Condition Surveys

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There are generally two reasons for getting a condition survey: prior to purchase, or as an insurance requirement. Both require a comprehensive inspection of the condition of the boat and its fittings.

Pre Purchase

There is slightly more involved in a pre purchase survey as a prospective buyer has a different perspective and different needs than an existing owner. The inspection will include:

  • Out of water inspection of the hull, keel, stern gear, rudder, and through hull fittings including checking for previous repairs, moisture content where appropriate, evidence of osmotic action

  • Topsides including condition of GRP, or paintwork, cosmetically and structurally by visual examination and by sounding,  and examination of any skin fittings, boarding ladders etc

  • Coachroof and deck including condition of GRP, any teak decking or fittings, deck fittings, stanchions, pulpit and pushpit, windows, and hatches

  • Stem fitting, bow rollers and forestay attachment, backstay attachment and shroud chainplates

  • Anchor handling and equipment

  • Cockpit including  sole, cockpit lockers, winches, cockpit fittings and washboards

  • Structural integrity of hull deck join where visible 

  • Condition and security of hatches and windows

  • Structural integrity of floors, longitudinals, structural moulding, bulkheads

  • Steering system

  • Through hull fittings including transducers, seacocks, ball valves and associated wiring and plumbing

  • Heads condition and operation

  • Internal electrics including pumps, water system, electrical panel, switches, and lights

  • Electronics, type and operation if practical

  • Soft furnishings and general condition

  • Report on gas system, including cooker, restricted to general condition and recommendations

  • General condition of engine and engine compartment including checking for water, fuel, or oil leaks, security of mountings, fuel system, exhaust condition, running up if afloat etc. An oil test is recommended and for a comprehensive examination we would use the services of our on call mechanical and electrical engineer

  • Mast, boom, standing and running rigging are inspected as far as practical. If the mast is stepped this is only to head height

  • Sails are only inspected to determine the age and condition of the cloth 

 

The survey would take anything from 7 hours to 2 days or longer, depending on the complexity of the vessel. If longer is required, two surveyors would carry out the work. A detailed report is produced as soon as possible after completion, usually a matter of a few days, but a verbal report can be given the same day.

The report will highlight any defects and suggest possible solutions and repair methods. It will differentiate between what might be considered desirable and what is considered essential.

The report will give an opinion, as unbiased as possible, on whether or not the vessel should be considered for purchase and advise on any revision on the asking price. It is often the case that the surveys findings can save the prospective purchaser the survey fee or more by using the findings to negotiate on the purchase price.

Insurance survey

The requirement and timing for an insurance survey varies between different insurers and is also influenced by the age and use of the vessel. The survey follows a very similar pattern to a pre purchase survey, particularly in regard to structural condition, but the examination of equipment, sails etc is less exhaustive. The intention is to satisfy the underwriters that the vessel is an acceptable insurance risk and that the insured value is realistic. Specific valuations however are not generally given as, unlike brokers, the surveyor does not have access to the information required to make a fully informed judgement.

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