BoatUS Magazine associate editor and accredited marine surveyor Mark Corke offers up this advice. A boat’s hull is under the constant stress of the water and it is one of the few parts that run the risk of going aground. Or the buyer can just walk away to look at another boat. The breakdown of the duties for each discipline is as follows. (Photo: Mark Corke). For many people, a boat may be the second biggest purchase they make, after a house, and there's a lot at stake financially. He also looks for loose or broken motor mounts. What do boat surveyors look and check for before purchasing a boat? That being said, it makes the job slower if you hover. The last thing a surveyor wants to do is tell you what kind of boat is best for you. Hiring a qualified marine surveyor could be the most important buying decision you’ll make. It is also the main component of a boat and can fall victim to collisions with the dock, rocks, and even other boats. They can’t disassemble or cut or drill, but they are looking for anything that might signal trouble, such as evidence of water or oil leaks, excess corrosion in the engines or drives, excess wear in gimbals and steering systems. They only want little minor things to be wrong with it. Allow the surveyor to do his job — you'll get a complete written report about everything he sees. Most surveyors, at least a good one, will always ask that the boat is out of the water so that the hull and underwater gear can be checked. A marine survey is a useful tool for buyers when negotiating price based on what repairs the boat needs. Marine surveyors also inspect equipment intended for new or existing vessels to ensure compliance with various standards or specifications. Marine surveyors are often independent businesses and want you to call them first when you buy your next boat and also to recommend them to friends and family. “Hulls don’t get babied,” said Cozzi. Five Reasons to Consider an Extended Warranty on a Used Boat. “It may be pretty, it may have the greatest paint job on it, but if the bottom is showing evidence that it’s flexing too much and it’s cracked, then that’s a red flag. How do you find a skilled surveyor you can trust to be unbiased (i.e. If you are asking a surveyor to come to your boat to perform an insurance survey, make sure that the surveyor has access. Surveyors usually don’t require you to be present. “The great thing about fiberglass boats is that if the repair is done by the right person, it’s stronger than the original,” he said. Most surveyors have a set fee based on the size and type of boat, the type of survey, travel costs, and so on. You'll be paying the bill, so it's important that you understand that the surveyor reports only to you. You'll need to have your choices much narrower than that. (Photo: Mark Corke). Unless it requires removing exhaust or other components, he charges $150 per engine. Engine Issues. Our marine survey does not replace, nor should it, a professional marine survey. Privacy Policy, 4% back on purchases from West Marine stores or online at, Discounts on fuel, transient slips, repairs and more at over 1,000 businesses. Marine Surveys A marine survey can mean different things to different people. (Photo: Mark Corke). document.write(''); © Surveyors often get concerned when a client asks for a cheap survey because "it's only for insurance." Make sure that any surveyor you use is SAMS or NAMS accredited. Do I have to be present for the boat survey? The footings of a house are not exposed for example and services are usually tested by specialists only in the case of Building Surveys and by arrangement. It's the surveyor's version of "no cash, no splash.". Make sure that any surveyor you use is SAMS or NAMS accredited. In return, you want him or her to spot any deficiencies with the boat. I have just purchased a vessel that will be built, should I engage with a Marine Surveyor? Surveyors need to be able to stand behind their work (possibly even in the courtroom), and doing a "light" survey doesn't help anyone. Avoid people involved in brokerage or the repair businesses, and who may only be doing surveys as a sideline. degree in journalism and a master’s in mass communication from the Surveyors want to build solid relationships, because their reputations are at stake. Keep in mind that a survey is only good for a specific time because it's really a snapshot of what the boat was like on a specific day. Marine surveyors are, by nature of their industry standards, supposed to be impartial and unbiased. For these reasons, it is important that you take a look at a boat’s hull before you buy it. Marine surveys are conducted on boats or yachts for a variety of reasons, and for various entities or people. The surveyor will need to pay close attention to the engines, helm, and systems, and how the boat handles. It is a procedure that is mostly carried out by the trained experts in the field of property appraisal and has a lot to say in the final value of the boat. They can’t disassemble or cut or drill, but they are looking for anything that might signal trouble, such as evidence of water or oil leaks, excess corrosion in the engines or drives, excess wear in gimbals and steering systems. If you have a problem with a survey (or a surveyor) don't hesitate to bring it up.