Marine Survey

How to Choose a Marine Surveyor?

To post a survey in all 50 US States and receive fast marine surveyors quotes visit: Any person can title herself as a Marine Surveyor and start a new 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 customer with a professionally prepared survey report that can be accepted by your bank and/or insurance company. Please talk to 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 survey reports? How much will the inspection cost? How much time will the on-board inspection take? There may be additional services available such as engine compression test, oil sample analysis, ultrasonic testing, moisture testing and other non-destructive tests. There may be additional charges for these and other services. Well conducted surveys can provide good information on the boat condition, but they are not guarantees. The surveyor reports the condition in accessible areas only as it exists at the time of inspection. Why should we have a boat 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 members.

What Type of Survey Do I Need?

Marine Surveys are performed for a number of reasons, and the procedures for each vary to best suit your needs:

a. Pre-Purchase Survey

This is the most comprehensive type of inspection, and is strongly advised when purchasing a new or used vessel. Condition and overall operation of the vessel should be examined. This covers structural integrity, electrical systems, the propulsion system, the fuel system, other machinery, navigation equipment, miscellaneous on-board systems, cosmetic appearance, electronics, and overall maintenance as well as an out-of-water inspection and a sea trial.

What is a Pre-Purchase Condition Survey?

A pre-purchase survey is usually requested by a potential buyer and is focused on areas where defects are likely to considerably reduce the value of the vessel and perhaps require extensive investment to correct. The survey report is a factual summary of the inspection in a narrative format with extensive photographic record and other relevant documentation. The survey takes about 8 hours to complete for a 36’ yacht; this includes a short sea trial, inspection of the underwater areas after haul out, topsides, deck and interior structures, spars, machinery and safety equipment.

b. Insurance Survey

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.

c. Appraisal Inspection

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.

d. Damage Inspection

The surveyor can be retained by an insurance company to determine the cause of a loss and determine the extent of loss related damage and may be asked to recommend repairs, review estimates, and determine the pre-loss value of a vessel. A vessel owner can retain a surveyor for the same purposes, but for the owner's behalf.


The short seatrial provides a basic performance benchmark for the vessels systems and is an important aspect to be considered.

What are the limitations?

The Owner is responsible for the handling of vessel on sea trials and during haul out and arranging the haul out plus powering up systems that are not operating. The Surveyor will request the owner or his representative to operate machinery in a manner that should demonstrate its current performance. A limited number of hours are assigned to each vessel for survey, based around the vessel’s size, age and complexity. Out of necessity we cannot inspect or advise on every minor item during this survey. We are always prepared to focus on the Buyers special instructions during the inspection and report preparation. Should the Buyer request a more detailed survey this can be undertaken. What should be the expected outcomes? The report will direct the client to the status of the vessels safety equipment, major structural, mechanical and electrical items and overall appearance and will enable if requested a value to be placed on the vessel as it currently stands.

Machinery Inspection

As part of the pre-purchase survey an external examination of the main machinery is made. This is entirely none invasive with no items being opened for close up consideration. The gears are operated and engine mounts examined; the inspection is concerned principally with determining obvious defects rather than internal deterioration. Oil sampling and analysis is offered at additional cost, this determines current oil condition and detects if excessive wear metals are present and is a reliable method when combined with access to recent maintenance records, of gaining greater reassurance as to the condition of the engines without moving to full engine strip down.


Rigs are inspected from the deck only and sails are viewed "in bag" unless used during the sea trial. Detailed rig and sail inspections are specialist services that can be provided if required but will require removing the mast and laying out the sails ashore.

How Should I Prepare for a Marine Survey?

Time and additional expense can be saved by preparing the vessel for inspection and making her more accessible. The surveyor 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 retain a captain for sea trials. 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 the suspected areas. Random removal and examination of below-the-waterline fasteners on wood boats may be required. Any dismantling and re-installation of parts should be performed by qualified personnel and is the responsibility of the person ordering the survey. Written authorization from the owner may be needed to board and/or to remove part of the vessel. Once you retain the surveyor, he works only for you and your reports and no one else. The surveyor is there to protect your best interests! The cost of a survey is being charged based on a few factors from the length of the boat, to location, size and type of the boat. Also the type of service being performed is a consideration. There may also may be charges added for traveled mileage.