This is the most comprehensive and detailed survey. A wise boat buyer will invest in an inspection prior to purchasing any boat. Sea trials are generally optional and test the basic operation and function of the vessel’s engines and systems on the water. In some cases, your surveyor may advise you to have an engine surveyor / mechanic present for the sea trial or recommend a separate focused engine inspection. Generally, marine surveyors are trained and experienced at identifying if an issue may be present. You will want the experience of an engine mechanic to find and fix a problem. The same is the case with sail boats. Your surveyor may advise you to have a rigging survey if he/she believes you may have any issues in the rigging. Most marine surveyors will only inspect your rigging from the deck or dock.
Let me stress “ANY” boat which includes a NEW boat. Many buyers will have a new boat inspected prior to closing the sale and you would be amazed at the things the manufacturer will miss. Most of the issues on a new boat are minor, but in many cases they can be safety related issues and need to be addressed before the boat is first launched. Think of a new house. New construction must be inspected during the construction process and upon completion, before occupancy. If something goes wrong in your house, you can get out relatively easily. If something goes wrong on your boat on the water, where do you go?
Every boat owner knows what repairs can cost on a boat. Imagine what it would cost in your home or car and multiply it by two or three. Because boats have so many systems crammed in a small area, having a trained inspector is critical to protecting your investment. You don’t have to talk to many boaters before you will hear a story about a boat they bought without an inspection and all the problems they had after. An investment in a pre-purchase survey may have saved them thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars.
More and more, insurance companies are requiring a survey prior to insuring a vessel. Vessels used for commercial purposes (ferries, charters, dinner cruises, river cruises, etc.) are surveyed at regular intervals. That is carrying over to private vessels also. Many insurance companies are now requiring a survey before insuring private owners for pleasure boats.
This type of survey is generally focused on structural integrity, safety, and suitability for the intended use. This type of survey does not generally include a sea trial. In some cases the insurance company will require a haul out and bottom inspection. If you have been asked to provide a survey by your insurance company, make sure you know what they require.
Condition and Value
The term “Condition and Value” can be applied or appended to many types of surveys. You might hear this term as a means to describe a pre-purchase survey or the insurance company may ask you for a condition and value survey. Because no standard is in place, just make sure you know what the survey should include.
Another common use of this term is for boat owners who would like an inspection of their boat for their own purposes. Maybe they want a work list for the off-season. Some are preparing to sell the boat and want a valuation. Many just want the peace of mind in knowing that their boat is in good working order for the boating season.
Have an accident or damage to your boat from weather, submerged objects, other boaters, or sea conditions? Insurance companies hire professional marine surveyors to serve as their eyes and ears to assess damage for claims. Most insurance companies are fair and their goal is to pay for what was damaged in the incident. But they are also wary of claims of damage which are not part of the incident. They may reject your claim in whole or in part, if a claim item is not consistent with the incident. Having an experienced professional assist you with the claims process can save you money and time. Many of these cases involve what is referred to as a “joint survey” in which the marine surveyor for the insurance company(s) meet with an owner’s surveyor to accurately assess the damage and make sure you are made whole. These service are billed at an hourly rate.
Repair Progress Inspections
Surveyors are often contracted to supervise repair work and/or systems installations. This is not to say that a surveyor is an expert at the installation or repair of every component of the boat. But they are ABYC standards experts and can provide the boat owner with a set of trained eyes to oversee the repair or installation when the owner themselves cannot be present. Just having someone to oversee a repair or installation can prevent ‘short cuts’ leading to a short lived repair or system service life. These services are billed at an hourly rate.
Work List Inspections
Again, many boat owners like to know what work they may have to do in the off season. Surveyors are often contracted to do an inspection for the sake of putting together a prioritized work list. These services are billed at an hourly rate.