What is a Marine Survey and why should you commission one?
It’s your life and your Money that you are investing in your boat…
A marine survey should therefore be carried out by a qualified, diligent, intelligent and forthright surveyor, for the purpose of determining the vessel’s current condition and seaworthiness, before you purchase the boat!!
In particular the survey objectives should be to determine if the vessel is safe to use in conditions for which it was designed, and what maintenance and repairs are required, or are likely to be required in the near future.
Most buyers are not experienced enough, or mechanically inclined to a point where they can make an adequate evaluation on their own, without professional and expert advice. Even those who are qualified benefit immensely from a second professional, cold and unbiased opinion.
Why Should You Get a Marine Surveyor to inspect your boat?
The short answer is in order to stay alive and secure, physically and financially. The sea can be a dangerous place, subject to the whims of weather and sometimes, lady luck. The ocean is no place for a defective boat, especially one with an inexperienced owner and / or crew. At worst this could be life-threatening or fatal; at best, the wrong boat is just likely to be a large “hole in the water” into which you pour your money.
The longer answer is that certain types and classes of boats have inherent problems or specific characteristics. A good surveyor will be familiar with most types and classes of vessel and be able to advise you on the long term suitability of your intended purchase and its equipment, particularly in relation to how and where you will be using it. Most good general surveyors will in addition, specialise in one or more particular kinds of vessel.
In addition, it is unlikely you will be able to secure insurance or financing without providing the insurance company or lender with an acceptable survey….. so you might as well make the survey a condition of purchase to begin with.
Buying a marine survey is buying peace of mind. It will give you the best idea of exactly what you are getting into with your boat purchase and help you learn what will be necessary to maintain the vessel in the future, to keep you and your family safe, and your investment secure.
It is also true to say that in very many cases where a price has been agreed “Subject to Survey” the cost of the Survey will be more than outweighed by the reduction in price should serious defects be found.
What information does the Boat Surveyor need, prior to inspecting the vessel?
Your surveyor will need to know a bit about the reasons for your yacht purchase; where are you intending to use the boat, your level of experience and your competance at maintenance and repair work etc. All of these bits of information help the surveyor build up a picture of what is likely to happen during your usage of the boat and whether it is generically suitable for your purpose…..
During almost 30 years in practice as a yacht surveyor I have had the satisfaction of seeing several early 1980’s clients progress from small first yachts to, for example, leading one of the recent 2-year Round the World Cruising events in his 50 footer. I surveyed several boats for this particular client during that time. (the client also progressed from Flying Officer to Wing-commander, in the RAF ). I regard it as part of the surveyor’s job to act as “Devils Advocate” to some extent, but without being too much of a Jonah. It is very easy to fall in love with a good looking vessel on a fine sunny day – as I well know….