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Frequently Asked Questions
Are your surveyors SAMS" or "NAMS" "Accredited" or "Certified" ?  My lender and/or insurer is requiring this.

SAMS is the abbreviation used by the Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors, and NAMS is the abbreviation used by the National Association of Certified Marine Surveyors-Global.  These are the two largest marine surveying organizations in the United States.  SAMS uses the designator Accredited Marine Survey (AMS) and NAMS uses the designator of Certified Marine Surveyor (CMS).  These designators are awarded to their members who are in good standing and have met all of the organization's requirements including sitting for and passing a competency test.  Along with these two designations each organization uses other designations for members who have not fulfilled all of the requirements for accreditation or certification such as Survey Associate (SA), Associate, and Apprentice.  In addition to these, both organizations use designators to indicate areas of expertise or specialty such as Yacht & Small Craft, Tug & Barge, Engine, Heavy Lift, Commercial, Hull & Machinery, etc.

Our surveyors are SAMS members in good standing, our surveys comply with the standards developed by SAMS as well as our principal surveyor, and they are accepted by all lenders and insurers.


Why should you select Taylor Marine Surveying & Consulting, LLC

Integrity:

Integrity is a surveyor's most important qualification.  Our reputation is very important to us, and as such we believe in treating all parties fairly avoiding conflicts of interest.  We will not be influenced to inflate a vessel's worth due to relationships with brokers, dealers, sellers, or any other party nor will we find fault with a vessel simply to undermine a broker or dealer or "low ball" the seller.  Furthermore, We are not involved in selling boats/yachts, equipment, or services, nor do we have any financial interest in any organization that does.

Independence:

We work only for you, the buyer!  Our business is very unique, and our financial survival does not depend on referrals from brokers, dealers, lenders, or sellers, and our services are not influenced by a desire for future business from any of these parties.  Furthermore,
we will not share the results of your survey with any other party unless you authorize us.
 
Experience:

We are active boat owners having cruised extensively logging many sea miles, and we have worked in the yacht and boat service business.  However, we are not just boat yard retreads, over the hill operators, dock/yacht club experts, or part time amateurs, and we actively pursue continuing education and training often far exceeding the minimum requirements to maintain our accreditation.

We are experienced marine surveyors and fully accredited members of the Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors (SAMS) and members of the American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC).  Plus, we are ABYC standards certified.  We adhere to the SAMS survey practice recommendations and use United States Coast Guard (USCG) requirements, the Code of Federal Regulation (CFR), the voluntary standards established by the ABYC, the voluntary standards established by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), and accepted good marine practices as benchmarks in all inspections.  Additionally, having an extensive investigative background, we conduct our surveys in a exhaustive and methodical manner similar to a traffic crash or criminal investigation.  The goal being to determining the "truth" about the vessel so our clients can make informed decisions.

Our surveys are accepted by all major lenders and insurers, and we are on the Boat U.S. list of recommended surveyors.  In addition, even though marine surveyors are not required to follow the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) as are real estate appraisers, we have received Marine Assets Appraisal training through SAMS/American Society of Appraisers (ASA) and provide research based valuations.


How do I schedule a survey or other service?

We try to make the process as simple as possible.  Please look at our Fees/Scheduling page and contact us with the information requested.  After gathering all the required information, providing you with a quote, and scheduling a date and time; We will email you our service agreement.  After reviewing it, simply sign and return it to us.  If a retainer is required will will email you an invoice so it can be attended to online.


Why is payment or a retainer required before any services are rendered?

Please do not take it personally, we do not like doing business in such a manner either, and it regrettably is an unfortunate consequence of our modern society or so its seems.  Here is an example of why our policy is what it is.  A client hires us to conduct a pre-purchase survey, and during the survey, the client decides that he does not want the boat.  The client politely excuses himself to go to the restroom, grab a bite to eat, etc and is never seen or heard from again.


Your company is not on the list of surveyors that the broker or dealer gave me.

That does not surprise us.  We are listed on some "surveyor lists" but we know we are not the most popular in the area.  Because of personal experiences, since the beginning of our company we have strived at being  "buyer's surveyors".  We will leave it at that, you can make your own decision. 


