The Survey Process

FAQs for a Pre-Purchase Survey

I'm buying a boat and I need a survey. What can I expect?

Our approach is to go through the vessel very systematically looking not only at the structural condition of the vessel but also system installations noting if the systems comply with currently accepted standards set up by the United States Coast Guard, American Boat and Yacht Council and the National Fire Protection Agency. We also test all equipment for function and note cosmetic condition of the vessel.

What boats should be surveyed?

If you are buying a boat, you will benefit from having it surveyed. Period. We survey large cruising boats, fishing boats, racing boats as well as small daysailers and runabouts. We also survey new boats but find it most effective if the boat is used for a season and surveyed before the warranty expires.

The boat is in the water. Do I need to have it hauled?

Yes, we highly recommend having the boat hauled so the bottom can be inspected.

Is the cost of the haul-out included in your fee?

No. You or your broker will need to make arrangements directly with the yard. Payment is due at the time of the haul-out in most cases.

Do you inspect the engine?

We visually inspect the engine installation and all the systems associated with the engine including the fuel, exhaust, cooling, electrical, shafts, couplings, stuffing boxes, and transmissions. We visually check the fluids for contaminates and level. Ideally, we like to attend the seatrial to observe the engine, checking gauge values relative to rpms, rpms relative to speed, smoke production, vibration and engine integrity underway.

Do you do compression tests?

No, we do not. A factory authorized mechanic comes better equipped to perform compression tests on your specific engine. A separate engine survey is often cost effective. We can advise you on that.

Who operates the vessel during a seatrial?

Make arrangements with the broker or the owner to operate the vessel so we can concentrate on inspecting the vessel's performance underway.

How long does the survey take?

The actual time to survey the vessel depends on the size of vessel, the amount of equipment installed and the additional gear stowed aboard that must be moved. The average time for a 40' vessel is from 4 hours to a full day.

How quickly can I get the report back after the survey is performed?

The written report is usually ready to be sent out two to three days after the survey inspection is completed. The report will be sent via email in Adobe® Portable Document Format (PDF). If you need a copy of the report sent to you via snail mail, please let us know at the time of the survey inspection. We do offer Express Service for an additional fee.

What information will be in the report?

Our prepurchase survey report on a 35' to 40' vessel normally consists of 25 to 30 pages of information, detailing the findings as we go through the vessel section by section. The replacement cost and fair market value are included. At the end of the report, you will find the repairs and corrections section divided into three categories; Essential, Required and Desirable. This allows you, the finance company and the insurance company to easily evaluate the condition of the vessel.

Are you licensed?

The surveying business is unregulated. Anyone can print up business cards and call himself/herself a marine surveyor. In selecting a marine surveyor, it is important to check his/her qualifications and reputation by consulting people in the marine industry and other boat owners.

How far do you travel to survey a boat?

We are prepared to go anywhere a buyer is willing to send us. We have conducted surveys as far north as Maine, as far south as Antigua, as far east as Spain and as far west as San Francisco. It may not always be cost effective, however, we are willing to work with you on the cost.

What is your cost?

Our rates vary depending on the size of the vessel. Please refer to our Rates page. Travel within the Annapolis area is included; however, there is an additional fee for travel outside the local area. We do offer a day rate for vessels further away to make it more cost effective for you.

Do all surveyors inspect and report the same information?

Absolutely not! There is no standard requirement for surveying a vessel or for reporting the information. HARTOFT MARINE SURVEY, LTD. strives to give you the most comprehensive inspection and report in the industry. We want you to know everything there is to know about the condition of the vessel you are planning to buy.


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