What are you looking for?

With over a100 different brands and a lot more models to choose from it is important to determine which type of vessel meets your needs, wants and desires in a vessel.

Use the expertise and experience of your yacht broker. He will work with you to make your dreams become a reality. A broker has access to a network of boats for sale, the Internet, and contacts with other brokers in the industry.

After suitable prospective boats have been located, the broker will schedule dates and times to view these vessels. Some may have been "pre-viewed" to ensure that they are in an acceptable condition. Brokers will use their knowledge of the market conditions, length of time on the market and familiarity of similar boats to help you comprise an offer to purchase the vessel at a fair price.
What to look for?
The exterior:
1. It should be clean and free from dock dings and other damage.
2. Look for loose/missing parts or those that may have been damaged.
3. Are there any areas of discoloration to the fiberglass.
4. Inspect the transom for cracks and operation of the doors, hatches & wells.
5. Check the electronics on the bridge, are they operational, do they fit your needs?
6. Are there covers for the electronics and are they being used?

The engine room:
1. Are the engines clean?
2. Have they been regularly serviced?
3. When was the last oil and filter change done?
4. Is there water, debris and oily  residue in the bilges?
5. Are the bilge pumps operational?
6. Does the battery charger appear to be operational?
7. Has the Halon/Fire Extinguishing system been serviced within the last year?

The interior:
1. Will you and the family enjoy the amenities and space below?
2. Is it clean, are there signs of water intrusion?
3. Is there any damage to the carpentry?
4. In the galley is everything clean and serviceable?
5. Inspect the staterooms and heads, are they comfortable/easy to get in/on?
6. Are the lights and electronics such as stereo and TV working?

A surveyor will thoroughly inspect all of these items and a whole lot more during the duration of the survey. It is important though for you to have a good knowledge of some of these items prior to making an offer on the vessel. You do not want to offer "top dollar" for a vessel with significant water intrusion damage to the interior. Other items will come up.

All vessel will have some deficiencies, most can be fixed with time, effort and money.
If you are satisfied with the overall condition of the vessel, make an offer and proceed to the survey process.

Accurate Boat & Yacht
Sellers Information


1. Make her shipshape and presentable, the likelier the survey will go quickly and cleanly.
2. Have all pertinent documents for the vessel available including copies of titles and documentation papers.
3. A capable captain should be hired for the sea trial.
4. All gear not included in the sale should be removed from the vessel.
5. Clear out all drawers, lockers and bilges of extraneous gear. Make everything accessible, if possible.

1. Non functioning items such as a broken VHF should be taken out or fixed or replaced.
   (A surveyor will write up the item as a deficiency if it does not function as intended).
2. If it is a bigger item such as a Water Heater or an Air Conditioning unit, have the unit serviced by qualified service personnel.    
1. Do your own "sea trail". Run the vessel up to full speed, note readings on gauges.
    (If engines overheat - determine the cause and have it corrected (often a failed raw water impeller).
2. Change oil in engines, generators and transmissions.
    (Mark date and engine hours on exterior of filters showing when oil and filters where changed).
3. Clean the bilges of the vessel of all debris, water and oil.
    (Put clean "oil absorbent" towels beneath the engines and generator).
4. Tighten down and cover the battery compartments aboard.
5. Have Halon system in the engine space serviced by qualified Fire Extinguisher experts.
    (He should also inspect and tag all portable extinguishers at the same time).
6. Make sure all seacocks are operable

The Buyers Thoughts:

"If this routine maintenance item has been neglected, what else has the current owner failed to service."


1. Clean and vacuum the entire interior of your vessel.
2. Wipe down all surfaces with an appropriate cleanser.
3. Clean/wash the bedcovers and make the beds.
4. Test all TV's, stereo, VCR's, other electronic equipment and interior lights for proper operation.
5. Clean the windows on the inside and out. Remove any decals that have been applied.
6. Ensure updated registration or documentation decals are properly applied.
7. Remove all personal effects from the vessel.
8. Clean the galley and stove/oven thoroughly, remove all items from the refrigerator.
9. Change the water filters aboard and fill the water tanks.


1. Clean/Wax the exterior, remove all blemishes, polish the stainless steel and chrome.
2. Clean the canvas and isinglass enclosures, inspect the zippers for proper operation.
3. Inspect the ground tackle, including the windlass and that the shackles are secured.
4. Is the cockpit washdown/transom shower, baitwell and freezer operational?
5. Does the transom door lock properly, the reboarding ladder work?

Look at the boat with a very critical eye! If something comes to your attention, rest assured, it will come to the attention of the buyer and the surveyor.
Why Survey?

That is a good question. The obvious answer is to save you money. How can that be you may ask? Well, simply put: Surveyors try to find things right or wrong with the boat or yacht before you buy it and thus give you the opportunity to decide if the vessel is worth it. A hull survey can simply be described as a fact-finding mission. A marine surveyor  acts as your eyes and ears and makes sure the information is gathered correctly and impartially.

