Marine Surveyor: Do I really need one?

A thorough, independent Marine Survey will give you confidence in your vessel and enable you to make informed choices and decisions about her purchase, care and upkeep.  You don’t just get peace of mind either, a good Marine Surveyor can also save you both time and money.

A Pre-Purchase Survey is essential to determine if the vessel you are planning to buy is structurally sound and free from any major defects, and it is always advisable to seek your own independent surveyor regardless of recent reports provided by the vendor.  The structure, engine, rig and other systems will be carefully examined to ensure you avoid buying a boat with hidden problems and it may also help to negotiate the right price.

The services of a marine surveyor are also invaluable during Sea Trials for a complete evaluation of engines, rig, steering, instruments and vessel performance under working conditions.  It also allows checks on hull fittings and stern glands when the boat is in the water.  This can often be carried out in conjunction with a pre-purchase survey to keep costs down and ensure a very full and thorough evaluation before you proceed.

Prior to the issue or renewal of an insurance policy, Insurance Companies periodically ask for a survey as a check on the vessel’s condition and safety.  This can be as detailed as a pre-purchase survey but the emphasis is quite different.  A Damage Survey is often carried out in conjunction with an insurance claim and involves the examination of a vessel for specific areas of damage and advice on the repair procedure.  Most marine surveyors are also very experienced in the diagnosis and treatment of Osmosis and their advice can be invaluable.

A Valuation determines the current market value of your vessel and is often combined with pre-purchase or insurance surveys and is particularly required when borrowing money to finance a purchase.  The valuation will be based on market data and the surveyor’s view of the vessel’s condition.

Many marine surveyors also offer Project Management services such as the supervision of construction of a new vessel, or during major repairs or refit and restoration of an existing vessel, with periodic inspection at critical stages to ensure good quality control.  They represent the owner’s interests, reporting back to them on progress and verifying the achievement of payment stages.  Additional consultancy services include a wide range of advice from which vessel to purchase, where repairs can best be carried out, MCA Code Compliance and tonnage measurement for registration purposes.

There are very many good marine surveyors but it is a profession that legally requires no formal qualifications. Therefore, when obtaining the services of a surveyor don’t go on price alone. Check their credentials and, if the survey is for insurance purposes, ensure the surveyor is acceptable to your insurance company. You should also check what types of vessels they have inspected before, ensure they have professional indemnity insurance and ask to see a sample survey report. Any reluctance to provide this information should ring alarm bells and you should look elsewhere.