As Is, Where Is

Don t let your excitement obscure a yacht s faults.

Years back a design client arrived on my doorstep with a stack of faded photos explaining,”I want it just like this.”The shots of failed bonds, mismatched metals, suspicious wiring and ball valves where seacocks belonged had been snapped aboard his B-movie boat. This fellow was a knowledgeable yachtsman, yet like so many he had been blinded by his passion. If you are buying or selling a boat, it is wise to know what the unbiased eye sees in her. Price said

It s always difficult telling a buyer or a seller his dreamboat is a sled, but thatoften the challenge for my pal, surveyor Tom Price. After 24 years in the business, heearned a reputation as being tough, but he rejects the notion. proper survey is never the problem. A bad or misrepresented boat is a deal killer.”Price tells sellers to be prepared. stuff left aboard suggests a seller isnserious and complicates a survey,”the surveyor said, noting that he has unearthed everything from a month-old bologna sandwich to a sexual aid. Price advises buyers not to allow such distractions to put them off an otherwise sound boat. Still, he admits, he has walked away disgusted —no charge!

are significantly better than they were 20 years ago. Still, even good builders have bad days,”Price said. This includes sour coring, loose stringers and termites. is important but its value is often dependent on a boatmodel and year.”Even a good boat can go bad when abused or neglected. Although moisture meters and mallets are useful, Price is always on the lookout for the telltale signs of trouble. in the bottom laminate hold moisture and are sometimes revealed in the drying process after hauling”Only after this surveyor discovered cracking around a strut palm on a 50-foot express did the seller admit herammed a reef in the Bahamas. The boat required major structural repair.

sellers honestly believe their boat is immaculate just because it s got a fresh coat of wax and the engines start when the key is turned,”Price said. think Ibeating them up when I crawl from the bilge covered in filth with a long punch list in hand. They wouldnfeel that way if they were the buyer.” Others will try to put lipstick on a pig. Price recalls the survey of a large sport-fisher on which the seller insisted there was a spare shaft in a transom storage tube. was but it was 12 inches long!”Another seller filled a broken ice machine with bags of ice from the convenience store. really have to check everything.”

Price prefers to work without company features particular to the boat require explanation, itdistracting to have a broker, buyer or seller hovering nearby.”The brokerjob is to make the best deal for his client, and much hinges on the surveyoropinion. boat is perfect. Even the best have things that need tending to and each item on a survey can become a potential bargaining chip.”While there is sometimes pressure to make the best or worst of things, Price has found that the majority of brokers are pros. my years of surveying boats, Ionly found a couple that I canwork with theymentally unstable,”Price quipped with a smile.

The three basic types of survey appraisal, insurance and pre-purchase —typically range in price from about $12 to $30 per foot for a vessel under 70 feet long. Price suggests buyers choose their own surveyor and not rely on a survey”or references from the seller or his broker. certification is just a starting point. A surveyor should have proven qualifications in the vessel type and construction.”Engine surveys are typically separate, but the same rules apply is, where is”does not have to mean beware”once you know what youlooking at!