|Gudgeon & Pintle Marine Surveys|
New Bern, North Carolina, USA
Serving The US East Coast
Stephen T. Duncombe, SAMS® AMS®
Principal Marine Surveyor
Cell: 252 626 3281
Boat surveys and surveyors are not licensed or controlled by state governments. (The same is true for boat insurance, but that is another story.)
There are two national/international organizations that seek to maintain standards of quality, continuing education and ethics for surveyors. The two organizations, SAMS (Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors) and NAMS (National Association of Marine Surveyors) set standards for member surveyors. Membership in either organization is indicative of a surveyor who has the requisite experience and knowledge to properly inspect a boat.|
To go back to the house and car analogy, most of us have at least passing knowledge of the systems in a house or car. This is not so with boats. All boats have similar systems and have been built in a similar fashion. That being said, all boats have their eccentricities. And then there is the terminology: manual heads, electric heads, vacuum flush, 'Y' valves and seacocks. Not to mention ropes that are not ropes, but sheets and halyards, cringles and Samson posts, let alone port and starboard. Boats and boating have their own language. Combine this with the fact that every time you venture out on the water you are risking your life and you are talking a pretty steep learning curve. When choosing a surveyor, make sure your choice has a good 'dockside manner'. Make sure your needs and limitations are understood and are addressed. Hire a surveyor who will take the time to go through the boat with you and explain the systems. Ask for extra time if needed. You are the client. The seller does not work for you, the broker does not work for you. The surveyor works for you.
Surveys are often thought of as a necessary evil: one has to be done and paid for because the bank needs verification of a sound investment. House inspections are a standard practice in the purchase of a used or even new home. New cars are rarely inspected and used cars inspected less than half the time. If the cooling hose on your home air conditioning system breaks, you call a repairman and open the window. On a boat, breaking a cooling hose can lead to sinking in minutes. If your car breaks down, you pull over and call someone for a ride or you walk. There are no breakdown areas or rest areas on the water; too few of my acquaintances can walk on water to seek assistance. As a boater you put yourself at the mercy of wind, weather and water. Having a well found boat is your only protection. Water is hostile: venturing out should not be taken lightly.
More Final Thoughts
It could be said that there are two types of boaters: those who have run aground and those who will. This leads into a brief discussion of towing services. I am a great believer in subscribing to one of these services. While many insurance policies provide some coverage for towing, the dollar amount is minimal. In the space of three years, I was involved in two tows, one on my own boat, the other on a friend's boat. My tow amounted to about 500 yards, but the tow boat had to come eight miles to do it, the charge being $325. The other incident, the tow boat came from almost 45 miles away and the tow was around twelve miles, the charge was over $2500 dollars. Both instances being covered by towing contracts, the charges were $0. Both of my tows had to do with the fuel systems. Towing services are offered, in the main, by two companies, Sea Tow and TowBoat. Both sell franchises for towing services in specific areas. It is highly recommended that you subscribe to one of them best suiting your needs as respects location, availability and pricing. The peace of mind is well worth the premium.
Installed September 14, 2008, Last Revised January 6, 2019 - This site is hosted and maintained by Don Robertson