Q&A

What are the costs of a survey?

Since this is generally the first question everyone asks, we will address this first. The short answer is below, but keep in mind that there a lot of variables involved, such as the age, type, condition and location of the vessel, all those may affect the price up or down. A lot of our clients agree that ultimately it won’t be about the cost of the survey, but on the money, you saved in the long run.

Give us a call and let’s discuss your specific needs and that is always free! Contact

Pre-purchase Survey – is $25 per foot with a minimum fee of $500, which includes travel in our service area (Charleston SC to Wilmington NC). This includes a verbal report on the day of the survey, followed by a PDF report by email within 3 business days. If requested we will send you a printed report as well.

Insurance and Value Surveys – fees range from $12 to $20 per foot with a minimum fee of $450.

Oil Analysis – for engine and transmission/gearcase are $55.00 per oil sample (collected and submitted by us). (10% discount for 4 or more samples).

Consulting inspections – are generally done at an hourly rate of $95.00 per hour plus travel.

Travel Fees – if out of our normal service area are $0.54 per mile round trip (from Murrells Inlet SC to your location).

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How do I pay for the survey?

We accept all major credit cards, PayPal, check or cash before or on the day of the survey.

Why do I need a survey?

Would you buy a house and sign a 30-year mortgage without a home inspection? Not a chance! Buy a used car without a mechanic checking it out? I think not! Buy a boat without a survey?  You better not!

Whoever coined the phrase “never judge a book by its cover” should have included boats as well. For a lot of us, buying a boat can be an emotional purchase, so before you start writing checks, you need a qualified expert who will look at your new-found love with a skeptical eye and make fact-based assessments about her electrical & mechanical systems, construction, and condition.  That’s where a professional surveyor comes in.

In a lot of cases, even an experienced surveyor will hire a fellow professional to survey a boat that we are thinking of buying, to keep our excitement and enthusiasm in check. A surveyor should never tell you whether to buy or not buy a boat, that is entirely up to you.  But with a detailed report in-hand that outlines what is shipshape and what is not, you’ll be able to negotiate a fair price and make a sound decision.

What does a marine surveyor do?

During a pre-purchase survey (the most detailed inspection) a surveyor does a comprehensive examination and will go over the boat in great detail.
We are checking things like documentation and equipment, safety items, the structural integrity of the hull, electrical systems, propulsion components, fuel system, navigational equipment, corrosion protection, cosmetic appearance, maintenance items and making sure that it meets the standards for its intended use which are set by the Coast Guard federal codes, the American Boat & Yacht Council and the National Fire Protection Association.

A pre-purchase survey will also include a haul-out to inspect the exterior of the hull and a sea trial to see how the boat performs under various conditions.

Your surveyor should be a member of an organization like USSA (US Surveyors Association) SAMS (Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors) or NAMS (National Association of Marine Surveyors) and adhere to their strict ethical standards.  Foremost, the surveyor must deliver an unbiased presentation of all his findings.  This detailed report should be performed promptly, include all discoveries and recommendations, along with the current market and replacement value.

What kind of surveys are there?

Pre-purchase survey:

This comprehensive survey includes a written report of all findings and recommendations, the vessel’s estimated value, reports on all federally mandated equipment, extensive photo documentation showing details of machinery, construction, and condition.  It will also include an out-of-the-water inspection of the hull all its components, along with a sea trial of the vessel.

Insurance survey:

This survey is generally requested by an insurance company to determine whether or not a vessel is an acceptable risk.  They are interested in structural integrity and safety items for its intended use.  A lot of insurance company will require a survey on older boats periodically or when writing a new policy.  They will also need to know the vessels current market value.

Appraisal/value survey:

This inspection may be requested by a financial institution or an attorney to determine the current fair market value for financing or legal issues such as estate, tax or divorce settlements.  After inspecting the boat, we provide a written report on the market value in your given area.

Consulting:

Out-of-town buyers often need a walk-through inspection so we can act as their eyes and ears when they can’t.  The purpose is to determine the condition of a boat they are considering buying. This is a customizable service depending on needs.

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What do I do to get my boat ready for a survey?

Make sure you have all documentation and papers on the vessel on the day of the survey, including maintenance records and upgrades that were made along with safety gear, fenders, and lines that go with the boat.  All unnecessary gear and personal items that you do not intend to sell with the vessel should be removed; it also makes getting to all the systems more manageable. It’s advisable to present a shipshape boat that is clean inside and out, including the bilges and engine compartment.  Arrangements have to be made before the survey date for a haul out along with cleaning the bottom and a qualified person to run the boat during the sea trial. That could be the current owner, broker or a licensed captain. The costs associated with those arraignments are the responsibly of the person requesting the survey.

Can I attend the survey?

Absolutely; We encourage our clients to attend the survey.  There’s no better way to learn about your new boat than watching the survey process, plus your survey report will be more meaningful to you when you receive it.  We can also answer questions that might not be significant enough to be included in the final survey.  We do however ask that you leave kids and pets at home since open hatches and engine compartments can be dangerous.

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How long does a survey take?

Generally between 4 and 8 hours, but there are a lot of variables such as the size, age and condition of the boat along with the logistics of hauling out the boat and the sea trial. The day following the survey is devoted to finalizing findings, market research, and writing your report.

What are some of the tools used during a Survey?

We use a lot of differed tools during a survey. When checking a hull or deck for abnormality’s such as delamination or water ingress, we will use a Tramex Moisture meter or just a basic rubber hammer. For electrical diagnostic, we use Digital multi-meters, clamp meter, diagnostic tools like the SureTest meter. We use several digital cameras to take images for your report, including a Depstech LCD Borescope (snake camera) to reach areas that would usually be inaccessible. The tools we use play a big part in what we do, but the most critical tool we bring aboard is our flashlight and eyes along with time spent on the vessel.

What are some of the things you find during a survey?

Some of the everyday stuff are loose or incorrect battery connections, bad float switches on bilge pumps, expired flares and then there is the not so common like wood-boring Teredo navalis shipworm (actually a clam not a worm). Go to our Picture gallery to see just a few of our findings.

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