Investing in a Boat, Do I Need a Survey?

Originally published in Boating on the Hudson magazine.
(December 2002/January 2003: Volume 11, Number 11)


Investing in a Boat, Do I Need a Survey?
By Al Prisco

I wish I could recall how many times I heard that phrase. If I only would have had a marine survey completed before my purchase how far ahead I would be today.

A Pre-Purchase Survey is the most comprehensive type of inspection, and is strongly advised when purchasing a new or used vessel.

Condition and overall operation of the vessel should be examined before you make a decision to buy. Not after the sale is complete.

Items that need to be checked are structural integrity, out of the water inspection, sea trial, electrical system state of condition, propulsion system, fuel system or fuel systems, machinery, navigation and miscellaneous on board systems, cosmetic appearance, electronics and overall maintenance.

As you can see, there’s a lot to consider when making such an important purchase. There are many problems you can run into if you do not have a marine survey performed. Such as, not being able to acquire insurance or financing for most boats over twenty feet in length.

Even in the case of a new boat purchase, a new survey can be an important factor. How can that be! You may ask. Well here’s some food for thought.

Does the vessel have all the equipment installed that you contracted for? Are there any recalls or service campaigns that need to be performed before delivery? Has the vessel been damaged in shipment to the dealer?

Please don;t misunderstand me. These are items that most dealers will insure and are taken care of, but what if they’re not? A marine surveyor will investigate all of these items and much more when contracted to insure that you’re  getting all you’ve paid for.

My name is Al Prisco. I am a Marine Surveyor / Consultant. I have been surveying boats for twenty plus years now. I can tell you the odds of getting what you paid for without a marine survey are fairly slim. The cost of a marine survey in most cases are justified by the findings. The experienced buyer would never consider purchase without one!