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Surveyor wanted in NL for the purchase of a Dutch Steel Cruiser

  • Douglas Jaarsma
12 Dec 2023 02:37 #1 by Douglas Jaarsma
Sorry about being "Late to the Party"; I have been busy with returning to the USA; some training,  courses, and now about to take command of USNS Patuxent.

I have had very good experience with Selle & Van Dijk International Marine Surveyors for both hull gauging and valuation surveys on multiple occasions.  They were recommended by the previous owners of Janine.

Dutch Barge Janine: 19.95m x 4.25m; 130hp John Deere Marine Diesel; Kohler Quiet Generator,

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  • Chris Hanley
25 Nov 2023 18:14 #2 by Chris Hanley
I can only add my sympathy to Julian for the experience he had over a poor survey. I also used the services of Duursma when we bought our barge almost twenty-four years ago. At the time I knew very little about Dutch Barges, but I knew that a typical Dutch survey could be very brief. There was a suggestion from Roy-Scott-Larch that the loan and insurance would be in jeopardy without a comprehensive survey. I therefore insisted that our survey was thorough. 
This was achieved after a discussion with Duursma and we agreed the frequency of the hull readings. Between us we chalked a square metre grid from bow to stern and I went ahead and ground off the bitumen which allowed Duursma to follow on with the thickness tester. Although not part of the survey he also spent some time going through the interior of the barge with me, pointing out what was good and what needed attention.
Twenty-four hours after the survey, Duursma telephoned to say he had  finished the report and if I was still in the country, I could come and pick it up from his home. This was in the days when large attachments like a hull plot would challenge dial-up modems and I gladly collected the document and over a cup of coffee, had a very pleasant Dutch Barge orientated conversation. The net result from the survey was 18,000 guilders worth of over-plating, all paid for by the owner.
As I said, this was quite some time ago, and so he may have become a little jaded. Regardless, my advise with any survey; 1. Do not use the one recommended by the broker, unless you have an third-party recommendation. 2. Be there, shadow and question the surveyor on everything they are looking at. They are working for you and should have your interest as a priority.
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  • Colin Stone
25 Nov 2023 09:31 #3 by Colin Stone
I've just bought the ultrasonic thickness gauge I mentioned earlier.
It has a decent Black Friday discount.

Colin Stone
It's not the destination, it's the glory of the ride.
Barge Register KEI

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  • Rob Cardigan
13 Nov 2023 10:22 #4 by Rob Cardigan
l have no personal experience of him but I was recommended this guy - Mr. Johan Weijermans (  ) by a local Belgian boat broker.

Since you are looking at a Dutch Steel Cruiser this expertise might be of use .....

I ended up not using him as I had local help.

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  • Richard Brown
13 Nov 2023 07:22 #5 by Richard Brown
Yes clearly using the salesman's mate to do the survey is not so wise. But as you say it's a small world, particularly in the Sneek area, I should imagine. 
Unless your going to bring one with you or possibly pay for one from the other side of the country there is not much choice but to take the chance and go with your gut feeling.

I am hoping when it comes to it that I can be there when the survey takes place. One to learn and two to check what they check.

It was the same situation when buying a house. Other than the boat needs to be taken out or put into the water. 
I like the idea of buying a device to do a self-check of the steel thickness.

Yes very shocking to read about Julian's experience. I will certainly also avoid them.

Thanks for your advice.

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  • Peter Abbott
  • Topic Author
13 Nov 2023 01:13 #6 by Peter Abbott
Re-reading my previous post got me thinking.  I said that, with so little empirical information available, finding a good surveyor is a game of chance.

For what it's worth, I put the four surveyors identified by Richard's broker into google maps and found a handful of mainly good reviews.  Yes, I know, anyone can post on google.  So it's not much to go on, but perhaps better than nothing?

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  • Peter Abbott
  • Topic Author
13 Nov 2023 00:36 #7 by Peter Abbott
Hi Richard,

I'll stick to topic - NL Surveyors - and cover other subjects in the relevant threads.

I've been focussed on finding the right boat and made the mistake of not looking ahead to the survey, so I'm having to learn quickly.  Unless I'm missing something, there appears to be a surprisingly low number of surveyors to choose from in NL considering the number of watercraft in the country.

It makes sense to use a surveyor who is a member of a relevant trade body - I've identified the following:

HISWA - the trade association for watersport and recreation in NL.  Surveys here , click the link 'find a HISWA expert' and there are ten pre-purchase surveyors listed.  HISWA has a Disputes Committee here .  I have no idea if it is of any use or not if you have a complaint.

