- Frequently Asked Questions -


In order to avoid hiring someone who does not have the knowledge and expertise to survey your vessel or one that you wish to purchase, it is best to find a Surveyor who is a member in an accrediting organization that requires their members to meet strict professional and ethical standards. ie: Both the Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors (SAMS) as well as the National Association of Marine Surveyors (NAMS) are two such organizations. Note: Most lending institutions and insurance companies are now only accepting surveys from accredited marine surveyors.

Please Note: The State of Florida currently does not license Marine Surveyors so in effect anyone can title him or herself as a marine surveyor.

Your Surveyor should prepare a professional report that is clear and concise and can be easily read both by the inexperienced boater as well as the seasoned boat owner. The surveyor should confirm to you that to the best of his knowledge the report will be accepted by the insurance company or lending institution you are doing business with. (Check Before Hiring)

The Surveyors report should include sea trials as well as an out of the water survey if a pre-purchase survey is being conducted. The surveyor will either conduct an engine survey or direct you to a professional marine mechanic who is well versed in the vessels propulsion system/systems. In some cases an insurance company will not require an out of the water survey for re-insurance.

The report should contain all the pertinent information about the vessel, such as type of vessel, builder, designer, hull #, registration # or documentation #. The length, breadth and draft. The engine model #'s, serial #'s and horsepower. Also, all on board systems and equipment will be checked. Please see our sample surveys for both power and sail boats.

Good surveys reports will be at least 10 to 14 pages in length and thorough inspections should not be rushed, so budget your time accordingly.

Survey reports should also contain a scope and purpose of the survey. How was the survey conducted, did the surveyor apply United States Coast Guard requirements as well as the accepted standards of the American Boat and Yacht Council and the National Fire Prevention Association.

Remember, your surveyor works for you and only you and reports to no one unless you direct him to do so. The report your surveyor generates is your property since you paid for it and the surveyor may not release any information in the report unless you direct him to do so.


One of the prime reasons to have a vessel surveyed is that most insurance and lending institutions will not underwrite or lend money on a used vessel without a current survey.

Another very important reason to have a professional survey performed is for pre-purchase purposes. A competent Marine Surveyor will provide you with an in depth report that deals with not only the structural integrity of the vessel, but will also test all on board equipment and provide you with a list of deficiencies and render an opinion of the fair market value of the vessel. This list of deficiencies as well as the fair market value provides you with a bargaining chip when negotiating the selling price of the vessel and/or can also allow you to reject the vessel if it fails survey and sea trials to your satisfaction. When considering the cost of the vessel plus the cost of repairing any deficiencies the surveyor finds, the nominal fee for the survey is well worth it.

Another reason for surveying a vessel is that many vessel owners, even experienced ones sometimes fail to notice hazardous or potentially hazardous problems with their vessel. An independent surveyor with an unbiased view of the vessel will be able to spot these conditions. Which is precisely why most insurance companies require updated surveys.

One of the most important reasons for having a vessel surveyed whether it be for pre-purchase or insurance requirements is for the safety of its operator and passengers!

While cosmetic appearances are usually secondary for the surveyor it is helpful to present a clean and neat vessel. Have all registration papers, vessel documentation if applicable as well as registration for any tenders aboard at the time of survey. Make sure all safety related items are current, such as fire extinguishers, flares, life preservers and life rafts. Insure that all bilges are clean and all bilge pumps are operational. If an out of the water survey is required, make arrangements with the boat yard and confirm the time with the buyer/seller and surveyor.

A basic maintenance guide covering yearly, semi-annually, monthly, bi-monthly, weekly and daily items is available for printing: click here to view it.

The surveyor will not normally act as the captain of the vessel so arrange for a qualified insured individual to pilot the vessel during sea trials and its trip to the yard if you are not available.

Some areas of the vessel may need to be accessed by removing headliners, flooring, etc. Make sure that the owner of the vessel agrees in writing to non-destructive removal of some areas in order to gain full access to important locations. Note: On wooden vessels it will be necessary to remove representative fasteners to determine the amount of deterioration. This should be done by the boat yard and will be an additional expense.

When all is said and done just think about how you would like to preview a vessel you are purchasing and govern yourself accordingly.

Have questions? Contact Us (7) day a week. There is never any charge for advice!


13020 SW 80th Avenue | Miami, FL 33156
ajk@aamarinesurveyors.com | Tel (305)232-7171 | Fax (305)254-9799

© 2010