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.