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 for compliance with ABYC and NFPA standards, and with USCG regulations. The fee for a pre-purchase survey is dependent upon the length of your vessel, and any additional testing you request.
A pre-purchase survey is an excellent investment, because it may identify expensive problems not observed by the buyer and possibly not by the seller either. This situation is true both for new and old vessels. 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
- sea trial
The in-water inspection is where the bulk of the survey takes place. During this phase the vessel is inspected from stem to stern, including the engines, and all operating equipment.
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 for proper operation 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.
A buyer can help improve the ultimate quality of a survey by ensuring that the vessel is 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. Any such situations where complete inspection cannot not take place, will be clearly described in the report.
A typical pre-purchase report will be in your hands within 48 hours of the survey. The on-site portion of your survey will take four hours to a week or longer 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. Ask for custom pricing for shipyards, dealers and brokers.