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184 Main Collins Street | West Victoria 8007

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Find your questions here

If I have a vessel surveyed, what kind of guarantee do I get?

None. A marine survey is the opinion of the surveyor that inspected the craft as to the conditions that existed on the craft at the time of the inspection. It is not a guarantee, warranty or insurance policy. In fact, most surveying companies, ours included, include disclaimers in their reports stating specifically that they are not to be held responsible for any errors or omissions.

My boat is made of fiberglass, not wood, so why do I need a survey?

Most of our customers don’t realize how few fiberglass vessels are made completely of fiberglass. Most production ‘glass boats have wood or plywood stringers, hull framing, bulkheads and transoms. Decks, and sometimes hulls, are frequently constructed with balsa core, referred to as sandwich construction. It is quite possible for a “fiberglass” boat or yacht to have a significant rot problem, that is invisible to the eye.

How do you find hidden rot or problems? What methods or tools do you use?

This is a little like asking the magician how he does the magic trick. Normally, the laminates and structures are examined visually, and through a combination of tapping, or sounding, with a hammer. Sometimes tight areas are probed (gently), with a pick or probe. A good surveyor leaves no marks. Also, the laminates should be tested for moisture content with a moisture meter.

Who makes the best boat today?

It’s surprising how often this one gets asked. There isn’t any one best boat or manufacturer. Some companies are known for sport boats, some for cruisers, some for fishing, etc. Some builders are primarily known for building the best package for the price. Expect to pay a consultation fee in order to discuss this subject at length with any surveyor, for it cannot be addressed briefly. Often, a 15 or 30 minute consultation with a knowledgeable surveyor cannot only bring you up to date on whose product isthe best for the money, but what particular make and model may best fit your needs.

Can you just look at stringers and transom? I’m just worried about the big picture.

Keep in mind that “rotten” stringers are often far down the list of deficiencies in a modern boat, either power or sail. Mechanical issues on a power boat, such as an engine not making full rpm or sterndrive issues are far more common and have the potential to be expensive fixes. On a sailboat, a bad, worn or malfunctioning roller furling unit can jeopardize the integrity of an overall rig and cost thousands to replace. More often than not, the most expensive deficiency in a boat was something that might not have even been noticed, such as a marine air conditioner with a dangerous, hidden ground fault.  (An issue for which, by the way, we diagnostically test and check for.)

I just need something for insurance. Can you do a limited survey?

The scope of the inspection will often be determined by your insurance company. Be sure to ask them what they expect, i.e. in water inspection, out of water inspection, sea trial or systems testing. If an insurance company only wants a static inspection out of the water in the winter with no sea trial or systems testing, such an inspection may be less expensive than a full scope report with sea trials and systems testing. Again, be sure to clarify your insurance company’s requirements before the survey.


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