by Kevin Bamerick

October 22, 2018

“Do you need to hire a marine surveyor (or similar)? The universal answer would be if you are buying a boat and want to know what shape it is in, then a survey would suffice. This ACBS question was asked of D. Erik Will, AMS of Sodus Point. (I first met Erik in Feb. 2008 ice boat sailing on Sodus Bay).

“There is no reason for a report unless you are wanting to do something, i.e. pre-purchase, insurance survey, financial appraisal or damage estimation,” said Will. The fee structure details the scope of the report, however, a surveyor can be hired on an hourly consultant basis. Consultation of ‘similar’ professionals might be a boat broker, marina owner, boat yard expert, etc… The best advice by Will, “the client should witness whatever the assignment. Erik concluded, “surveyors talk about condition, but they are not qualified to rebuild.”

Geo. Sperry Marine Surveys of Cape Vincent offered his 2003 crib notes he presented at the Adirondack museum on ‘how to buy a wooden boat.’ Two sections every boater should self-inspect drew my attention on the hull per se. ‘On the outside (out of the water) check for “fairness; evidence of damage/repair; open seams; cracks; transom; through-hulls; rudder; underwater machinery and HIN.” ‘On the inside (below)’ check for “rot, water intrusion and hull to deck joints.” If anything is suspect, hire a surveyor!

The ACBS office contains a listing of SAMS – Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors who are situated in countywide, statewide locations. Preparation for the surveyor can be cost-effective by owners having the vessel clean, ready and accessible for the inspection.

P.S. In the ’90’s, as a claims adjuster, I met Russell Egleston at his law practice in Mattydale; a firm next door to my uncle’s tavern. On his office desk was a galley propane stove; a salvage memento of his damage survey determination as the cause of origin malfunction of a total fire yacht loss. Egleston testified in court in defense of the insurance claim. The heater decorum was our ice breaker then in conversation with Russ on qualifying experts for my future marine claims handling.

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