FAQ-1 What is a Pre-purchase Condition and Value (C&V ) Survey?
A pre-purchase C&V is the most comprehensive survey and
strongly recommended when purchasing a new or used vessel. It includes
an in-depth examination of the vessel's structural integrity,
electrical system, electronics, propulsion system, fuel system,
machinery, navigation, and other miscellaneous on board systems, as
well as an out of water inspection and sea trial. A written report
provides detailed information on the vessel as relates to the above and
discrepancies or variations from American Boat And Yacht Counsel
(ABYC) and National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) standards, as
well as USCG requirements and prudent seamanship. The report will also
have a "Recommendations" section listing maintenance and repair items
that need to be addressed in order to bring the vessel up to standard.
The pre-purchase C&V will also provide you with an informed opinion
on condition and fair market value free from immediate financial or
emotional considerations. Regardless your level of experience and
knowledge, you'll appreciate the usefulness of this unbiased second
opinion, even if familiar with the vessel's condition and value.
Financial organizations and marine underwriters require this
independent evaluation from a surveyor who is not involved in the deal
when deciding on the amount to lend or insure (although their figures
may be higher or lower than the survey valuation depending on past
experience and policies). A pre-purchase C&V will also help assess
suitability and safety of the vessel as compared with its intended use.
The survey opinion is an important tool that, when supported with the
detailed personal observations provided in the report, should assist in
deciding whether the vessel is suitable for your needs. Insurance
underwriters will also be concerned with safety recommendations in the
survey, since this will affect potential liability claims. Don't view a
survey as unnecessary "red tape" forced on you by an insurer or lender
- a good survey will save you money.
A pre-purchase C&V survey will probably be the most comprehensive,
overall inspection a vessel ever receives. For a typical 30-foot
production yacht the on site inspection will typically take a full day,
with research and the written portion of the survey taking another full
day. Although thorough, a typical pre-purchase C&V survey cannot be
an exhaustive investigation of every detail of every system (a task
which could easily encompass days or even weeks). While many cosmetic
and maintenance items are often noted, a typical survey concentrates
more so on issues affecting the safety or value of the vessel.
Areas of inspection include the vessel's topsides, rig and all normally
accessible interior spaces. Haul out includes an inspection of the hull
and all underwater machinery (props, rudders, etc.). Visual inspection
of engines, generators, fluid levels, fuel, steering, electrical,
sanitation and other systems are conducted, as well as an examination
of the vessel's papers, registration, hull number and of course all
Items not normally included in a pre-purchase survey (unless prior arrangements have been made) include:
||Removal of screwed, nailed, or otherwise attached paneling, liners, carpeting, etc.
||Opening, pressure testing, or sampling tanks.
||Disassembly of engines, machinery, electronics, etc., or testing with specialized equipment.
||Destructive testing (drilling holes, removing paint or gel coat, etc.)
Sellers or brokers do not routinely allow any of the above items,
although we may recommend disassembly or additional testing based on
our observations. If needed, these specialized services can be
conducted during the survey, however as with any destructive testing
permission of the owner/seller is required and each will be carried out
by a qualified technician. We do attend and observe testing of this
For pre-purchase surveys, we usually recommend an experienced mechanic
perform an engine survey in conjunction with our survey.
(Free Survey Price Quote)
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FAQ-2 What does the written portion of your C&V survey contain?
There is no standard, industry-wide format, however our survey reports
follow the guidelines of the "SAMS
Recommended Survey Report Content" Manual (1997) and contains a
detailed description of the vessel, its systems, suitability for its
intended use, detailed comments on conditions affecting value, and
recommendations addressing safety issues, necessary repairs, and
maintenance. An estimated fair market value and replacement cost is
also included, as are photographs of the vessel and any unusual
features or problems.
power boat C&V survey)
sailboat C&V survey)
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FAQ-3 Can a vessel "fail" its pre-purchase C&V survey?
All vessels will have items requiring attention, however in most cases
these will not in themselves preclude the sale. The buyer has the
option of purchasing the vessel and making the changes or
recommendations, or renegotiating the selling price if warranted. In
cases where the survey valuation is less than the previously agreed
selling price, options for the buyer include:
- Paying the original selling price, regardless of the survey
evaluation. Such a decision is based on how well the vessel meets your
particular needs and whether the higher cost is justified by the
benefit or amount of pleasure it will provide.
