This is also known as a full condition survey and takes place in advance of a sale. It is designed to establish the overall condition of the vessel in terms of defects, quality of build, maintenance and wear and tear.
It identifies and assesses any significant past repairs, damage or any other factors affecting the vessel’s safety, integrity and seaworthiness. I use best-practice techniques and state-of-the-art electronic testing aids. My Sovereign Quantum Marine Moisture Meter takes moisture readings from the surface up to 30mm in depth, including into a foam or balsa core.
Engines and gearboxes are first subjected to visual checks. During a sea trial, which is recommended, I will monitor the performance of an engine and box. This is by way of forward and reverse selection, oil pressure while at rest and under load, water flow and temperature and visual exhaust emissions.
For a more comprehensive test, a specialist engineer can be arranged. An engine oil sample can be taken and analysed if required.
This can indicate signs of internal wear and show whether any fuel, water or other stray materials have made it into the oil.
A pre-purchase survey analyses the complete vessel and its equipment in the following:
Hull, deck and superstructure
Steering, skin fittings and stern gear
Rig and rigging (for sail craft)
Engine and fuel system
Accommodation and on-board systems
I produce a written report within two working days. I will gladly discuss the report with a buyer and offer any follow-up advice.
Check your insurance policy; most UK insurers require that any vessel more than 20 years old needs to be surveyed every three to five years. Even if you think your vessel is sound, it is worth checking that there are no defects of which you are not aware. An insurance survey inspects the vessel’s structure and safety systems.
For the sake of your peace of mind – and to be sure you are complying with your insurance policy – it is essential to carry out such a survey regularly.
My insurance surveys cover most of the scope of a pre-purchase survey, but the focus is on risk and safety. So some non-structural areas such as sails, electronic aids and the heads are not analysed.
The resulting report focuses solely on the areas in which insurance firms are interested, so it is more concise than one generated by a pre-purchase survey.
This is the most basic pre-purchase survey I can carry out. If the potential buyer is satisfied with the condition of most of the yacht or boat they are planning to buy, but wants to be sure of the actual structure of the vessel, I can produce a report that focuses purely on the following: