Monday, June 27, 2011

Survey - Big Duck

                                  Marine Surveyors & Appraisers
105 Roosevelt Ct.  Annapolis MD   21403

                 INSURANCE SURVEY

SURVEY NO:  F1711202.INS-P       PAGE :  1 OF 15       DATE:  June 18, 2011

Jeff Nicholas


      The following is an inspection and survey report performed on the vessel “BIG DUCK”, a 1972 Land and Sea powered houseboat located and inspected at Lake Murray Marina, Ballentine, SC.

As a whole, BIG DUCK was found to be in very good condition for a vessel of this vintage. The structural condition appeared satisfactory with the exception of items listed. Numerous upgrades to vessels systems include updated AC and DC electrical systems, recent repower including replacement fuel tank and all fuel delivery hoses. The exterior appeared as original to vessel's manufacture. Interior appointments were considered well above average given the age of vessel.
          The vessel was inspected while trailer stored. No observations other than that related to general condition, maintenance and "housekeeping" are offered regarding engine and machinery.

Recommendations (RR) are those improvements which, by their completion, may enhance the comfort and value of the vessel. Essential repairs (ER) are those considered necessary such that failure to effect such repairs may result in failure or malfunction of component or system. These may also include recent changes to ABYC standards and recommendations not in effect when this vessel was constructed. Essential repairs in need of immediate attention are those considered necessary, by which failure to effect such repairs in a timely manner, presents a higher than normal probability of  failure in one or more components leading to consequences harmful to the vessel and/or those aboard. Standards as set forth by ABYC, USCG and NFPA are those used and referenced regarding survey deficiencies. For the purpose of insurance underwriters, and safety in general, every effort should be made to maintain the vessel and her systems to those standards as outlined by the American Boat and Yacht Council.   


          The purpose of this inspection and report is to determine insofar as possible and with out intrusive means, the condition of the above described vessel both structural and non structural at time of survey.. Every attempt is made within reason and practicality to access structural members and installed components without removing fixtures or furnishings, or undertaking potentially destructive measures. Excessive gear, blind compartments and swollen flooring access panels are typical of constraints to adequate inspection. Correction of these conditions may be noted under ESSENTIAL REPAIRS:
    It must be considered that moisture meter readings are relative and may be affected by conditions other than “moisture” and that percussion sounding is subjective. A recommendation for further destructive testing may be noted and second opinions by those who are proficient in repairs may be suggested. The vessels systems have been observed for general condition, and use of acceptable marine standards and materials. Individual circuits and equipment will be tested for function as to power and rudimentary performance. Information offered and observations, obtained from the aforementioned procedures are the opinion of the attending surveyor based on his knowledge and experience. Notes: found within text may be considered practical advice and are not meant to instruct on maintenance procedures or prudent seamanship.


The vessel described below has been inspected and found to be an acceptable risk for insurance underwriting purposes with the completion of all Essential repairs (ER). With repairs properly completed, it is the opinion of the attending surveyor that, “BIG DUCK” should be considered a viable vessel for:
1)       _•_ Inland/Estuarine waters
2)       __  Near coastal waters  
3)       __  Offshore waters       


          The surveyor/appraiser has inspected the vessel both inside and out made a local market inquiry with comparable boat builders, brokers, and manufacturers. All available publications, database and areas available that may apply or furnish an unbiased, unprejudiced opinion as to the estimated fair market value of this vessel have been considered.

APPROXIMATE VALUE                            $16,000.00*

*With essential repairs and recommendations completed, based on published and comparable value, and other industry information.

REPLACEMENT COST                             $99,000.00*

*If in production or a like type vessel.


H.I.N.:   SCZF5830L072


TYPE:  Land N Sea inboard powered houseboat                             YEAR: 1972

L.O.A.:  28’0”   BEAM:  8’0"   DRAFT:  1’2”   DISPLACEMENT:  5200lbs.


INSPECTION METHOD: Engine was inspected for general condition, maintenance and housekeeping. No seatrial was conducted; the engine was not started nor run.

