Frequently Asked Questions

Actually, no one has to have a survey performed to purchase a vessel. But, the better question might be, why would’t you want a survey?

  1. First and foremost, a survey is a buyer’s assurance of the vessel’s true condition and not just the seller’s representation (or misrepresentation) of the vessel. Photos and websites tell very little of the actual story.
  2. Even a walkthrough by the buyer nearly always misses significant issues regardless of the buyer’s experience.
  3. Plus, a survey report contains a carefully researched market value and replacement value using many resources not available to the general public.
  4. Additional reasons you likely will need a survey are for insurance and for lending. Most marinas are now requiring $500,000 liability insurance as a condition for moorage.

In almost all instances a buyer’s survey (C-V) is paid for by the buyer. Other variations on payment are seen, but only occasionally.

Again, in almost all instances of a buyer’s survey, the pre-purchase haul out is paid for by the buyer.

Survey costs can vary based on a number of factors:

  1. Vessel Size
  2. Hull Construction (cored or solid fiberglass)
  3. Hull Material (fiberglass, steel, aluminum, wood, or ferrocement)
  4. Age (pre 70’s are typically extra)

Our minimum survey fee is $500 minimum, Very small vessels brought to our facility could be somewhat less. Our minimum per foot is $24/ft min and is increased if any of the above factors are applied. We are always happy to quote on any vessel promptly 

Our hourly rate is $150/hr. This covers most types of work except for depositions and testifying.

Unless there are logistical problems preventing a haul out, we strongly recommend hauling. Even if the vessel were recently hauled, it only takes a single grounding or contact with a log or other debris to inflict serious, very expensive damage. Issues such as loose struts, worn cutlass bearings, bent or loose props, worn folding/feathering props, engine alignment issues, keel attachment deficiencies, dealloyed underwater metals, old repairs, blisters, soggy rudders, worn rudder bushings, bent shafts/struts/rudders, and wet hull core are some of the possible faults only discoverable with a haul out. Plus, many insurance companies require an out of the water survey as a condition of coverage.

In cases where logistical problems prevent a haul out at the time of purchase, a portion of the purchase value can be put into escrow pending a future haul out within a time period agreed to by both parties. In most instances we do not charge extra to attend the vessel a second time when it is hauled. We will then amend the survey report to include information on the underwater portion of the hull and the running gear; and, if any deficiencies are noted, they will be added to the Items Noted portion of the survey also.

Based on vessel location and boat type (power, sail, size), different haul out facilities can be selected. We will be adding a map of haul out facilities and their information. In the meantime, we will be happy to recommend two or three facilities within a reasonable distance of the vessel’s location.

Most certainly. We drive to surveys in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. We fly if distances are greater than 6 to 8 hours. We will fly to other states and countries for reasonable air and hotel charges plus the possibility of a half day or daily rate for down days.

We typically travel within a 40 mile radius of our office at no charge. We charge flat rates to various cities depending on distance.

Price is but a single measure. Check credentials. Anyone can call themselves a surveyor — it is an unregulated industry. What training and experience can they bring to the table? Do they belong to a surveyor’s organization? Which organization? There are some surveyors credential mills that issue a certificate for a $20 fee. Check their references. What training certifications do they have? Call boatyards and brokers to see check their reputation. Ask how long the survey will take. This may be a measure of their thoroughness. Ask if their survey will be accepted by all lenders and insurance companies. Ask for a sample of a survey report on a vessel similar to the vessel you are buying. Check the report for hard, factual information. Many survey reports are check lists with a lot of fluff added but no real findings.

We are members of the largest surveyor’s organization in the world — the Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors® (SAMS®). We have a stringent vetting process for applicants. SAMS® has a 5 year apprenticeship before a surveyor associate can sit for the accreditation exam. They require educational units during the apprenticeship program and continuing education units after upgrading to Accredited Marine Surveyor® (AMS®). Membership in SAMS® is recognized by lenders and insurance companies as bringing value added to the surveyor community. A check of the CREDENTIALS page explains what we bring to a survey. It cannot tell you our attention to detail or our desire to learn all the vessel can tell us. We spend an average of 8 hours conducting a survey on a 30’ vessel. We spend an average of another day researching values and writing the report. Ask the low bidder how long he expects the survey to take. And, there are many part time surveyors with other income sources who don’t charge very much for their work. These folks seldom have any training, continuing education credits, peer group input or other sources to keep pace with the rapid changes in regulations, materials, and equipment. Their work seldom measures up. We average 100+ surveys a year each and continually take advantage of numerous educational venues. Our certifications and associations dues and fees are expensive. We could not afford this if we were only surveying part time or at cut rates. Surveying is all we do. Check on your surveyors as you would a doctor, dentist, or attorney. All professions have good and bad members. Our goal is to be the best surveyors we can be every single survey.

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