Pre Purchase

The pre-purchase survey is a comprehensive inspection of your vessel. it is conducted primarily to ensure the safety of you and your crew by examining the vessel verses ABYC and NFPA standards, and with USCG regulations. to protect yourself, all contracts for the purchase of a new or used vessel should be subject to a satisfactory pre-purchase survey conducted by a surveyor of your choice. Typically the buyer is permitted 2 weeks to schedule and complete the survey.

Our fee for a pre-purchase survey is dependent upon the length of your vessel, its age, its location, and any additional testing requested. View the pricing schedule page to determine what it would cost to have your vessel surveyed.

Tthe cost of a pre-purchase survey in terms of time, money, and effort is not trivial. However, it is usually a very cost effective endeavor because pre-purchase surveys may identify expensive problems not observed by the buyer and possibly not by the seller either. This situation is especially true for vessels over 10 years old. Armed with this information, the buyer now has the facts to make a decision to walk away from a potential money pit, or to further negotiate the purchase price.

The pre-purchase survey is usually divided into three parts: in-water inspection, haul out, and sea trial. some surveys may not include a sea trial, while others may be conducted entirely out of the water and blocked up. Although surveys can be conducted out of the water, it is not recommended. There is a risk that potential problems such as a leaking stuffing box, or shaft vibration may exist that can only be detected while in the water or during a sea trial.

The in-water inspection is where the bulk of the survey takes place. During this phase the vessel will be inspected from stem to stern including the engines, operating equipment,

the AC and DC electrical systems, and via lockers to inspect the interior hull structures, decks etc.

Haul out of the vessel usually occurs next so that the bottom can be cleaned of excessive marine growth prior to the sea trial if necessary, and to evaluate the condition of the running gear to ensure that the sea trial will be a valid test. If the sea trial occurs on the way to the haul out, which is not uncommon, conditions such as a foul bottom would have to be factored into the results.

During the sea trial the vessel is examined while underway. For example, engines are tested at full throttle to ensure that engines run up to their maximum RPM range, direct temperature readings from the engine are compared to helm gauges, signs of engine leaks and vibration are checked etc.

View our Sample Survey Reports to see the type of report you can expect to receive when you choose McGoldrick Marine Surveying.
A buyer can help improve the ultimate quality of a survey by being prepared and organized. For example, clutter and piles of gear stuffed into every nook and cranny of the vessel may prevent inspection of that part of the vessel. All such situations where complete inspection cannot not take place will be clearly described in the report.

Often the day of the survey is scheduled around the sea trial and haul out and little time is permitted for off loading pounds of gear. Whether done with malice or not, a stuffed engine compartment or storage locker could be hiding a significant problem.

A typical pre-purchase report will be emailed to you no later than two business days after the date of inspection. The hardcopy report package will generally arrive a day or two later via US Mail. The on-sight portion of your survey will take four to nine hours to complete depending on various factors such as vessel size, condition, and age. Report composition requires three to five hours to complete dependent upon the number of findings included in the report and whether or not additional research is necessary.

Unless you are purchasing the vessel through a broker, it will be up to you to ensure that the vessel is as ready as possible for the survey, and that the haul out is scheduled and payment has been arranged (short haul fees are typically paid by the buyer). Even if a seller’s broker is involved, it is in the best interest of the buyer to stay involved in the process. Of course McGoldrick Marine Surveying will be available throughout the process to help guide you through a successful survey. View the page Prepare For Your Survey for more tips on this important topic.