Prepare For Your Survey

Print out our informative pre purchase survey check list and FAQ's to find answers to all your survey questions.

An effective way to get the most for your survey dollar is to be involved in the process, understand the steps of a survey, and prepare for it.  Surveys may involve more persons than just the buyer, seller, and surveyor.  Depending on the situation a survey may also include a broker, engine surveyor, boat yard, hired captain, and others.  When a broker is involved he will usually arrange the logistics of the survey, in the absence of a broker it is up to the buyer to ensure all arrangements are set.  In either case it is in the buyers best interest to be involved in the details to ensure last minute snags don’t end up costing more money than necessary.  Let’s take a look at what needs to be done.


Most importantly, the buyer should be present during the survey.  After all, the buyer is the one paying for the service and should benefit from the inspection of the vessel and the surveyor's time.  The owner or owner’s representative must be present to grant access to the vessel and, ideally, to observe the entire survey.  Beyond this, if the vessel is to be hauled for hull inspection or sea trialed, the owner or his designee must be aboard to operate the vessel.  Finally other surveyors may be aboard such as a diesel engine surveyor or other specialists.  The number of persons aboard the vessel during the survey is best kept to a minimum.  Hatches will be open creating a safety concern, and the contents of lockers may need to be unloaded, therefore space will quickly be at a premium.


Engines must not be run prior to the start of the survey.  This is important because valuable information can be obtained from how the engines start from a cold state.  White smoke on start-up could indicate water or antifreeze in the cylinders possibly due to a blown head gasket.  Blue or black smoke could indicate the presence of oil possibly due to worn valve guides or worn piston rings.   A cold starting problem can appear in the form of a marginal starting battery, carburetor problem, faulty choke, or other cause.  In addition it is easier to thoroughly inspect the engine compartment without having to avoid a hot engine.


In general, the less packed the vessel is with gear and other clutter, the better.  The surveyor needs access to all nooks and crannies of the vessel to get the best possible picture of its structural integrity and safety.  If the buyer suspects that the amount of gear aboard could affect access, it would be best to broach the subject with the owner or broker prior to the survey.


Sea Trial/Hauling

During a pre-purchase survey buyers usually request that a sea trial and out of the water hull inspection be conducted.

  Condition and Valuation surveys may require the vessel to be hauled depending on insurance underwriter requirements. 

Hauling is typically the responsibility of the buyer, while the seller is responsible for operation of the vessel during the sea trial or to provide a paid captain to do so.  McGoldrick Marine Surveying will work with you to determine the best way to schedule the in water inspection, haul out, and sea trial depending on your specific situation.


Surveys are usually scheduled two to five days in advance.  The on-sight portion of your survey will usually take four to nine hours to complete depending on various factors such as vessel size, condition, and age.  Pre-purchase survey reports will be completed no later than two business days after the date of inspection.  Two signed and sealed hard copy reports will be mailed to you immediately upon completion.  It is recommended that you provide an email address to allow an electronic copy to be email to you immediately upon completion.


McGoldrick Marine Surveying provides a comprehensive array of services to suit your needs.  Please view the Services page for a complete description. 

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