My name is Darrell Puls, and I am a certified Master Marine Surveyor. I have been on and around boats for my entire life. I have been privileged to own yachts and even more privileged to operate several more in recent years: Cruisers 4550 Aft Cabin, 48' Ocean Alexander, 53' Symbol pilothouse, 57' Baylner 5788 (the biggest yacht Bayliner ever made), and a 53' Carver Voyager pilothouse. The largest yacht was a 76' Trumpy flush deck, followed by a custom-built 66' Chris Craft Constellation, both owned by my "uncle," who taught me how to operate and maintain them.
I grew up in a family of boaters. I had wonderful teachers and learned not just how to operate the boats, but also how they operated, meaning I learned all of their internal systems, hull designs, maintenance, and all of the other things that go unseen by casual passengers.
My wife says I am "boat crazy," but she loves boating as much as I do. Let's face it - I love boats and being on them! I also love hunting down problems on boats before they become expensive and even dangerous headaches. Why? Many years ago I did not pay close enough attention to a propeller shaft where it coupled with the transmission on my first small yacht. It turns out that the shaft was bent at the strut and was flexing at the coupling, but with no vibration. The result was metal fatigue and catastrophic failure while under way. Water pressure on the propeller pulled the shaft out - and we were sinking! It's the only time I have ever called "Mayday" on channel 16. The Coast Guard was nowhere near, so it was up to me to save the boat. It was a tense time but I was prepared. By inserting a tapered wooden plug into the packing box I slowed the water inflow from a gusher to a trickle and saved the boat and my guests.
That incident gave me a healthy paranoia that has stayed with me.
I want to share that healthy paranoia with you as your marine surveyor!
My job as a surveyor is simple enough: examine everything for real and potential problems and document what I find. That takes knowledge and training. I have both.
Let me put it this way: I document the problems BEFORE they become YOUR problems!
And when I do, I can save you much grief and thousands of dolloars.
Boats are expensive. A thorough marine survey may be one of the best investments you will ever make!
WHY A SURVEY IS IMPORTANT EVEN FOR OLDER SMALL BOATS
People buy boats with their eyes and emotions. They believe what they see and are told about the boat. Noooo! Never had much water in the boat! It's really shiny and clean, so it must be well maintained. Right? Maybe not...
2 quick stories:
A friend saw an old wood boat on land at a marina. It was freshly painted and very attractive, He was ready to buy until my knife went right through the hull planking at various places. The rot was carefully hidden by the new paint.
Another man bought his first, older runabout without a sea trial. He launched and got about 200 yards when there was "thunk" sound, the engine started smoking and quit, and they began taking on water. I towed him in.
In peeling back the carpet it was plain that the entire back third of the boat was rotten. The stringers (engine supports) had collapsed. Even though clad in fiberglass, the stringers were rotten, as was the entire transom. The boat had been partially sunk at some time.
Repairs cost more than he paid for the boat.
The Crew aboard the Bayliner 5788
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