Scott Marine Surveyor of Florida Blog


Posted On: February 19, 2020

Guidelines On How To Protect Yourself

Over the years, Consumer Protection statistics have shown details of hundreds of repair-shop complaints. So we kind of know what's most likely to go wrong and how to avoid it.

These tips can help you prevent problems and help you resolve them.

  • Find out if the shop uses contractors. Will your outdrive be rebuilt in-house? Do they contract out for fiberglass repairs? Who ultimately will be responsible for the repairs and warranty?
  • Take a picture of your boat, engine, and trailer and attach it to the repair estimate to document the condition of your boat, especially if repairs may take a long time or the boat will be stored at the shop.
  • Be clear on terminology the shop uses. What is re manufactured versus rebuilt? What does it mean when they say they're going to "service" something? Find out exactly what's included in an "Annual Service." Assume nothing.
  • Always get a detailed receipt. Don't be afraid to ask to have more information put on it. A list of all parts used, total hours of labor, serial numbers for engines and equipment, and a complete description of the initial complaint and repair work performed (including technician's name) can pay off if there's a problem later.
  • Keep in mind that maritime law gives providers of goods and services the right to take legal action and "seize" boats until repair and storage bills are paid. Good service or bad, you'll have to pay up to get your boat back, then work on resolving the problem. Pay by credit card if you can. If there's a problem and the shop refuses to help, dispute the amount with your credit card company and they'll withhold funds while you try to work out the problem, giving you more bargaining power. Companies often have to pay a fee if the charges end up getting reversed, which is more incentive to make you happy. Get a copy of the warranty in writing. If it's the end of the season and you're not going to use your boat for months, ask if they will extend it so you'll be covered once you start using your boat.
  • Inspect your boat immediately upon pickup, and discuss any problems with the shop. If possible, test-drive your boat pronto to ensure it's operating properly.
  • Beware of mobile mechanics. Many do quality work and can be a great choice for simple maintenance work. But unless it's an established company, you may have a hard time finding them if something goes wrong.


Posted On: February 12, 2020

Many Americans would be surprised to learn that Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, February 12, 1809, has never been celebrated as a federal holiday. The day is often associated (erroneously) with Presidents Day, officially Washington’s Birthday and celebrated on the third Monday in February.

In 1951, a Presidents Day National Committee was formed by Harold Stonebridge Fischer. He lobbied for the creation of a day honoring all presidents to be celebrated March 4, the original inauguration date.

This act was defeated in the Senate Judiciary Committee, on the grounds that the holiday would be too close to Lincoln’s and Washington’s birthdays. Though not federally enacted, many state governors liked the idea and proclaimed Presidents Day a holiday.

Establishing Lincoln’s birthday as a federal holiday was further complicated by the passing of the 1968 Uniform Holiday Act, which moved several federal holidays, including Memorial Day and Washington’s Birthday, to specific Mondays throughout the year in order to create more three-day weekends.

Eventually, individual states created their own Presidents Day holidays to be observed on the third Monday in February. This celebration has been enacted in some fashion by 38 states, though never federally, and each varies by state. While some mark the day as a specific remembrance of Washington and Lincoln (like Arizona), others view it as a day of general recognition for all U.S. presidents. Alabama celebrates Washington and Jefferson as opposed to the more common combination of Washington and Lincoln. A few states observe Washington’s Birthday in February and then celebrate Presidents Day in a different month, for example, the day after Thanksgiving in New Mexico and December 24 in Indiana and Georgia. Eighteen states don’t specify at all what Presidents Day celebrates. Presidents Day has also gained some national recognition from retailers, who use the long weekend to offer sales.

A few state governments have enacted legislation recognizing Lincoln’s birthday on February 12 as its own official holiday. Most notably, Illinois, the “Land of Lincoln” and his adopted home state, celebrates Lincoln’s birthday as an official school holiday, along with a few other states including New York, Connecticut, and Missouri. However, this number has declined in recent years, when both California and New Jersey ended the celebration of Lincoln’s birthday as paid holidays to cut budgetary costs. Unfortunately, more states now celebrate Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, as a holiday for state employees than celebrate Lincoln’s birthday.

Even without an official national holiday, Lincoln remains among the most admired American presidents. His face is printed on the five-dollar bill and stamped on the penny. He has national shrines in three states, including one of America’s most iconic landmarks—the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC.



Posted On: February 05, 2020

Surveyors Are Happy To Talk Things Over With You

Most surveyors are only too happy to talk to you about the survey process, especially if this is your first time employing a surveyor. They will also answer questions after the survey, so don't be scared to call them up if you see something in a survey report that you don't understand. Surveyors are on boats every day, but owners and buyers may not always understand some of the technical terms.

Relationships Are Important

Surveyors want to build solid relationships, because their reputations are at stake. There's a saying experienced surveyors tell newbies: You're only as good as your last survey. Marine surveyors are often independent businesses and want you to call them first when you buy your next boat and also to recommend them to friends and family. If you have a problem with a survey (or a surveyor) don't hesitate to bring it up.

