While boat surveys may seem like just another expense in the boat buying process, they are essential for identifying potential issues with the boat prior to purchasing.
- Contracting a professional boat surveyor is invaluable for anyone buying a boat- whether it's new or second hand.
- Boat surveys can help buyers identify issues with the boat as well as ascertain its market value.
What Are Boat Surveys And Why Would I Need One?
Nowadays many people buy a second hand boat: they’re cheaper, there’s less depreciation and you won’t have to worry so much about teething problems. However, one of the biggest challenges when buying a second hand boat is making sure it’s in good condition. One way to solve this problem is to conduct a boat survey. A professional can offer you a complete survey of the boat’s condition as well as its estimated market value.
Whilst many new boat buyers mistakenly overlook boat surveys, a boat survey is a key step for anyone wishing to avoid problems creeping up later on. As well as identifying any teething problems the boat may have, many new boats sit on the water or perform test drives which can deteriorate the boat’s condition- a survey can help identify this.
Even if the buyer has commissioned their own survey you should always perform your own. While it can be useful to look at any problems that were previously identified, legally you can only make a claim based on a survey that has been commissioned by you.
It is also essential that you make sure that any contract you sign states that any problems found during the survey can be grounds for breaking the contract or re-negotiating the sale price. Boat contracts usually give you 14 days within signing the contract to perform a survey, although you should verify the amount of time stipulated within your own contract.
One of the biggest challenges when buying a second hand boat is making sure it’s in good condition.
What Should A Survey Include?
The most common types of survey are Pre-Purchase Condition and Valuation surveys to assess a boat’s conditions and market value. Be aware that depending on the access the surveyor has to parts of the boat, there can be limitations to the survey such as opening up inaccessible areas or stripping of machinery. The boat seller can also limit the exhaustiveness of the survey due to concern about damage to the vessel.
A condition and value survey will usually cover the hull’s condition along with mechanics, propulsion and navigation systems, electronics, fuel installations and overall appearance. For an example of this type of survey, see Ayers Surveys. You should also consider having the surveyor on board during the sea trial so that they can identify any potential issues with steering, the engine or mechanics.
How Can I Pick A Good Surveyor?
To make sure the survey benefits you, finding a good surveyor is key. But what defines a good surveyor? First of all, you will need to find a professional surveyor who specialises in the type of boat you wish to acquire. Another important factor is to find one that is recognised by a professional body for marine surveyors such as The Yacht Designers & Surveyors Association (YDSA) or The International Institute of Marine Surveying. Inspectors who are members of these organisations are regulated by them periodically to ensure that they meet the organisations’ standards.
How Much Does It Cost To Survey A Boat?
Depending on their degree of specialisation and the surveyor, the cost of a boat survey can vary. Many surveyors have a base rate and charge per metre/foot of boat length. The easiest way to find out is to get a quotation from the surveyor themselves, although you can also use this cost calculator to get a rough idea. In some cases, if the surveyor is required to travel to the boat, you will be expected to cover these costs.
How Long Is A Boat Survey?
Depending on the size and complexity of your boat, a survey can take anywhere from several hours to a full day. When asking for a quotation, you can also ask the surveyor how long they expect to take.
How Long Will It Take To Get The Report Back?
Again, this depends on the surveyor, but you can sometimes find this information on their website without having to ask. You can usually expect to receive your boat survey report between 3 to 7 working days after the inspection. They are written in accessible language and often include photographs and drawings to help illustrate the surveyor’s findings.
What Do I Do With My Boat Survey Report?
Once you have received your boat survey report, you should read it carefully and thoroughly to assess what action needs to be taken; whether you are happy with the result, looking for a price re-negotiation or wish to cancel the contract. If you know any boating experts you can have them read the report and provide their opinion.
If you are looking for a boat, we have a wide selection of new and second hand boats for sale available on our website.
Main image: Diego Yriarte