Port Credit Marine Surveys
& Yacht Delivery
Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors
American Boat & Yacht Council
|Hiring a Marine Surveyor in the US|
Hiring a marine surveyor at a distance puts you at a bit of a disadvantage, you miss out on the local knowledge afforded by "dock-talk" about who is reliable or thorough and your insurance broker is not likely familiar with surveyors south of the border so where do you turn for information ?
Asking the yacht broker for a recommendation is a bit of a crap shoot as they may refer you to a "broker-friendly" surveyor or their brother-in-law. Most will provide a list of local surveyors and you can choose from them although you should never hire one without seeing a sample report. Under NO circumstances should you accept an existing survey unless you have money to burn!
The US has fewer bogus acronyms and "creative" credentials in the surveying profession than Canada but you should still make sure you read my other article "Choosing a Marine Surveyor" as this may help you separate wheat from chafe. Some, not many but some Canadian Insurance companies are becoming a little more choosy about the reports they will accept and I have seen a few of the "check list" surveys rejected recently. You know .... the ones that say HULL - Yes, ENGINES - Two.
The two best places to start are Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors® and the National Association of Marine Surveyors.Both of these organizations are internationally recognized and have similar stringent requirements for achieving Accreditation (SAMS®) or Certification (NAMS).
BoatUS®appears to be the only insurance company who truly understand boats and surveyors. Their disclaimer says they do not recommend surveyors however they do have a list of approved surveyors on their website. No one gets on this list unless they have been thoroughly vetted. If they are on this list they should be on your list.
Certified NAMS surveyors will show "CMS" after their names and Accredited SAMS surveyors show "AMS". Be aware that many non SAMS or NAMS surveyors add these acronyms or variations (among others) of them to their names. The only way to be sure is to check the rosters at the respective web sites. SAMS® and NAMS. Hiring a SAMS® or NAMS surveyor is not a guarantee but it does ensure that you are hiring someone who hasinvested 5 years in earning the acronym and is required to prove continuing education every year thereafter to maintain that status. If you are still unsure, give me a call as I know many of the SAMS®, US surveyors and can perhaps send you in the right direction.
Hiring a US surveyor will cost more than a Canadian surveyor as their prices are higher, some dramatically so and vary greatly depending on the local market. For a 40' boat in Ontario you will pay between $10.00 and $18.00 per foot while in the US it may range from $18.00 to $25.00. For near border purchases the final cost may be about the same after you pay any travelling costs to the Canadian.
Link to an Ohio surveyor who posts his rates on line www.greatlakesmarine.com/services.html and another in NY State www.marinesurveyorny.com/blog/BreakdownofFees or this one in Florida who charges by the hour www.sailcopress.com/survrates.htm
I still strongly recommend you buy a fresh water boat but if you cannot resist that great deal on a "salty" you should also realize that salt water surveyors are likely to be less critical of corrosion issues as it is a normal state of affairs for them. Remember if you save $20k on a salt water boat it will also be worth 20k less when you try to sell it back here in Ontario. Also be careful of the "fresh water " boats from the Great Lakes as it is not unheard of for hurricane and salt water boats to be freshened up and sold as fresh water boats. Check out my other article "Buying a Used Boat From The USA" .