Obtaining a survey before purchasing a vessel is always advised. Any offer to purchase a boat should always be made contingent on a satisfactory survey and in some cases a sea trial. Courts have recognized the critical role of marine surveyors in maintaining safe sea travels.

Hull Survey vs. Full Survey

The type of survey required will depend on the boat age, condition, value, and date of last survey. It may be that a hull survey is required, or a full survey to include the rig, sails and engine and the equipment on board. If the engines form a substantial part of the value of the boat, you may want to consider having a separate detailed engineer’s report. Or if there are particular technical aspects which you require verification on, make sure to instruct the surveyor on these aspects.


Surveyors can inspect the hull and equipment of the vessel, determine its seaworthiness and condition, ascertain necessary repairs, and, in some cases, act as the owner’s representative in supervising repairs. A thorough survey of the vessel, including its hull, engines, auxiliary machinery, electronics, underwater body, electrical system, and other major components is a logical and advisable precaution in any purchase of a pre-owned vessel. Any material defects discovered in the surveyor’s report can be used to negotiate a reduction of the purchase price for repairs, or requesting seller to rectify matters at his own expense prior to completion of the contract. When purchasing a new vessel, a seatrial is always recommended to ensure the seaworthiness of the vessel and proper functioning of all components.

If you should have any questions or concerns or need assistance with a survey, please feel free to contact me by email at amanda.ross@henlaw.com or by phone at 239-344-1249.