- Re-negotiate the original selling price with the seller and broker.
the vessel. Your sales contract should include language allowing you to
decline the vessel if the survey results are unsatisfactory to
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FAQ-4 What is an "Insurance Survey"?
An Insurance Survey or Underwriter's Marine Risk Evaluation is designed
to assist underwriters in determining a vessel's insurability. The
focus here is structural integrity, safety, and inspection of systems
installations as per NFPA and ABYC guidelines. Safety gear is inspected
and noted for compliance with USCG requirements and pertinent
identification information is recorded for future reference, valuation,
and claims adjustment. When purchasing a new vessel, the pre-purchase
C&V survey will normally also serve to obtain insurance.
Underwriters periodically require surveys of boats they insure,
typically every three to five years depending on the vessels age and
hull material. An evaluation is also normally required when a new
policy is written, such as when changing insurance companies unless an
acceptable recent survey is available. In such cases, what is
considered "recent" and "acceptable" may vary between underwriters,
meaning you must ask each what they currently will and won't accept.
Some underwriters may accept an in-water evaluation (i.e. no haul-out),
which will eliminate the cost of the haul-out. When contemplating a
no-haul evaluation, be sure to ask your insurance agent or underwriter
if it is acceptable. The benefit of any survey or evaluation in which
the vessel is not hauled out for a bottom inspection is significantly
AN UNDERWRITERS MARINE RISK EVALUATION IS LIMITED IN SCOPE AND CANNOT BE USED AS A SUBSTITUTE FOR A CONDITION AND VALUE
SURVEY. We do not conduct pre-purchased C&V surveys unless the vessel is hauled for inspection.
Boating insurance can be divided into to two general categories,
"Agreed value (or Yacht) insurance and "Actual cash value" insurance,
either of which can have certain requirements that may determine the
type of evaluation needed.
"Agreed value" insurance means the value for a total loss is agreed
upon by you and the underwriter when the policy is written, meaning
you'll receive that amount (minus any deductibles) upon a total
With "Actual cash value" insurance, the amount paid upon total loss is
subject to both depreciation and the vessel's condition at time of the
loss. This is similar to auto insurance, in that an insurance adjuster
will be utilized to determine your vessel's worth.
As boat insurance is not regulated by state and federal agencies to the
same extent as auto insurance, there is significant variation in boat
and yacht insurance policies. Compare quotes, read each policy
carefully, develop a good working relationship with the agent or
company representative you'll be dealing with, and don't be afraid to
ask questions regarding the coverage afforded by your policy.
(Free Underwriters Marine Risk Evaluation
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FAQ-5 What is an "Appraisal Inspection"?
An Appraisal Inspection is performed to determine the fair market value
of the vessel for financing, estate settlements, donations, and legal
Free Appraisal Inspection Price Quote
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FAQ-6 What is a "Damage Inspection"?
A Damage Inspection is performed to assess the extent of damage,
recommend repairs, estimate repair cost, and probable cause if
When filing a damage claim with your underwriter, remember the surveyor
assigned by them will be representing the insurance company's'
interest, which may or may not be your best interests. You have the
right to hire your own surveyor to inspect damage and make
recommendations as to repair methods and cost estimates. Depending on
the policy, your underwriter may even pay for this independent
surveyor, subject to your deductible and of course the validity of your
claim. Ask your agent to verify your coverage.
(Sample Damage Survey)
(Free Damage Survey Price Quote)
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FAQ-7 How quickly will I receive the survey report?
Standard turnaround is five to seven working days after the
inspection. It takes on average around five days after the onboard
inspection is completed to research valuation, write, and print the
report. This time is an integral part of the survey process and is
important as well, and rushing may affect overall quality.
Please let us know in advance if you need a "rush" job, which will most likely involve additional fees.
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FAQ-8 How much will a survey cost?
Prices vary, depending on the survey requested, type of vessel, hull
material, age, complexity of the systems, etc, as well as the specific
requirements of the survey. Additionally, those requiring significant
drive time or travel from our office will typically be assessed travel
fees. Thatís why we request that clients fill out a free
survey quote request so that we can
provide an accurate, written quote for all of our services.
Please call (757) 287-3770 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org to
discuss your survey needs or
click HERE to
receive a free survey price quote.
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FAQ-9 Who gets the results of the Survey?
