What Is a Boat Survey?

Get peace of mind with a boat survey.

A boat survey is a full day inspection with a surveyor where they go through all the systems and structure on a boat. If you have ever bought a house before this is like a home inspection and part of the “acceptance period” in the boating world which is the equivalent of a due diligence period in real estate.

Boat surveys are normally required by insurance companies and financing companies. Some insurance companies will write a boat insurance policy without one, but rates can be less expensive through other providers with a clean survey.

The biggest misconception about a survey is that there is a pass or fail. There is no such thing as a failed survey, however the findings could prevent an insurance company or finance company from bonding insurance or funding a loan before certain items are complete. The survey is to help a buyer manage the risk and understand if the boat is good enough for them or to move on to a different boat.

What to Expect During A Boat Survey
During the process a surveyor will;
– Test all systems (HVAC, electronics, refrigeration, pumps, etc…)
– Look for all required USCG safety requirements
– Draft an equipment list and give serial numbers for critical mechanical systems like engines, generator, hull ID, etc…)
– Check the hull, deck and structure as a whole. To check the hull and running gear they will ask you to schedule a haul out and pressure wash to inspect the structure and systems below the waterline
– Do a sea trial
– Prepare a full report

Now a Sea Trial?
The sea trial is done with a surveyor. During the sea trial they will gather information through various methods. They should check the engine at a normal cruise, take engine temps, RPM readings, oil temps, and compare gauges to actual readings through inspection equipment and computer read outs if applicable. After cruise they should do a wide-open throttle test (WOT test) where the boat is run at maximum throttle and actual RPMs are compared to engine manufacture suggested maximum RPMs. The boat should maintain cool temps at these speeds, not have visible leaks for water or fluids and not have vibration and hold a course. Other tests on the sea trial can include backdown tests where the boat is put hard in reverse. As a seller it is important to not go from forward to reverse no matter what a surveyor says is okay. That is an easy way to destroy a transmission, for this reason many surveyors do not perform this test anymore. A motor mount check is done by putting each engine in forward and reverse and “goosed” (throttled up quickly) while at stop. They look for movement in the mounts during this test. Also, while on the sea trial the generator will be running and powering all the boat’s AC powered components.

After completing all these tests a surveyor will generate a lengthy report outlining the findings. They will include vessel condition as Bristol (practically perfect or better than new), above average, average, below average, or not seaworthy. A value will be calculated and their sources should be noted and how they reached that number. There are many other pages of filler, information etc… but the most crucial information is outlined above.

At Calm Seas, we pride ourselves on providing an efficient, fast, and stress-free closing process. If you would like to know more about how our team can assist you with completing a successful survey, call 443.797.3698

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