NVEP - the Dutch Association of Experts in the Field of Pleasure Craft.  There are nine pre-purchase surveyors listed here .  Some of them are also members of HISWA

EMCI - the European Maritime Certification Institute.  EMCI members seem to focus on product and CE certification rather than pre-purchase surveys.  Nevertheless you can search for surveyors using the filters here .  EMCI do appear to have 'teeth' because they list expelled and suspended members.

I wouldn't disagree with Balliol's caution to consider carefully before using a surveyor recommended by the broker.  However, as it appears that there are a limited number surveyors in NL, the surveyors are likely to know many of the brokers - it's a small world.....

Sadly, the trade bodies identified above only reduce the risk of a surveyor letting you down.  If Julian's experience (kindly shared further down this thread) is anything to go by, there are no guarantees.  Julian was badly let down by Duursma, despite them being members of both HISWA and NVEP.  To be fair, some DBA members have had a positive experience with Duursma, and as Julian himself says, possibly the surveyor just had a bad day.  That said, the impact upon Julian was clearly catastrophic and Duursma refused to take full responsibility for their failings.  So I would avoid Duursma at all costs.

The broker I am buying through said that most surveyors specialise in either pleasure craft or old barges, very few cover both.  I would venture that modern barge replicas (e.g. Piper) fit within the former category.

There are 14 Dutch surveyors listed in the DBA knowledgebase, however only four of the surveyors have reviews against them.  Most of the 14 surveyors appear to specialise in historic Dutch barges.  I'll make sure that I post a review after my survey.

I've actually chosen one of the surveyors recommended by the broker.  I liked the level of detail provided about the survey on the surveyors website, which emphasised the importance of having the paperwork checked, as well as the vessel.  I also liked that the surveyor is writing a book on the inspection of steel motor yachts.  After speaking to the surveyor, my gut feeling is that he is OK.  In the absence of further information / recommendations, the foregoing is all I have to go on.  Clearly, with so little empirical information available, finding a good surveyor is a game of chance.

My recommendation to others looking for a boat - don't get yourself into a situation where you need a surveyor quickly, as I have.  Make sure you set aside some time to put together a shortlist of surveyors prior to searching for the boat itself.

Julian - thank you for sharing your experience here and for providing your review in the knowledgebase.  I hope that now Xavier's hull is fixed, you have better times ahead.
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  • Balliol Fowden
12 Nov 2023 21:53 #8 by Balliol Fowden
There is a school of thought that suggests careful consideration before using the surveyor preferred by the boat salesman.

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  • Richard Brown
12 Nov 2023 18:36 #9 by Richard Brown
Hi Peter,
Interesting you have just agreed a price on a boat in Sneek. I was up there last week looking at Dutch Steels too.
We haven't found one yet, but having a good look around at the options there certainly helped.

Out of curiosity, will you register it in the Netherlands?
Any advice from your experience buying there would be appreciated!

These are the Surveyors recommended by a broker of a boat we are quite interested in:
Koos Blonk:                        +31 6 5256 91 26
Koen Coers:                       +31 6 5586 73 53
Theo van Rijswijk:            +31 6 2880 62 86
Boj van Baars                    +31 6 1063 18 82


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  • Julian Edwards
04 Nov 2023 17:24 #10 by Julian Edwards
Thanks Peter

Unfortunately Dutch law has a two year limit on taking a claim to court, the UK is six years. As time was running out, we had to either accept the 10% offer to settle or agree to additional significant cost and risk losing everything, our legal insurance would have taken their costs out of any award, potentially leaving us with nothing. So the case is closed and we had to walk away.

We don't understand how a qualified surveyor with years of experience of Dutch barges could make such a fundamental error, possibly he just had a bad day. But I couldn't allow another DBA member to take the same risk without knowing about our encounter with them.

We have learned so much over the last two years and would never get ourselves into this situation where we purchase an old barge based on a remote survey. Certainly COVID travel restrictions forced our hand and then BREXIT made any litigation more expensive and difficult. 

My recommendation if purchasing an old barge is to insist on a full UHP clean off in advance and insist on full internal access to see under the floor in all areas. It is common it seems for the surveyor to skip the internal inspection is access is not easy and easy for hull thickness measurements to be distorted by layers of paint. After a UHP wash in the UK, the hull revealed numerous large holes in our hull, if only I had insisted on doing this prior to purchase.

Now, sold our house to live full time on a barge. A large boat and lots to do on it.
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