Good luck,

Bob Lowe
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