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Old    John (padawaan)      Join Date: Aug 2014       08-29-2014, 6:26 AM Reply   
im still in the hunt for a boat, the one im looking at had a survey done about 18 months ago. should I have one done before I buy it or do you think a test drive would be enough. im going to have to drive 800 miles one way to get it and don't want to come home with a lemon.
Old    N L (drnate)      Join Date: Jul 2006       08-29-2014, 7:33 AM Reply   
I'm no expert on the subject, but if it was looked over and tested and checked by a good mechanic, it should be noted somewhere on there how many hours are on the boat. When you go to test drive it, check the hours. If they're close, I would consider that good. If there was 500 hours put on it in the last 18 months, I would be hesitant
Old    Paul (psudy)      Join Date: Dec 2003       08-29-2014, 7:48 AM Reply   
Never had a survey done on any boat I have purchased. Have mechanic check out the motor.
Old    Tom (boardjnky4)      Join Date: Dec 2011       08-29-2014, 8:03 AM Reply   
A survey might be helpful on a larger vessel with much more complex systems, but a wakeboat isn't complex enough to warrant a marine survey. That's my opinion. Lemons ARE out there, though so make sure it's at least looked at by a boat mechanic. An hour's worth of labor should cover it.
Old    Brett Yates (polarbill)      Join Date: Jun 2003       08-29-2014, 8:07 AM Reply   
Survey's are more common ground with Yachts. I don't know if they still do but the local Credit Union I use used to require a survey if over a 25k loan.

I don't think it is needed personally. step one should be doing a visual inspection. Make sure there are no huge cracks (A little spider cracking isn't really that weird), the vinyl is in good shape and the engine area looks all clean. This should give you a good idea if the boat has been maintained well. If it passes that test take it on a test drive. fill ballasts, use PP (If it has it), drive it like you stole it, make sure every switch/feature works, make sure no excessive vibration, make sure the temp stays in the 160-180 range (I think that is what most thermostats are), check the oil before running and after to make sure it looks good, etc... If it passes that test take it to a mechanic and have them do at minimum a compression test.

If you do all that and it passes you "should" have an ok boat. Remember, if the boat looks beat up or neglected on the surface it has likely been neglected mechanically.
Old    Aaron (alindquist)      Join Date: Mar 2004       08-29-2014, 9:12 AM Reply   
I personally wouldn't buy a boat without one, especially if you are spending a lot of money... A survey on a wakeboat shouldn't be more than $300-$400 which is probably less money than the gas or plane ticket to go look at it (only to find out it's a basket case). To me it's piece of mind, plus it's nice to have an impartial party look at it, someone who isn't already in love with it. A good surveyor should look at and test everything so you have a pretty good idea of what you are getting into... I just went up through this (although not a wakeboat) and I was really happy with the results. My 2 cents...
Old    Cory D (cadunkle)      Join Date: Jul 2009       08-29-2014, 9:26 AM Reply   
No sense in paying for a survey on a small boat like a wake boat. They are small and simple, check it out yourself when you show up with cash in hand. Either walk or buy depending on what you find. Buying a towboat isn't really significantly different than buying a car or motorcycle.

If you're buying a large older cruiser, like a 40' cruiser/vacation home or something similar where total cost and maintenance cost are more involved (i.e. not an easy trailer boat, swap engines with a hoist at home, do backyard maintenance, etc.) as well as overall complexity of the systems on the boat there are many more areas for problems to hide that your average reasonably technical and mechanically inclined dude may not be familiar with... Then a few hundred for a survey might make sense.
Old    Markj (markj)      Join Date: Apr 2005       08-29-2014, 9:57 AM Reply   
I never knew surveys were that cheap. If you get it surveyed and lets say the motor blows or one of the systems fail, is there any liability on the surveyor's part?
Old    Nailem (nailem)      Join Date: Apr 2011       08-29-2014, 10:04 AM Reply   
I would also say it depends on how mechanically inclined you are. if you know nothing about boats or motors I would at least bring a friend that is. when I bought mine I pressure checked the motor myself in the parking lot. did not take much time to do and if you don't have a PSI gauge just barrow one from autozone.
Old    Phatboypimp (phatboypimp)      Join Date: Apr 2005       08-29-2014, 10:21 AM Reply   
I bought my boat over the phone and had it shipped to me. I had it inspected by the dealer that sold and maintained the boat. He was actually the guy who ended up driving the boat out to CA from WI. In my opinion a million things can go wrong on a boat but very little can be done to predict it. I think Brett has the right strategy. I feel the most important things you can do is compression test and a leak down test. The truth is - changing the oil in a boat is a pain in the ass and unless you are like most of us on this site you power through it every 50 hours or so. Jiffy Lube don't play with boats. Most people do not change their oil regularly and it eventually compromises the motor. The other expensive item is the tranny. I would pay special attention to how it shifts and the condition of the fluid. Regular joe's don't change that fluid often either,
Old    Jason Smith (snowslider76)      Join Date: Mar 2002       08-29-2014, 10:55 AM Reply   
I had a survey on the last boat I bought, the lender required it. Make sure you know what you are asking for, a survey is a lot different then a mechanical inspection. It's sorta like an appraisal on your house vs. an inspection. The appraiser says "ok your house is in neighborhood x, has this many square feet, these finishings ect it's worth X." The inspector actually tests the HVAC, looks at the foundation ect.

That's exactly what a boat surveyor does, ok it's boat X with motor Y with options Z and this many hours it's worth X. They typically don't even start it, you can end up with a boat that doesn't actually run. In my opinion it's a waste of money, it's basically in place so you aren't pulling one over on your lender.

The mechanical inspection is what you should spend your money on, it won't tell you what the boats worth but can tell you if it's going to blow up.

I had both done, the lender wouldn't just except the mechanical inspection, seemed like a crock to me. That's my experience anyway may be some surveyors do it different.
Old    S. R. (stingreye)      Join Date: Oct 2012       08-29-2014, 2:59 PM Reply   
I hired a surveyor and he tested everything.... Ballast pumps, bilge pump, stereo, water test with boat, basically every possible feature. He also took pictures of every possible flaw on the boat with comments on if he expected it to "buff" out.

He also provide me a list of thing that MUST be fixed in his opinion, and things that he recommended fixing. He also was very helpful on where to expert normal corrosion to appear and where you wouldn't expect it. One simple example, he plugged in the on-board battery charger, it had failed, the previous owner still had the warranty and it was replaced at no charge to either of us.

It also included a pretty good inventory of items so I have referred back to it several times (for example trailer tire size when I needed to replace them).

I bough my boat sight unseen from half way across the country, so for me, it was worth the peace of mind. He also knew that the purpose of the survey for me was about the condition of the boat and what worked/what didn't work versus an appraisal.

Make sure the surveyor has done wakeboats and understands them. Mine was $500 with an on the water test.... pretty cheap IMO
Old    John (padawaan)      Join Date: Aug 2014       08-30-2014, 1:41 PM Reply   
would it be safer to buy a boat from a dealer, it seems like you would have more recourse if it was a lemon.
Old    Jeff D (Jeff)      Join Date: May 2010       08-31-2014, 2:47 AM Reply   
Originally Posted by padawaan View Post
would it be safer to buy a boat from a dealer, it seems like you would have more recourse if it was a lemon.
I'm no legal expert nor am I necessarily familiar with every states' laws but generally there's no such thing as "lemon laws" for used vehicles. Unless some sort of written warranty is offered, used sales in most states will be "as is" and you will have no recourse if there are any issues that become apparent after the sale whether through a dealer or a private sale.


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