|American Marine Specialists|
Gary R. Wright SAMS®
Accredited Marine Surveyor®
|Safe Boats - Safe Enjoyable Boating!|
|It's not uncommon for a potential boat buyer to spend weeks, months, even years, in pursuit of the perfect boat. With the advent of the Internet, boat buyers have tons of valuable information at their fingertips. Not only can you find the type and style of boat desire anywhere in the world. It's now just as easy to evaluate a particular manufacturers design, construction and quality control methods. Types and complexity of installed systems, vessel performance data, and known issues with a particular year model vessel or installed equipment. However, it is all too common for that same well informed buyer to lose sight of their goal after a deal is negotiated on their dream boat; then rush the next (arguably most important) phase of the boat buying process - the selection of a competent, professional marine surveyor. Equally regrettable; is not allowing adequate time for a proper, complete survey inspection, report preparation, and, analysis of the information provided by the survey report. Sadly, once the process has evolved to the survey stage, many buyers ignore the survey results. They buy their dream boat with known, costly maintenance issues, and sometimes for more money (all boating expenses considered,) than the boat is worth, and/or over pay regardless of their budget.
So you ask; what does this have to do with selecting a surveyor?
First: After all the time and effort spent researching and finding the perfect boat; why would you not continue doing due diligence to the process and research the credentials and reputation of a qualified marine surveyor?
Second: Why would you make the selection of a surveyor based solely upon his or her survey fee, and/or availability; just because the seller or broker wants to get you to the closing table at the earliest possible date?
Just like no two boats are the same, no two surveyors are the same. Finding a surveyor who is an expert on all boats, or all boat systems, is just not a reality. Especially in inland markets. A surveyor must have enough expertise and experience to be able to survey vessels from dozens of different manufacturers. Sometimes with dozens of different models. It is not uncommon for a surveyor to inspect a 65' luxury motor yacht one day, and a runabout or pontoon boat the next time out. In addition to extensive boating experience, a substantial working knowledge of the varied and complex boat systems, and an arsenal of professional tools; a competent marine surveyor must be knowledgeable in USCG requirements; the recommended standards put fourth by ABYC (American Boat & Yacht Council,) and the NFPA (National Fire & Protection Assoc.,) and, various accepted marine practices - just to name a few.
Largely over looked, is the fact that just having the afore-mentioned skills, the best surveyors have the ability to focus and inspect in all kinds of conditions and situations. Usually with restricted time constraints, dictated by the schedules of the seller and haul out facility. The surveyor must be able to communicate effectively with all sorts of clients; buyers, sellers, brokers, bankers, and insurers. In addition, produce a thorough and detailed written report, normally to include the surveyors opinion of the fair market value and replacement cost of the vessel.
Marine Surveying is a business. Like all businesses there are legal, accounting and record keeping requirements and standards which must be adhered to. Before you choose a surveyor you should be assured he or she is running the business in a proper and ethical manner.
The best surveyors are dedicated professionals, and whether they work full or part time, they show up on time, maintain a professional image, and put forth their best effort on each and every job. In addition, the competent surveyor must continually improve his or her knowledge of new technology, new standards and practices.
In conclusion. Think about the reason you are buying a boat in the first place. It should be a "pleasure boat". Before you choose a marine surveyor, take a deep breath, spend just a little more time, find a professional surveyor you feel confident will help make yours a "Safe and Enjoyable" boating experience for years to come.