Why have a survey:

A marine survey can be conducted for numerous reasons, but the two most common requests involve purchasing and insurance underwriting, and here are just a few reasons to have a survey performed in those instances.   

When Purchasing A Vessel:

1.  To uncover structural and safety defects.
2.  To test and evaluate equipment condition.
3.  To identify immediate and future maintenance & repair needs.
4.  To qualify the vessel for both insurance and financing.
5.  To aid in renegotiating the purchase price.

When Insuring A Vessel:

1.  To assess the vessel for policy renewal or a new underwriter.
2.  To ensure the vessel meets current safety standards.
3.  To ensure the vessel is safe.

We know that many people feel they are being forced to have a survey by a lender or insurance company, and the survey is thought of as just more "red tape" that will cost extra money.  However, we encourage you not to think about it in such way.  Make the effort to get the most thorough survey that you can, and keep in mind that in purchase situtations, very rarely does the survey actually cost you money.  In fact, it often saves you money by identifing problems ahead of time that can be negoitated into the actual selling price.  Which is particularily true if you use a "buyer's surveyor" such as ourselves.  Above all else though, remember the number one reason to have a marine survey, in ever case, is for your safety and that of your passengers and crew!


What is a pre-purchase survey?


A pre-purchase survey is a comprehensive critical examination of the entire vessel and its systems for the purpose of determining its overall condition and estimating its fair market value and replacement cost so a  potential buyer, lender, and/or insurer can make an informed decision regarding the vessel and its purchase and underwriting.  As stated above, it is often required by lenders and underwriters before they will lend on or insure the vessel, but this is not the only reason to have a vessel surveyed before buying it.  Even though financing and insuring are important issues, we believe the primary goal of a pre-purchase survey is to enable you, the client, to make an informed decision regarding the purchase.  Keep in mind that when you are buying a boat, the marine surveyor is the only person throughout the entire process that is working solely for you.  Also consider this.  We routinely conduct insurance surveys for clients who bought a vessel without a pre-purchase survey because of its price or they did not intend to insure it when it was bought.  Yet, later they decided to keep the boat in a marina or wanted to change marinas only to find out that the facility required at least liability insurance.  It has become common for marinas to require at least $300,000.00 in liability coverage as a minimum, and the trend is moving toward $500,000.00.  Many boatyards are beginning to require insurance before a vessel can be hauled or placed in their facility as well.  Sadly though, in many of these post purchase instances, it is discovered during the insurance survey that the boat was not such a great deal after all and will require major repairs just to be insurable.  Remember, most vessel purchases are emotional purchases which can cause cloudy judgment, and one of the primary reasons for a pre-purchase survey is so you can make an informed realistic decision.  To those ends, a typical pre-purchase survey will, in almost all cases, include:

1.  Inspection of the superstructure, above waterline hull, rig, and interior spaces.  All
     normally accessible parts of the boat are examined.
2.  Visual inspection of engines, generators, fluid levels, fuel, steering, electrical, sanitation,
     and other systems.
3.  Haul out and inspection of the below waterline hull, machinery appendages, skin
     fittings, prop, rudder, etc.
4.  Examination of design features, modifications, and structural integrity.
     Inspection of safety and navigation equipment.
5.  Evaluation of cosmetic appearance and overall maintenance.
6.  Check compliance with the voluntary recommendations of the American Boat and Yacht
     Council (ABYC) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) as well as USCG
     regulations.
7.  If available, examination of the ships papers and maintenance log. 
8.  Verification of the hull numbers.
9.  Valuation - A "fair market value" and "Replacement Cost" of the vessel will be estimated
     by research.
10. Written Report.

For pre-purchase surveys on larger powerboats with high performance engines, we usually recommend that an experienced mechanic perform an engine inspection in conjunction with our survey.

However, a normal pre-purchase survey CANNOT be a complete exhaustive investigation of every detail of every system which would probably take days or weeks, and will NOT include (unless previously arranged):

1.  Removing screwed or nailed paneling,liners, carpeting, etc.
2.  Opening, pressure testing, or sampling tanks.
3.  Disassembly of engines, electronics, and machinery, or testing with specialized
     equipment.
4.  Destructive testing, such as drilling holes, removing paint or gel coat, etc.

