Vessel Survey Questions and Answers
1. Why do I need a Marine Surveyor?
A qualified Marine Surveyor can provide you a realistic indication of the condition, fair market value, and associated risks of a particular classed vessel. This becomes especially important upon transfer of ownership and is often required by most insurance companies and financial institutions in order to underwrite and/or finance a vessel. However, the most important reason for having your vessel surveyed is to ensure the safety and security of your crew and guests.
2. How do I choose the right Marine Surveyor?
Anyone can title themselves a Marine Surveyor and start a business.
Surveyors should provide you with a professionally prepared report that can be accepted by your bank and/or insurance company. A thorough inspection of your vessel should not be rushed and could take several hours or days depending of the size, complexity (i.e. several main engines) and operation of the vessel.
3. What are the types of vessel surveys?
Pre-purchase Survey: This is a comprehensive type of inspection and is strongly advised when purchasing a new or used vessel. Condition and the overall operation of the vessel should be examined. This includes such items as structural integrity, out of water inspection, sea trial, electrical systems, propulsion system, fuel system, machinery, navigation, miscellaneous on board systems, cosmetic appearance, and overall maintenance.
Insurance Survey: This inspection is performed so that the insurance company can determine whether or not the vessel is an acceptable risk. They are interested in structural integrity and safety for its intended use. Most insurance companies require a survey on older vessels. They also desire to know the fair market value of the vessel.
Appraisal Inspection: This survey is performed to gather enough information to justify or determine the fair market value of the vessel. This is normally needed for financing, estate settlements, donations, and legal cases.
Damage Inspection: This is performed to assess the extent of the damage, recommend repairs, estimate repair cost, and if requested, the probable cause.
Audio gauge testing: This is conducted to determine deterioration or “wastage” in aluminum and steel shell plating, structure/members and tankage.
4. How do I prepare for a vessel survey?
Arrange to present a clean, shipshape boat. Have all of the vessel documentation and miscellaneous gear (i.e. anchor line) ready for inspection. If applicable, you will need to make arrangements with the marina to haul the vessel for bottom inspection, and a captain for sea trial. Lockers and cabin areas should be cleared of all miscellaneous gear. The surveyor should never be asked to prepare a boat for inspection. The surveyor may request minor dismantling of interior ceilings, headliners, flooring, etc. in order to gain access to suspected areas. Random inspection of fasteners on wood boats below the water line and chain plates on sailing vessels could be examined for condition. Any dismantling and re-installation of these parts should be performed by qualified personnel, which is the responsibility of the person ordering the survey. Written authorization from you may be required to board and/or to remove any part of the vessel.
Vessel Survey Q & A
Captain Charles J. Hazouri
Marine Surveyor, Thermographer, Auditor, Consultant
Offshore Marine Inspections