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Frequently Asked Questions About Marine Surveys

Can I purchase without a survey?

You can generally purchase a new or used boat without a survey if it is not financed and will not be insured. However, the older the vessel and the more complex the systems, the better it is to have a professional survey made. However knowledgeable you might be, it is always worthwhile having a second set of experienced eyes looking out for your interests.

Who does the surveyor work for?

For a pre-purchase survey, the buyer pays. For an insurance survey, the owner pays and in the case of a damage survey, typically the insurance company will pay.

Are Marine Surveyors licensed?

Surveyors are not licensed by a government body so it is important to select a surveyor who is accredited by a professional marine survey society such as The Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors (SAMS) or the National Association of Marine Surveyors (NAMS). Although experience in and around boats is important to be a good surveyor, selecting a surveyor with a technical background in Marine Engineering or Naval Architecture is advisable.

How long does a marine survey take?

A survey can generally be completed within a few hours or one day. However the more thorough the inspection, the greater the benefit to the buyer. A good survey takes time.

Should the boat be in or out of the water?

Preferably both but the vessel should certainly be viewed out of the water for a proper inspection the hull and appendages.

How should the vessel be prepared for the survey?

It is best if the vessel is in operational condition and not winterized or in storage. It is very important that the surveyor have easy access to as much of the systems and structure as possible so lockers should emptied and all material that impedes the inspection should be removed prior to the arrival of the surveyor.

What does the survey report contain?

The survey report contains a detailed description of the yacht and its systems; Identification of non-standard conditions; Recommendations regarding safety and and maintenance; Fair market value; Photographs of the vessel including unusual features or problems. A good report should serve to educate as well as give the condition and value. Ask the surveyor for a sample survey and do not accept a checklist format.

Who needs to be at the survey?

The survey can normally be accomplished without assistance however it is useful to have the owner present to start equipment and machinery.

Should my surveyor carry Liability and Errors and Omissions Insurance?

There is always the possibility of an accident or an error occuring no matter how careful the surveyor is. It is wise to contract only with surveyors that carry the proper insurance.

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