Types of Marine Surveys

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Types of Marine Surveys From marinesurvey.org (SAMS)

Marine Surveys are performed for a number of reasons, and the procedures for each vary to best suit your needs.

Pre-Purchase Survey: 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 trial.

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 boats. They will also want to know the vessel’s fair market value.

Appraisal Inspection: 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 legal cases.

Damage Inspection: The surveyor can be retained by an insurance company to determine the cause of a loss and determine the extent of loss related damage and may be asked to recommend repairs, review estimates, and determine the pre-loss value of a vessel.  A vessel owner can retain a surveyor for the same purposes, but for the owner’s behalf.


Types of Marine Surveys From promarinesurveys.com – Retired

Pre-Purchase – Condition and Value
This is the most comprehensive type of inspection and is strongly advised before agreeing to purchase any used vessel. Many Insurance companies will normally not provide Boat Insurance for used boats without a current marine survey. Many clients also request a Pre-Purchase Condition & Value survey when they want to sell their boat so they can find and correct any known problems before listing the vessel for sale. The condition and overall operation of the entire vessel is thoroughly inspected including such items as structural integrity including the bottom and underwater machinery (if hauled), the superstructure, electrical systems, propulsion and fuel systems, steering, navigation and miscellaneous on-board systems like generators and air conditioning units, electronics, safety gear and interior portions accessed in a non-destructive manner. Moisture and/or delamination checks are made on the vessels hull, top deck and stringers.
The final report will reference compliance with United States Code of Federal Regulations, US Coast Guard, American Boat and Yacht Council and National Fire Protection Association standards. All recommendations are clearly defined. Fair market value, replacement cost and general remarks regarding the overall condition of the vessel are always included.
NOTE: It should be noted that it is highly recommended that the vessel be hauled out for complete bottom and underwater machinery inspection. The haul out yard charges are separate and not a part of the survey fees.

Insurance – Condition and Value
The Insurance Condition & Value survey is for current owners who have changed Insurance Companies or have been requested by their Insurance Co to obtain a current Marine Survey. This inspection is necessary for the insurance company to determine whether or not the vessel is an acceptable risk. They are interested in parts of the vessel related to structural integrity, safety and suitability for its intended use. High-risk systems related to fuel, ventilation, exhaust, and steering are some examples of inspected areas. Electronics are noted with serial no’s if available but are not tested for insurance surveys. A sea trial normally is not required and the report is very similar to the pre-purchase condition and value survey. Most insurance companies require a survey on older boats and will also want to know the vessels fair market value and replacement cost.

You should check with your insurance company as many insurance companies will request a haul out to have the bottom and underwater machinery inspected. The haul out yard charges are separate and not a part of the survey fees.

This type of survey should not be misconstrued as being a more detailed buyer’s pre-purchase condition survey and is not intended to be assumed as such.

Yacht Appraisal Inspection

An appraisal is an inspection 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. The equipment on board, general maintenance, overall condition, same vessel selling prices and the current economy are all considered when determining the fair market value.

Damage Survey

A damage inspection is performed for an Insurance Company to assess the extent of damage to the vessel, recommend repairs, assess estimated repair costs and if requested, the probable cause.


Types Of Surveys From SeasideMarineSurveyors.com

As a used boat buyer, you need to know what you are buying before you make one of the largest purchases of your lifetime. We strive to uncover any structural or mechanical aspects of the vessel that may lead to unforeseen costly repairs and safety risks. Surveys are undertaken on new and used boats. Surveys are a valuable tool in determining condition, fair market value, and overall condition of the vessel. Banks may require a survey to determine fair market value for financing and insurance companies will require a survey to determine underwriting decisions and damage repairs. An individual should request a survey to find out more about the particular vessel you are purchasing.

Pre purchase Survey: This is the most comprehensive inspection of a vessel. The purpose of the survey is to gather as much information about the condition of the vessel before purchase. The survey will consist of an inspection of the topsides, hull, cabin and interior that are normally accessible. A haul out and inspection of the bottom and underwater machinery. An examination of the visible structural supports of the vessel. A complete inspection of the electronics, fuel system, steering, electrical system, sanitation system and safety equipment to ascertain their operation. A sea trial is conducted to evaluate the overall performance of the vessel. An examination of all vessel documentation, hull numbers, and the history of service records when available. A current market valuation and replacement valuation of the vessel will also be given.

