Frequently Asked Questions about Marine Surveys

Frequently Asked Questions about Marine Surveys

Are you SAMS or NAMS affiliated? My lender and/or insurer requires this.

Yes, I am an Accredited Marine Surveyor (AMS) member of The Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors (SAMS). The status of any Marine Surveyor can be obtained by visiting either the SAMS or NAMS websites and searching by name or geographic area. Accredited or Certified Marine Surveyors will display the letters AMS or CMS alongside their name.

Do you perform insurance surveys?

Yes I do. All my surveys are guaranteed to be accepted by insuring institutions. I would like to add that insurance surveys are performed to the same standards as our prepurchase surveys. Quite frequently I am asked by prospective clients if I can just provide a very basic, no frills “Wink and Nod” survey to pass on to the insurer. I, as a responsible surveyor, refuse to do this. All my surveys portray the true condition of the vessel and this includes hull integrity and safety equipment condition. I insist my clients come back to the marina in the same boat they left in! If your boat is not up to standards, please do not expect me to “Overlook” an item just so you can get an insurance policy issued. If that is what you are looking for, I prefer you call another surveyor.

You are not among the surveyors the selling broker recommended, why not?

Marine Surveying is a very unique business and I prefer to NOT be on a brokers or sellers recommended list. My business success does not rely on referrals from brokers, lenders or sellers; allowing me to be independent of any outside influences and remain totally unbiased in my opinions. My reputation is my business and integrity is my calling card.

How long after the survey can I expect a written report?

Written survey reports are custom crafted to the vessel surveyed and are not generic in nature. Depending on the size, complexity and age of the vessel, a written report will generally be e-mailed to our client within 2 to 5 business days of the actual examination of the vessel and is usually 20 to 50 pages in length, depending on the vessel and its condition.

What will the report consist of?

The report will contain a detailed description of the vessel and its systems, a list of noted deficiencies and corrective recommendations, numerous photographs that will provide an accurate portrayal of the vessel along with estimated current fair market valuation and current replacement cost. I will send all photos taken of the vessel the same day as the survey (I cannot include all photos in the report) via Google Drive link; the link will remain active for 30 days and I recommend you download them for your records.

Who will get a copy of the report?

The Code of Ethics we survive by, and enforced by SAMS, requires strict confidentiality. I am not allowed to, nor will I, discuss or share any portion of any report with anyone but my named client. Once you have received the written report it becomes your property and you can share it with whomever you wish. I recommend sharing only the Findings & Recommendations portion of the report with the seller or seller’s representative for repair identification. We recommend the body and valuation sections of the report NOT be shared with the seller or seller’s representative.

Will your report be accepted by my financial or insuring institution?

The short answer is YES. I provide research based valuations and my reports are guaranteed to be accepted by all financial and insuring institutions.

Another surveyor quoted me a cheaper price, will you beat his quote?

No, I do not price match. I feel my prices are competitive with other surveyors in my service area that have similar credentials. My advice is to heed the adage “you get what you pay for.”

Do I need to attend the survey?

My clients are encouraged to attend the survey but I recognize travel distance, previously scheduled events, and travel scheduling can prevent your attendance, so no you are not required to attend the survey. Approximately 50% of my clients do not attend the survey and I am fully confident my reports accurately portray the vessel, allowing my clients to make an informed decision to purchase or not.

How do I schedule a survey?

You can schedule a survey either by e-mail or calling directly. If you call directly and receive a voicemail that means I am on a vessel and will return your call as soon as possible. It is best to send a text message with vessel details if you are able to do so. Please realize surveys are scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis, and as much advance request as possible is always greatly appreciated. Typically, a survey can be scheduled to take place within 7 days of the initial request. A work order will be e-mailed to you and will have to be completed, signed and returned to confirm an exact date of survey.

What forms of payment do you accept?

If you will be attending the survey we can accept cash, or check. If you will not be attending the survey we can email you an invoice that can be paid by wire transfers, Zelle, Venmo, or mailed check; I am sorry I do not accept credit cards. Please note payment must be received prior to the release of the report. For surveys requiring travel, a deposit of 50% must be made prior to date of survey. Please do not take it personally as I do not take pleasure in operating my business this way. Unfortunately, in today’s society too many people fail to take their obligations seriously, consequently past actions by some clients necessitate pre-payment by future clients.

What is a marine survey or boat survey?

A survey is a comprehensive examination of the entire accessible portions of the vessel and its systems with the purpose of determining its overall condition and estimating its fair market value. All accessible areas of the vessel will be examined to include the accessible exterior and interior portions of the hull and superstructure, a visual inspection of the exterior portions of the engines and machinery, inspection of the safety and navigation equipment, compliance with ABYC, NFPA recommendations and compliance with required statutes as set forth by U.S. Code and the USCG. On larger yachts or on boats with high hours and usage, we recommend a survey of the machinery by a qualified engine surveyor. Although we do not provide this service we will happily refer you to 2 or 3 engine surveyors and let you decide which to use.

Why should I pay for a survey?

The two most common reasons surveys are performed are from requests by financing/insuring institutions and prospective buyers that are seeking the true condition of the vessel. I realize some surveys can be somewhat costly but the truth of the matter is most surveys identify numerous conditions that should be remedied before or immediately after a purchase. Typically the cost of these remedies far outweigh the cost of the survey as the remedies of the noted conditions can be negotiated into the final agreed upon sale price or the remedies can be performed before contract closure. The most important benefit from a survey is the confidence you gain in knowing the vessel you are entertaining family and friends on is in safe condition.

What is not included in a survey?

Although we strive to examine as much of the vessel as possible we cannot; 1. Remove nail or screw fastened panels or sections, 2. Open and/or pressure test tanks, 3. Perform destructive testing such as drilling or cutting holes or the removal of paints and gelcoats. Based on discoveries noted during the survey we may recommend some destructive testing, sampling or disassembly by qualified technicians.

What criteria do you follow when performing a survey?

We adhere to the SAMS Survey Practice Recommendations, the Code of Federal Regulations, the United States Coast Guard (USCG) and the voluntary recommendations set forth by the American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC), the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) and good marine practices regarding safety and safety systems.

How long does a survey take to perform?

Boats come in all sizes, types and conditions. Depending on the size and condition of a vessel, a survey can take just a few hours or several days to survey. A typical midsize vessel, approximately 40 to 50 feet will usually fill an 8 hour day. I do not consider the survey complete until a written report has been finalized and e-mailed to my client. Although I will have a good idea of the condition of the vessel upon completion of the examination, sufficient time is required to review information and research certain conditions or items that may be encountered during the examination. Thus, I do not consider a survey completed until the written report has been delivered to our client.

Should I have the boat hauled out at a shipyard?

Yes! I strongly recommend a haul out at every survey. If a broker or sales person is involved they will usually make arrangements at a local shipyard but if there is no broker or salesman involved, the seller usually makes haul out arrangements. Keep in mind the buyer of the vessel usually pays for the cost of the haul out. Even if the vessel has recently been hauled and serviced it takes only one incident to inflict severe damage to the underwater portion of the hull and running gear. At haul out all running gear such as propellers, propeller shafts, rudders and bearings along with through hull fittings and sea strainers will be examined. The hull will be visually examined as well as examined by percussion sounding and moisture content measurements where possible.

Do you perform engine diagnostics with a computer program?

No, I do not. I feel the diagnostics programs used by professional engine surveyors are true versions provided by engine manufacturers to their certified or designated representatives. Internet purchased and downloaded after market diagnostics programs are usually not engine manufacturer approved and, unless the user has been factory trained, can easily be misinterpreted.