Getting Ready for Survey

Time and additional expense can be saved by preparing the vessel for inspection and making her spaces more accessible. Plan to present a clean, shipshape boat, and have all appropriate papers and miscellaneous gear ready for the surveyor. Often, you will need to make arrangements with a marina or shipyard to haul the vessel for bottom inspection, and possibly retain a captain for sea trials. Lockers and cabin areas should be cleared of all miscellaneous gear to prevent delays in this process.

The surveyor may request minor dismantling of interior ceilings, headliners, flooring, etc. in order to gain access to areas of concern. Random removal and examination of below-the-waterline fasteners on wood boats may be required. Written authorization from the owner may be needed to board and/or to remove part of the vessel and this should be organized well in advance by the person ordering the survey.

Once you have retained a surveyor then he/she works only for you and reports to no one else. The surveyor is there to protect your best interests and serve as your expert advisor.

Please be sure to review the below checklist prior to your Marine Survey:

  • Sign and return the Marine Survey Agreement found in the Forms and Documents section.
  • Keys to access the boat’s interior and locked spaces must be made available.
  • Keys for the ignition must be acquired.
  • The vessel should be a tidy as possible to facilitate access and lockers should not have excessive household goods present which might block access.
  • Contact info for the buyer and seller as needed.
  • Large furniture items should be arranged to allow access to panels and deck hatches.
  • The vessel’s papers should be present including documentation, registration, manuals and owner’s guides.
  • Both DC and AC voltages should be available.
  • Coordinate with the boatyard where the haulout is to take place and get on their schedule for the date agreed to by the surveyor.  Remember to bring a check or card to pay the boatyard as they will not put the boat back into the water until they get paid.
  • Attendance of family and friends is discouraged unless they are serving a specific purpose.
  • It should be discussed with the seller as to when the last haulout was conducted and you should ascertain if zinc service or bottom cleaning are required.
  • A captain should be retained for the sea trial.  Otherwise the seller may be required to pilot the vessel or to allow the buyer or broker permission, in writing, to pilot the vessel under the full range of operating conditions.  Failure of systems do occasionally occur during sea trial and it is important to have written permission.  The surveyor will not be operating the vessel.  If you have trouble finding a qualified captain then let me know and I would be happy to help organize a licensed mariner to attend the sea trial.