Vessel Survey preparation
It is the owner of the vessel’s responsibility to make sure that the vessel
is properly prepared for survey. Failure to do so can have a negative effect on
the outcome of the survey, including value, and potentially, the vessel’s
insurability. In order for the surveyor to perform a thorough and expedient
inspection, the boat needs to be prepared by:
- Making sure that the vessel is clean.
- Removing unnecessary items from the vessel, including personal
effects and clutter.
- Having registration papers available for inspection.
- Checking all safety gear for compliance with Federal
regulations, and updating if necessary. This includes flares, PFDs,
fire extinguishers, bells, horns, etc. Make sure the navigation
lights are in working order.
- Ensuring that all equipment to be evaluated is on-board.
- Batteries should be charged and in good condition.
- For pre-purchase surveys: fresh water systems, air conditioning
systems, icemakers, etc. sometimes need to be commissioned during or
after winter storage to allow operational testing. This is in
addition to commissioning of the engines and AC generator. Surveyors
do not commission these systems.
- Fixing things that are known to be broken or inoperable.
When live-aboard vessels are surveyed, it is not always possible or practical
to remove all of the personal effects and clutter. The surveyor may ask the
owner to clean out lockers and storage areas one at a time to allow inspection
of the space. Otherwise, the space will not be inspected, which can limit the
full inspection of the vessel.
For pre-purchase surveys, it is the buyer’s responsibility to arrange and pay
for haul out or launch of the vessel. This is often facilitated by the yacht
broker, when applicable. The owner, broker or a professional captain needs to be
aboard to operate the vessel during sea trial. Surveyors are busy inspecting
engines and other equipment and do not helm or pilot the vessel.
Too many people on a boat during a survey is a significant distraction and
affects the surveyor’s ability to do his job. On the day of the survey, bring
yourself and your spouse (where applicable) but leave the kids, dog and friends
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