While boaters understand how to operate their boat, few really understand what makes it work or can determine a vessel's current condition. Even qualified, experienced boaters appreciate the value of an independent professional opinion on the state of sea worthiness and what maintenance and repairs are required or might be required in the near future. A survey by an competent, diligent, qualified marine surveyor can tell you the structural condition of your vessel, the status of the on-board systems, and determine if the vessel is suitable for it's intended purpose.
Choosing a Marine Surveyor
Be aware that anyone can advertise him or herself as a marine surveyor, so it is up to you to select an individual you can trust. If you are not familiar with this process, suggestions include:
Determine if your surveyor belongs to a professional society that maintains minimum required standards for membership. These should not be confused with various trade organizations that only require a check for membership.
Does your surveyor have applicable education, training and experience for the job at hand?
What certifications or accreditations have they earned? Are these from reputable organizations?
Are they active in marine trade organizations? This shows that they have earned the respect of their peers.
What standards will be used in the evaluation of your vessel and what experience does the individual have working with these standards?
Preparing for the Survey
When presenting a boat for survey, it should be clean and shipshape. Current documentation and papers should be available on-board. All equipment included with the boat should be on-board or close-by and available for inspection. The batteries should be charged and connected and shore power should be available. The individual requesting the survey or their agent should make any necessary arrangements with the yard for dockage and/or haulout as required for underbody inspection and retain a qualified captain for the seatrial. Lockers, compartments, and cabins should be cleared of unnecessary gear.
Minor dismantling of ceilings, headliners, or flooring may be necessary to reach specific areas. Any dismantling and reinstallation of parts should be performed by qualified personnel and is the responsibility of the individual ordering the survey.