POWER:  Raw water cooled 350 cid V-8 Volvo Penta gas engine

MODEL:  260A  SERIAL NO:  CU29155          HP:  260          HOURS:  ≈20+/-

     The marine gas engine, reportedly a replacement for original power, appeared to be in good condition. All peripheral hardware, alternator and belts, water pump, clamps and hoses were also in good/serviceable condition. Resilient engine mounts were in satisfactory condition and mounting lags/bolts/adjustment hardware was secure. The engine was coupled to Volvo Penta outdrive which included raw water intake hardware and underwater exhaust outlet
The exhaust system from siamese risers and water injection mixing elbows to lower unit exhaust outlet utilizing exhaust rated hoses and metal elbows was in good condition. Generally all hardware related to engine and gimble mounts appeared "near new".  The carburetor, believed to be two barrel standard was fitted with flame arrestor and was in good condition.

NOTE: It is not within the scope of this survey to undertake intrusive inspection of the engine and its components nor is it possible to predict future performance of such equipment.  The term “serviceable” should be broadly interpreted as observed performance falls within a normal and expected range given the vessels age and hours of use . A qualified marine engine technician should perform a complete mechanical survey should a more detailed assessment of the engine and performance be necessary.

GEAR: Volvo Penta      RATIO: na                MOUNTS:  bolt on

          The  gear box appeared to be in satisfactory condition. Gear lubricant was believed to be oil, no analysis was done. Transom main bracket, primary gimble bracket and mid lower unit housing all appeared "as new" as did all bellows and clamps  components were found to have minor pitting consistent with galvanic corrosion. General condition of outdrive, prop and  lower unit were considered well above average.


          The fuel tank is constructed of cross linked polyethylene and located starboard side within engine compartment at stern of vessel. It was properly vented and secured.  The system appeared to be liquid and vapor tight to the hull interior and was equipped with USCG Type A approved fuel lines and shut-off fuel manifold. All fuel hoses had been recently replaced verified by stamped date on fuel lines. The tank was a recent replacement for original aluminum tank and was fitted with redundant clamps at all fuel fill hose connections at deck fill plate and tank fitting. The tank was equipped with an integral fuel gauge. A three-psi aerostatic test was not performed on the fuel tank system, nor is it recommended. The secondary water separator fuel filter was a Mercruiser style, spin on fuel filter element.  

NOTE: Fuel that has been stored for some period of time is suspect regarding contamination, condensation and unknown quality. It is essential to monitor fuel filter system regularly during initial periods of use especially in conditions that may agitate tank sediment.



The topsides were inspected visually and found to be in satisfactory condition. Only one area of "trailer rash" was noted port side forward at tunnel bow section. The damage was superficial, limited to gelcoat chafe and repairs to this area are considered optional at this time. The gelcoat finish was in fair condition overall with heavy oxidation and UV fading noted in original finish. The small, stainless steel half round rub rail was remarkably free of dents or damage. No sign of damage or prior repairs to vessel were noted at inspection

          The molded deck of cored construction was inspected visually and found to be in satisfactory condition. Though there was extensive crazing of gelcoat surfaces, the condition was considered to be cosmetic in nature. Coring in all areas appeared to be satisfactory.  The engine access hatch also appeared to be structurally sound.  


          The simple shoe box lap flange deck to hull joint, mechanically fastened bonded and sealed was inspected visually where accessible. The joint showed no sign of working or water entry. The stainless steel rub strake was incorporated into hull deck joint.


INSPECTION METHOD: Bottom was inspected visually, by percussion sounding and, when possible, electronic moisture metering utilizing Electrophysics GRP 33 analog moisture meter with ranges 0-30 interpreted as follows:
Dry: <10
Moisture non critical: 10-16
Moisture meter readings taken on FRP laminates are relative numbers where new construction may fall in the 5-8 range and saturated laminates often displaying characteristic osmotic blisters ≈25-30. Wooden and wood composite structures may also be monitored for moisture content.


           The vessel was trailer stored for inspection. While resting on bunks, the bottom, underwater hardware and thru hulls were inspected.