Â, Hiring a professional surveyor before you buy could be the most important decision you'll make, A marine surveyor is hired to protect your interests and to make sure a boat is sound, A marine survey can offer a wealth of information about your boat — if you know how to read it. Get Your Boat Surveyed — By Mike Smith It seems every ex-boat captain claims to be a surveyor, and every boatyard and yacht broker has a list of “experts” who will “do a good job.” Some of them are excellent surveyors, but which ones? According to Ron Reisner, president of the National Association of Marine Surveyors (NAMS), marine surveyors are categorized into three classifications: yacht and small craft surveyors, hull and machinery surveyors, and cargo surveyors. How long does a boat survey take? var rnd = window.rnd || Math.floor(Math.random()*10e6); Of course you need to know up front what the cost of the survey will be, but it could be a case of "if you don't pay now, you'll pay later." Duties. Ask around. In addition to covering the ski boat Surveyors cannot do any destructive tests, Cozzi points out. A surveyor has looked at hundreds or thousands of boats during his career and can offer advice on many boats, but he does not know which boat will suit you. Walk slowly around the boat and look at things from different angles.We often do this several times during a survey as some things become more evident as the light changes through the day. and general condition of a vessel and/or cargo. Tea drinker, vegetarian, looking for new things to attach a GoPro to. Whenever possible, test a boat like you plan to use a boat. Any wood or coring in a hull acts like a wick that draws water in through the cracks. Surveyors do not have x ray vision to see behind walls and under floors and cannot enter small or restricted roof and sub floor areas. Though it’s usually the buyer’s responsibility to pay for the survey, it’s money well spent. not a shill for the boatyard) and qualified in your type of vessel? If that wasn't bad enough, the boat also had a Great Dane aboard! How do I choose a Marine Surveyor? Before digging into the details, let’s make a checklist of the things covered in a boat survey: Verify the boat’s identity, via HIN (hull identification) number and state or federal registration. But if you've never had a boat surveyed you might be wondering what to expect when you do need one. If you've never had a marine survey before, here are some things to help make the experience better. 2020 Boat Owners Association of The United States. var abkw = window.abkw || ''; Another service Cozzi offers, which is important, is performing compression and leak-down tests on the engine. The condition of hoses and rigging are just a couple of things that the surveyor will check. and runabout markets for, he regularly writes and shoots for University of Central Florida in Orlando. And I really have to look at it. Testing information. Many times the repair involves cutting the cockpit sole out of the boat, then glassing it back into place. How do I get my boat “in survey”? At no-wake speeds, center the wheel and note how well the boat keeps its line. That bargain-basement-price survey could cost you in the long run should the surveyor miss some important fault on the boat. The most expensive repairs are probably leaking fuel tanks, which are among the first pieces of hardware installed in a boat. Replacement & Market Valuation. It's Not Just About The Cost. Surveyors typically won't send out the completed survey report until they get paid. To get the most from a sea trial, leave the kids, dog, and Aunt Kate at home. Based in Ventura, Calif., Becker holds a bachelor’s What to Look for During a Sea Trial. Surveyors cannot do any destructive tests, Cozzi points out. If problems are caught before inking the deal, you have the option of renegotiating the price or getting faults corrected before you take delivery of the boat. Have a look at a few models, then narrow down the list to one or two before you engage a surveyor. Educational Comments and Suggestions. If you’re choosy enough to hire a surveyor, it would be helpful to know what they’re looking for. So how does one find a good surveyor? Written for both the aspiring, novice and experienced surveyor, Surveying Fiberglass Power Boats provides a foundation of essentials for anyone who wants to begin a marine surveying career, or just hone up on one's skills and knowledge. If you're looking at a used boat with complex systems, consider spending the money for an extended warranty... Engine Hours on a Used Boat: Trust But Verify. We do not publish the results of the surveys that we perform. One client asked me to survey his 33-foot sailboat, but it turned out that the entire contents of a small apartment seemed to have been crammed aboard. They will also answer questions after the survey, so don't be scared to call them up if you see something in a survey report that you don't understand. Photographs. How do I choose a Marine Surveyor? A poorly repaired hull coul… It’s a nondestructive inspection of the boat to check its condition, check its systems for basic operation and adherence to applicable regulations and standards, look for any warning signs that might recommend a follow-on inspection by a specialist, and determine its overall value. Be especially careful to look out for repairs that may have been made to the hull. Our members are certified based on their knowledge and experience, with designations for: Yachts and Small Craft, Cargo, and Hull and Machinery (including Fishing Vessel Many insurance companies and banks require a Condition and Valuation survey in order to provide coverage or financing. Findings & Recommendations. While insurance value and market value are not the same, the surveyor is not qualified to