The Condition and Valuation Survey:  (Insurance Survey)  This survey is meant to be a general overview of the vessel and its systems for insurance underwriting and financing. This type of survey is intended for use by insurance and finance companies to determine the underwriting decision of a particular vessel. This survey will not approach the level of a pre purchase survey. The primary focus is to identify the vessel, its equipment, overall condition and general value without testing full system operation. It also seeks to identify hazardous conditions that pose a safety risk to the vessel and its passengers. An assessment of vessel safety equipment as per the U.S.C.G. Federal requirements are stated.

The Appraisal Survey: Is performed to gather information to justify and determine the fair market of the vessel. This survey may be used in refinancing or to settle legal claims, an estate case or a non-profit donation to charity. The focus of this survey is limited to setting a fair market value based on the vessel systems and overall condition.

Sea Trial: Is a comprehensive bay test to determine the positive operation of the vessels machinery, systems, and structure. On the sea trial, not only is the engine and overall vessel performance evaluated, but also we check the steering, controls, shafting, engine mounts and exhaust systems. We also examine structural elements of the hull while under load. On gas engines, we perform a rudimentary engine inspection. What this means is that we performance test the engines along with a complete visual inspection. While this may not seem like much, you can learn a lot just by observing the engines operating condition. We check for oil leaks, coolant leaks, and fuel leaks. We also check that all belts and hoses are performing properly and not frayed or leaking. We also check to see if the engine is turning the recommended RPMs and is running within the manufacturers specifications. If an engine is not performing properly or a problem is indicated, a repair recommendation will be made, or you will be advised to consult a manufacturers certified mechanic for further diagnosis. When it comes to diesel-powered vessels, diesel engines are more complex and the vessels usually larger. We will performance test and visually inspect small diesels or single engine boats in cases where the engines are fairly new. But for older and larger engines, a full diesel engine survey is highly recommended. Yes, the cost is substantial, but so are repair costs. Repair costs on diesels typically run 4 times that of gas engines. After looking at the engines, we may advise you that an engine survey is necessary. Therefore, it is highly recommended that an independent diesel surveyor be engaged for full diesel surveys.

Compression Testing: All used 2 stroke outboards will benefit from a compression test due to their extreme operation conditions with the potential for ring failure. A large variation in compression values will indicate a potential problem if not already seen in its running condition. Four stroke engines, will usually only need to be tested if a problem in the running condition is observed. But bear in mind that the ability to perform compression tests depends on a variety of factors, such as the ability to reach and get the spark plugs out. Plus we have to deal with gasoline and the dangers of explosions. Therefore, we will be unable to advise you whether we can perform a compression test until we have actually seen the vessel. Compression testing of outboard motors is not a problem and we can do this in most any case. Without proper compression, the engine will not run properly. The surveyor will make a recommendation if we fell that this is needed.

Lower Unit Pressure Testing: This test will indicate faulty seals in both the upper and lower half of the gear case. If water is allowed to enter the case, this will cause excessive friction on the gears and engine. If the water is not detected, this can lead to expensive gear case repair bills. This test is done by draining the oil from the case and then using a vacuum and pressure gauge to determine if the seals will hold pressure and keep the water out. This test can be used on outboard motors and all stern drives.

Spectro Metric Oil Analysis: Is an engine oil test, used to determine if excess engine wear is occurring, based on the different types of metal particles found in the oil. This is not quite as valuable a diagnostic tool as many people have been lead to believe. To do an analysis of wear metals, one first needs to know how long the engine oil has been in service, but this is something we almost never know. The main benefits of an oil analysis are that it can determine if there is salt, water or antifreeze in the oil. As a tool for determining internal wear, it is basically only useful when conditions of extreme wear are present. Very often, we get no indication of what it is that is wearing excessively. After the samples are obtained, they then have to be sent to a lab service. It usually takes 5-7 days before obtaining the results.

Osmosis Testing: Is a test used to determine if excess moisture is present in areas of the hull that are not visible to the eye. Moisture can be present without delamination occurring and this can pin- point potential problem areas. This type of testing may be undertaken on a vessel that shows signs of moisture intrusion around fittings, blisters, or soft spots in the transom stringers and bulkheads. However, this test is not an infallible way to test for moist areas. Many variables come into play when using a moisture meter. These include delamination, bottom paint, voids in the lay-up of mat and resin, water in the bildge, and the length of time the boat has been out of the water. The meter may detect moisture that can only be verified by destructive testing of the hull to verify the meter readings.

Corrosion Analysis: We can test your boat for proper bonding and adequate zinc anode protection. We can also check for stray current corrosion. Corrosion is a serious problem, and if left unchecked can deteriorate submerged metal fittings like props, lower units, and thru-hulls in a matter of days.