        Vessel was equipped with a Volvo Penta outdrive and aluminum propeller.  The three blade propeller, believed to be aluminum, was found in good condition with no damage or deformation noted at inspection. As noted above, the outdrive was in good condition overall though several modular components, believed to be original to vessel's manufacture, were found to have minor pitting. Thru-hulls, and underwater hardware appeared to be in good condition and free of galvanic corrosion.

NOTE: Areas that are not available for inspection such as prop hubs, tapers, keyways, strut bearings etc are also those most susceptible to oxygen starvation which can lead to pitting and crevice corrosion. It is advisable, as preventative maintenance, to have shafts periodically removed for inspection.


         Hull laminate was inspected visually and sounded with a phenolic hammer. Hull laminate appeared sound, no signs of osmotic blistering were visible through the bottom coatings. Bottom laminate moisture readings were in the high/normal range; average moisture readings were <12. No sign of prior repairs or damage was noted at inspection. The bottom and hull structure was found in above average condition for a vessel of this vintage.


The hull of the vessel is constructed of fiberglass reinforced plastic resin (FRP) and produced in single part female mold. Reinforcement floor timbers, keel pan support, engine stringers, and transverse bulkheads were well bonded. Fillet bonds and tabbing appeared to be sound and free of peeling or parting from bulkheads.

NOTE:  No FRP hulls, regardless of construction materials and methods, are totally immune to osmotic blistering. Osmotic blistering occurs with varying degrees of severity and may effect either nonstructural substrata, ie. barrier coating, gelcoat, initial “mat” laminate etc,  or one or more structural laminates. Water molecules enter the laminate or gelcoat and react with unclaimed resins, hardeners, solvents or contaminants. A new compound is formed whose concentrations migrate along open chain polymers found in the polyester resins.  Taking the path of least resistance, blisters or bubbles appear on the surface of the laminate or gelcoat. Blisters range in size and frequency depending on original construction material and practices, and to some degree operating environment. 

          The vinyl PVC mixed plumbing lines, valves, hoses, tanks, pressure water pumps, water heater and thru-hull fittings incorporating the plumbing systems were examined for general condition. All fittings and fixtures, tanks, hoses and clamps were in good condition. No sign of pervasive leaks in system were noted at inspection.  


          The AC and DC electrical systems were examined and tested with all items proved when possible. The main 12-volt electrical panel and system was equipped with a vapor-proof battery selector switch recently installed at system upgrade.  The two group 24 flooded batteries were  installed in acid proof containers.  The batteries were secure, and the terminals covered. All cable runs were secured and well routed to prevent damage.

The 110-volt system and separate electrical panel was equipped with circuit breakers. Two separate shore power inlet fittings were installed at extreme ends of vessel for convenience. Neither shore power source was protected by double pole breaker designed to interrupt all current carrying conductors simultaneously as per ABYC recommendations (ER). The twin source inlet fittings were not equipped with a transfer switch to prevent dual source AC power to panel (ER). No shore power was available; polarity was not tested.  The AC outlets are equipped with (GFCI) ground fault circuit interrupter hardware for outlets in galley and engine compartment. Electrical fittings and components were well selected and installed. With above exceptions noted,  the wiring installation as a whole was to proper marine standards.


          The electronic and auxiliary equipment aboard the vessel and proved at the time of survey unless otherwise indicated by a (N/P=not proved)   includes:

1)    Raymarine Ray 53 VHF radio
2)    Audiovox AM/FM/stereo cassette
3)    Eagle Cuda 350 bottom sounder/fish finder, Garmin GPS 48 chart plotter
4)    Bruce anchor and rode with manual winch
5)    Air conditioning roof mount system
6)    Freedom 30 inverter charger
7)    Tandem axle custom steel trailer with electric brakes and powered trailer tongue jack, spare wheel, manual winch, anti sway bars and load equalizer system. (New led lighting package, electric tongue jack, winch and tires)

          All deck gear and joinery was inspected and found to be in fair condition.  The stern rail and deck hardware for same had been recently replaced however additional diagonal bracing is recommended on port and starboard sides (RR). Bow rail fittings of original "white metal" composition had deteriorated to point where replacement will be necessary (ER). Flying bridge seating, exposed to elements for extended period of time was found generally to be in poor condition (RR). No bimini or top was fitted to BIG DUCK at time of inspection. The transom boarding ladder was in satisfactory condition as was the bridge access ladder. Damage to starboard aft sliding ventilation window in salon was noted with replacement necessary (ER).

