If you have been around boating to any extent, you have undoubtedly heard the term “marine survey” in some context. A boat or yacht inspection conducted by experienced marine surveyors, a marine survey is appropriate for several situations.
For example, if you are considering the purchase of a several hundred-thousand-dollar pre-owned yacht, you want to understand the condition of every component of the craft. A cursory visual inspection will not provide a credible picture of the boat’s underlying condition. And, relying on a friend or associate without proper training can also be a mistake.
Marine surveys are also appropriate in insurance cases in which the extent of the damage may need to be assessed.
Scope of a Marine Survey
A marine survey is a technical inspection into a boat’s condition, structural integrity, and the functionality of the components and systems.
For a boat purchase, a professional marine surveyor will inspect the boat thoroughly to determine what works, what may be wearing out, and what needs replacing or repair now. The surveyor is not likely to advise whether to buy or if it is a good value. Their responsibility is simply to make sure you completely understand the condition of the craft.
Surveys will take place out of the water, dockside, and during a sea-trial. Inspection of the hull’s condition means lifting the vessel for a closer look.
Boating experts recommend that you select a marine surveyor who is a member of the National Association of Marine Surveyors or the Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors as they are both groups that use strong by-laws and ethical codes developed to maintain the credibility of their services. The purpose of these groups is to ensure that all surveyors are honest, professional, and do not become involved in conflicts of interest.
Tips for Initiating a Marine Survey
Finding a Credible Marine Surveyor
If you are already familiar with a local marine surveyor whose reputation is spotless, check references and if all is well, go ahead with that one. Otherwise, you should check the membership lists of the two marine surveyor organizations listed above. Members are listed according to Zip Code or region.
You might select two or more to consider so that you may be able to gauge their professionalism and experience. An excellent first step is to request samples of prior surveys of boats that may have been similar to the one you are considering.
Scheduling the Survey
In many instances, a few or several people might be interested in the survey process. The owner or owner’s representative, and your broker. You, of course, may wish to be present during the proceedings as well, and in these instances, you will need to find the window of opportunity when everyone can be present. As the prospective buyer, you should attend the survey or send a trusted representative to observe.
Ideally, the boat should be clean before the survey begins so that the marine surveyor will be able to access and inspect all elements better. The owner should remove all extraneous gear and accessories that will not be part of the sale so that the inspector can access each sector easily. The owner or owner’s representative will be responsible for removing panels that access critical areas.
Make room for the surveyor to move about the interior and exterior of the boat to be able to observe the performance of each working element even at sea.
Interpreting the Marine Survey
Once the surveyor has completed the report, ask questions. Before making the purchase, you should be fully aware of the condition of the boat. Sometimes consulting another expert might help to clarify specific issues or to get another opinion of a particular problem area.
Contact Cape Yachts
As a longstanding broker of pre-owned boats and yachts, the experts at Cape Yachts, located in South Dartmouth MA and Newport RI, have been providing buyer assistance and guidance to prospective buyers for over three decades. With an always substantial listing of available high-quality watercraft, Cape Yachts helps buyers find the new or used boat that fits their needs and budget. They are also a great source of knowledge on the process involved to buy or sell a boat. They are sure to have had experience with many marine surveyors over the years.
To find out more about the many services at Cape Yachts or to make an appointment, visit their website or phone (508) 994-4444 or contact us below.