Tel. 07596 454701
Buying a boat can be a significant investment in both time and money and we believe it is important that you establish that the vessel is safe to use and will not cost you unexpected amounts of money to fix before you buy it. If you are arranging marine finance the bank will quite probably insist you have a full survey and in the majority of cases so do insurance companies for obvious reasons.
We regularly get calls from people who have purchased boats without a survey and have found themselves with an unsafe, unsellable vessel that needs thousands of pounds spending on it to make it usable. Their stories are heart breaking particularly when it is their dream, their life savings or, worse of all, their home. So please be careful, be wary of internet sales and always consult with a professional BEFORE purchase.
What is a Pre Purchase Survey?
A pre-purchase survey can be called a ‘Full’ or ‘Condition’ survey but they all mean the same thing in that it is highly detailed and thorough assessment of the condition of the vessel. The survey covers the hull, underwater fittings, safety equipment, mechanical systems, rig (if appropriate), and boat systems and you should expect it to take between a half to a full day dependant on the size and complexity of the vessel.
To do this properly the boat needs to be dry docked or lifted from the water so the underwater sections can be assessed and this can be arranged by yourself or if a broker is involved they can make these arrangements for you. On FRP (GRP) boats we use the latest capacitance type meters to check the moisture levels in the hull laminate. For steel boats we use multi echo ultrasonic meters to determine plating thickness.
You are more than welcome to attend on the day of survey if you wish and we can take you through our initial findings at the end of the day. Equally if you would rather a telephone call that’s fine although we always advise people to not make decisions until they have our final report.
What happens afterwards?
Following the inspection of the vessel a full report is written, normally within 5 working days, that details what was checked, its condition and recommendations as to what needs to be rectified. These recommendations are split into two sections, those that require immediate attention and those that should be completed within a defined timescale.
Where more serious recommendations are made many purchasers use these to negotiate with the seller to either reduce the price or to have the works completed prior to sale. In situations where problems are encountered that would be very expensive to put right, such as badly worn teak decks, rotten bulkheads or structural problems associated with keel fixings the report will identify these and as the purchaser you would have the right to ‘walk away’ and receive your deposit back.
Once the sale has been completed it would be normal to send your insurance company a copy of your survey report to record the condition of the vessel.
Although every boat is different and not all of these items would be applicable please click here to see a list of items that might be covered in a typical pre purchase survey motor / sailing cruiser or Narrowboat.. Equally to see an example of a pre purchase survey report please click here.