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Certified Boats and Dealers

By: Thomas Muller - Updated: 17 Jan 2013 | comments*Discuss
Boat Safety Scheme Bss Vessel Boat

Before purchasing any vessel it is strongly recommended to have a comprehensive boat survey carried out to assess the condition operation and value of the boat. Knowing the status of the boat upfront will make sure there are no hidden surprises that could cause headaches further down the line.

Is a survey essential for all boats?

A full Pre-Purchase Condition Survey is recommended for all craft but it is particularly important for used vessels over a year old in order to locate any scars endured in its pre-sale history. Although this can be a costly operation, it is nevertheless minimal in comparison to the potential cost of future repair work.

A boat survey is also worth considering before purchasing a brand new vessel. A marine survey could answer such questions as whether the vessel has been damaged in transit to the dealer or if the craft includes all contracted equipment. It is also recommended to employ a marine surveyor to monitor the building of a new boat and to carry out a pre-delivery inspection of the vessel.

If the boat has not had a thorough survey it may cause problems in trying to secure insurance or financing from a bank, particularly if the boat is over twenty foot long and over ten years old. Many finance companies will insist on a survey being carried out before agreeing to release any money. A marine insurer might also request a vessel condition report to ensure that the boat is safe to use.

What does a boat survey entail?

A professional surveyor with a background in marine engineering is required to determine the status of a proposed purchase. Depending on the type of vessel, a survey could include such aspects as checking the structural integrity, condition of electrical systems, propulsion and fuel systems, machinery and navigation. It should also include an out of water inspection and an assessment of the craft’s overall maintenance.

Types of survey

Full Pre-Purchase Condition Survey is the main type of survey buyers should consider when purchasing a second hand boat. Other surveys on offer include External Hull Inspections or Partial Condition Surveys. These surveys, though less expensive, have limitations and should be understood before beginning the survey.

What does a boat survey cost?

Survey fees usually begin at £200 and increase in accordance with the size and type of boat. Costs will also vary depending on whether the survey includes a Boat Safety Scheme appraisal or lifting the boat out of the water. Some boatyards have special rates for this if you are buying a boat from them. Prices for lifting are usually based on the length of the boat.

Boat Safety Scheme

The Boat Safety Scheme (BSS) is like a boating version of car MOT test that sets safety standards for boats and is essential for legal passage down UK waterways. A surveyor will not automatically carry out a BSS examination unless specifically asked. The BSS test will not however provide a valuation or condition assessment that may be needed for insurance for seeking a mortgage for a boat. A boat survey is the best option for this.

What if the boat survey advises against purchase?

A successful survey could produce a list of problems that could warrant a price renegotiation or significant failings that may cause the buyer to reconsider their purchase, thereby prompting the buyer to begin their search all over again. Although disappointing, the survey has done its job and save the buyer from great potential losses.

Buying a boat can be such a weighty investment that it makes sense to carry out a survey so that the buyer knows exactly what they are spending their money on.

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