Surveyor ratings/reviews forum

Discussion in ' Suggestions' started by Theresamarie11, Oct 12, 2010.

  1. Theresamarie11

    Theresamarie11 New Member

    Aug 18, 2009
    2002 Sundancer 300
    Twin 350 Mag, Westerbeke Genset
    I wish i had some way to verify the surveyor I recently used. He was terrible, missed 50 things (big things). And when I looked around I noticed others were also disappointed. There are some good ones too. In any case, might be a valuable forum. Maybe make it even more general (services reviews, surveyors, service, etc.)

  2. Presentation

    Presentation Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor

    Oct 3, 2006
    Wisconsin - Winnebago Pool chain of lakes
    280 Sundancer, Westerbeke MPV generator
    twin 5.0's w/BIII drives
    What issues are you having?

    I’ve searched for such a forum or website and like you, have come up empty.

    What’s even more disappointing is now many armchair marine know-it-all’s are so fast to say “Make sure you get it surveyed” yet stories like yours are so very common.

    Finding a good surveyor is hit and miss.

    People will say “Well, make sure the surveyor has insurance, is certified, etc. Well, the insurance is for injury or damage liability, not missing stuff. The contract you will sign will let them out of anything they miss.

    There is no single dominate national certification process for marine surveyors that I have been able to find after doing a lot of internet searching. This is the best I can find: Still many areas of the country have no coverage. No feedback on the people on this list.

    From Boat US "Here's how to get the most useful survey for your money"

    In my opinion only, the best way to hire a competent surveyor is to go with a major business that cares about their reputation. Check for BBB (Better Business Bureau) complaints. Don’t hire them if they are a new business, you want experience here.

    If you do this due diligence and the surveyor misses something that they should not have missed and will not resolve the issue to your satisfaction complete a BBB grievance on the business.

    Now just to be clear, if your issue is something that you did not pay the surveyor to check then don’t blame them. For example, an engine compression check is a very critical yet very expensive thing that is not included with a standard survey. Ditto with pulling some things apart checking for corrosion and other wear issues like exhaust parts and the drive if the boat is equipped with a outdrive.

    If you only wanted to pay for a boat survey, not a mechanical survey then you have mechanical issues, well, then be mad at yourself.

    Cost for a basic CONDITION AND VALUATION SURVEY is about $20/foot

    "A condition and valuation survey is a report on the current condition of a vessel and its current value as judged by geographical location and condition. It assures the insurance company and financial institution that the vessel meets U.S. Coast Guard, National Fire Protection Association & American Boat and Yacht Council safety standards and that it is insured for enough value to replace it if damaged or lost."

    Here are additional costs from one surveyor I found online to be used as a reference. These are not covered under the condition and valuation survey.

    Gasoline engine compression testing on inboard & outboard engines
    $175.00 per engine
    Computer-Diagnostic test with compression testing on gasoline engines & outboards
    $250.00 per engine
    Diesel engine compression testing & analysis
    $ 825.00-$1,800 per engine
    Diesel engine run-up, operational testing, oil analysis & engine block compression leak testing
    $450.00 per engine
    Spectrometric Engine Oil Analysis
    $55.00 per engine
    Hull Corrosion Analysis
    $125.00 per hour
    Hull Osmosis Analysis
    $12.50 per foot
    Steel and Aluminum Hull Ultra-Sounding
    $25.00 per foot
    ( Ultra-Sound readings will be every three (3) square foot of bottom plating)
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2010
  3. fwebster

    fwebster Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor PLATINUM Sponsor

    Oct 6, 2006
    Middle Tennessee ; Panama City Beach, FL
    1996 450DA
    3116 Caterpillars
    I have found that Boat/US maintains a list of surveyors. Those on the list are accredited, certified by NAMS or SAMS and meet the requirements of the Boat/US insurance arm. I may not have particularly liked some of those Ive been around, but they were qualified.

    Treat surveyors like you are hiring an employee......which you are. Then do your own due diligence by asking for and checking references, ask for sample reports, ask about work history, and ask specific questions to determine their suitability for what you wish to accomplish. A surveyor who does nothing but merchant marine surveys does me little good when I need someone to check a 320DA.
  4. MonacoMike

    MonacoMike Well-Known Member

    Sep 15, 2009
    Indiana lakes and Lake Michigan
    2000 Cruisers 3870
    8.2 Mercs
    85 Sea Ray Monaco 197
    260hp Alpha 1
    Good points Frank. Maybe I was lucky in my surveyor selection. I asked for referrals here, called every surveyor on the SAMS site for the area with a prepared list of questions, and evaluated from there. The surveyors all answered the questions with varying competence but one clear theme emerged, Cliff Schmidt was the best choice as several of the other surveyors mentioned him in response to questioning.

