frequently

asked questions

How much will a survey cost?  What type of survey should I book?  What is included in an Insurance Renewal Survey?  Answers to these questions and many more below.   

We offer a range of condition survey options for insurance renewal and pre-purchase use.  Our fees are based on the vessel’s length and location, the scope of the inspection and other follow up options such as sea trials and oil sample testing.

Here are a few sample cost estimates, but please call or message us to discuss your exact requirements:

  • Example 1 – A Complete Condition Survey of a 35 foot (10.5m) sailing yacht in the Solent area would cost £672 including VAT.
  • Example 2 – A Complete Condition Survey of a 40 foot (12m) twin engine powerboat in the Poole plus four oil samples for lab analysis (sump and gearbox on each engine) would cost £1088 including VAT.
  • Example 3 – An Essentials Survey of a 25 foot (7.5m) daysailer on the Isle of Wight would cost £470 including VAT and travel.
  • Example 4 – An Insurance Renewal Survey of a 40 foot (12m) sailing yacht in Chichester would cost £638 including VAT.

We charge for overseas and distant travel at cost.

We offer a range of condition surveys for insurance and pre-purchase use.  If all you need is a basic survey covering the vessel’s structure and principal parts, then an Insurance Renewal Survey would likely be sufficient. 

If you are buying a small simple boat or one that is known to need significant refit, then our Essentials Survey might be appropriate.  It covers more than an Insurance Renewal Survey and includes the vessel’s electrics and some of her deck and cabin systems.

Our Complete Condition Survey covers every part and system of the vessel that can be meaningfully inspected and tested.  This is our most popular product and the detailed report you’ll receive will provide you with all the information needed to make an informed and considered boat purchase.

In general terms, our Insurance Renewal Survey covers the structure of the vessel, her through-hull openings, her hatches, screens and lights, steering, propulsion and safety systems.

The coverage has been specifically designed to satisfy the requirements of the main UK marine insurers and can be extended upon request.

We offer two levels of pre-purchase condition survey: Essentials and Complete, and either can be extended with additional services such as engine oil sample analyses or sea trials.

As the name suggests, our Essentials Survey covers the structure, through-hull openings, steering, propulsion and the other principal boat systems. 

Our much more comprehensive Complete Condition Survey covers every part and system of the vessel that can be meaningfully inspected and tested.  It is usually most suitable when buying a vessel above 25 foot (7.5m) LOA.

A typical survey inspection of a vessel in a marina would start afloat in the morning, lunchtime lift ashore for the hull to be pressure washed and inspected, sea trial on relaunch and then final tests back on berth.

Confirmation of a successful inspection and the gist of the surveyor’s findings will be given the same day, and we endeavour to deliver the full report within 24 hours.

The gist of the surveyor’s findings will be given on the day of inspection, and we endeavour to deliver the full report within 24 hours.

Under normal circumstances you would be very welcome to attend part or all of the survey inspection – it often aids understanding and appreciation of the significance of any issues found. 

Many buyers take the opportunity to see the boat out of the water and to discuss handling characteristics and operation with the vendor during sea trial.

We make no extra charge for a modest sea trial on the same day as the main inspection.  If the trial is to be on a different day or from an alternative location, then we charge for surveyor time aboard by the hour.

Yes.  The surveyor will be happy to discuss his findings during the inspection, after report delivery or indeed much later after the vessel purchase is completed.

Only you the client.  Once delivered, the report and the information it contains are yours to use as you wish.  If the vessel’s purchase price is to be re-negotiated as a consequence of the surveyor’s findings, it is quite usual for a broker or vendor to request part or all of the report.

Engines, generators, pumps and all similar pieces of complicated machinery are externally examined and tested under load where possible.  Oil samples for lab analysis can be taken and more extensive or internal engineering inspections can be organized if deemed necessary or prudent.

Whether buying privately or through a broker you should follow these steps to minimize wasted time, disappointment or unnecessary cost:

  • Research the size, type and age of vessel that would best suit your desires and abilities. Don’t forget such practicalities as mooring or insurance.
  • Build a short-list of suitable boats for sale.
  • View the boats and, if you like one, make an offer to the vendor.
  • Sign a purchase agreement with the vendor ‘Subject to survey’ and, if required, pay a deposit. It is quite usual for brokers to ask for a 10% deposit and this money should of course be held in a ‘client account’.  Private vendors rarely ask for a deposit and it is risky to pay one.
  • Arrange for a survey, sea trial, engineering inspection and so forth. Most purchase agreements allow a two week window for these checks and a further two weeks to complete the purchase.
  • Complete, renegotiate or withdraw from the purchase.
  • Sail away reassured and happy (we hope).

Remember, when buying a boat privately or through a broker, the rules of ‘caveat emptor’ applies – buyer beware.  The RYA booklet ‘Buying a Secondhand Yacht – The Legal Aspects’ is highly recommended.

To prepare your boat for sale and survey (and make the surveyor very happy):

  • Remove all personal items.
  • Put all inventory items aboard or stored ashore where they can be readily inspected.
  • Leave the boat clean and dry.
  • Ensure that all the lights and small electrical fittings are operative.
  • Service the engines, generator, winches, heater, air conditioning, calorifier etc.
  • Ensure that the ship’s batteries are charged and that shorepower is connected and working if available.
  • Leave the water and fuel tanks full and the holding tanks empty.
  • Leave details of any quirks of the boat: hidden switches, sticky locks, concealed stowage etc.

The RYA and various other trusted yachting organizations give the advice that bare minimum ship’s paperwork should include:

  • Proof of title – can the vendor show that he actually does own the boat and can sell it to you.
  • Proof of VAT paid – often in the form of the original invoice from the boat builder to the first owner.
  • Certificate of Compliance to the Recreational Craft Directive (RCD) – all boats built or sold in the EU since the introduction of the RCD in1998.

Beyond the above, neatly filed sets of boat and equipment manuals, full machinery service histories and mooring and repair invoices are highly desirable.

At the time of writing (early 2021), the consequences of Brexit on VAT status and RCD compliance remain subject to development and change.

Only boats used on the inland waterways require a BSS or GasSafe certificates, but it is of-course equally (if not more) important that seagoing vessels are well-found and safe for use as well. 

Regular professional inspection and certification of all potentially dangerous on-board systems is highly recommended.