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What to do first - Survey

Having sorted out 1 & 2 above you will now have paid a deposit and hopefully will have a reasonably sensible and fair purchase contract. You can now instruct a surveyor. You should expect that your chosen surveyor will provide clear written details of what he will and won't be doing, what preparations are needed etc. and that he will expect you to sign his own contract specifying what type of survey is to be undertaken, intended use of the vessel, the agreed fee, jurisdiction and all relevant contact details etc.

It is your responsibility, hopefully assisted by the broker or vendor, to arrange for the vessel to be docked, slipped or hoisted for survey, and you are liable for the fee for this. It is normal also for the hull to be pressure washed prior to survey. This is essential for older riveted vessels but is not so essential for young welded steel narrow boats. It is wise to liase with the surveyor over the choice of survey location since not only do some yards have inadequate facilities for certain types of vessel, for example inadequate access to the bottom plating, but also if any amount of repairs prove necessary it is useful to be at a yard that has the skills to cope with these at realistic cost and undertake work to a proper standard.

Having pressure washed a steel hull for survey it is necessary to re-coat it after survey. Very often it is possible to agree with the vendor that if the sale does not proceed for justifiable reasons he pays for the painting, and of course if it proceeds you pay.

You should also be aware that the comprehensiveness and effectiveness of the survey depends heavily on what the surveyor can actually get to. With the exception of ultrasonic hull thickness measurements everything else is inspected using the eyes. You should liase with the vendor with the aim of getting as much of the vessel accessible as is reasonably possible. Certainly engine room areas should be cleared of excess stowed oil cans, tool boxes etc., and the surveyor will usually want to get as much access as the construction allows to the inside of the hull, and to be able to trace gas and fuel lines etc.

Marine Surveyors/Consultants

Principal Surveyor:
Balliol Fowden FYDSA.

+44 1788 541020

+44 7831 232823

+44 1788 543517


Burleigh House,
273, Hillmorton Road,
CV22 5BH