Marine surveying is a critical step in the boat-buying process. It helps ensure you make an informed and safe purchase. A marine survey is essentially an inspection of the boat’s condition, structure, and systems by a qualified marine surveyor.
Key steps and considerations for conducting a marine survey:
- To Find a Qualified Marine Surveyor:
- Look for a certified marine surveyor who specializes in the type of boat you’re interested in (e.g., sailboat, powerboat, yacht).
- Seek recommendations from fellow boaters, boat brokers, or boat clubs.
- Verify the surveyor’s credentials and ask for references.
- Schedule the Survey:
- Coordinate with the boat seller to arrange a suitable time for the survey.
- Ideally, have the survey performed while the boat is out of the water (dry dock) and in the water (in-water survey) to thoroughly inspect all aspects.
- Survey Types:
- There are different types of surveys, including pre-purchase surveys (most comprehensive), insurance surveys, and condition surveys (less detailed). Ensure you request a pre-purchase survey for buying a boat.
- Review the Surveyor’s Scope:
- Discuss with the surveyor the scope of the inspection to clarify what will be assessed during the survey.
- Survey Checklist:
- The surveyor will typically inspect various aspects of the boat, including the hull, deck, superstructure, rigging (for sailboats), engine and propulsion systems, electrical systems, plumbing, safety equipment, and more.
- They will check for signs of damage, wear and tear, corrosion, and any potential safety issues.
- Documentation and History:
- Obtain and review all available boat documentation, including maintenance records, previous surveys, and title documents.
- Ask the surveyor to look for any signs of previous accidents or repairs.
- Sea Trial:
- Conduct a sea trial with the surveyor to evaluate the boat’s performance, handling, and functionality.
- Check for engine and steering responsiveness, stability, and any unusual noises or vibrations.
- Report and Recommendations:
- After the survey is complete, the surveyor will provide you with a detailed report that outlines the boat’s condition and any recommended repairs or improvements.
- Use this report to negotiate the purchase price or request necessary repairs from the seller.
Negotiate and Finalize:
- Based on the survey findings, negotiate the final purchase price with the seller.
- Ensure that any agreed-upon repairs are completed satisfactorily before finalizing the purchase.
- Once you are satisfied with the survey results and terms, complete the transaction by finalizing the sale, transferring ownership, and obtaining any necessary boat insurance.
Remember that the marine surveyor works for you, the buyer, and their expertise can help you make an informed decision when buying a boat. It’s a worthwhile investment to avoid potential problems and ensure you are purchasing a safe and seaworthy vessel.