The Captain's Dream Walker

Captain Stan Walker, AMS®
Marine Surveyor and Consultant

Walker Marine Services

Types of Surveys

The DIY Survey

When you have a list of boats that you are interested in, you are actually performing a visual survey on each of those boats, to varying degrees. This is vital to hone down that list to viable choices and saves you money from having too many boats professionally surveyed. Some boats are easy and will scream "run away - fast". Other boats look great, but were prepared cosmetically to look good to cover-up issues. Others have been neglected, might be dirty, but are diamonds in the rough. Can you tell the different? Educate yourself. Google - marine surveying, there are numerous articles on-line of what to consider. If you have the make and model, then Google - make and model- known issues.

Below are two great books to keep in your library but especially when looking at boats. There are other great authors but Don Casey's books are informative. This Old Boat shows problems and issues and discusses what might be the underlying cause and how to repair it. It let's you know if it is a major or minor repair and then you can decide if the repair is within your skill's set. Inspecting the Aging Sailboat is especially good for any fiberglass vessel, power or sail, but with particular information on sailboats.

Inspecting the Aging Sailboat This Old Boat

Once you have narrowed the list down to the one that speaks to you, then call in the marine surveyor. Remember, all boats require an investment for upkeep and maintenance, but, you want avoid the problem boats in order to maintain the "pleasure" in "pleasure boating".

Pre-purchase Survey

This is the most detailed and comprehensive type of inspection and is strongly advised when purchasing a new or used vessel. Condition and overall operation of the vessel should be examined. This covers structural integrity both internal and external. An inspection is conducted of all systems to the extent that they are operational, in good condition, and properly installed: such as; electrical systems, the propulsion system, the fuel system, other machinery, navigation equipment, electronics, miscellaneous on-board systems. Overall cosmetic appearance and indications of proper maintenance are examined. Usually, the vessel is hauled (out-of-water survey) to complete the inspection of the external hull and the vessel running gear.A sea-trial can be performed to assess the vessel's on the water operating capabilities. Haul out and sea-trial are optional but included in the survey when performed on the day of the survey.

Condition and Value Survey - Re-Insurance Survey

This inspection is performed quite often for insurance renewals so that the insurance company can determine that the vessel's insured value and risk remains acceptable. They are interested in structural integrity and safety for its intended use. Most insurance companies now require a survey on older boats. They need to also know the vessel's fair market value.

Damage and Claims

This is performed to assess the extent of damage, recommend repairs, estimate repair cost, and if requested, determine possible cause.

Valuation/Appraisal Inspection

This survey is performed to gather information to justify or determine the fair market value of the vessel. This is normally needed for financing, estate settlements, donations and legal cases. Owners preparing to sell their boat benefit by knowing the fair market value, as well as having the ability to resolve any issues or items that could effect the value of the boat.

Surveys are performed and written to meet the requirements of SAMS® (Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors®). Appraisal and Valuations are conducted to the Valuation Standards as established by USPAP (Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice). All surveys are conducted to verify compliance with Voluntary Standards and Recommended Practices developed by the ABYC (American Boat and Yacht Council), NFPA ( National Fire Protection Association), and the mandatory Standards of USCG's Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) under the Authority of Title 46 United States Code (USC); Title 33 and Title 46, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).

Sample Surveys

CRUISERS YACHT 3372 - Sample Survey

J 120 - Sample Survey


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