Anglo European MarineAnglo European MarineAnglo European MarineAnglo European Marine

Why get a survey?

Q.      Do we need to bother with a survey?

A.      Almost invariably YES.

Well we would say that, wouldn't we?

But we can justify that statement. Just four examples of the scenarios that can be encountered are listed below:

It was only built three years ago so it can't have deteriorated much!

Boats first put into service since 16th. June 1998 have been required to comply with the European Recreational Craft Directive ("RCD"). The application of this directive, the technical standards applicable, statutory markings and technical documentation, and the exemptions possible, are a whole new can of worms. Many boat builders, particularly inland, have shown little interest or ability in conforming with the directive and we have come across a number of cases where boats have been offered for sale or sold illegally. Failure to comply with the Directive is a criminal offence on the part of the vendor, and as the buyer you could find yourself caught up in an embarrassing and potentially very expensive situation. Anglo European Marine has taken a particular interest in the RCD and has close working links with the U.K.'s leading RCD experts. We were the appointed experts to the claimant in the first successful UK criminal prosecution of a boatbuilder by a Trading Standards Dept. So whilst the hull may not have deteriorated in three years there are lots of other areas that merit looking at even on a "new" boat.

The vendor only had it surveyed last year and it was O.K. then!

Look carefully at why the vendor had it surveyed last year. It is very likely that the survey was only for insurance purposes. Insurance companies need periodic reassurance that the risk they are covering is reasonably unlikely to sink / blow up / turn over during the next few years. They are not really interested in whether the cabin sole is rotting away, or in all sorts of other details that you as a buyer might wish to know about. An insurance survey seeks to minimise the amount of reading an underwriter has to do and addresses only areas pertinent to risk and, perhaps, valuation.

It has a new Boat Safety Certificate dated only last month!!

The Boat Safety Scheme ("BSS") addresses only a limited number of aspects, principally fire and explosion risk. The Boat Safety Scheme only addresses third party and pollution risks, third parties being fisherman, gongoozlers and other boaters. A BSS examination can be carried out with the boat lying sunk with a gaping hole in its bottom. The inspection does not cover the condition of the hull, the stern gear, the steering gear, the weed hatch, the bilge pump provisions, the condition of skin fittings, stability or indeed many other areas that might be of interest to a purchaser. It is also fact that, despite new Quality Assurance systems being implemented by BSS, the quality of inspections by many of the examiners, recruited from other non-marine fields and poorly trained, has fallen well short of what was required. Very many boats have been issued with certificates whilst fundamental deficiencies exist, within or without the scope of the scheme, which you may wish to know about before you commit to buying. We virtually never see a boat that conforms completely. The existence of a Boat Safety Certicificate is not proper testament to condition and does not confirm that the boat is safe.

Surveys are expensive and we could do without spending the money!!

The cost of a proper pre-purchase survey will usually be only in the order of one or two percent of the purchase price (subject of course to a minimum and other circumstances!). If the surveyor finds no significant faults then it is still only a small price to pay for peace of mind and many good nights of sleep. If the surveyor finds deficiencies that should rightly be rectified by the vendor, or be the subject of a price reduction to allow for repair costs incurred by the purchaser, then the survey fee will immediately cease to be a cost. Even the newest boats have faults, and the survey report will also give you a valuable repair and maintenance programme for the future.

Remember also that if you are buying through a broker then the price of the boat already includes a brokerage commission of between seven and 10 percent. That surely puts the cost of a survey into perspective!

Anglo European Marine has a policy that your survey fee does not just pay for the time and expertise taken to inspect the boat and compose a report. It gives you access to your surveyor to discuss the findings initially, and also gives you reasonable access at any later date for consultation and advice, which in small doses will not be chargeable. All reports are readily accessible on computer for reference. Our fee also of course contributes to the costs of attending regular Continuous Professional Development training and seminars, Boat Safety Scheme training, RCD training and so on.

Marine Surveyors/Consultants

Principal Surveyor:
Balliol Fowden FYDSA.

+44 1788 541020

+44 7831 232823

+44 1788 543517


Burleigh House,
273, Hillmorton Road,
CV22 5BH