Choosing the right yacht surveyor and survey

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Choosing the right yacht surveyor and survey

The marine and yacht surveying professional is currently unregulated, so anyone can call themselves a "marine surveyor", "boat surveyor" or "yacht surveyor". We've provided a guide for you to follow when looking for a surveyor here, detailing some common tips and advice to apply when looking.

There are many types of yacht surveys which are designed to survey different areas of the vessel. These can be general full condition surveys right down to specific ultrasound surveys for measuring hull plating thickness. Depending on what you're planning on doing the vessel (buying, selling, repairing, upgrading) will determine what type of survey you require.

Common yacht surveys

The Full Condition Survey

The Full Condition Survey is normally carried out once a new buyer has decided which vessel they want. The Full Condition Survey is recommended if you are buying a second hand yacht, having your new yacht handed over after delivery or having your yacht returned after the end of contract with a Yacht Charter Company.

When conducting a full condition survey, it's important to ensure the surveyor adheres to internationally recognised codes of practices drawn up by the international surveying organisations.

Appraisal Survey

An Appraisal Survey, commonly known as a walk through survey, is recommended if you are unsure of what type of yacht you wish to buy or if there are a number of your chosen yachts on the market and you wish to narrow down which one is the best for you.

The Appraisal Survey is an economical way of basically evaluating a vessel, or number of yachts and will help the buyer decide if the yacht is suitable for them.

Insurance Survey

When your Yacht gets to a certain age, or there is a change in ownership your Insurance Company could require that you have a Survey for Insurance. Many insurance companies when requesting a survey will often specify what areas of the vessel they want checked. Therefore, it's important to pass this onto the surveyor in order to ensure that money is not wasted inspecting areas where no attention is required.

Ultrasound Survey

Ultrasound Surveys are generally carried out to measure the hull plating thickness on steel and aluminium. Hundreds of readings are taken around the yachts hull to look for areas where the hull plating is thin.

The Ultrasound Survey is not confined to hulls of steel yachts, bulkheads, decks and structures can also be measured as well as Aluminium and GRP hulls and structures. Sometimes these are included in full condition surveys and are designed to survey the vessels structure.

Rig Survey

The Rig Survey is recommended before you carry out any period of extended cruising or when your Yacht's Rigging Wires (standing rigging) are more than a few years old. Some Insurance Companies will require that you replace your rigging wires every ten years, other Insurance companies will only continue to insure you if you have a Rig Survey.

There are basically two methods of surveying the rig, with the mast stepped (standing) or un-stepped (lowered). The most effective method of surveying the rig is to un-step the mast and inspect the spars when supported horizontally on stands. This should be done periodically during the life of a sailing yacht. Interim inspections can be carried out with the rig stepped (standing).

Machinery and Systems Survey

The Machinery and Systems Survey is recommended after a Yacht refit, where machinery and systems have changed, or on a newly commissioned yacht to test the new systems.

The Machinery and Systems survey will almost always include a sea trial; engines will be run and operated from all control stations. The engine will be performance tested to engine manufacturer's specifications. All the ships systems will be run and tested for operation to ensure these are working correctly.

Valuation Survey

The Valuation Survey is the Surveyors opinion as to the fair market value of the Yacht at the time of survey. This type of survey is often a requirement of finance companies if money is to be borrowed to buy a yacht or by insurance companies prior to issuing cover.

Always check surveyor credentials

Whatever yacht survey you require, it's important that you ensure their credentials are accurate and up to date. For more information, read our article: Why use accredited marine surveyors?