Yacht Surveys

Sam is an IIMS (International Institute of Marine Surveyors) trained surveyor of small yachts – up to 24m – specialising in fibreglass sailing vessels and marine system installations.  Based on the island of St Martin in the Caribbean she provides yacht surveys throughout the Caribbean region.

Surveys are carried out for different purposes:

The Pre-Purchase Survey

If you’re planning on buying a boat, a Pre-Purchase Survey is a thorough and independent assessment of the condition of the vessel. It checks to ensure that the vessel being sold is the one the buyer is hoping to own, that it agrees with the sales particulars, and provides a valuation that relates directly to the age and condition of the vessel and the state of the market in the area where the boat is being sold.

It includes an in-the-water inspection, an out-of-the-water inspection and a sea trial. Every aspect of the vessel is assessed.

A Pre-purchase survey is carried out on behalf of a buyer, after he has made an offer to the seller or the seller’s broker, and after the offer has been accepted. The offer should have been made “subject to survey” which means that the buyer has the opportunity to amend his offer should the survey turn up something which was not forseen. In extreme circumstances the results of the survey can even result in the buyer pulling out of the sale.

For this reason, it is important that the surveyor has not been chosen by the seller or the broker; the surveyor should work only for the buyer.

The Insurance Condition Report and Valuation

Also known as an Insurance Survey. This survey is carried out for the boat owner and aims to provide assurance that the boat is fit for the purposes that the owner wants to use it, is safe to use for those purposes, and is a reasonable risk for an insurance company at a given valuation.

Some surveyors will tell you that it is not as thorough as a Pre-Purchase Survey, and, indeed, an inspection is normally carried out either in the water or out and a sea trial is not normally included. However, the responsibility of the surveyor is equally important for an Insurance Condition Report and Valuation and every accessible aspect of the vessel is still inspected and evaluated.

As it takes a little less time to complete, a Condition and Valuation survey costs less than a Pre-Purchase one.

A Charter Phase-Out Survey

Carried out for the owner of a vessel that is exiting a yacht charter fleet such as Dream Yacht Charter, Moorings or Sunsail, the Charter Phase-Out Survey ensures that the condition of the vessel being handed over to the owner is as he expects. It is similar in scope to Pre-Purchase Survey as it examines all aspects of the vessel and includes a sea trial.

This type of survey will also include an inspection of the maintenance records for the vessel to ensure contracted maintenance has been completed and to identify any repairs which have been carried out. It includes a valuation of the boat for insurance purposes.

Again, it is important that the surveyor for a Charter Phase-Out Survey has been appointed by the owner, and not chosen by the charter company.

Damage Report

As the name suggests, this type of survey is carried out following damage to a vessel from natural or accidental causes. The inspection is normally confined to the damaged area but should consider all potential damage which may have occurred during the incident.

A Damage Report is usually commissioned by an insurer. It may include interviews with connected parties to help ascertain liability, and will normally also include an estimate of cost to repair the damage.

A Rigging Inspection

All masts should be unstepped (taken down) and inspected thoroughly at ground level at least every 5 years; more often if the boat is used for racing or is sailed frequently in heavy weather. Although some surveyors will go up the mast to inspect the rig as part of a Pre-Purchase Survey, it is not possible for someone clinging to the mast in a bosun’s chair to give your rig anything more than a cursory glance.

A Rigging Inspection should be carried out by a qualified and experienced rigger if the mast is still in place, or at ground level the surveyor can be expected to make the level of inspection necessary to highlight rigging danger points.

A Vessel Walkthrough Inspection

If you are considering making an offer on a boat that is a long distance from your location, engaging a skilled, independent professional to take a look over the vessel before you get on a plane can be a good idea! Travel costs to inspect unsuitable or poorly described boats can quickly mount up and you can save yourself both time and money.


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