Marine Surveyors & Consultants
Gulf Shores, Alabama, USA
Dennis Heine, SAMS® AMS®
Accredited Marine Surveyor®
Providing Marine surveys and Consulting immediately to the Gulf Coast States of Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Florida. Travel includes all other States, Regions and Countries as requested or needed. Previous travel experience includes; most U.S coastal and inland states, Australia, Turkey, Puerto Rico, Greece and the Dominican Republic.
SAMS® Accredited Marine Surveyor
ABYC® Standards Accredited
USPAP® Certificate on Appraisal Standards
The Pre-purchase marine survey is the most comprehensive vessel survey right out of the box for all practical purposes...Meaning; It is a detailed, although routine type survey/inspection utilized by person or persons to determine the vessel's current state of condition and value. All surveyors list this survey on their webpage, business card, vehicle or wherever, but what does their pre-purchase survey standard actually mean?
It's actually a pretty broad statement "pre-purchase marine survey" considering the plethora of yacht types and sizes, personalities of those requiring the survey/inspection and what's important to them. Location of the vessel and whether it's in a cold or hot climate, fresh or salt water environment, and the material make-up of the vessel. Is it wood, FRP (fiberglass), steel, aluminum, carbon fiber, gasoline or diesel engine or engine's, and are there mechanical inspections to be conducted. How much time, if any will be allotted for travel, sea-trial time, haul out schedules and whether their actually qualified to conduct the survey. All of which requires a surveyor worth their sand to contemplate and consider a fair and reasonable survey cost.
So... with that being said, and if you're looking to purchase a yacht or even a small outboard boat, think about the complexity of the vessel you're looking to purchase and try to understand what one person is expected to do in a given period of time. In some cases, it takes month's even years on larger vessels to build, therefore you should understand what it really takes to completely survey a vessel, if surveyed accurately and correctly.
See the "survey services - testing" link under the pre-purchase survey page to get a rough, general idea of a typical pre-purchase survey's scope.
Over the years of surveying vessels in varying capacities, I have met with all kinds of people and personalities. Some of which are not technical people, but enjoy the boating lifestyle, others are very technical type persons and very boat savvy. The point is: no matter how good you are as a marine surveyor, no matter how long you have been a marine surveyor, there's always going to be somebody that thinks they know more than you, and maybe they do, but someone non the less will likely not be satisfied with your work, OR they can't thank you enough for the work performed, the trouble you may have saved them, or the time you took to explain a deficiency or system. Therefore, at least with one aspect of that, how do you reduce the possibility of any deficiency not being found during the normal course of a survey inspection?
Answer... Experience and the proper time needed for a detailed inspection/survey
You ask, why isn't this done anyway? First .... Because of a lack of experience, it takes time and years to acquire, not six weeks of school and some classroom time with acronyms to follow. Second .... Some surveyors just don't have the experience to judge how long an accurate, complete survey will take on a particular vessel, again time and experience. Third ..... there just was not enough time contemplated in the normal course of a survey to go through everything in a day on certain vessels. Fourth .... The surveyor priced a one day survey, therefore the vessel is getting a one day survey regardless if it's completed correctly or not. It's unfortunate, but this does occur.
The point I'm leading up to is: since today's vessels have become more sophisticated, more complex with on-board systems, electronics, engines, extra components, gear and equipment, the amount of time to accurately survey a vessel has increased, therefore has to be considered in the overall time it takes to complete without rushing through it.
What use to take an eight-hour day for example on a 50' convertible, might now take 12 hours or more. Pre-purchase surveys are very comprehensive yes, however some surveyors may not have fully caught up with the times and resultant complex vessels in my opinion.
What that means is: the newest 60' motor yacht (for example) with all the latest and greatest systems may not, or cannot be accurately surveyed in a full day. Even sometimes older motor yachts even more so, cannot be accurately surveyed in a full day, but are because surveyors misjudge the amount of time it takes, don't care about the time it takes and ultimately what gets done in a day is what gets done. Today's newer vessels have complex systems and a plethora of equipment, and the amount of time it takes to test everything is sometimes understated.
Buyers, sellers and especially brokers really don't want to hear that it's going to be more than a day to complete a survey, unless it's just plain obvious as in a 100' vessel or so. First, because it takes up more of everybody's time which is money, and second, it worries the seller for fear of finding more deficiencies.
With that said however, some buyers actually request the additional time on the vessel and are glad to pay for the additional time. It almost always results in findings that warrant negotiations on deficiencies that otherwise may have been missed, and will now actually offset the additional time and cost for the surveyors time. These folks are usually very diligent, smart buyers.
So where do you draw the line? Well, "Nautical Services Inc" draws the line that any vessel in our opinion that can't be completely, methodically and accurately surveyed in a day, will be quoted a two-day or more price depending on the size vessel. "No exceptions" This provides NSI the time needed to fully and thoroughly inspect the vessel as should be, and as needed.
We certainly want to be fair, but we also want to provide the most in-depth survey possible so you, the potential new owner, knows exactly what it is your purchasing. "Nautical Services Inc" already provides the most comprehensive pre-purchase survey in the region, but we strive to be better even if it means losing work because of higher pricing due to time. Remember, it's not costing more than a normal based per foot cost, or more than other surveyors costs for the most part. It's the time it takes to properly and accurately survey a vessel that requires the additional time to complete in more than a day's time.
In addition to the aforementioned, there are many other testing procedures that need be utilized during the scope of a pre-purchase survey. Add additional testing such as: "fluid analysis" or taking oil samples, that takes extra time. Other factors may include documenting anomalies found such as: wet decks, hull sides, stringers etc. etc. when moisture testing, it takes extra time to document these findings and so on.
Consider all the above and make the appropriate decision, as we are here to guide you as best possible. NSI reserves the right to quote the survey costs based on all the factors including the appropriate amount of time to accurately and professionally survey a vessel.
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