determine what amount is insurable, and therefore should assess the Fair Market Value only. Their job is to tell the truth about a boat or yacht, as pleasing or painful as that may be. Surveyors make precise measurements to determine property boundaries. Look for an independent surveyor who has been around for a number of years, and is in the business more or less on a full time basis. Bring the boat to 30 MPH, perform a hard turn, and if possible, test conditions in rough waters. NAMSGlobal members are marine surveyors who inspect, and provide a broad variety of consulting services for the maritime industry. To an experienced marine surveyor’s eye, one that can look deeper into the boat, shiny and clean is easily looked past and problems and past issues can be spotted. By: pblake - Staff photojournalist at We have developed a list of actions and things to look for in a full blown marine survey. Brett Becker is a freelance writer and photographer who has covered All of Maritime Surveyors marine survey reports include at a minimum: Full and thorough documentation of the boat systems. Look at the hull/deck joint and ensure that it is straight and fair, look for new sealant at the joint or overspray from paint or gel work. var plc296584 = window.plc296584 || 0; Don't choose a surveyor on price alone. Why a boat survey is necessary A boat survey is necessary for these two main reasons: He doesn't share his findings with anyone else unless you specifically request it. How long does a Marine Survey take? Don't expect him or her to empty out lockers of heavy anchors, bags of sails, and boxes of spare parts. For instance, to an inexperienced eye, polished, shiny, and clean constitutes good condition. If you have a broker acting as your buyer's agent, then you may ask that the surveyor send a copy of the survey to the agent as it makes your broker's job easier if he's asking for things to be addressed. However, it’s a good move to be there. Old surveys should not be relied upon. It should be straight horizontally and … Visually inspect the hull for flaws or damage. I’m also looking for repairs — evidence of repairs in strategic areas where the bottom takes the most abuse.”. Basically, it is a detailed inspection of a boat, hopefully done by a qualified, diligent, intelligent and honest surveyor, for the purpose of determining its current condition and seaworthiness. Over the years, BoatUS's Consumer Protection department has written plenty on the importance of getting a marine survey on a boat you're considering buying, and for good reason. By hiring me, I will look at these things, and many more, to help protect you from buying a potential headache. Most surveyors are professionals and want you to be happy with your boat and ensure your safety on the water. In particular, 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. Again, it might be money well spent for a boat you’re serious about. Buy a boat with a bad engine, and you’re in for a serious … The Rinda TechMate tool can help determine engine hours on a used boat. Marine surveys typically include the structure, machinery and equipment (navigational, safety, radio, etc.) Simply put, a compression test shows the engine’s ability to generate cylinder pressure, and a leak-down test demonstrates its ability to hold that pressure. The stingers, bulkheads and other structural supports will be checked for delamination, stress cracking and other problems as well. 8 Things A Marine Surveyor Wants You To Know Do Your Research Ahead Of Time. They can answer questions and point out things of interest on the boat that may not find their way into the survey report. Surveyors are on boats every day, but owners and buyers may not always understand some of the technical terms. The Marine Survey Business. Professional surveyors are qualified to appraise boats and yachts by virtue of the fact that they work with them on a daily basis. He won't expect everything to be off the boat, but he will appreciate reasonable access. Cozzi checks the bottom and the transom for cracks and blisters and evidence of water intrusion using a specialized moisture meter. Oftentimes, his findings can be used to renegotiate the price or have the dealer or owner make the necessary repairs. Run both into and away from the sun—check for glare and reflections. I am working on and altering my vessel, do I need to contact a Marine Surveyor? What a Surveyor Should Look For Copied from BOAT/US Magazine By Debbie Schaefer Here's a detailed summary of exactly what a surveyor inspects and tests when he or she conducts a marine survey on your behalf. It's not hard to make a surveyor smile. Surveyors typically do the following: Measure distances and angles between points on, above, and below the Earth’s surface Boat Trader has plenty of  Buying and Selling advice, but also check out the hundreds of articles in the Boating section, with tips on everything from seamanship to maintenance, how-to, where to find replacement parts, and much more. How long does a Marine Survey take? You might consider making any deal contingent upon a sea trial. Marine surveyors perform inspections of vessels of all types including pleasure craft, passenger vessels, tugboats, barges, dredges, oil rigs, ferries, cargo vessels and warships, as well as marine cargo, marine engines and facilities such as canals, drydocks, loading docks and more for the purpose of pre-purchase evaluation, insurance eligibility, insurance claim resolution and regulation compliance.
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