Survey Importance

By far the most important factor in the purchase of any brokerage/used vessel is the survey and sea trial portion. The boat you are about to purchase is not new and in most cases without any warranty. The seller of that boat has told us about what he did to take care of it and there may be some records to support his ownership history but regardless its BUYER BEWARE.

Many vessels may have been on land for months or even longer and its the time they go back in the water and systems are brought back that you see leaks, failures, and various defects that can cost money and lessen the enjoyment of your new purchase. As brokers in this transaction we do not have the luxury or authority to make repair decisions or put the boats through a pre-sale inspection. In many cases we will commission a boat and run most systems prior to survey but we are not going into anywhere near the depth of a SAMS (Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors) Surveyor nor do we have the mechanical aptitude and to spot the early signs of what could be a bigger problem.

The inspection process should be one you treat as the most important part of the purchase. The surveyor you hire should be one you have chosen with care as they are your eyes and ears for every mechanical and structural part of the boat. While your broker may provide a list of surveyors to choose from that choice is yours and be weary of anyone who tells you that you can only use one particular surveyor.

While at the dock and underway the surveyor will be observing and probing for the issues that are present, confirmation of systems performing as they are designed, and the overall health of the boat and its components. Engines, AC/Heat, Generator, Hull & Decks, are all complicated systems and ones that in a survey hold the most importance.

While we strive to have all buyers happy with the boat they take delivery of problems due occur in the first 60 days when boats are put back into service. Many times the buyers come back to us with a feeling of remorse over the fact the boat has issues or mechanical systems failed. Again these are used boats and the systems most likely would have failed for the previous owner regardless. The surveyor you have hired will hopefully spot the issues before purchase so that you can make an educated decision or negotiate repairs into the purchase but sometimes things just happen.

Buyers we have found focus on the purchase price and naturally try to buy as much boat as they can without factoring in the cost of owning boats includes hundreds to thousands a year in upkeep for things that break. The first 60 to 90 days are probably where most of the latent systems will have issues and cost a buyer money. So make sure at survey time your  surveyor digs and probes and that you educate yourself to the best purchase you can make. Despite all of the factors discussed there are times when “stuff happens” and you have to chalk it up to the cost of experiencing the joy that comes from being on the water.


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