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  1. #1

    Problems with used boat inspection - resolution

    I bought a Haines Hunter V17C about 6 weeks ago from a private seller in NSW. It was about 5 hours drive from Brisbane so I had the boat inspected by a local yard. The pre-purchase inspection I used was the "50 point safety check" in accordance with the Boating Industry Association of NSW Ltd. I had a good chat to the boat yard doing the inspection both before and after the inspection. I specifically asked them to check the floor and transom. The inspection report stated that "transom and floor appear OK" and noted a few issues with the outboard which I decided I could live with and was able to get the seller to move a bit on the price. I put a deposit on it and drove down, did a pretty superficial inspection myself, paid for it and towed it home.

    The boat has previously been moored so it has antifoul which is a bit of a cosmetic issue but that doesn't bother me. The trailer is good.

    Problem 1 - the floor is totally rotten. After getting it home I got inside it and started cleaning it out and doing some minor stuff myself. It quickly become obvious that the floor was spongy, so when I took it in for some work on the outboard, I asked them to check the floor. As soon as he got in he told me the floor was gone. I then took it to a fibreglass repairer and they confirmed this. They also looked at the stringers (as much as possible) and transom. The stringers appeared to be OK, but the transom had started to go also. The boat is now at the fibreglass repairer and after taking part of the floor out, they have confirmed that most of the stringers and keel are OK, just need one (?) of the stringer replaced in the cabin. The quote is $3500 for the floor and stringers work and another $3500 for the transom (not including removal and storage of the outboard).

    Problem 2 - the outboard. I was aware that there were some issues with the outboard in the report and in the conversation I had - mainly stiff (actually totally seized) steering at the pivot point in the outboard. It also needed a service and anodes replaced and a few other minor things. The outboard is a 2005 Johnson 140DF four stroke with only about 550 hours. I did some research on this model and it seemed OK. Looking at it further at home it looks pretty rough. The cowling has multiple repair (paint) marks and there is a section of the main frame which the cowling sits on which has broken off. I haven't had the boat in the water yet, so I don't have any feel for how it runs, but since I had it serviced, the trim and tilt mechanism has stopped working and it is leaking oil!

    I really didn't bother doing a very thorough inspection myself as I was relying on the professional inspection I had paid for. I feel pretty gullible and foolish actually as I thought I knew a few things about boats . I am convinced the seller knew about these issues (and a few other minor things) and lied to me through his teeth, but what I am most annoyed about is the professional inspection missing the rotten floor.

    I am wondering whether I am going to be able to make any financial claim against the yard which did the inspection. Anyone have any experience or knowledge of this?

  2. #2

    Re: Problems with used boat inspection

    Probably will have no hope of any refund or help, the "inspection" was done and in the inspectors opinion, things appeared to be OK, there will be no guarantee that it is.

  3. #3

    Re: Problems with used boat inspection


    That's a bad story - were they a licenced boat dealer?

    Have you advised the inspecting boat yard and if yes what was their response/attitude?

    Get some legal advice about putting them on notice for the loss - both the costs incurred in physically rectifying the boat to make it seaworthy and the costs incurred incidentally legal and travel.

    As a start you will need to get another inspection (suggest survey that can be relied upon in Court)

    I would call the NSW Department of Fair Trading. They handle this sort of stuff and if that fails lodge a small claims case with the nearest NSW Court

    good luck

  4. #4

    Re: Problems with used boat inspection

    Unfortunately this happens all too often.
    I myself paid for an inspection and in hindsight I probably should have gone to a fibre glass shop like you did when you found issues.
    Just how qualified some of these guys are to perform the inspection is what is of concern, especially if you found the rotten floor yourself after it was inspected. I came to the realisation, that when purchasing a second hand boat, it's a lottery, A qualified mechanic for the the motor inspection and if in doubt a recommended fibre glass shop for the hull integrity, But, even that cant give you a 100% guarantee that everything is structurally and mechanically sound. I remember seeing a clause in the report when it was sent to me from the company that inspected my boat and it was something to the tune of, Opinion, but no guarantee ! so there wasn't any comeback at all should something be found.
    Noel is right, probably no comeback, however, if the floor was as bad as you say and you afterwards found some spoungy ness, then maybe you should take photo's and go back to them and question the person that inspected it's actual qualification to carry out inspections.
    I got 3-4 years out of mine before it needed to have the major work done and I was so happy with the boat that I'm spending the money to fix it, but it must be a bitter pill to swallow that your work needs to be done without even wetting a line.
    I really do feel for you Jeremy, I think that this might be a bite the bullet situation, but at least once the repairs are done you will have peace of mind in what you have, even if your wallet is slightly lighter, good luck with it all.........


