|Anyone can title
him or herself a Marine Surveyor and start a business. Certain marine surveyors are
permitted to use a designation denoting membership in accrediting organizations that
require members to meet strict professional, technical, and ethical standards. Surveyors
should provide you with a professionally prepared report that can be accepted by your bank
and/or insurance company.
prospective surveyors and ask questions! What does the survey include, and what type of
reporting format is used? Do they use ABYC, NFPA, and USCG standards in their surveys? How
much will the inspection cost? How long will the on board inspection take? A thorough
inspection will not be rushed and will depend on the type of survey required based on
size, equipment, and on board systems. There may be additional services available such as
engine surveys, oil analysis, galvanic and stray current corrosion testing, ultrasonic
testing, moisture testing, as well as other non-destructive test. There may be additional
charges for these and other services.
Well conducted surveys
can provide good information on the vessel's condition, but they are not guarantees. The
surveyor reports the condition in accessible areas only as it existed at time of
you have the vessel surveyed? Most insurance companies and banks will require them on
older vessels. They will need to know her condition and fair market value in order to
finance and/or underwrite the vessel. Knowing her condition and fair market value before
you purchase is also important. However, the most important reason to survey your vessel
is for the safety of the passengers and crew.
MARINE SURVEYS ARE
PERFORMED FOR A NUMBER OF REASONS AND THE PROCEDURES FOR EACH VARIES TO BEST SUIT YOUR
This is the most comprehensive type of inspection, and is strongly
advised when purchasing a new or used vessel. Condition and the overall operation of the
vessel should be examined. This would include such items as structural integrity, out of
water inspection, sea trials, electrical systems, propulsion system, fuel system,
machinery, navigation, misc. on board systems, cosmetic appearance, electronics, and
This inspection is performed so that the insurance company can determine
whether or not the vessel is an acceptable risk. They are interested in structural
integrity and safety for its intended use. Most insurance companies require a survey on
older boats. They will also want to know the vessel's fair market value.
This inspection is performed to gather enough information to justify or
determine the fair market value of the vessel. This is normally needed for financing,
estate settlements, donations, and legal cases.
This is performed to assess the extent of damage, recommend repairs,
estimated repair cost, and if requested, the probable cause.
Time and additional
expenses can be saved by preparing the vessel for inspection and making her more
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 a captain
for sea trial. 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 suspected areas. Random inspection of fasteners on wood boats below
waterline could be examined for condition. Any dismantling and re-installation of these
parts should be performed by qualified personnel, which is the responsibility of the
person ordering the survey.
authorization from the owner may be needed to board and/or to
remove any part of the vessel.
ONCE YOU RETAIN THE
SURVEYOR, HE OR SHE WORKS ONLY FOR YOU AND REPORTS TO NO ONE ELSE. THE SURVEYOR IS THERE
TO PROTECT YOUR INTEREST!