          The push/pull cable steering was inspected from upper and lower stations and found to be in good/serviceable condition.   Brackets at transom mount for cable arm was corroded but otherwise in good structural condition. Attachment hardware at gimble yoke steering equipment was in good condition, properly secured and system functioned as designed.


          The interior, including joinery, cushions and headliner were in good+ condition for a vessel of its vintage.  Though dated in appearance and design, the interior showed only minimal signs of wear or age. Bulkheads with Micarta finish were in good condition and cabinetry showed little signs of wear or age. The interior of lockers and storage areas was found clean and free of debris, mildew and odor. Floor coverings alone displayed wear typical any vessel of this age having experienced normal service. No sign of deterioration in veneers or structure were noted. Overall condition of interior and interior appointments was considered above average.

          A four-burner LPG stove located in the galley was properly installed. The propane locker was located on aft deck and was properly drained overboard. A steel tank was installed and equipped with OPD valve as required. The tank was secure from movement within locker and in serviceable condition.  A fire extinguisher as required  by USCG was located within reasonable and visual access to galley area. There is also Norcold 12 volt/120 volt refrigeration, microwave and a double S/S sink with pressure hot and cold water. All appliances appeared to be in good working order.


          The vessel was equipped with one standard camper style porti-potti with holding tank direct connect system. A mascerator was fitted to MSD to facilitate pump out at domestic septic tank collection system. Pump out from deck plate was also connected via  y-valve and hardware. The holding tank was constructed of acceptable material, well vented, and the required plumbing and water supply fits current installation standards. The head was inspected but not proved at the time of survey.


          The safety equipment inventory required by the USCG is incomplete for the vessel's length and passenger carrying ability, eg., PFDs, flares, whistle, bell, first aid kit etc. (see "REQUIRED").  Safety equipment on board this vessel included: 

1)      PFD’s, horn, carbon monoxide detector, Type IV throwable device, first aid kit
NOTE:   In non federally controlled waters, one orange distress flag may be substituted for three daytime signals and one SOS distress light may be substituted for three nighttime signals. Any light (including a search light) or sound may be used to attract another vessel's attention or to get help so long as it is not mistaken for another type of light. Revolving lights or strobe lights, often used by marine patrols, should not be used.


          Fire equipment on board at the time of survey included:  four dry chemical units, with one located adjacent to companionway aft, a second unit mounted in galley and additional units mounted in head compartment. A minimal opening to mechanical compartment was available and properly located for introduction of dry chemical to mechanical space fire without  opening main access. Fire extinguisher charge indicators registered in the green (usable range) but did not carry current certification tags. A carbon monoxide detector was installed in galley area. No smoke detector was mounted aboard vessel at time of inspection
          NOTE: This requirement is part of the 2004 edition of NFPA 302, Section 12.3 that reads: "Smoke Detection”. All vessels 26 feet or more in length with accommodation spaces intended for sleeping shall be equipped with a single station smoke alarm that is listed to UL217 for recreational vehicles and is installed and maintained according to the device manufacturer's instructions." It is recommended to incorporate dual smoke/carbon monoxide detector apparatus into this installation.

     The vessel is equipped with two automatic electric bilge pumps equipped with float switches.  The electric pump was not proved to be wired and fused outside the main 12-volt electrical system so it will function when the vessel is unattended, and the main battery selector switch is in the off position. Wiring found within confines of bilge and susceptible to bilge water has been properly joined, sealed and secured to minimize the chance of stray DC current corrosion. The pumps are of adequate size, secure in  mounts and functioning (RR).


          Ventilation to most areas of the vessel is good, as it is to the engine room. The living area ventilation is acceptable with the hatches open.  Access to the bilge is satisfactory.


          This vessel was carrying navigational lights as prescribed in the international regulations for preventing collisions at sea or in inland waters. Normal vibration found in trailering vessel may affect contacts and wire connections.  Assure all navigational lights are properly shielded and functioning prior to launch and use(ER).  


