What is a Marine Survey? Why do you need one?

What is a Marine Survey? Why do you need one?

What is a Marine Survey? Why do you need one?

A marine survey is a report written by a marine surveyor after an onsite inspection of a wide variety of different things. Typically marine surveyors are called to assess commercial marine vessels such as passenger and cargo ships, tugboats, pleasure craft and ferries. They also assess cargos carried, how they are loaded and how much cargo is being carried. They assess marine facilities such as dry docks, canals and port facilities. Marine surveyors inspect and report on damage to ships and boats and their cargos. In most cases the purpose of the survey is to ascertain the condition and value of the vessels or their cargos for financial, insurance, purchasing information or to confirm that vessels meet regulation requirements and fulfill regulatory compliance issues.

In all likelihood you are here because you are buying, selling or insuring a pleasure craft.

Owners and buyers of pleasure craft will find that they need surveys under some circumstances and should have a survey or could benefit from surveys under other conditions.

The need or must have surveys will generally be required by an insurance company or financial institution prior to approving insurance policies or financial arrangements. Insurance companies require surveys prior to issuing insurance policies for the first time and often require them periodically over the course of insurance policy renewals.

Circumstances when you should have or could benefit from the use of a survey are often coincident with cases where the insurance companies and financial institutions are involved. The most common is when a boat is being sold/purchased.

A marine survey often referred to as a Condition and Valuation survey can be conducted to confirm the condition of the vessel for the buyer or seller and to assess the current value. This provides the seller or buyer with detailed information about the condition of the vessel and its various parts and recommendations for repairs and maintenance that is or soon will be required. It also provides a value and replacement value for the vessel. Since the surveyor should be at arms length from the purchase/sale transaction it should be an un-biased appraisal. This same survey would generally be sufficient to meet the requirements of the insurance companies and the financial institutions.

I am surprised as to the number of cases where people hire me to survey their boat after they have purchased it because the insurance company has advised them that it is required. In fact I have been involved in at least one case where as a result of the survey for the insurance company, the newly purchased boat was condemned due to its condition.

Boat owners may also find it beneficial to employ a surveyor when dealing with damage to their boats and making claims against insurance policies. Insurance companies employ or contract surveyors to assess damages and identify causes of damages claimed against their policies. Sometimes having a surveyor working on your behalf may help to simplify and streamline the claims process.

Please call or write if you have questions or comments about the marine survey process.

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