Business Profile

Posted: Tuesday, March 06, 2001

Title and firm: Jim Sepel is the owner of Sepel and Son Marine Surveying.

Services: The firm surveys recreational and commercial boats of all sizes to obtain bank loans and insurance. Its work includes condition and valuation surveys, digital photography, moisture meter analysis and ultra-sound testing.

Biographical information: Sepel, 55, is a graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn. He served 21 years in the Coast Guard and was in command of two cutters. He arrived in Juneau in 1982 and served as the Coast Guard planning officer for Alaska before retiring in 1988.

Sepel and two other Coast Guard retirees went into the collection agency business as owners of Associated Credit. He started his marine surveying company in 1992 at the recommendation of a local banker the previous year.

His background in marine safety and commercial vessel inspection has been a big help in launching his surveying business. To learn more about recreational boats, Sepel attended seminars throughout the country on corrosion, electrical systems, small engines and other issues important to marine surveying.

"It's harder coming up with values on the commercial side because there's a published blue book value and sales data on recreational boats," Sepel said.

When asked about the difference between a boat and ship, Sepel had a couple of simple standards.

"At 65 feet you're talking ship," he said. "Another definition is you can put a boat on a ship."

Family: Sepel is married to Joyce Sepel and has a son, Darin, and two stepdaughters, Angie and Sadie.

Notable: He has a bachelor of science degree from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and a master's in public administration from George Washington University. He is a licensed master and vice president for testing on the board of directors of the Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors.

Quotable: "In marine insurance generally stupidity is covered."

Employees: Darin Sepel.

Contact information: The business is located in his home at 8290 Garnet St. His hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., but during the summer he works later during the week and on Saturday. The phone number is 790-BOAT (2628).

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