          The essential repairs, include all repairs and corrections necessary to restore and maintain the original integrity of the vessel. The principles and practices used as guidelines are from the American Boat and Yacht Council, National Fire Protection Association and the United States Coast Guard. 
Noted in bold will be ESSENTIAL repairs that, in the opinion of the attending surveyor, affect the day to day safe operation of the vessel. Such repairs should be attended to as first priority. Typically these include but are not limited to fuel storage and delivery systems, LPG storage and delivery systems, engine exhaust,  AC/DC ship/shore power infrastructure and structural deficiencies. Other ESSENTIAL or RECOMMENDED repairs may be requested by insurance underwriters as necessary to maintain insured status of vessel.


Repairs necessary to maintain value, prevent further deterioration or to comply with current standards as set forth by ABYC, USCG, and NFPA

1)    Install double pole breaker adjacent to aft shore inlet where excessive wire run to breaker panel was noted. Provide transfer switch for electrical power available from each of two shore power inlets serving one central panel. This hardware may be located in electrical compartment found within 10' wire run from forward shore inlet hardware.
2)    Replace bow rail mounting pads and rail assemble to provide satisfactory safety rails while forward retrieving anchor or mooring lights.
3)    Replace damaged sliding window located starboard side over settee. Assure tempered safety glass is used in this application.
4)    Test all running lights after trailering any distance where road vibration might affect contacts and wiring connections, filaments and hardware.
5)    Provide all safety gear as required by local regulatory entities.
6)    Install smoke alarm as per recent changes to NFPA 302 12.3 requirements regarding vessels 26' and over in length equipped with accommodations for sleeping.


          Recommendations represent changes that affect enhance comfort and value of vessel. The vessel's intended usage is considered in making these determinations. Implementing these suggestions is recommended as part of a practical ongoing maintenance program.

1)    Install hex nuts and locking washers on all battery terminal connections (in lieu of wing nuts) as recommended by ABYC for battery installations aboard vessels.
2)    Install diagonal bracing (cable or tubing) to stern rail to provide improved support to this hardware. Similar treatment may be added to bow rail when reconfigured as in (ER-2) above.
3)    Replace or recover bridge seating as desired.
4)    It is recommended to install automatic bilge pump switches (on-off-auto) in location of helm to be readily accessible. This hardware should be equipped with visual dash light to signal operation of pumps located in engine compartment where activation is not readily discernible.

NOTE:        Bilges should be flushed and cleaned on a regular basis. (Do not flush into restricted waters).

NOTE:        When using bedding compounds or marine sealants, be certain to purchase the proper marine product for the task. For instance, basic silicone is not recommended as a bedding compound for active hardware such as stanchion bases, cleats.  Use 3M 5200 or Boatlife Lifecaulk.
NOTE:        All underwater thru-hull fittings should be properly clamped. Double clamps are not required. (ABYC does recommend double clamping fuel fill hoses as it gives an added layer of security). Regardless of single or double, the clamp(s) should not be over-tightened and should be of proper size relative to hose diameter and located well over receiving barb or nipple.


A.  Carbon monoxide is a potentially deadly gas produced any time a carbon-based fuel, such as gasoline, propane, charcoal or oil burns. Sources on your boat include gasoline engines and generators, cooking ranges, space heaters and water heaters. Cold and poorly tuned engines produce more carbon monoxide than warm, properly tuned engines.               Carbon monoxide is colorless, odorless and tasteless, and mixes evenly with the air. It enters your blood stream through the lungs and displaces the oxygen your body needs. Early symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning -- irritated eyes, headache, nausea, weakness and dizziness -- are often confused with seasickness. Prolonged exposure can lead to death.
        Carbon monoxide can collect within a boat in a variety of ways. Exhaust leaks, the leading cause of death by carbon monoxide, can allow carbon monoxide to migrate throughout the boat and into enclosed areas. Even properly vented exhaust can re-enter a boat if it's moored too close to a dock or another boat, or if the exhaust is pushed back by prevailing winds. Exhaust can also re-enter boats when cruising under certain conditions -- the station wagon effect -- especially with canvas in place. Regular maintenance and proper operation of the boat are the best defenses against injury from carbon monoxide.
B. Per the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, a placard stating "DISCHARGE OF OIL PROHIBITED", must be conspicuously mounted in the engine room. Secondly, according to Annex V of the "MARPOL TREATY," an international law promoting a cleaner, safer environment, a warning notice reading "NO PLASTICS OR GARBAGE DISCHARGE" must be displayed in a conspicuous area within the vessel. It is illegal for any vessel to dump plastic trash anywhere in the ocean or the navigable waters of the United States, Violation of these requirements may result in civil penalties up to $25,000 fine and punishment.

