Different types of marine survey guide

Yachting Pages spoke to Gibraltar-based Craft Management about the different types of surveys and how to choose a reputable surveyor.

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Types of surveys

Pre-purchase or condition survey

This is by far the most common survey and will in most cases, be the most detailed and in-depth. The client is frequently a first-time buyer with little or no previous knowledge in this field and has total reliance on the surveyor’s expertise.

This survey is normally, but not exclusively, required by the owner or prospective owner for the purpose of obtaining insurance, finance or as security for a loan. The client’s requirements should be clearly discussed and agreed prior to accepting instructions to ascertain the exact purpose of the survey and the possible duty of care and to whom.

Fabric options for working sails can be divided into three main categories:

Damage survey

This type of survey is required if the vessel has suffered any form of damage and inspection will be restricted to surveying and reporting on the extent and nature of the damage.

It is possible that the surveyor may be asked to give an opinion or investigate into the cause of the damage. This should not be given unless the surveyor is working under specific agreed instructions, and any opinions stated can be fully substantiated and supported by evidence that would stand in any possible litigation.

The surveyor maybe asked for recommendations for repair; this should only be done with the express instruction from the client.

Valuation inspections

Valuations are often requested by the client to obtain insurance and/or finance or are required by solicitors or financial institutions with regard to probate or other matters.

The purpose of the valuations, and so dictating the limits of the inspection, should be clearly defined.

The valuation document is a separate entity unless specifically agreed with the client as an integral part of a full pre-purchase survey.

Equipment inspections

Machinery, electrical and ancillary equipment inspections are undertaken only by surveyors with a specialist knowledge, experience and qualification of such equipment. It would be expected of the surveyor member to report in a general manner with regard to the condition of these items.

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How to choose a surveyor

Choosing a marine surveyor can be a difficult job as the industry is largely unregulated. Here are some top tips from Craft Management for how to find the right marine surveyor for the job.

Simply put, you first need to decide what type of survey you need, then find someone who has the skills, competency and knowledge to carry it out. Prices can vary hugely so you may want to get a couple of quotes before choosing a marine surveyor. Sometimes the cheapest may not always be the best! You can check and reference the credentials of a marine surveyor by talking to their previous clients. Often word of mouth is a good means of recommendation too.

Choosing a marine surveyor and commissioning him/her to do some surveying work is a crucial part of ensuring that your vessel(s), whether commercial or private leisure, is seaworthy, complies with the relevant maritime standards and will meet the necessary insurance and finance requirements. Be aware that choosing a marine surveyor, especially the right one, can be fraught with difficulty.

However the International Institute of Marine Surveying makes identifying the right one easy for you. By using the surveyor search, which can be found at the top of every page on their website, you can browse the profiles of 100’s of marine surveyors around the world. Select by surveyor or company name (if you know it), or by country. You can also select by the type of survey you require to ensure you get the marine surveyor who has the right qualifications and experience for your job.


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