    If people think they are going to grab a name out of thin air and have a good outcome, think again. I had an initial interview with all on the list and three follow up conversations. If you are not good at interviewing ask someone who is to help you.

    One last point, many good surveyors will travel at a negotiated rate so don't limit yourself if you don't like your local options.

  5. Henry Boyd

    Henry Boyd Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 24, 2007
    Newburyport, on the peaceful and serene Merrimack
    ‘09 Sabre 38 Hardtop Express “Serenity”
    Volvo D6 w/IPS450 Pods

    Frank's last point is very significant, even for people who hire surveyor's for commercial marine work. The term 'marine surveyor' covers a lot of ground. Even among certified surveyors there are people who specialize (and are only certified) in a single area, such as hull, or machinery and power plant, or cargo, or yacht. However, once they become certified surveyors, some folks forget they are specialists and try and sell their services to a broader market. I was brought into a case last year involving an accident with a quayside container crane. The dispute went round and round for months before I was involved because one of the parties 'expert' while a certified surveyor, was only certified for cargo surveys and not machinery failure. Interview prospective surveyors, ask about their qualifications and follow up with references.

  6. Theresamarie11

    Theresamarie11 New Member

    Aug 18, 2009
    2002 Sundancer 300
    Twin 350 Mag, Westerbeke Genset

    I went with Susquehana marine surveys: He has some kind of certifications... A bunch of baloney and not worth anything as far as I can tell.

    I could not recommend him at all. We relied on him heavily since boat was >300 miles from where we live and told him so. He badly let us down.

    This is what he missed:

    Cabin fridge does not work on AC.

    Broken zippers/snaps on canvas (elongated holes, etc) (specifically asked him to go over it since when we looked at the boat it wasn't on)

    Major defect (caused by gas spill) in bench seat cover in cockpit (his excuse it was covered with a towel so he didn't see it). It actually had a 3" hole in it. We actually knew about it because the owner told us, but he didn't find it or note it.

    Bed has major mildew stain due to hatch being left open for some amount of time in rain. His excuse, he didn't take blankets off to look at bed (or I guess air conditioner or anything else under there).

    Generator does not come up to voltage ( comes up at 25V AC) until load is applied... See my "wild westerbeke issue" thread under electrical.

    Water heater bypassed from engine water lines because one nipple was broken off of heater. So heater only works on AC.
    (needs to be replaced)

    He told us the gimbal ring had 1/16 to 3/8" play so it needed to be inspected for maintenance and potential further actions. We found the end of the drive moves 6"! So not sure how/where he got the 1/16" to 3/8" play. So we're having ring replaced.

    These were the major issues. Luckily the hull is sound. There were many other smaller items we've been finding.

    So after approaching him with these things he immediately refunded his fees, but that hardly covers the cost of the issues he overlooked.

    He did things like write up about the need for a co2 detector and not finding one (right up front it is, just like in the spec).

    Most of his report was a reiteration of spec's from the manual, and his comments were very 'high level', like average condition on items with no indication what 'average' meant. I fault myself heavily for being too trusting. Our only saving grace is that due to some issues that occurred between the time of our offer and closing the deal, there was an insurance claim by the prior owner on the boat which came to us that will cover the cost of most of the issues ($6,000).

  7. mwph

    mwph Active Member

    Jul 8, 2008
    Lake Guntersville, Tennessee River, Alabama
    1998 250 DA
    7.4L, B3
    To any first timers who may read this thread... put the excitement on the back burner for a couple of hours & do some homework. I spent almost a year finding the right boat and about an hour choosing a surveyor. I got lucky in that my boat was in good shape. I will not rely on luck again.

    I blame myself for my dissatisfaction with the surveyor I hired. I simply did not spend enough time finding the right guy for the job. Luckily my boat had no major issues that I did not know about before he got there.

    At the time I thought he was great. However, knowing the boat as I do now, I could have done a much better job myself. Next time around I will invest the time needed to find a much better surveyor. Just as importantly I will know exactly what will be checked/tested.
  8. Presentation

    Presentation Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor

    Oct 3, 2006
    Wisconsin - Winnebago Pool chain of lakes
    280 Sundancer, Westerbeke MPV generator
    twin 5.0's w/BIII drives
    Would this form help?
  9. mwph

    mwph Active Member

    Jul 8, 2008
    Lake Guntersville, Tennessee River, Alabama
    1998 250 DA
    7.4L, B3
    Thanks Pres. I've seen that posted before. I'm sure that form would provide a good starting point. However, I have started a list that is much more specific. I will use this list to inspect the items & systems that I know & understand. I will rely on the surveyor(s) to address items that I'm not qualified to.

Share This Page

Show Sidebar