When buying a used sailboat, it can be tempting to skip a professional sailboat survey and save a few bucks. After all, there's bound to be some things you'll need to spend your hard-earned cash on before your new acquisition hits the water.
But is that a wise move? No, it's likely to be a big mistake - a survey by a professional yacht surveyor could save you a pile of cash.
OK, you'll have made your own inspection of the vessel to find any obvious and major defects before deciding whether to proceed further - assisted in no small way by Andrew Simpson's excellent ebook 'Secrets of Secondhand Boats' perhaps?
You may have even made an offer - always 'subject to survey', of course - but however diligent your own inspection was, it will have been be far less so than one carried out by a professional, suitably qualified marine surveyor.
And it was by no means independent; your own smitten but jaundiced eye having probably glossed over a few flaws - love, as we all know, is blind.
Yacht Brokers tend to have a few of their own favoured surveyors. OK, they may be paragons of virtue but there is a chance that the prospect of a continuing workload from the broker may take precedence over their obligation to provide you with a truly independent survey.
Similarly, if you're buying direct from the owner you shouldn't unquestionably accept his recommendation to use a particular surveyor.
Just to be on the safe side it's better to appoint your own, after having first satisfied yourself that his experience and qualifications are suitable for the job in hand.
In the UK, most professional yacht and small boat surveyors will (or should) be members of the The Yacht Designers & Surveyors Association (YBDSA) an organisation that has been in existence for 100 years. More recently a number of other organisations have sprung up, including the International Institute of Marine Surveying (IIMS).
So before appointing a yacht surveyor, it makes sense to ask him about his qualifications and experience - more so if you want him to take a look at something other than the ubiquitous fibreglass monohull.