Frank T. Abbey Certified Marine Surveyor ACMS# 0181


Long Distance Boat Buying, a Cautionary Tale


Finding the “deal” can lead some boat buyers to consider purchasing a boat that is a long distance (or in another country) from where they live. The long distance buyer often relies initially on photographs and descriptions provided by the seller or the sellers representative. Some buyers (in the interest of saving the costs of; a survey, vessel commissioning, short haul, test-run etc.) may complete their purchase relying solely on those descriptions and photographs. For those considering such a purchase process you might consider the following survey determined deficiency report notes. The survey was regarding a year 1996 36‘ twin gasoline powered express style cruiser presented as (and found to be) well equipped; with air conditioning, gen-set, rope/chain type windlass, radar, gps-plotter, auto-pilot and ice maker] with low hours, clean and in very good cosmetic The prospective buyer resided a long distance (from the vessel’s location) that made it impracticable for them to travel and personally view the boat. After much thought the buyer decided to have a preliminary survey conducted on the vessel as currently situated blocked on-shore and shrink wrapped for winter storage; prior to a having it launched & commissioned for a testing survey. That preliminary survey found the boat; invery good cosmetic condition, well equipped and with low (>480) hours of use (for its age) on the engines & gen-set meters; as it had been described: The rest of the survey findings (presented the following two pages of survey determined deficiencies) should prove interesting to prospective boat buyers: A boat presentation may have a well worded description and good looking photographs can tell a different story when surveyed.


VESSEL: 1998 Cruising Type


Survey conducted on while the vessel was blocked on shore - shrink wrapped to the waterline - no AC or DC electric power available. The following is the list of Deficiencies, that require correction. trunk cabin top (from the base of the windshield fwd. to the turn to the fore deck and athwart of its centerline to the turn to the side) primarily on the area that would be covered by the sun-pads; shows significant delamination of its frp. wood composite structure:


A) when walked on surface produces “crunchy” sound (akin to walking on loose gravel)

B) when walked on the deck surface sags / gives way to a convex form.

C) when percussion sounded produced “dull / loose / dead” sound report.

Probable cause of the deterioration is water / moisture intrusion (via screwed in snaps / windshield base /other mechanical penetrations through the frp. surface into the core structure.


2-- stbd. propeller shaft cutlass bearing (set in the strut) is completely worn / missing shaft laying loose with 3/8” play all around, in the strut pass through. (Possible that this situation has imposed damage to the strut / propeller shaft / stuffing box / V-Drive coupling etc.)


3-- lens, in Bomar hatch (apx. 14” x 14”), aft to port on cabin top, shows multiple cracks (through the lens).


4-- marking / labels on all of the DC switches (11) and circuit breakers (14) installed at the cockpit steering station panel. (ABYC std. E- “All switches and electrical controls shall be marked to indicate their usage.


5-- propeller shaft stuffing box hoses clamps (ss. T type; one at each connection) show rust; remove & inspect replace as needed.


6-- no hatch cut outs in the carpet laying on the cabin sole; restricts access to MSD raw water intake seacock installed under a lift-out hatch aft in the sole


7-- rusted steel handle on the MSD raw water intake seacock.


8-- hold open cylinder on port engine does not hold hatch open (could not access / lift stbd hatch.


9-- run of raw water intake hoses (seacock-to-V drive-to-engine) need chafe protection.


10-- macerator outlet hose show worn at seacock connection end.


11-- stbd. engine exhaust manifolds (Crusader part) and risers appear older (show rust stains) than the non-Crusader manifolds & risers on port engine.


12-- gen-set’s in line raw water strainer is adrift / hanging loose unsupported.


13-- stbd. engine’s remote fuel filter & mounting plate are loose.


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