In most instances, it is highly unlikely that a seller would allow any of these anyway, and in most cases it is unnecessary.  Think of it it this way.  Do you need or can you afford to check yourself into a hospital and have every medical testing known performed for a routine physical, or do you find a good doctor and have the the most important tests performed and have additional testing or follow ups with specialist if a problem is found?  It is typically the same here.  Based on what we find, we may recommend further testing, sampling, or dismantling for inspection.  We can also , if you know ahead of time that you need these specialized services, arrange to have them done as part of the survey with the prior written permission of the owner of course.  However, so as to be clear, such testing will have to be performed by a qualified technician.  We do not perform these tasks, but we do attend and observe the testing.


What is an "Insurance Survey"?

In short,  an insurance survey is a comprehensive critical examination of the overall vessel and its systems for the purposes of determining the condition and value of the vessel so an underwriter can make an informed decision concerning the amount of risk involved in insuring the vessel and that the vessel is what it has been represented as being.

Typically an insurance company will require a survey before they will issue a policy, and it is not uncommon for an insurer to periodically require re-survey especially with older vessels.  This commonly occurs every three to five years with older vessels.  It is also a common requirement for an insurance survey if you change insurers.  Although some may accept an "acceptable recent survey" if one is available.  To complicate matters though, "acceptable" and "recent" are defined differently by different underwriters and by the same underwriters at different times.  Some underwriters will also accept  a survey made "in-the-water" that is to say the vessel is not hauled out for a bottom inspection.  This naturally saves you some money.  But and that is a large BUT, it varies and can even change with the same company over time, so it is very important that you ask each prospective agent or underwriter what they currently will accept before having a survey performed.  Please keep in mind, if you have recently purchased the vessel, a pre-purchase survey will also satisfy an insurance company's survey requirement in most cases, ours do.

Since we are on the subject of insurance, we have noticed that a lot of people are not familiar with the fact that there are two general categories of Marine (boat) insurance.  The differences between the two are significant, and, in some cases, the type of insurance may determine the survey requirements.  Even more importantly, you should understand the difference so you can make an informed decision.

The first category is "Agreed value" (sometimes called "Yacht") insurance policies.  This is where the value for a total loss is agreed upon when the policy is written.  If you have a total loss, you get the value agreed upon in the policy less any deductible.

The second category is "Actual cash value" insurance policies.   With these policies the  amount paid on a total loss is subject to depreciation and the boat's condition as determined at the time of loss.  This is like automobile insurance where an adjuster determines what your car was worth or in this case your boat.

However, please consider that there is a great deal of variation in boat and yacht insurance policies, and boat insurance is not as extensively regulated by the state and federal government as home or automobile insurance.  So, you should read each policy carefully and consult an agent or company representative if you have any questions.

When it comes to insurance surveys, we often get asked a few more questions or at the very least field a few more.  One of these is, " I am only getting liability insurance, so why do I need a survey?  Well simply put, the insurance company, whether it is the so called "full coverage" or "just liability" is assuming a risk when they insure your vessel, and the company wants to make an informed decision as to how much of a risk.  Sure, with liability only, an insurer is not normally going to pay you the value of your vessel if it sinks, but what about when the government agencies that get involved concerning the motor oil in the water from your engine?  What about your marina neighbor's boat that is damaged because your boat struck his when your bow cleat pulled out of the deck because of deck delamination?  What if it is determined that the new air conditioner installed in your boat was improperly wired and leaking electricity into the water which causes a diver or child to be electrocuted while in the water?   What if there is a fire in the marina traced to improper or make shift wiring on your boat?  Simple, the insurer has to pay the claim within the policy limits, and you may be on the hook for the rest.  This is why the insurance company wants a survey for "just liability" coverage.


The next question comes in many forms but the goal is the same and there is only one answer.  Our insurance surveys are done as completely and carefully as any other survey, and we do not provide "drive by, wink and nod, or rubber stamp" insurance surveys.  If you want a cheap "drive by, wink and nod, or rubber stamp survey"  or a one with an inflated value, please contact another company.  We hate to be so blunt, but we receive a fair amount of these inquiries and it is not only a waste of our time but a waste of our current clients' time as well.


