Why should you have a vessel surveyed?
Most insurance companies and banks will require them on
older vessels. They will need to know its condition and fair market value in order to finance and/or
underwrite the vessel. Knowing its condition and fair market value before you purchase is also
important. However, the most important reason to survey your vessel is for the safety of the
passengers and crew.
Types of Surveys
Marine Surveys are performed
for a number of reasons,
and the procedures for each vary to best suit your needs:
This is the most comprehensive type of inspection, and is strongly advised when purchasing a new
or used vessel. Condition and overall operation of the vessel should be examined. This covers
structural integrity, electrical systems, the propulsion system, the fuel system, other machinery,
navigation equipment, miscellaneous on-board systems, cosmetic appearance, electronics, and
overall maintenance as well as an out-of-water inspection and a sea trail.
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 boats.
They will also want to know the vessel's fair market value.
This inspection 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
This is performed to assess
the extent of damage, recommend repairs, estimate repair cost, and if
requested, possible cause.
Preparing for a Marine
Time and additional expense
can be saved by preparing the
vessel for inspection and making it
Arrange to present a clean,
shipshape boat, and have all papers and miscellaneous gear ready. If
applicable, you will need to make arrangements with the marina to haul the vessel
for bottom inspection, and make arrangements for sea trials. 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 the
suspected areas. Any dismantling and re-installation of parts should
be performed by qualified personnel and is the responsibility of the person ordering
Written authorization from
the owner may be needed to board and/or to remove part of the vessel.
Well conducted surveys can provide good information on the vessels' condition, but they are not
guarantees. The surveyor reports the condition in accessible areas only as it exists at the time of
ONCE YOU RETAIN THE SURVEYOR, HE OR SHE WORKS
ONLY FOR YOU AND REPORTS TO NO ONE ELSE. THE
SURVEYOR IS THERE TO PROTECT YOUR INTERESTS!
All surveys are performed to ABYC (American Boat and Yacht Council) standards and recommended practices, NFPA-302 (National Fire Protection Agency), and the CFR33 & CFR46 (Code of Federal Regulations).
Capt. John Coffin
Surveyor Associate (SA)
Knowledge Unlimited, Inc.
(dba) Keys Unlimited, Inc. in Florida
Knowledge Unlimited, Inc. (Home)