Sailors Choice              Marine Surveyors 
Marine Surveyor/Mah'rën Sir'veh"or (n) the person who looks in all the nooks and crannies with a flash light so you don't have to and tells you if the boat you're dreamin' about is just another hole in the water.
Why do you need a Marine Survey? I didn't get a survey done on the first boat I bought. It was a 27í sailboat made by a reputable manufacturer of recent vintage owned by a couple that had put baby blue shag in the cabin and had to move out of state. "Good deal" I thought and I was lucky. It was a good deal. My next boat was a 36í and the second thing I did after making an offer  was to call a trusted Marine Surveyor buddy of mine and pay the 140 mile round-trip fee in addition to the survey cost because I knew better this time. This survey provided me with:
1) what the boat is,
2) what was good with it,
3) what was bad with it,
4) provided me with a reliable means of communicating with financial institutions and insurers,
5) assured my marina I was a safe bet, and
6) lets me sleep aboard like a baby!
What Is a Marine Survey? This type of survey is for the recreational boater, and is an evaluation of a vessel by a person who is qualified to give you a detailed report that contains all the good things about it as well as:
1) a description of the vessel, the manufacturer, year built and identification,
2) a complete listing of defects and conditions whether inherent to the manufacture of the vessel or caused by the lack of or a poor maintenance history, i.e., a blistered hull, rusting engine mounts or a corroded chain plates,
3) the condition of all equipment on the vessel, i.e., does the radio, loran and autopilot work?
4) the condition of all the systems such as the plumbing, electrical and sanitation systems, 
5) any unsafe or dangerous conditions, i.e., frayed electrical wires or a loose keel.
And a marine survey can include
1) an inventory of all equipment, including tankage sizes, manufacturers and capacities,
2) an evaluation of the boatís handling and performance,
3. an accurate appraisal of the vesselís fair market value
Obviously, if you are planning a world cruise or buying a freighter, your criteria is a bit different!

There are various types of Marine Surveys:
A "usual and customary" survey should include: 
1) a haul out for inspection of the hull, rudder, prop system, thru-hulls, instrumentation and keel,
2) an in-the water inspection because it looked like it should float when it was hauled and,
3) a full sea trial.. 
The "usual and customary" survey can then have a definite purpose:
1) The Pre-Purchase Survey is just what it sounds like, is the seller telling you the truth or "forgetting" something
2) The Sellerís Survey, so you know what to tell the prospective buyer and have some idea that price youíre asking is reasonable,
3) An Appraisal, done for many reasons, often to determine a vessel's fair market value and to report that value to a lending institution or the tax collector.
4) Condition and Value Survey, also called an "Insurance Survey", usually an in-depth inspection detailing any condition that might cause the boat to sink, catch on fire or hurt someone. This is done so that your Insurance Company knows how to insure you. 
5) A Damage Survey is done by your Insurance Company when you submit a claim investigation to determine just what damage has been done and the possibilities and costs of repair . 

Links to Surveyor Association Information
National Association of Marine Surveyors, Inc.
Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors


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