Frequently asked questions
Before you buy a boat you should get a “Pre-Purchase” survey. This is a very detailed report on the condition of the boat.
If you choose not to buy the boat based on any negative survey findings, the survey will have been well worth the cost. If you do buy the boat, your insurer will require the survey. The surveyor should be hired by the buyer, and not the seller. The Pre-Purchase survey can also be used to obtain insurance but includes more information such as cosmetic deficiencies that do not affect safety of the vessel but do affect resale value.
An Insurance Survey or ” Condition and Valuation” survey is a report that typically contains less information than a “Pre-Purchase” survey. The main use of this type of report is to satisfy the insurer that the boat is a reasonable risk and to make the owner aware of any safety-related issues. It does not contain enough detailed information to make a decision on whether or not to buy a boat.
Some surveyors make no distinction between the above two common kinds of survey. They charge the same rate for both. I charge a lower fee for a “Condition and Valuation” survey used for insurance renewal as it does not need to be as detailed as a “Pre-Purchase” survey and should therefore be priced differently.
Whatever survey is chosen it should be remembered a survey is a “snapshot” of the boat at the time of the survey only. It does not reflect what you plan to do with the boat, but only the condition the boat is in on the day of survey.
Please see my pricing page on the menu.
I am located in Toronto and offer surveys within the Greater Toronto Area and beyond. I also offer surveys at the Toronto Island yacht clubs and marinas, with an additional fee for the extra travel time required.
A per km travel charge is added to the fee on surveys. Please see rate sheet on menu for more detail.
Chris brings decades of hands-on practical experience in the marine services field to his survey work. The Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors SAMS® has recognized this experience in giving Chris the SAMS®- AMS® designation. This experience combined with ongoing education and research makes Chris the right choice for a thorough competent survey. Chris is also certified by the ABYC ( American Boat and Yacht Council) with both “Standards” and practical “Marine Electrician” certifications.
Please ensure the boat is ready for survey. It should be reasonably clear so that lockers and hatches can be accessed for internal inspection. The bilge should be reasonably clean. Any keys required for lockers must be supplied or their location supplied. Mast locations should be made known, and / or tagged, for sailboats that have the mast removed.
While you are welcome to attend the survey, it is not required. I just need to know the location of the boat in the yard or marina and where the keys are. If you are planning on meeting me at the boat, please understand my timing is subject to last minute changes and I do not generally make appointments for specific times. I will be there on a given day, but beyond that my schedule is flexible.
A sea trial is often done along with a Pre-Purchase survey. It is an in water test of systems that would otherwise not be able to be tested with the boat on shore. This includes things such as drive train, engine cooling and power, oil leaks, shaft vibrtaion, engine mounts under load, sails if rigged, steering under load. It is adivisable to get a sea trial along with a Pre-Purchase survey. A sea trial can not always be done or has sometimes already been done to the buyers satisfaction prior to the survey. This is why it is an extra and not included in the survey.
A sea trial often requires a second visit to the boat but can sometimes be completed at the same time as the survey if the boat is relaunched right away after the out of water portion is completed. A sea trial can also be done prior to the out of water survey to ensure the boat meets basic expectations. This is up to the prospective purchaser to decide and the decision depends largely on the circumstances of the sale.
Sea trials are done at an hourly rate of $150 plus tax and travel time, if needed.
Simply contracting a marine survey does not guarantee you will be eligible for marine insurance. Insurers are becoming more reluctant to insure older or poorly maintained vessels. In many cases it may be advisable to have a pre survey inspection done to identify maintenance issues that you may be unaware of. I often work with clients to advise them on what work needs to be done prior to contracting the survey. In this way problems can be remedied before the actual survey.
Insurers will often issue “Port Risk” or Builders risk policies that will protect your investment as you build, repair or restore a vessel.
Surveyors act as the inspectors to ascertain the progress and quality of work completed as it progresses. New or rebuilt boats are expected to be brought up to the current standards that apply to the planned use and vessel size. SAMS® surveyors are knowledgeable in these standards.