C.      Extinguishers recommended for the "engine compartment" shall be located near an entrance to the compartment rather than the compartment itself.  EXCEPTION, Fixed Systems such as a Halon 1301 or CO2, carbon dioxide must be USCG approved and must incorporate a visible or audible means outside the protected space indicating the system is charged or discharged. Systems may be manually and/or automatically discharged. For engine spaces not equipped with automatic fire suppression systems, an opening of minimal size, placed such that complete discharge of dry chemical device may be effected, should be provided as per ABYC recommendations. ISO and CE certification requires such “fire port” to be installed.
     The NFPA and USCG require that it shall not be necessary to travel more than half the length of the vessel to reach an extinguisher.  All fire extinguishers should be permanently mounted. On boats having galley stoves, one of the required extinguishers of a suitable type shall be readily accessible and visible or within well marked locker.

D.     As per 2004 edition of NFPA 302 section 12-3, a single station smoke alarm shall be installed on any vessel 26 ft and greater in length and equipped with accommodations intended for sleeping. The device should be maintained as per requirements in place regarding recreational vehicles. It is recommended that this device be of dual purpose, smoke/carbon monoxide and mounted in such manner as to protect occupants from such hazards (REQ).

E.      It is the captain's obligation to ensure all safety equipment as required by the USCG is provided and aboard the vessel at all times.


          This survey represents the observations of the undersigned regarding the vessel, "BIG DUCK".  Reasonable care has been taken to inspect the vessel, without opening up areas ordinarily concealed. No observation is expressed regarding latent defects not readily discoverable by normal inspection described above.  No observation is expressed regarding the engine. 
          This survey is given in confidence to Jeff Nicholas.  This survey report is not to be sold, transferred or assigned to any other party, and is for the benefit solely of Jeff Nicholas, who accepts the same upon the condition that any dispute, controversy or claim relating to this survey, in breach or existence, which cannot be resolved amicably shall be referred to arbitration, which shall be the sole and exclusive forum for the resolution or settlement of any dispute, controversy or claim between the parties. The arbitration shall be conducted in accordance with the rules of the American Arbitration Association, then in force and shall be held in the city and state where the undersigned surveyor's office closest to where said survey was performed. Any arbitration award shall be final and binding both upon the undersigned surveyor and the individual/or entity on whose behalf such survey was conducted. The arbitral authority shall, in its award, fix and apportion the cost of arbitration including reasonable attorney's fees. The award of the arbitral authority may be enforced by any court having jurisdiction over the party against which the award has been rendered or where assets of the party against which the award has been rendered can be located. The parties agree that they shall comply with any such arbitral award without delay. The parties further acknowledge that neither party shall resort to any court except to compel arbitration, refer questions of law, or to confirm, vacate, or modify any such award to the extent permitted by the Rules of the American Arbitration Association and applicable law.
          This survey is neither a warranty nor a representation of the condition of the vessel surveyed, either expressed or implied, nor is it in any way a guarantee of the condition or of the seaworthiness of the vessel. Jeff Nicholas agrees to hold harmless Robert D. Turner and Kelsey & Turner Marine Surveys from the consequences of any error, omission or oversight made in the survey.
          Questions regarding this report should be directed to the undersigned surveyor.

Respectfully submitted, 

By:  Robert D. Turner    CMS          
Marine Surveyor & Appraiser      

                                        KELSEY & TURNER
                                    Marine Surveys & Appraisals

SURVEY NO:  F1711202.INS-P                                           DATE: June 18, 2011

Jeff Nicholas                       

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