When purchasing a vessel, you commission the surveyor to do the
pre-purchase survey. We work for you and no one else! We have no
affiliation with any other party involved in the sale and provide the
results only to you. We do not provide our estimated fair market value
or any other information to broker, seller, or any one else unless
specifically authorized by you. In all cases survey results are
provided only to you, the customer, unless otherwise requested.
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FAQ-10 Which underwriters and financial institutions will accept your survey reports?
Our survey reports and evaluations are guaranteed to be accepted by all major
lenders and insurers or your survey report fee will be refunded.
FAQ-11 Should I attend the pre-purchase condition and value survey?
Although you do not have to be present, we encourage buyers to
attend the survey. The notes and recommendations presented in the
written report will have more meaning for you when present during the
actual inspection. It also affords us the opportunity to answer any
questions you may have in person and to point out minor observations
that might not be significant enough to be included in the final
report. The owner, broker, or their representative may be present to
operate the vessel or equipment, however we will not discuss the survey
or convey any findings to them - only to you.
That being said, it's best to refrain from bringing anyone who does not have a direct interest in the purchase.
Boats are a lot of fun, however friends, relatives, small children, or
pets can cause distractions. Surveying is a very serious part of what
is often a substantial investment - help us get the most out of it for
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FAQ-12 How about a sea trial?
You probably wouldn't buy a car without a test drive, so a sea trial is an
excellent idea and highly recommended. Most buyers will take a "test sail" with
the owner or broker (normally prior to the survey) to determine if the vessel's
performance is in general satisfactory and warrants the additional expense of a
survey, however a sea trial provides the surveyor valuable insight on how a
vessel and her systems operate in the "real world." Many surveyors factor in a
one hour sea trial into their prices. As it normally takes longer to perform a
thorough sea trial, you either pay for the additional time required to do it
right or receive a less than comprehensive evaluation. We can and will conduct a
formal sea trial if requested, however we do not arbitrarily charge you for one
and our prices are reduced accordingly. We feel you should be able to decide if
you require a sea trial and if so want to ensure we have the proper amount of
time to provide you the best evaluation possible.
Items to consider if you'd like us to conduct a sea trial:
Like hot coffee and clumsy McDonalds customers, surveys and sea
trials don't go together - meaning that we cannot conduct them
simultaneously. Both are important enough to deserve a surveyor's full,
undivided attention. Both can be conducted the same day, however the
order should be survey first, sea trial second. This allows the buyer
to determine if any problems found during the survey preclude the need
for the added expense of a sea trial, and facilitates inspection of the
engine and engine room (which will likely be too hot to move around in
freely for a number of hours after a sea trial).
We ask that the engines not be cranked prior to our arrival. Sea
trials and surveys can be conducted on separate days and often a sea
trial can be conducted while on the trip to the yard for haul out or on
the return trip, at which time we can also check any items you may have
noted from your "test sail".
We do not operate the vessel during the survey or sea trial. The owner,
broker, or a hired captain will have to be present to operate the
vessel. We will need to give our full attention to inspecting the
various equipment and systems while underway, something which can't be
properly done while captaining the vessel.
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FAQ-13 How are rigging and sails inspected?
The rig is given a close visual inspection from deck level, which
is common practice among surveyors nationwide. For an additional fee
inspection of the rig aloft can be included as part of the survey,
however it does involve additional time, difficulties, and prior
arrangements. A thorough deck level inspection is normally adequate to
determine the vessel's overall condition and value, however there are
numerous cases (extended cruising, offshore passage, etc) in which
you'll want a full inspection performed by a qualified rigger. Some
underwriters require an aloft inspection of the rig (particularly when
upgrading to a "blue water" type insurance) so be sure to ask what's
required by your policy.
Sails are given a general inspection as found (i.e. bagged or furled),
which is normally adequate for a typical pre-purchase survey. Weather
permitting, we may have the owner or broker hoist the main or unfurl a
jib, however in most cases we will recommend all sails be given a
complete inspection by a qualified sail maker (particularly when
planning extended cruses or off shore passages).
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FAQ-15 How about references?
FAQ-14 Broker or seller responsibilities.
Open all normally accessible compartments and spaces and ensure unobstructed access.
The vessel should be reasonably clean and all items not included in the sale should be removed.
Provide ship's papers or title and registration.
The seller, broker, or other representative of the seller will be expected to
operate the vessel, engine, or other equipment as required and to deliver the
vessel to and from the yard for the haul out.
We are happy to provide references upon request.
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