Preparing for Survey
Preparing for the Marine Survey:

Arranging for a survey can be a very trying time no matter what the purpose of the inspection.  In an attempt to help you with this process we have some suggestions that may help you.  Even though, our comments are directed toward a pre-purchase survey, but many of the comments and suggestions can be applied to the preparations for any type of inspection.

Buying a vessel is an exciting and often stressful time, and there is a temptation to leap before looking.  This often leads to a rushed process, and naturally, this should be avoided.  After all, there is a basis in the cliche, "The two happiest moments in a boat owner's life are the day he buys the boat and the day that he sells it."  A rushed purchase just increases the likelihood that this saying could apply to you.

First, prepare yourself for the crucial role the marine survey plays in the purchase of a boat. Make sure you allow enough time in the contract to engage the surveyor of your choice, make survey arrangements, provide for survey report preparation, report delivery, and sufficient time to consider the survey findings before you accept the boat.  No marine survey is complete until the written report is in your hands and you have sufficiently  reviewed and discussed the findings of the report before accepting the vessel. Others with an interest in the outcome of the transaction may find this recommendation frustrating but it is in your best interest to insure that the terms of the contract give you adequate time.  When choosing a time frame, you should consider several factors such as finding a surveyor, surveyor availability, location of the boat, yard schedules and even the weather.  Your purchase agreement should also include a contingency for the results of a satisfactory marine survey.  Remember, "Satisfactory" means that the information in the survey report must satisfy you, the purchaser and satisfy the requirements of other entities that may underwrite your decision. These entities include but might not be limited your partners in ownership, a lender, and  insurance company.

Preparing the vessel for inspection and making it readily accessible for the surveyor's inspection will save time and expense. Owners, sellers or their authorized representatives (captain, broker, etc.) should make sure that the vessel is prepared for the inspection by making sure that all compartments are unlocked, stores and excess equipment are  removed and maximum potential access to all areas of the vessel is provided.

The following checklist may be handy when making preparations.  Please, keep in mind that a properly prepared vessel can save you both time and additional expenses.  In order to help you, a link to a printable checklist is provided below.  We suggest that you make two copies and give one to the broker or owner to help them make the necessary preparations.

A Pre Purchase Survey Checklist:

1.    The owner has given written permission for the survey. If a yacht broker is involved
       with the transaction, the permission to survey is usually implicit/explicit in the
       purchase agreement.

2.    Owner/operator manuals for the boat, engines and all other equipment are onboard
       and that they convey with the boat.

3.    Boat?s log and all service records are on board.

4.    State registration and/or USCG documentation certificate is/are on board and is/are
5.    Arrangements for hauling or launching have been made with the haul out facility
       and payment arrangements for this service have been made.

6.    All equipment and gear that are to convey with the boat are onboard, is installed
       and is operational.

7.    Arrangements have been made for a test run.

8.    The owner or his authorized representative will operate the boat and there will be
       sufficient crew onboard to operate the boat.

9.    All USCG required safety equipment is on board and is in working order.

10.  The boat is adequately insured.

11.  There is sufficient fuel on board and engine(s) is/are operational.

12.  For sailboats, all the running rigging is operational and all sails are onboard and
       ready to hoist during sea trial.

13.  Keys or combination for locks and ignition key(s) are available.

14.  Boat covers have been removed and canvas (dodger, bimini) is deployed.

15.  DC and AC power is available.

16.  Batteries are installed and fully charged.

17.  Water tanks are filled for system test.

18.  Fuel tanks are filled for test run.

19.  Electronics are installed.

20.  Toilets are ready for use/testing.

21.  All sea valves are operational.

22.  Sewage holding tank is empty.

23.  Bilges are dry and clean and bilge pumps are operational.

24.  Boat interior is clean.

25.  Do not start engine(s) for 24 hours before the surveyor's arrival. Much of the
       surveyor's work is done in the machinery spaces and hot machinery poses a
       hazardous and unnecessarily uncomfortable working environment. "Warming up"
       the engines is not necessary and may also be seen as an attempt to conceal
       problems.  In addition, please allow two hours minimum for inspection of the
      vessel?s engine(s) and generator(s) before departing for sea trial or haul out.

26.  All areas of the boat to be accessed for the survey are clear of obstructions,
       equipment and personal belongings. Surveyor will require access to all
       compartments and storage areas.
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