Do I need a marine survey? What is a marine survey on a boat? What does a marine survey include? How long is a boat survey Good For? What does a boat surveyor check?
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Marine Surveys But Were Afraid to Ask
It is also important to find a surveyor who you are comfortable working with. The more comfortable you are with your marine surveyor, the more you will get out of the survey. Unfortunately, most people wait until the very end of the process to start a relationship with their surveyor.
Of all the people involved in the purchase process, your marine surveyor is the person working for you, providing objective information about your boat.
The survey report you will receive from Blue Matter Marine Consulting will be detailed and include digital images and/or other supporting evidence. We use standards set by the American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC). Also the requirements of the marine insurance underwriters and marine financiers.
The findings in our reports are divided into three categories to show the most important issues with a boat while still being able to provide a list of smaller issues that may be important to the owner/buyer.
Major Deficiencies: Urgent issues to address, requiring immediate attention for reasons of safety, urgent maintenance or to avoid violation of regulations.
Minor Deficiencies: Not urgent yet but could become urgent if not addressed. Issues that are related to long-term maintenance and good nautical standards and to preserve the long-term value of the vessel. These recommendations could be carried out at the next refit or dry-docking.
Recommendations: These are generally normal upkeep items that should be addressed as you can. Examples include:Water leaks through ports or hatches, Anodes in need of replacement, Loose or worn engine belts, hoses, and engine mounts, Cosmetic issues, Winches in need of service
The report is finished off with conclusions such as the condition of the vessel as well as a valuation on the fair market value and in cases of newer vessels, the estimated replacement cost of the vessel.
The survey is limited to easily accessible areas of the vessel and time constraints. Inaccessible areas behind screwed panels, tacked carpet, locked areas, or any other like areas are not generally inspected.
– Exterior hull – Topsides & wetted surface
– Interior hull & structural sections (Bulkheads, stringers, etc.)
– Main deck, superstructure, upper Deck & Flybridge
– Navigation & communication equipment
– Safety & fire fighting equipment
– Anchoring & mooring equipment
– Other equipment such as tender, outboard engines, water toys, etc.
– DC- & AC electrical system
– Bilge pumping system
– Fresh-, salt-, black- & grey water system
– Fuel system, engine space, main engine(s) & gears
– The steering system, props & shafts/Saildrives/Sterndrives/Surface Drives
– Stabilizer system, thrusters & trim tabs
– Fuel-, hydraulic-, air-conditioning system
– Spars, standing rig, running rig & sail wardrobe (unless it’s a specific sail & rig survey, the rig is inspected from deck level only)
– Cooking Gas System
– Entertainment System
– Interior and Cosmetics
The surveyor can’t work in an engine room where the engines have been run and the temperature is
50 degrees. It’s already hot enough without adding engine heat to the mix. Therefore, the surveyor will need at least 2 hours with the vessel before the engines are run and the vessel is moved from the dock.
Hull surveys can be successfully performed in conjunction with an engine survey. We often run into problems where no power or inadequate shore power is available to test systems. In some cases, the best we can do is to test A/C systems on generator power.
Here are some suggestions we send to the boat owners prior to conducting our surveys:
Vessel owner, captain or engineer in attendance.
The vessel connected to shore power with battery chargers on.
Do not run engines and generators prior to the survey. Engine space should be cool.
Air-conditioning turned on OR windows & hatches open. Deck awnings in place.
All interior and exterior lights turned on.
Clean and un-clutter the vessel, including bathrooms.
Receipts for recent repairs and upgrades.
Make sure everything works OR is marked “not operational”.
Make sure the batteries are charged.
Check fuel, machinery oil- & coolant levels, fan belts etc
Do not run any machinery just before the survey.
Easy to find. No treasure hunt.
Deck equipment uncovered.
Stored equipment laid out in one place.
All fire extinguishers lined up.
Sail inventory showing brand, material & year.
Working sails raised during sea trial.
Stored sails inspected on deck or dockside.
Tender & outboard:
Inflated & fueled up.
Stored for easy deployment, NOT inside the vessel.
Do’s & Don’ts
Do install the speed log transducer before the sea trial.
Don’t start engines and generators just before the survey.
Do try to keep the vessel interior cool, including the engine space.
Don’t bring children and other non-essential personnel along.
Do bring a good supply of drinking water.
The boatyard can schedule your haul-out.
The owner or the owner’s representative, agent (broker) is available to allow access to the vessel
A qualified person is available to operate the vessel for a sea trial.
The vessel is fueled up and in operational condition
Shore power is available
Another major benefit of a sea trial is that you get a perfect opportunity to feel how the boat performs. This is a great opportunity to confirm the boat you’re purchasing is right for you.
It is very beneficial to conduct a sea trial in open-water. Short runs in a canal usually won’t be sufficient. This is one of the logistical questions that need to be answered when making arrangements for the survey.
We recommend open water trial runs whenever possible. However, when sea conditions are rough, you have to defer to the seller’s discretion because of the risks that are raised if you insist on going out in rough water.
The same can be said regarding excess gear and equipment that blocks access or reduces visibility. Having to look over, under, around the piles of personal items or unnecessary equipment makes the surveyor’s job even more difficult. All items that are not necessary for the safe operation of the vessel or will not be conveyed with the sale (if Pre-Purchase) should be removed from the vessel prior to the survey.
Rigging surveys on sailboats is performed from the deck level only. No attempt will be made to go aloft. Personal property or equipment should be removed to facilitate access for the survey.
In addition, the surveyor can only report on the boat’s condition as it existed at the time of the survey. No warranty of condition or performance is provided.