What Types Of Boat Inspections Are Available For Boat Buyers?

A pre-purchase boat survey or inspection is similar in many ways to a home inspection. A skilled surveyor will check the boat's general condition and focus on specific features or capabilities depending on the type of inspection. Knowing which inspection you need, or if you need multiple types of surveys covered in one visit, will help guide you to the right professional to help you prepare for a major investment in a boat.

Racing Suitability

Sailboats and motorboats built for racing definitely deserve a pre-purchase inspection tailored to the demands of the sport. These watercraft need to be in top shape or you'll need to narrow down what needs replacing and therefore can haggle on the price. Everything from hull integrity to sail or motor condition has to be fully inspected, so make sure to find an experienced surveyor specializing in racing vessels to take on this kind of job.

Damage Assessments

These inspections are a bit more general and can be handled by almost any surveyor. While they're often ordered by a boat's current owner after an accident to estimate repair costs, these kinds of inspections are also useful for any buyer looking at damaged vessels for restoration. Before taking on a big project like overhauling a boat that has hull perforations or onboard fire damage, make sure you know exactly the extent of the damage and what you might pay to repair it.

Insurance Surveys

When seeking insurance coverage for a boat, you may have to secure your own survey to verify the condition and value of the boat. The insurance company needs to know they're insuring a valid watercraft and get an estimate of its specific value for proper coverage. While some companies may send their own inspectors after you make a purchase, it's better to pay out of pocket for a pre-purchase inspection. This will keep you from buying a boat you can't reasonably afford to insure.


The most general type of pre-purchase boat inspection is the appraisal. Value estimates are often included as parts of other boat surveys like insurance surveys, but appraisals can produce just the boat's estimated price so you know if you're getting a good deal or not. Without an expert appraisal, you may end up overpaying by trying to rely on your own research alone as to a particular model's average price. An appraisal often not only tells you a dollar value estimate for the boat in question but also where it falls in the price range for its age and manufacturer.

For more information about the benefits of hiring a pre-purchase boat surveyor, contact a local company.

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