Boats are built  to Federal Regulations (CFR's), the voluntary standards of the American Boat & Yacht Council (ABYC) and the standards of the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA). Yearly the ABYC and NFPA standards are updated. As a buyer/owner are you aware of all the standards that are applicable to your boat? Surveyors know these standards and should not pick apart the boat, but  wants to make sure that the vessel is safe to use for you the consumer and thus keep you afloat, physically and financially. The aim is to let you know what is good about a vessel and what is not by just reporting the facts.

One would think that a new boat is perfect, right? Unfortunately the answer is wrong! Over the last few years more and more new boats have flaws and faults in them. With the advent of builders coring everything, from bottom to sides to decks, more mistakes are being made, such as holes not sealed, fittings not attached correctly without a backing plate, and holes that serve no purpose whatsoever. This can lead to blisters and deck failures very quickly. The type of core that is used is not that important, but the one thing that needs to be done on all cores is that the core is properly sealed from the out- and insides otherwise it will lead to premature failure.

Photo 1: No backing plate for the anchor winch and the hawser hole through the core is not sealed.

Another problem is that even if the boat is built to American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) Standards, very often some of the basic installations are not correct, such as seacocks not being readily accessible, tank labels not present and on the odd occasion some switches even incorrectly marked. Every year a section of these standards are revised to improve the personal safety of you, the end user. Unfortunately, these standards aren’t federal regulations and little can be done to enforce them, but it provides you as a buyer further insight into the overall safety of the vessel.

Photo 2: Two holes that serve no purpose at all on a brand new vessel.

The purpose of obtaining a pre-purchase survey is to gain as much information as possible on the condition of the boat. A common question that the surveyor gets ask is: “What do you do?” The answer is quite simple: Observe, test and examine the various systems of a boat, primarily the hull and deck construction, the associated propulsion gear, the safety systems. All electrical systems are generally checked if they power up only. Systems such as radars, depth sounders and GPS’s cannot be serviced by surveyors, they need an expert in that field. Thus, a survey involves examining all aspect of the boat without taking it apart, and includes testing of all major systems.

A surveys consist of three distinct aspects: 1) the in water inspection, 2) the haul out for inspection of the wetted surface areas, and 3) the sea trial. No survey is complete without performing all three aspects. The sea trial involves performance testing of the vessel, its engines, and major systems.

A surveyor works directly for you, the buyer/owner. Fees are not published, since every vessel is different. Fees are quoted to you after you, have provided complete details with regards to the vessel and its circumstances. Once all of this information is supplied a fixed fee will be quoted.

The more a surveyor knows about your boating experience and your requirements, the better able he will be to serve you. When you call for a survey and ask, "How much does it cost?" by way of an answer you'll get a barrage of questions. Not only does the surveyor need to know about the boat you're interested in, but wants to know something about you, your experience and requirements. The more information you give the surveyor, the better he can serve you.

Schedule the survey only after you have an accepted, signed offer. In most cases it can be accommodated with a few days notice. Note: It is always a good idea when signing a purchase agreement to allow yourself at least two weeks after the signing to complete the survey and closing. Don't be rushed into a closing.

The buyer is responsible for the survey fee and hauling out charges. The seller is responsible for the operator of the vessel such as a paid captain, as well as ensuring that it has adequate fuel. A boat with a very dirty bottom needs to be cleaned. Establish with the seller who is going to pay this cost. It might also be a very good idea to replace the zinc’s whilst the boat is out of the water. Again, contact the seller on who pays for what.

NOTE: Haul out fees must be paid at the time of hauling.

Often difficulties arise in conveying the point that a surveyor is not finished until the report is written. It is important that you understand that surveying is very demanding physical work, particularly when working in high heat and humidity. When finished with the job, the surveyor is not in a fresh state of mind. Naturally you, the client, want a full report as soon as the physical survey is completed. Please understand that the work is really not finished yet.

The reason the work isn't finished is because time is needed to digest the findings just like you will. He needs some time to think about it and do a little research as well. Mostly he will be happy to give you a verbal rundown on the findings, but will strongly urge you not to allow yourself to be rushed into a closing based on a verbal report. Only the written report constitutes the full and complete results of the survey. Be aware that anything the surveyor tells you verbally during the survey is subject to change, therefore do not close a sale until you have received and read the final report.

A survey does not mean a technical ANALYSIS of a boat or yacht and all its systems, it is only a survey. We determine whether structures appear to be sound and systems are operating properly. When problems are located, we do not analyze what precisely is wrong, or what is necessary to repair the problem. It is a surveyor’s job to find problems and deficiencies, not to fix them.

Please note: It is highly recommended that you hire an engine surveyor, especially on used vessels. The fees for engine surveyors are at your expense and vary greatly.