Not for us one of those insurance surveys; you know the kind you want rushed through as quickly and cheaply as possible so the insurance broker will just get off your back. No, we wanted a real survey done by someone who could point out the defects and weak points in our preparations. Or so we thought.
Oh, the horror.
For those masochistic personalities who enjoy trips to the dentist or Income Tax Audits audits the process of having your boat examined by an exclusively critical eye might be a real treat. For us having a boat survey was as welcome as...well as welcome as a trip to the dentist or an income tax audit. No apologies here to dentists or tax auditors.
Like most boaters we have spent a fortune on maintenance: updating and renewing the boat and her systems. It is our estimate that we need to spend about 10% of the cost of the boat each year on refit and repair just to stave off the ill effects of age and hard use to which any sailed boat will be subject. Like most boaters we have difficulty restraining ourselves when it comes to the boat and her care.
Like most boaters we are intensely private people who do not welcome any intrusion into our private lives or living space by anyone. Oh, we told ourselves that we really really would rather find out about major defects in our boat before we sailed off into the uncivilized waters of the North Atlantic but you know it was a lie.
Having someone poking and prodding and prying around in our home on the water was a horrible violation of our personal space and contentment. .
Blissful ignorance allows peaceful slumber unblemished by nightmares of your rudder detaching itself from the boat and depositing itself on the ocean bottom. After commissioning the survey I was filled with remorse and regret. It was not sufficient to cause me to cancel the survey and so our trip to Europe but it was enough to instill regret in me about wanting to sail to Europe in the first place.
You see, without the survey we could not go to Europe.
New maritime rules for that excessively civilized culture have made liability insurance mandatory for entry to the EU. No insurance no Europe. No survey, no insurance.
Our existing insurer did not provide coverage for Europe. Apparently no North American insurer provides coverage for Europe. Probably because no North American company can find Europe on a map or globe. Of course our existing insurer, arranged by the Canadian Power and Sail Squadron, does not provide insurance coverage in Cuba either.
This the company alleges is because they are American and being American they are barred from doing business in or with Cuba. Horse droppings is what this is. To insure in Canada the insurer must be Canadian - at least a company incorporated in Canada even if owned by an American company in the end. The Canadian Power Squadron insurer will not cover Cuba even though Canadians cruise Cuban waters in increasing numbers, all of us uninsured because our own boating organization cannot find its spine and dictate some terms. I guess the Power Squadron designates an insurer based on the size of the donation made by the insurer to the Power Squadron not the welfare and usefulness of the insurance to its members.
As always I have fallen off the footpath on which I embarked.
Our survey came back just fine. Of the nine recommendations made by the surveyor the biggest one, the one mentioned more often that anything else by a factor of three to one was that we needed to have the US Rules of the Road on board as a Canadian registered boat we carry the Canadian Coll Regs which are, by international agreement., the same world wide..
A second nagging concern was that we had to have a "garbage placard" mounted. Apparently in the United States a boat is not seaworthy unless it has a big sign affixed prominently informing all aboard that throwing garbage containing plastic overboard. Really? I don't know if I am more astounded by the fact that having such a sign is deemed a "seaworthiness issue" or by the fact the US government thought they had to tell people not to throw plastic garbage overboard. Either way I am dumbfounded.
To be sure the survey disclosed a couple of good safety issues and found a few things missed on the survey we commissioned when we purchased Meredith. These will be addressed with half a day's work (yeah, yeah - half a boat day's work. It might take
But the nub of it all is this - WE ARE OFF TO BERMUDA AND MAYBE BEYOND.
And if I never have another survey I will remain a happy man.