Month: July 2018

Don’t rely on an existing marine survey

It sounds like an obvious statement but we come across so many instances where a client has purchased a vessel based upon an existing survey rather than get a new one commissioned.

Firstly a marine survey report must really be treated as a one off, it can only reflect the condition of a boat on the day it was carried out. Even if the survey was just a few days old the vessel could have run aground the day before, which would never be reflected in the report and could end up a costly mistake.

Most reputable surveyors will be covered by an indemnity insurance, this protects them if for some reason there is a defect or condition that was missed at the time of the survey, so you have some redress in that scenario. But once the report is issued and the appointed surveyor has issue and invoice and it has been paid, the contract with them is ended. So there is no recourse if the problem is noticed at a later date.

The marine survey, should provide a list of recommendations that can range from structural defects to damaged rails and in some cases will recommend measurement of potential defects over a period of time, such as progressive problems with paint deterioration or osmosis, the signs of which can be noted but can get worse over a period of time.

There are always likely to be some aspects that the surveyor is unable to comment on, so it is important that they express what parts of the marine survey that they cannot include, so its important that any areas that are more difficult to access are opened or unscrewed so that the surveyor can get access and add details to the report. For example, if sole boards are screwed down then they will not be lifted. So a bit of forward planning is required to maximise the opportunity.

Choosing a marine surveyor can be a difficult process as the industry is largely unregulated, so unlike buying a car, some sales between private individuals can throw a lot of curve balls in the lifetime of the vessel.

Image by Jeremy Bishop

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Why do I need a marine survey?

As you might well assume a marine survey is a detailed report which is compiled by a marine surveyor once they have carried out an onsite inspection of a vessel. So why do I need a marine survey?

Most typically, marine surveyors are called to assess damage to pleasure craft such as yachts but it can be in connection with any type of vessel from tugs and cargo ships, assessing how they are loaded and the cargo carried.
For the most part the purpose of the report or marine survey is to ascertain what condition of the vessel and it’s history for the purposes of financial, insurance or purchasing information to ensure that it meets all regulatory requirements.
If you are purchasing a pleasure craft with your hard earned savings then surveys are highly recommended as they can identify many things that may well be overlooked with simpler valuations.
Surveys refer to many things from the condition of the craft, detailed information on its history or lack of it and potentially if it has been previously damaged. In some cases insurers will insist on a report before underwriting a vessel. It is likely that they will be appointed by the insurer but this does not mean that they will favour the insurance company as they must remain unbiased in any assessment and not influence the actual purchase decision.
Whatever the reason for the survey, it is important to remember that it will stand you in good stead if you intend to sell the vessel on at a future date. It will also streamline any claims process should you have the need to make an insurance claim at any time. Whilst your insurer or finance company will recommend a marine surveyor to you, we have some other useful information in Choosing a Marine Surveyor here. Alternatively you can seek advice from the IIMS website.

Photo by James Connolly

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