  5. #5

    Re: Problems with used boat inspection

    I am waiting for the fibreglass repairer to send me a letter detailing what he found with his initial inspection and then I am certainly going to contact the yard concerned, the NSW Boating Industry Association and Fair Trading NSW and just see what sort of response I get from the yard. I will have no hesitation naming them on here if I don't get anywhere with them because shonks need to be exposed.

  6. #6

    Re: Problems with used boat inspection

    Thats a secondhand purchase nightmare scenario. You did everything except inspect the boat in person. You have blown a 10grand hole in your budget. Ouch.

    my rule of thumb has always been to factor this scenario into a purchase. BMT.
    body, motor, trailer. I have seen enough boats in person to know when to leave enough alone. Corroded steering mechanisms, multiple patchups on transom to heavily rusted trailers. And the owners wanted top dollar on a "name" boat. Sorry, but if your not prepared to present a boat as usable, i am out of here because the owner will not be going where i want on price. I have looked through so many second hand boats when looking, that three times i looked and three times i bought new. Twice i sold boats that where very well presented and in A1 condition. Good boats sell pretty quickly.
    The boat you bought is of a vintage where alarm bells would be ringing in my ear before even seeing the boat. I would have wanted an on water test before even thinking about anything else. If its not running, it suggests a severe lack of maintenance. What else is neglected? I just dont trust anyone. Even the Pope lies. In my opinion, lots of boats in the 10-15thousand mark are only worth $250, especially if they are more than 30yrs old. If its a rebuild , documentation and lots of photos is mandatory or i am out. Call me a cynic if you will.

    It is extreemly disappointng that a so called expert couldnt see any issues when clearly thats what you paid him to check. Yes, i would be confronting that organisation with a bill.

  7. #7

    Re: Problems with used boat inspection

    This whole thread begs the question, should second hand boats over a certain age be considered money pits/write offs to prospective owners?

  8. #8

    Re: Problems with used boat inspection

    Lots of common/famous/popular brands are rotted out, their name lives on, but in reality, some were very cheaply made and are simply money pits, but the "legend" lives on and they command top dollar.

  9. #9

    Re: Problems with used boat inspection

    They may try to use "appeared ok" but legally i don't think these #######s have a leg to stand on in court they are legally certified to carry out these checks and what happen if u went 20-30km's offshore and the boat broke in half these guys need to be hung on the clothes line

    name and shame them so no one else will use there service!!!

    what u should have done was had the boat inspected without ripping up the floor so u have legal documents supporting the work being done than after this u should have the work carried out only if u have the funds to support such work next step would be taking them to court over the work and sending these incompetent dh's the bill!!! if i were u i would be super super angry these boat checks cost like $500-$600 and it sounds as if they didn't even climb in your boat, what would have happen if that Johnson/Suzuki 140 fell off on the highway and rode off 2-3 cars? shonky businesses like this need to be shut down

    i wonder how many other boaters are out there happily using there boats when they knew nothing about boats that are actually not sea worthy so sad really this business putting peoples lives at risk, makes me cranky hearing about stories like this, Australia is suppose to be a great place to live unfortunately there is a shady person around each corner about the pull the rug from under your feet

  10. #10

    Re: Problems with used boat inspection

    Do you reckon it is worth taking the repair quotes to the inspection mob and seeing if they will take on part of the fixing up costs?

  11. #11

    Re: Problems with used boat inspection

    Can't see how they will be responsible for any repairs, but, best of luck.

  12. #12

    Re: Problems with used boat inspection

    Sorry to here that mate. Extremely disappointing. And they had nothing to gain? I would hate to see what they would attempt to get away with on one of their yard boats then...

  13. #13

    Re: Problems with used boat inspection

    Wasting your time seeking help from any industry association. The associations are funded by the very same people you wish to pursue. They don't bite the hand that feeds them.

    Like Noel said you would not be the first to get stiffed in this manner and stiffed you have don't get me wrong however inspection companies would have had plenty of practice at dealing with these very scenarios.


  14. #14

    Re: Problems with used boat inspection

    all care no responsibility will be in their terms somewhere

    its a 46 year old hull expect it to be rotten
    even new boats under 5 years old can have issues when people start drilling holes in things

  15. #15

    Re: Problems with used boat inspection

    very unfortunate, you had to have known that this model boat is famous for these issues for the age? if not then my apologies but a superficial inspection on a boat like this is not normal . youve got to rock that outboard back and forth, watch the transom move and youve got to walk on the floor on the balls of your feet to feel the softness. what to do now ? fix the repairs or insure it and run it into the rocks...... the price quoted for the transom repair could be a little high too im thinking, dont get stung again.. hope you get a good outcome..

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