A Sea Trial Is Not A Boat Ride

The purpose of a sea trial is to check the boat's systems, engines, generators, electronics, and other parts that cannot be inspected while the boat is not under commission or is "on the hard." The surveyor will need to pay close attention to the engines, helm, and systems, and how the boat handles. To get the most from a sea trial, leave the kids, dog, and Aunt Kate at home. They can get a ride on the boat later, assuming you buy it. Too many folks on the boat makes it difficult for the surveyor to do the job properly.

Don't Get In The Surveyor's Way

Most surveyors like it when the buyer is at the survey. They can answer questions and point out things of interest on the boat that may not find their way into the survey report. That being said, it makes the job slower if you hover. Allow the surveyor to do his job — you'll get a complete written report about everything he sees.

The Surveyor Works For You Only

You'll be paying the bill, so it's important that you understand that the surveyor reports only to you. He doesn't share his findings with anyone else unless you specifically request it. If you have a broker acting as your buyer's agent, then you may ask that the surveyor send a copy of the survey to the agent as it makes your broker's job easier if he's asking for things to be addressed. Keep in mind that a survey is only good for a specific time because it's really a snapshot of what the boat was like on a specific day. Old surveys should not be relied upon.

Make Sure The Boat Is Prepared

If you are asking a surveyor to come to your boat to perform an insurance survey, make sure that the surveyor has access. Don't expect him or her to empty out lockers of heavy anchors, bags of sails, and boxes of spare parts. The surveyor needs to look at the mechanical parts of the boat, and it causes delays to have to move tons of stuff out of the way. If in doubt, ask the surveyor what he needs before he arrives. He won't expect everything to be off the boat, but he will appreciate reasonable access. One client asked me to survey his 33-foot sailboat, but it turned out that the entire contents of a small apartment seemed to have been crammed aboard. If that wasn't bad enough, the boat also had a Great Dane aboard!

Surveyor checking hoses



Posted On: January 29, 2020

This Sunday will be Super Bowl LIV. 

The game has become a revenue producing machine, and one of the few remaining live events to capture a massive audience.

The National Football League’s Super Bowl LIV match up between the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs on Feb. 2 will draw millions of viewers and plenty in ad revenue for broadcaster FOX.

A 30-second commercial cost up to $5.6 million for the upcoming game, according to FOX in November. Last year’s Super Bowl on CBS drew 98.2 million TV viewers, and Super Bowl commercials often are widely discussed for weeks on social media.

There’s one stage left where you get 70% of the population watching,” said Jeff Klein, senior vice president of global marketing for Little Caesars, in an interview, adding “a lot of people are watching for the ads.”

Hence Little Caesars will make its entree into the Super Bowl madness. The 30-second spot, which will air during the third quarter.

After the game, Little Caesars will advertise the competitive price of its delivery service.

Sit back, enjoy the game, and the commercials.

Someone is making millions.



Posted On: January 22, 2020

In much the same way as you service your boat's engine each year, it's a good idea to drop sails off at your local sail loft to get them checked over during the off season. Many sail lofts will carefully check over sails, repair any tears or worn stitching, and launder them so they'll be ready for spring. Reputable lofts will also report back on the overall condition of the sail(s) and offer advice when it's time for replacement.

Most cruising sails are made from Dacron, a stable fabric available at a reasonable cost that stands up well to UV rays and regular handling. Other materials like carbon fiber, Dyneema, Spectra, and Kevlar are often used in racing sails for those wanting the best performance, but these materials come at a cost many times that of a comparably sized Dacron sail. Manufacturing high-tech sails requires specialized equipment, one reason for the increased costs.

As any old sailor knows, worn and tired sails stretch and often have too much bag in them, which in turn leads to excessive heeling, increased weather helm, and slower speeds.

Just as the time comes when a boat's engine needs replacing, there's also a time for new sails. To the uninitiated, it's easy to think of sails as merely swaths of triangular fabric, but there's so much more to their magic.

Sails are carefully constructed of multiple sections of fabric, which for main and genoa at least, give an airfoil shape that, when seen in cross-section, is very similar to the form of an airplane wing. Except when sailing dead downwind, that airfoil shape is crucial for creating lift and driving the boat forward.

In terms of sailing performance, a new suit of sails is probably one of the best upgrades that you can give your boat," says Roger Cook, a retired sailmaker from Maine. "Because sails wear gradually, often the decrease in performance is not noticed. It's only when owners get new sails that they become aware just how poorly their boat was sailing."



Posted On: January 15, 2020

Time and additional expense can be saved by preparing the vessel for inspection and making her more accessible.


Arrange to present a clean, shipshape boat, and have all papers and miscellaneous gear ready. If applicable, you will need to make arrangements with the marina to haul the vessel for bottom inspection, and retain a captain for sea trials. Lockers and cabin areas should be cleared of all miscellaneous gear.

