Marine surveyors are not regulated or
licensed, so virtually anyone can call him-
self a surveyor, and many unqualified peo-
ple do. A good indicator of competence
is a surveyor who has professional affili-
ations with the American Boat and Yacht
Council (ABYC), plus either the National
Association of Marine Surveyors (NAMS) or
the Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors
(SAMS). BoatU.S. provides a listing of
reputable surveyors for our members at
Choose a surveyor who is familiar with
the type of boat you’re interested in. Some
specialize in power, some in sail, others in
wooden or metal boats. Never hire a marine
surveyor referred to you by the seller or
broker! BoatU.S. Consumer Protection has
a long list of complaints that start with, “I
hired a surveyor recommended by the seller
….” A surveyor should have absolutely no
affiliations with boat brokers, dealers, boat
repair shops, or others whose living depends
on the sale or repair of boats — especially the
one you’re about to buy.
Don’t rely upon a survey prepared for a
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Attending the survey means you’ll learn a lot about your poten- tial new boat.
previous owner, even if it was done recently.
A survey is a snapshot in time and a boat
could have run aground or suffered other
unnoticed damage since the last survey.
Engine surveys are typically performed by
someone with vast experience in repairing
gas and diesel engines. The best bet is to
hire a certified technician who works for an
authorized dealer. That way, they’ll be able
to research the boat’s warranty and dealer
service work, too. Hire an engine surveyor
with experience on the make and model of
the engine you need inspected.
Rigging surveyors tend to be a little harder
to find, but most marine surveyors can
recommend one. They typically make their
living building and repairing masts, booms,
and associated rigging.
ATTEND THE INSPECTION
Surveyors welcome prospective buyers to be
present at the survey. There’s no better way
to learn about your new boat than watching a
professional methodically dig through it. The
surveyor’s notes will be more meaningful if
they’re able to discuss with you what they’re
examining. They’ll also answer questions
that might not be significant enough to be
included in the written report, and can tell
you about problems they’ve seen on similar
boats that you can be on the lookout for. Pay
attention. You may learn that the face is not
as handsome as you thought.
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