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Chapter 1

What is Pre-Purchase Survey?

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At first glance, the answer to the question that is the title of this chapter may seem obvious.

Yet, when we consider the question in depth, with all of the responsibilities and difficulties involved, further reflection will reveal that the answer is not so easy as we may have first assumed.

For inherent in whatever definition we may arrive at, the fact is that the marine surveyor does not operate in a vacuum, but an environment that makes many demands on him and greatly influences the nature of the service he provides.

Foremost among these influences are the legal obligations imposed by the society in which we function.

This is closely followed by the personal desires and demands of the client, along with the demands of other persons or businesses which also make use of the service, even though they are not our direct clients.

Before we attempt to arrive at a precise definition of a pre-purchase survey, it will be helpful to take a look at some of these many influences so that we may better understand how they mold and shape the work of the professional surveyor.

Let's first start by looking at who and what a surveyor is.

What is a Marine Surveyor

Marine surveyors are indeed expected to be professionals, and professionalism begins and ends with knowledge.

As defined by the dictionary, a professional is: A person engaged in one of the learned professions or an occupation requiring a high level of training and proficiency. This clear, concise definition of professionalism establishes a tall order for anyone who would style his or herself a professional.

It is a much abused term these days that is often extended to trades or mere jobs, as opposed to a specialty that requires an extraordinary level of knowledge and training.

Attaining the true definition of professional can pose considerable difficulties, for a high level of training and proficiency cannot be had by obtaining a college degree because there are no such programs in marine surveying.

Altogether, there are probably no more than 1,500 practicing, full-time marine surveyors in the U.S. and many of these are commercial, not yacht surveyors.

True, there are several schools that offer six week courses on the subject, but six weeks of training do not make a professional.

So how does a surveyor attain his knowledge and experience? Traditionally, surveyors have attained their experience through either apprenticeship with a practicing surveyor or attaining years of experience in related fields such as boat building and repair.

Most of the real professionals have come to the profession in this way, and it remains the primary training grounds for surveyors.

Marine surveyors provide a very diverse range of services to an equally diverse clientele. The most prominent of these is the yacht surveyor whose primary business is the service of providing pre-purchase or buyer's surveys.

But the largest number of surveyors are those who provide other services such as marine insurance claims, consulting work for new construction and repairs, refits, new yacht commissioning, insurance surveys and general problem solving.

While the subject of this book is the survey of fiberglass motor yachts and vessels, our discussion here will not be limited solely to pre-purchase surveys, but will provide useful information and advice on these other areas as well.

Whether you're performing a failure analysis for an owner or insurance company, or a pre-purchase survey, the fundamentals are covered in this book.

Copyright© 2004 David H. Pascoe
(Additional spaces are added for easy screen reading.)

Table of Contents: Chapter 1

1. What is a Pre-Purchase Survey? 1

What is a Marine Surveyor 1

Legal Responsibility 3
A Written Record of Performance 4
Pass-On Surveys 4

Defining A Pre-Purchase Survey 5

Primary Objective 5
Seaworthiness 7
What Does the Client Want? 8
Scope of the Survey 8
Limitations of Scope 9
Think Like a Lawyer 10

Survey Parameters 12

Getting Started 12
Qualifying the Client 13
Hull Survey 14
Main Engines 15
Electrical Systems 16
Electronics 16
Plumbing 17
Performance 17
Geographic Considerations 17
Pass or Fail? 18

List of Survey Categories and Items 19

surveying Fiberglass Power Boats Surveying Fiberglass Power Boats
- 2nd Edition

Soft Cover
480 pages
Publisher: D. H. Pascoe & Co., Inc.
Published: 2005
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0965649601
ISBN-13: 9780965649605

Price: $34.50
In Stock



David Pascoe - Biography

David Pascoe is a second generation marine surveyor in his family who began his surveying career at age 16 as an apprentice in 1965 as the era of wooden boats was drawing to a close.

Certified by the National Association of Marine Surveyors in 1972, he has conducted over 5,000 pre purchase surveys in addition to having conducted hundreds of boating accident investigations, including fires, sinkings, hull failures and machinery failure analysis.

Over forty years of knowledge and experience are brought to bear in following books. David Pascoe is the author of:

In addition to readers in the United States, boaters and boat industry professionals worldwide from over 70 countries have purchased David Pascoe's books, since introduction of his first book in 2001.

In 2012, David Pascoe has retired from marine surveying business at age 65.

On November 23rd, 2018, David Pascoe has passed away at age 71.

Biography - Long version

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