Acker Marine Survey Co.|
Thirty Years Of Integrity
Serving The Florida Keys
From Key West to Key Largo
Anthony Acker, SAMS® SA
ABYC Standards Certified Technician,
Principal Marine Surveyor
Dewey Acker, SAMS® AMS® - RET,
Senior Marine Consultant
This is the most comprehensive type of survey. During a Pre-Purchase Survey the vessel is inspected afloat and is also hauled for inspection of the underwater machinery and exterior surface of the hull. A sea trial or trial run is then conducted to determine the vessel's performance, the condition of her sails (if applicable) her machinery and the function of electronics components.|
Surveyors of yachts and small craft are seldom qualified mechanics. It is always recommended that the prospective buyer also contract with a qualified mechanic or qualified machinery surveyor to inspect the vessel's machinery. This is necessary to determine possible problems that may be beyond the surveyor's training and knowledge to detect. If the subject vessel is a sailboat, the standing and running rigging will be inspected from deck level only. If there is any indication of problems with the rigging, it will be recommended that a qualified rigging specialist be hired.
Every system that can be tested is tested during a pre-purchase survey, but there may some limits to system testing. Examples might include not testing a water maker due to the poor quality of the inshore water. A waste holding tank evacuation pump may not be tested for obvious reasons. Certain AC electrical components can only be tested if shore power or generator power is available at the time of the inspection.
It is the surveyor's job to provide the prospective buyer with as much information about the vessel as is possible during the limits of the survey. The surveyor is not hired to act as the buyer's advocate. The surveyor's job is not to help the buyer get a lower purchase price for the vessel. His sole job is to provide the buyer all the information he can and fairly evaluate the vessel as to fair market value and approximate replacement cost. Only armed with this knowledge can a buyer make an intelligent decision.
The limits on surveying a vessel for pre-purchase are the same as surveying the vessel for any other purpose. The surveyor cannot gain access to the entire structure without dismantling the vessel. There will always be portions of the vessel that are hidden behind bulkheads and cannot be seen. The surveyor will use inspection mirrors, moisture meters, sounding mallets and other tools to test certain portions of the vessel, which cannot be seen from both sides. No destructive testing is used during the survey. The vessel's owner will be asked to remove certain items of gear from lockers where the surveyor needs to gain access, but no tools are used to remove panels, bulkheads or any other component.
There are so many occasions when someone buys a used boat without a survey of any kind. Then when they go to insure their boat, they find out the insurance company will require a survey before providing underwriting. Certainly the bank will require it before financing. Although the insurance and financing survey is less costly than a pre-purchase survey, it does not provide enough information on which a prospective buyer can make an informed decision. Too often this scenario leads to problems found that the new boat owner was not aware of and sometimes he or she finds out he paid too much for the vessel. Acker Marine Survey Co. does not perform Pre-Purchase Surveys unless the prospective buyer is present.
Our company estimates it cost a minimum of $1,000 for a buyer to determine if he wishes to buy any particular boat. The buyer is responsible for the cost of the surveyor, the machinery surveyor, any other specialists hired and the charges at the boat yard for hauling the vessel and pressure washing the bottom, if necessary. The only obligation the seller has is to be there to present the boat, to operate it during sea trial and to demonstrate some of the vessel's equipment for the surveyor. If you are traveling a good distance to survey a boat, your costs will surely be greater. However it usually turns out to be an excellent investment before buying any boat. Even if something discovered during the survey causes you to back out of the deal, it will be money well spent.