The surveyor should never be asked to prepare a boat for inspection. The surveyor may request minor dismantling of interior ceilings, headliners, flooring, etc. in order to gain access to the suspected areas. Random removal and examination of below-the-waterline fasteners on wood boats may be required. Any dismantling and re-installation of parts should be performed by qualified personnel and is the responsibility of the person ordering the survey.

Written authorization from the owner may be needed to board and/or to remove part of the vessel. 




Posted On: January 08, 2020

This year you may have also noticed that February 29th has made an appearance on your calendar..

We all probably know of at least one person born on February 29th that has to endure jokes about how old they are. In all seriousness, Most people are familiar with Leap Years but may not know why we have them.

What are Leap Years ?

The Earth’s axis is tilted. The axial tilt is why we have seasons not proximity to the Sun. Many people think that Earth is closer to the Sun during the summer and that is why it is hotter. Not so. It may be counter intuitive, but the perihelion happens in January. (perihelion, the point in its orbit where it’s closest to the Sun)  At that moment the center of the Earth will be 147,100,176 km (91,403,811 miles) from the center of the Sun………..

Why are we closer to the Sun now than other times? Well, if the Earth orbited the Sun in a circle, we’d always be the same distance from it (in one way, that’s the definition of a circle). But our orbit is ever so slightly elliptical, so sometimes we’re closer to the Sun, sometimes farther We typically refer to a “year” as the length of time required for Earth to orbit the Sun. Our modern Gregorian calendars tell us that this takes 365 days. Ah, but there is a subtle difference in these two representations of a “year.” The time length of Earth’s orbit around the Sun is called a “tropical” or “solar” year. This period is typically measured from Spring Equinox to Spring Equinox. This amount equals 365 calendar days, but there are roughly 5 to 6 hours of extra time because in reality the length of time that we consider a “day” (time it takes for Earth to revolve one time on its axis) is just short of 24 hours (approximately 23 hours, 56 minutes, and 4 seconds). To summarize, it takes the Earth around 365.242199 days to go around the Sun, but the calendar only has 365 days.



Posted On: January 01, 2020


A new decade is upon us....

As we embark on yet another year of promise, I took some time to reflect on the current state of things.

                                             So here’s my end of year musings: a brain dump of  my state of the state


First, Stop what are you doing to the game of football?

It seems the public at large thinks football is too dangerous?

And that players are too socially irresponsible?

Last time I checked, it’s supposed to be a violent game. Dancing is a contact sport!

Football is a collision sport! Strap it on, suck it up, and prepare to go to battle!

The players that choose to participate know that. They get paid a lot of money to perform on a humongous stage and recklessly throw their bodies around.

The players who choose to partake in this war know the sacrifice and pain they will endure.

Leave the game alone! 

Stop with the whistles, the replays, the he hit too hard penalties!

Let Men Be Men !!

If you want me to spend a small fortune to attend a game, and cheer the battle, give me what I want, not this watered down, over officiated, video game, watered down sludge that the game is becoming.

I think football is in danger of becoming the new boxing.

I’m not sure which is more insane, the celebration after a play, even when you are down late in the game, or the complaining after every play by players and coaches, or the celebration penalties after the team has scored? ....and every play is either a penalty or a review!

In reality, the real issue is the message our kids are getting from all of this. I’m not sure that sports were created way back to develop the art of the complaint, or to mold soft, rules driven performers. Sports mold character, strength, relationships, and toughness.

Let's get back to that!

Record Stores are Back

Hey, don’t look now but vinyl has made a comeback, and I love it.

Pay phones, toll collectors, and bookstores have all fading, but the old record store seems to be on the upswing.


Maybe my collection will be heard again!  

Unfortunately, tellers, cashiers…and even checkout stations…are about to be extinct.

Seems jobs that actually service the public and have human interaction are disappearing.

What does that say about our society?

Where have you gone big-box retailers?

We’ve got restaurants, drug stores, fast food, grocery stores, yoga studios and gyms.

But big retailers? Nope.

Amazon and the rest of e commerce has changed that.

We've seen the decline of the small boutique shops.

Even Wal-Mart is closing some locations.

This can't be good.

Which thought will prevail?

Why shop in the store when I can easily buy online? 


I love the fun and art of shopping.

I used to look forward to going to a store and looking around. Something tells me this new trend isn’t a good thing.

Some more thoughts

Do driver-less cars mean you can work a little more before getting to the office?

Do we really need driver less cars? I mean really?

                   Is it too hard to drive?

I don’t think we should underestimate social media. Kids should be taught more about the real-world consequences they can suffer for doing something really stupid online, and while we are at it, maybe we can stop giving everyone participation trophies.

Let’s go back to rewarding accomplishment not just showing up.

 What are your thoughts?