A vessel has many systems that require maintenance and care. A careful visual inspection of the accessible components can help determine if the vessel has received proper maintenance or has been neglected. A marine survey inspection of your boat may include many of these areas or more.
1. The exterior hull condition
2. The interior bilge condition
3. Bulkheads and stringer condition
4. Top decks and hardware
5. Thru-hull fittings condition and operation
6. Electrical system operation
7. Plumbing system condition
8. Engine and drive systems operational
9. Generator operational
10. HVAC system operational
11. Electronics operational
12. Sea trials to determine if the engine operates within the manufacturers specifications
In addition to these items, there is a host of many other systems and appurtenances that are unique to each vessel and may need inspection.
Many Insurance companies and banks require a marine survey to identify the vessels value and ensure its compliance with various safety guidelines as specified by ABYC, NFPA and Coast Guard regulations before issuing an insurance policy, or financing.
From: http://www.seasidemarinesurveyors.com/
http://www.seasidemarinesurveyors.com/page4.html


Types of Marine Surveys From ChapmanMarineSurveyor.com

PRE-PURCHASE: Full condition/value survey inspections, normally in and out of water including a sea trial of vessel intended to be purchased by someone, whether from an individual or through a yacht broker.  This is the most intensive, detailed inspection and intended to find any discrepancy in structure, electrical, plumbing, machinery and equipment and the cost to correct them that must be considered by the buyer before making the final decision to complete the purchase.  A full written report with photos, or a photo CD, is normally submitted within a few days of the completion of the survey inspection, which can be used for insurance as well.  This type of survey is usually paid for by the buyer on the day of survey, just like payment to the boat yard for any fees to haul & launch the vessel for bottom inspection.  Pre-payment is required when the buyer won’t be present for the survey.

INSURANCE: These are detailed inspections for a vessel’s owner that his/her insurance carrier requested to determine the vessel’s value, risk and insurability. Less concerned with cosmetics and small details than a pre-purchase survey and primarily concerned with safety and structural and machinery integrity that affect the risk to the insurance carrier.  An out-of-water inspection may be required.  A written report with photos, or a photo CD, is normally submitted within a few days of the completion of the survey inspection.  This type of survey is also usually paid for by the owner on the day of survey, or prepaid if he/she will not be present at the survey.  (Note that when the vessel has just had a pre-purchase survey, that report will usually be satisfactory for the insurance carrier as well and this type of survey won’t be needed in addition to it.  Also note that our surveys have never been refused by any insurance company, but if that should ever happen have your insurer check out the brief resume on the About Us page on this website, or a formal resume can be provided if necessary to verify acceptability of our qualifications.)

APPRAISAL: These inspections are intended to determine a vessel’s general as-is condition (not a full survey) and value and could be for re-financing, import duty, or just to help an intended buyer (especially one out-of-town responding to an ad) with a “walk-through” inspection and report with photo CD or video on DVD to decide whether to go ahead with a full survey/sea trial before buying.  Usually paid for by the requestor on the day of appraisal, or prepaid if he/she won’t be present.

FINANCE: These inspections are often requested by a bank or finance company to determine a vessel’s general as-is condition (again, not a full survey) and value and whether it’s worth financing, or re-financing.  A written report with photos, or a photo CD, is normally submitted within a few days of the completion of the inspection.  Check first as this may, or may not be paid for by the financial institution.

DAMAGE: These inspections are requested by the insurance carrier normally, but sometimes by owner, as a result of some accident, theft or storm damage to the vessel.  A written report with photos, or a photo CD, is normally submitted within a few days of the completion of the damage inspection.  This type of inspection is normally paid for by the insurance carrier, but can also be paid for by the vessel’s owner if it’s for minor damage and not being done in regard to an insurance claim.

CONSULTATION: This is a “specific concern inspection/consultation“, which is often requested by a vessel’s owner to determine the cause of and how to correct some problem(s) that are beyond his/her area of expertise.  A written report with photos, or a photo CD, may or may not be submitted after the completion of the consultation, depending on the prior arrangements (i.e., in some cases only a verbal report is required).  This type is usually paid for by the owner on the day of the consultation.


Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP).



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One thought on “Types of Marine Surveys

  1. Winston McGrady

    BUYER BEWARE. I paid this man extra money to inspect engines. He failed to complete a proper inspection and it cost me $10,000. When I confronted him, he told me to go… and said I was harassing him. This is the most unprofessional business encounter I’ve ever had in all my 60 years.
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