Marine surveys are conducted on boats or yachts for a variety of reasons, and for various entities or people. Marine surveyors are, by nature of their industry standards, supposed to be impartial and unbiased. Their job is to tell the truth about a boat or yacht, as pleasing or painful as that may be.American Boat and Yacht Council
WHY A MARINE SURVEY?
To be very blunt, if you are a recreational boater, you most likely put the most precious cargo you have in your boat… your family! Then you trust the boat to safely take you to a destination or provide enjoyment through touring or watersports while on the water. A marine survey can help you assure your boat is safe and reliable for these fun times.
Second, if you plan to insure your boat most insurance companies will require a recent survey. You may be thinking, what a drag, but keep in mind a properly documented survey will protect the owner in the event of a major claim. By having proper documentation of the vessel overall, equipment on board, condition, and any upgrades the owner can prove insured value to the insurance company in the event of a claim.
WHAT DOES A SURVEYOR LOOK AT?
Marine surveyors use Transport Canada, US Coast Guard, federal laws, and published industry standards as guidance for evaluating boats and yachts. These are a mix of mandatory standards defined by government entities and voluntary standards recognized as best practices in the yachting and boating industry.
- The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), what US Coast Guard regulations is based upon, is very specific as to certain construction requirements, especially for smaller and/or gasoline powered vessels, as well as for equipment such as navigation lights, flares, fire extinguishers and life jackets. Transport Canada and Canadian regulations follow much the same standards.
- The American Boat & Yacht Council (ABYC) Standards and Technical Information Reports for small craft. This set of standards provides guidance on certain aspects of the vessel’s design and construction, such as visibility from the helm position, and installation of many of the systems and equipment found on a vessel, but does not delve into hull design, structural standards or rules.
- The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is concerned with the things that can cause, prevent or put out a fire, as well as with carbon monoxide poisoning.
- The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has developed boatbuilding standards that are used in some areas outside the US, especially in Europe.
WHEN IS A MARINE SURVEY REQUIRED?
The following are the general cases and times when a marine survey would be required or desired by a boat or yacht owner.
- A Prepurchase Survey is conducted when someone is contemplating buying a vessel. It is a very comprehensive inspection that includes operational testing of all systems and equipment, in many cases a pre purchase survey will also include a sea trial. The vessel is typically inspected both in and out of the water. The overall goal of the pre purchase survey is to provide the potential buyers with the information that they need to make an informed purchase decision.
- An Insurance Survey is done specifically for insurance purposes at the request of the insurance company. An insurance survey may be done with the vessel either afloat or ashore, depending on the insurance carrier’s requirements, an insurance survey generally does not require a sea trial or operational testing of all equipment and systems. Every insurance company has their own guidelines as to what age/size vessel needs a survey, how often a survey must be accomplished, and what the survey report should include.
- Valuation & Appraisal surveys are completed for application to financing companies, estate and divorce requirements, and possibly donation of vessels to charities.
- Damage Surveys are performed for insurance companies, vessel owners and other parties after the unfortunate incident causing harm to the vessel or surrounding objects. The marine surveyor will work to document the nature, cause and extent of damage to a vessel.
HOW IS A MARINE SURVEY DONE?
At Toronto Marine Surveyors we work with vessels both in the water and on land. Depending upon your own personal needs or your insurance companies requirements a decision will be made on the location for the survey. If you boat is in the water and it requires haul out we can help you with arranging a quick haul to complete the out of water requirements.
Our surveys generally cover the following topics and base inspections on the following format:
- Hull material, construction, and condition
- Deck material, construction, and condition
- Propulsion – engine
- Running gear – shafts, struts, outdrives, propellers
- Fuel system – tankage, fill fittings, valves
- Ground tackle – anchors, anchor rode, windlass
- Standing rigging – if a sailing vessel, mast, boom, and related hardware
- 110/120 volt system – shore power feed, main electrical panel, switching, generators, air conditioners, battery chargers, wiring type
- DC electrical system – battery security, wiring type, alternators, chargers, switch panels, battery switches
- Navigation systems – navigation lighting, entertainment systems, RADAR, chart plotters, GPS, compasses, instruments, autopilots
- Bilge pumping systems – electric pumps, float switches, related plumbing, manual pumps
- Accommodations – general condition of accommodations, galley installations including LP stoves, ovens, sinks, water heaters, refrigerators, ice makers, freezers, etc
- Safety equipment – inventory of safety equipment on board compared to Transport Canada guidelines for the applicable vessel
After the surveyor is completed with the physical inspection a report will be delivered to the owner or prospective buyer. For pleasure craft these reports range from 25 to 50 pages and include a both a written and visual description of the vessel.
Findings or recommendations from the surveyor will be categorizes as HIGH, MEDIUM, AND LOW.
Recommendations are provided based upon the logic of high priority items not meeting the above stated standards, medium level items impacting safety of the vessel per the surveyors opinion, and low priority items impacting long term integrity and value of the vessel.
NEED TO BOOK YOUR MARINE SURVEY?
Based in the GTA, Toronto Marine Surveyors serves central Ontario as far north as the Muskoka’s, East to Ottawa, and West to Sarnia. We will travel to the USA as required.
Start the process by contacting us through our web form, or phoning us at: 647-812-4117.