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Survey costs + bottom paint


New Member
What might I expect a survey (for insurance purposes) to cost? I'm guessing it requires a haul-out, and since the bottom needs to be redone at this point, I'm thinking that I need to make it all happen at the same time. I have a 1983 35' Ericson III. I'm not sure where to start in considering costs for everything. Can anyone give me a ballpark figure for these processes? I appreciate it.

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
Many surveyors will maintain a modest web site, and often their charge per foot is posted. Otherwise you will have to make some calls.
You might want to post a question on your Regional Forum here for suggestions for surveyors.

Unless you have access to a DIY yard, your boatyard will quote for paint and labor for painting the bottom.

Dave G.

1984 E30+ Ludington, MI
This is info from Christian Williams(Thanks Christian) on another recent thread, shows haul, paint, and labor cost. This work was done in LA so $$ should be close for your cost. He has a E38 so yours may be 10% ish less ? Not sure about a survey cost in your area but here in the Midwest it would be in the $7-800 range for a 35. I would guess somewhere in the $3,500 range including survey. Of course if your hull needs more labor to repair/fair then cost will increase so I would get quote(s) from your local yard(s) to be sure.

"My receipt--I like to share them for the record--may seem high, but my impression is that yards have fee schedules. Sometimes if the job was fast they might charge less than the schedule, and have for me a couple of times. Fact is, I have zero choice. Local yards permit no DIY, and charge $90/day for storage beyond their scope of work. I'm not complaining, this is a metro center, not an idyllic reed-lined bayou with butterflies, and has its compensatory charms.

Haul out and launch, $411.
Labor, clean, fill and apply2 coats bottom paint, $1,275.
Paint cost @ $312. gallon, $936.
R&R prop shaft, replace cutlass bearing, 6 hrs. @ $135, $810.
Drop rudder and reinstall, 6 hrs. @ $135, $810.
Fabricate new shaft face, coupling, prop keys, $950
PSS dripless, $425.
Including rags, gloves, etc., total with tax, $6,300."

Prairie Schooner

Jeff & Donna, E35-3 purchased 7/21
We're in the northeast, our survey was in 2021, so this is perhaps not a great help. But, we paid $800 for the survey. About $200 for a short haul.
How long have you had your 35? What year is it?
Many of us put boat, engine, and location information in the signature area of posts so we can get more targeted responses. If you're comfortable with divulging that, you might find it helpful. Click on your name/avatar up on the blue stripe to find it.


Junior Member
As an ex surveyor you should first look at the SAMS site (Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors) or NAMS. There is a mail order surveyors called AMS or something and they have some real wingnuts. NAMS is a stiff upper lip membership. SAMS has accredited surveyors and rookies called SA. I always recommend SAs as they tend to really overdo their surveys. Most have a per foot price and possbily a minimum. You need to understand these are surveys where engine condition is reported only due to working engine, cold start, lights are on, etc. Surveyors rely on reports as well so have your maintenance records. The industry is starting to get more professional with regards to appraising or valuation which really is what insurance companies are after. Most surveyors refer to the Martin scale of depreciation as a reference but also more and more they are being trained in USPAP standards to come up with their valuation. In fact my first questions were often, what do you think your boat is worth and why? and what changes have you made? For me, I always did damage surveys, commercial....Prepurchase surveys for lawyers were the worst. Some final comments, when you get into boats that are 40 years old you are entering antique classifications where you depreciate not by a schedule but depreciate from a perfect sample and depreciate with cost to cure. Boat Insurance adjusters are really not very knowledgable these days. Many underwriters actually have inhouse surveyors to help. In many situations you can sometimes override their understanding of a survey by asking if they are seeking an insurance survey with valuation which could very well omit pulling the boat. In some cases a good bottom survey and maintenance report can serve this function when presented to the surveyor. You should also be aware that when financing if the boat is older than 10 years a survey may be required.

Pete the Cat

Member III
My experience with surveyors over the last decades is decidedly mixed, with recent experiences being downright worse than useless. I agree that there are a fair amount of mail order surveyors out there and I can confirm that at least one of certified the SAMS guys here in SFBay seems to have little real experience in basic ABYC requirements and CG requirements in my recent survey--and the SOB is training an assistant!. Also correct is that your insurance company is primarily interested that the boat actually exists (engine, hull numbers, documentation, etc) its fundamental condition, and some idea of its value. They just want to know that the boat is seaworthy and not already damaged. But the underwriters know even less about boats, so anything the dufus surveyor lists with any caution, they will likely require you to fix prior to insurance and THAT can cost you a bundle. The problem with many surveyors is that they often seem to have very little actual experience in boat construction, yet are prone to list anything they see as suspicious and the insurance company (Geico/Boat US underwriting has become ridiculous) will require you fix and then hire the surveyor to return for a confirming (more $$) survey. The problem with determining your boat's value is that you will be put against an average recent selling price of the model boat you are looking at (brokers and surveyors buy access to this list)--don't fret if you paid more than average for a better cared for boat--you probably got a much better deal in the long run. There is generally nothing quite as expensive as a "cheap" yacht. Except a free one.

Here is my advice to a new boat owner:
If you need a survey for insurance purposes it should cost less than a prebuy survey (Christian's prices are similar to SF Bay area and East Coast in my recent experience). For such a survey I would shop surveyors with your local boatyard folks--be clear about your purpose. They know who is good and who will be better for insurance type surveys. Do not trust your broker or the guy down the dock. You want one kind of surveyor for an insurance surveyor and a completely different one for a real survey of the problems in your boat or prebuy. If you really want to know what problems you have with a particular boat there are probably a few good surveyors who have actual boatyard experience (though we are losing these folks to mail order, second career retiree newbie surveyors who have read too many books but have no real boat building experience). Make friends with a boat yard manager. Tell him what you want. Take him to lunch. Its an investment.
If you really want great help in evaluating a boat, get someone (pay them to come if you have to) who has real experience with a boat like yours to spend a half day with you going through your purchase. I am confidant you will find this more valuable to your future with the boat than any survey.
I recently left Geico/Boat US after 34 years with them because they periodically require surveys even if you have been with them for years. I have two boats with Progressive and neither required a survey and the cost was about 30% less. I think Geico/Boat US lost a lot of money in Florida and are asking the rest of the boating areas to make it up.
Just the opinion of an old curmudgeon.