Does the survey include an engine analysis?

Yes.  We evaluate the power and electrical plants to determine their performance and general condition by visual external inspection, using onboard instrumentation, and pyrometer and thermal imaging when appropriate and possible.   Upon request, we will also pull hot fluid samples and submit them to one of the top analysis laboratories in the country for analysis.  However, our surveyors are not permitted to disassembly or put instruments or wrenches on engines except as necessary to perform gasoline engine compression testing with the owner's permission.  However, if you would like a specialist engine survey, we can recommend qualified technicians upon request.


What should be done to prepare for the survey?

We understand that the process of buying a boat or yacht is complicated, and we do our best to be flexible to accommodate the needs of our clients.  However, it is important to understand that when a surveyor commits to a date and time for a survey, they are turning down any other requests for surveys for that specific date and time. When scheduling a survey please review our Survey Prep page on this site and make sure:  (The list is also helpful to owners in preparing for other types of inspections and services).

1.  The boat yard can schedule your haul-out
2.  The owner or the owners agent (broker) is available to allow access to the vessel
3.  A qualified person is available to operate the vessel
4.  The vessel is in operational condition
5.  Shore power is available
6.  All normally accessible compartments should be open and unobstructed.
7.  The boat should be reasonably clean, and extraneous possessions should be removed.

We also suggest that you print a copy of the Survey Prep Checklist and provide a copy to the vessel's seller.  A link to the printable checklist can be found at the Survey Prep page.

A special note about insurance surveys:  Please consider that many underwriters do look at the photographs in the survey report.  On several occasions we have attended seminars where insurance company representatives have said, "a vessel that does not look shipshape in the pictures, probably isn't".


Should I attend the survey?

We always encouraged buyers to attend the survey, and we want the survey process to be a pleasant one.  Often the notes and recommendations in the written report will be more meaningful to you if we are able to point out the item in question while actually on the boat.  We can also answer your questions in person and add comments which might not be significant enough to include in the formal written report.  However, the survey is serious business not play, so we generally discourage the attendance of persons not having a direct interest in the vessel since they will distract us both from getting as much out of the process as possible.  This is not the time to bring friends, miscellaneous relatives (unless they are to be co-owners), small children, or pets.


Who pays for the survey?

Typically, a buyer's survey (pre-purchase) is paid for by the buyer.  Other variations on payment are seen, but only occasionally.  Regarding insurance surveys, the survey is paid for buy the owner, but on occasion an underwriter will cover all or part of the cost, but this is rare.


How long does a survey take:

The time it takes to perform a thorough inspection, depends on the size and complexity of the vessel, vessel condition, yard scheduling along with several other factors and can take anywhere from a few hours to several days.  However, most surveys on a mid-sized production vessel require a full day to complete.


Do I need a haul out?

Unless there are logistical problems preventing a haul out, we strongly recommend having the vessel hauled.  Even if the vessel were recently hauled, it only takes a single grounding, contact with debris, or collision with a submerged object to inflict serious and very expensive damage.  Issues such as loose struts, worn cutlass bearings, bent or loose props, worn folding/feathering props, engine alignment issues, keel attachment deficiencies, dealloyed underwater metals, old poor repairs, blisters, soggy rudders, worn rudder bushings, bent shafts/struts/rudders, stray current corrosion damage, delamination, and wet hull coring are but some of the possible problems only discoverable with a haul out.   In addition, many insurance underwriters will not insure a newly purchased vessel without an out of water survey.

Considered the pictures to the left.  If the vessel had not been hauled for inspections, the buyer would have know about these issues until after it was purchased and later hauled out.  Not Good!


As a suggestion, in some cases where logistical problems prevent a haul out at the time of purchase, a portion of the purchase value can be put into escrow pending a future haul out within a time period agreed to by both parties.  However, in most instances we do charge extra to attend the vessel a second time when it is hauled.  After the bottom inspection we will provided a supplement or addendum to the survey report which includes information on the below waterline portions of the hull, machinery, skin fittings and appendages.  If any deficiencies are found, they along with their associated recommendations will be included in the supplement or addendum as will any necessary adjustment to the vessel's estimated fair market value.


