Survey Definitions

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Survey Definitions

Pre-Purchase survey: per ABYC

A Prepurchase Survey is conducted when someone is contemplating buying a vessel. It is a very comprehensive “Condition and Valuation” (C&V) survey that often includes operational testing of all systems and equipment, as well as a sea trial. The vessel is typically inspected both in and out of the water. Its primary purpose is to provide the potential buyers with the information that they need to make an informed purchase decision. It may also be used to satisfy insurance company and bank loan requirements. Essentially, they want to know the vessel’s current market value and that it is a good risk.

Appraisal survey: Per ABYC

Appraisal surveys are used for financing, estate and divorce settlements, and donation of vessels to charities. Professional marine surveyors are recognized by the IRS, courts, banks and insurance companies as boat and yacht appraisers within their area of expertise.

Damage Survey: Per ABYC

Damage Surveys may also be performed for insurance companies, vessel owners and other vested entities. This includes determining the nature, cause and extent of damage to a vessel when something goes wrong. They work closely with tow boat and salvage operators when the need arises, and often work with repair shops and boatyards to determine the cost of repairs.

New build and refit project:

From the inception of the idea, technicial specification and contract discussions, general arrangement revisions through to final acceptance and warranty period completion. We will guide the client through the various aspects of building or re-fitting of a vessel to the satisfaction of the client. This scope of work can vary widely, please call to discuss.

Paint Surveys:

Paint surveys are part of the supervision and project management of a re-paint job or during a new construction project. Paint surveys are also carried out when disputes arises about the condition and quality of a new paint job to understand the cause of any deficiencies or to assess the condition of a painted yacht before a new coating is applied.

Delivery Survey and Sea trials:

For new constructed yachts we provide specific delivery surveys. The scope of this survey depends on the stage of the project but would normally include extensive dock trials, sea trials and final acceptance protocols up to delivery. Depending on how the project is delivered, warranty management and supervision could be part of the scope of work.

A Surveyor’s Guide To Insurance Surveys and Reports by David Pascoe, Marine Surveyor


The insurance survey, Condition and Value survey or C&V as it is often referred to, is a type of survey intended for use by insurance companies for evaluating whether or not they wish to insure a particular vessel. For over 30 years surveyors have been providing this type of survey. But, unfortunately, the insurance industry has never set a standard as to the nature and extent of information that they require, and so surveyors have largely been left to guess at the kind of information that different insurance companies want. This guide will assist the surveyor in identifying the most appropriate information to be covered in the survey and report.

Insurance surveys can also serve as an appropriate format when lending institutions request “appraisals.” While there is no commonly accepted format for anyone who requests an appraisal, but the insurance survey format fills this purpose quite well.

C&V Defined:

An insurance survey is a limited form of survey that is intended to assist insurance underwriters in making underwriting decisions. The survey has two primary purposes: (1) to identify the vessel, its equipment, condition and general value, and (2) to identify defects, damages or hazardous conditions that pose a potential threat to the safety of the vessel and its passengers, or any other such condition that is likely to result in loss or damage. Insurance surveys should never be provided to a client who is purchasing a vessel for the purpose of making a purchase decision. 

A report format consisting of both a pre designed form and narrative description is recommended. It is fundamental to a proper survey report that the surveyor should clearly state in a narrative format or by an appropriate form all such areas which were inspected and which were not inspected. While underwriters don’t particularly like forms, and often complain about them, forms serve a very important function for surveyors. First, the form serves as a guideline to insure that all major areas of concern are covered. Second, the form records necessary information and serves as verification that these major areas were inspected. 

Insurance surveys are not intended to certify that a vessel is built, or conforms to, any standard or standards set by any official standards organization. Standards such as the ABYC Standards for Small Craft and NFPA 302 Pleasure and Commercial Motor Craft are voluntary standards. While most reputable builders make an effort to comply, others do not. Surveyors must use their own judgment when making reference or recommendations for compliance, based on the surveyor’s perception of hazard.  

It should be remembered that the surveyor’s report is his work product. It is the one example that illustrates to the industry the degree of his professionalism and competence It is from his reports that his work will be judged. Survey reports are often seen by many people, not only in the present, but often far into the future. It reflects his competence and constitutes one of his best forms of advertising. Therefore, the surveyor should strive to produce a report that meets the highest professional standards. This guide is intended to assist the surveyor in achieving that goal. 

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