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What type of marine survey do you need?

Why Have a Boat Survey

 In general, people require surveys when :-

          ·         they are buying a boat;
          ·         when their insurance company asks them to have their current boat checked; or
          ·         when their boat has had an accident. 

A marine survey is done exclusively for the commissioning client e.g. the prospective buyer of a boat or the owner of the boat. 

Pre-Purchase Marine Survey 

A Pre-Purchase survey is done on behalf of the prospective buyer.
As a marine surveyor I will conduct a full structural examination of the vessel and check the standard of installation and safety of the on-board systems.

On a typical GRP sailing yacht the following areas will be inspected :- 

          ·         Keel 
          ·         Hull below waterline 
          ·         Topsides including Rubbing Strake 
          ·         Deck moulding 
          ·         Cockpit 
          ·         Hull / Deck join
          ·         Bulkheads and Structural Stiffening including Internal Mouldings
          ·         Rudder and Steering
          ·         Stern Gear, Sail Drives
          ·         Cathodic Protection
          ·         Skin Fittings and Through Hull Apertures
          ·         Main Companionway and Other Access Points
          ·         Ports, Windows 
          ·         Pulpit, Stanchions, Pushpit, Lifelines and Jackstays
          ·         Rigging Attachment Points
          ·         Ground Tackle and Mooring Arrangements
          ·         Other Deck Gear and Fittings
          ·         Davits and Boarding Ladders
          ·         Spars
          ·         Standing Rigging
          ·         Running Rigging
          ·         Sails and Covers
          ·         Navigation Lights
          ·         Bilge Pumping Arrangements
          ·         Firefighting Equipment
          ·         Lifesaving and Emergency Equipment
          ·         Engine and Installation
          ·         Fuel Systems
          ·         Accommodation 
          ·         Gas Installation
          ·         Fresh Water Tanks and Delivery
          ·         Heads
          ·         Electrical Installation
          ·         Electronic and Navigational Equipment
          ·         Heating and Refrigeration 

The actual survey will generally take a whole day (more for bigger and complicated vessels) and at least another day to produce a report (double the time if a lot of problems are found).  

A marine surveyor can find defects that an average boat owner would be unlikely to find themselves and they can highlight non-compliance with regulations that could invalidate insurance.  It gives the buyer a clear indication of what is wrong with the vessel and it shows what can be done to improve the safety of those onboard. 

Some buyers are tempted not to have a survey in order to save money but this is a false economy especially as the cost of a boat survey can be as little as 0.5% to 1% of the value of the boat and they are also likely to need a marine survey if they require comprehensive insurance.

Marine Survey for Insurance – Condition and Valuation

Insurance companies require that older vessels are inspected every few years in order to assess their condition and value.  

The marine surveyor will conduct a full, out of the water, structural survey covering many of the same points as a pre-purchase survey but non-safety items are not included and the report is shorter and less descriptive. 

An insurance survey assumes that the client already has a detailed knowledge of the vessel and should not be used when purchasing a vessel.

The insurance company will generally accept the vessel provided the owner complies with the Recommendations specified by the marine surveyor, within the appropriate timescale. 

In general, insurance companies will not pay for damage arising from unseaworthiness which has been caused by the insured.  This could arise from a failure to maintain the boat or by making sub-standard repairs or alterations. 

It is a waste of money paying for an insurance policy if your boat does not conform to the required standards thus allowing the insurance company to exclude your claim.  This not only applies to the structure of your boat but internal systems such as gas electric and fuel.  If in doubt, get a professional marine survey on your boat.

Damage Surveys

Damage surveys can be done for insurance companies or a boat owner.   

If a boat has been damaged and the owner makes a claim through their insurance then the insurance company is likely to send a marine surveyor to investigate.  This is arranged and paid for by the insurance company. 

If a boat has been damaged but the owner does not have comprehensive insurance or does not want to claim on it then they can arrange for the boat to be repaired or repair it themselves.   

If professional repairers are used they will inspect the boat and provide an estimate so the owner should get a few estimates to compare the prices and the scope of work.  It is the nature of repair work that once the job has started more work is found to be required and the costs can escalate.  If the owner employs a marine surveyor he will survey the boat and look at all the consequences of the accident.   A collision could cause obvious hull damage but may also cause secondary damage such as in tank or engine mountings.  The survey report will list all the work required and can be used to obtain repair quotes and provide a specification that the chosen repairer must meet.  By having a marine surveyor project manage the job there are fewer chances for the costs to get out of hand. 

The owner may choose to do the repairs themselves but this could cause problems in the future when trying to get insurance or selling the boat.  If a marine surveyor is employed then a repair specification will be produced showing the techniques and materials to be used and the surveyor can oversee the process to confirm that it has been done correctly.  The resulting report should satisfy insurance companies and prospective buyers.

Marine Surveys around Bristol

Yacht surveys in and around Bristol including :-

Portishead Marina
·         Bristol Marina

To request a quote for a marine survey in Bristol (or elsewhere) click on the link or telephone 07709 376 588.


Checking Keel Bolts

Checking Shroud Tie Rods

Checking Skin Fittings and Valves


A survey is not a parts and labour guarantee.  A marine surveyor cannot use destructive testing and there is a limit to how much the vessel can be taken apart so it is possible that defects may exist that cannot be detected due to these limitations

Illegal Gas Bottle Storage

Marine Surveys Bristol Channel

Boat surveys on the River Severn from Gloucester to Watchet, including :-

·         Tewkesbury Marina
·         Watchet Marina
·         Upton Marina
·         Gloucester Docks
·         Sharpness Docks

To request a quote for a boat survey in Tewkesbury ( or elsewhere) click on the link or telephone 07709 376 588.

Damage to Bilge Keel


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