Does your company conduct in water pre-purchase surveys?


Purchasing a vessel is often an expensive undertaking and a certain amount of risk is involved whether buying a new or used vessel.  Part of a surveyor's obligations to a client is to act in the best interest of the client, and we take this very seriously.  As such, we believe that any vessel large enough or expensive enough to warrant a survey should be removed from the water and positioned so its below waterline hull and components can be properly examined.  Trying to save some money at this stage can be extremely expensive to a new owner later on not to mention dangerous.  Therefore, we do not recommend in water pre-purchase surveys.  Since we are on this subject, we receive several calls a week concerning smaller vessels that are on lifts behind residences.  The bottom of a boat stored in this way cannot be properly examined, and we do not get in dinghies, or on floats and go beneath the vessel.  This is not only dangerous, we also run the risk of dropping some very expensive equipment in the water.


Does the survey fee include the haul-out cost?

No.


Who pays for the haul out?

As with the survey, in almost all instances of a pre-purchase survey the haul out is paid for by the buyer.  Regarding insurance surveys, the haul out is normally paid for by the owner, but on occasion an underwriter will cover all or part of the cost, but this is rare.


Who arranges the haul out?

Commonly if a yacht broker or dealer is involved, he or she will assist you in making the arrangements.  If it is a private sale, the buyer or seller typically make arrangements.  To aid you in this matter though, we have included a list of some of the local boat and ship yards on our links page.  If the vessel to be surveyed is a small to mid sized power boat, you should keep in mind that several High & Dry (Dry Stack) marinas can and will gladly lift a vessel with their fork truck for survey purposes.  In many cases, this is also less expensive than having it lifted at a traditional ship or boat yard with a belt type (Travel Lift) machine.

However, in special circumstances, we can make arrangements to have the vessel hauled for you, but we do charge a fee of cost plus a 10% surcharge for doing so.


Does the hull require cleaning (pressure washing) at the haul out?

We do not like to disturbing anti fouling paint if possible.  However, if the surveyor cannot evaluate the condition of the hull without pressure washing the bottom, you will notified after the boat is hauled.  Please note that many boat & ship yards charges for bottom cleaning are billed as an additional expense, so you should inquiry about this when contact them.


What if the boat doesn't "pass" survey? (pre-purchase).

We do not "pass" or "fail" boats on survey.  We report our findings and give our recommendations and an opinion of the "fair market value".

YOU, as a buyer, determine whether the boat meets your requirements based on our report.

The surveyor does not make insurance or financing decisions.  He or she reports observations which insurance or financing companies take into consideration to arrive at their decisions.

All boats will have items requiring attention.  In most cases, these will not preclude your going ahead with the purchase.  You may simply make the repairs or changes recommended.  If the costs are high, this may be renegotiated in the price.

If our valuation is less than sales price previously agreed, there are several options depending circumstances.

Pay somewhat more than the "market value", if the yacht fits your needs particularly well.  Boats are almost never an appreciating financial "investment".  Realistically, they are an expenditure.  You should be evaluating the cost/benefit ratio considering the level of benefit (your pleasure) as well as cost.  The survey should help you evaluate both.

Renegotiate the sales price with the seller and broker.

Refuse the boat.  Your sales agreement, or sales contract, should include language that will allow you to cancel the contract if the survey is unsatisfactory to you.


What if the boat doesn't "pass" survey? (insurance).

We do not "pass" or "fail" vessels.  We simply report our findings and give our recommendations and an opinion of the fair market value and replacement value" not the "insured value".    Upon reviewing the survey, the underwriter may require that some or all of the survey recommendations be addressed before issuing or renewing a policy, and it may be in your best interest to submit letter outlining your plans for addressing the recommendations with the survey report.  YOU, and your insurance underwriter make the decisions, and the underwriter determines the "insured value".  We can only assess the market and replacement values, and the insured value may be more or less than the market value.  Also, one underwriter may choose not to insure a given vessel for a variety of reasons whereas another may choose to insure it.  Generally, some underwriter can be found willing to insure the vessel under some conditions, although it may take some searching for older or unusual vessels.


Your company recently surveyed a vessel that I am interested in or I am in the process of purchasing, can I buy a copy of the survey?

This is another question that we are asked quite often, and we completely appreciate you may be trying to save some money or time, but the short answer is NO.  Reports are issued solely for use by the person contracting the survey, and the survey describes the vessel's condition as found on the day of the inspection.  Since a vessel's condition can change and/or vessels can be damaged after the original inspection, a new report requires re-inspection.  We also will not simply change the name and date on a report and reissue it to another person, so please do not ask.  


What if the boat has blisters?

Blisters!  The mere mention of the word strikes fear into the heart of many buyers and current boat owners alike.  Fortunately, the use of Vinylester and more rarely epoxy resins by builders in recent years have shown promise in prevention, but time ultimately will be the judge.  Nonetheless, osmotic blisters can develop between and within any layer of the laminate.  They can also occur at previous blister repairs and beneath barrier coats which is something we have been encounter more frequently the last couple of years.  However, the hard reality is most boats stored afloat for significant periods of time or year around in warm waters will more often than not develop blisters to some degree eventually.  Albeit, some builders and year models have been more problematic than others, and there can be considerable variations in blister development even with the same make, model and year vessels.  Another reality is, contrary to what some may say,  blisters cannot be diagnosed until they appear, and there is NO way to accurately predict if, when, or where blisters may or will occur.  In fact, there are many older vessel's out there that have "wet" hulls that never develop blisters or very few of them when they do.  Additionally, if blister repairs have been faired properly, the repair will be next to impossible to detected unless coatings are removed.  However, their is good news, blisters are rarely "fatal" and in many cases merely represent an annoying somewhat expensive time consuming maintenance or repair item depending on the extent.  So the question remains, should you buy a boat with blisters?  Well as with most things, "it all depends".  Assuming the price of the vessel reflects the condition, you may actually be better off buying a boat with blisters than one that has had blisters recently repaired in an unknown manner.  This way at least you can oversee the project and know exactly how the repairs are conducted which increases the likelihood that the repairs will be made properly. 


What are your reports like?

When it comes to reports, we have a simple goal.  Provide a thorough, detailed and meaningful report that benefits our clients.  Because of this, we do not have a standard "one size fits all" report, and our surveys can vary greatly in length depending on many factors.  Some of which include the type of survey, the vessel's size, the vessel's type, the vessel's age, the vessel's condition, the intended use of the vessel, and the complexity of the vessel's systems.  Nonetheless, we provide a very detailed and comprehensive report which in a pre-purchase cases typically ranges in length from 20 to 100 pages and includes:

1.  A detailed description of the vessel and its systems.
2.  A list of deficiencies and recommendations regarding safety, necessary repairs, and 
     maintenance.
3.  Notes on conditions which affect the vessel's value and suitability for its intended service
     and suggestions for improvements and/or enhancements.
4.  Estimated current fair market value and replacement cost of the vessel.
5.  Photographs of the boat and any unusual features or problems.


How soon can I get the survey report?

This and whether or not the report can be ready the next day are two very common questions, and it is understandable, but please consider that we do not provide checklist or report mill style reports.  Each report is individually prepared, and it takes the surveyor time to carefully consider the findings, conduct research, compute a valuation, and write a meaningful report.  Because of these factors reports are normally completed three to five working days after completion of the inspection.  Concerning next day reports, we have seen several such reports of that type over the years, and we were not favorably impressed with them.  We take our clients and our profession too seriously to provide such a product.  Besides we believe that any vessel expensive enough to warrant a survey is a major purchase and should not be made impulsively.


How will I get my survey report?

Reports are typically delivered by internet so you can access the report from anywhere in the world.


Who gets the survey report?

Unless you request that the report be sent to a third party, we only provide the report to you.


Are you available to answer questions after the survey?

Absolutely.  We take a personal interest in our clients, and we will be happy to discuss our findings and their ramifications after the survey.   Plus, unlike most, our clients have access to u
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