If you’re thinking of buying a motor or sailing boat, often second only in value to your home, then all but the smallest of vessels will require a pre-purchase survey. This normally takes the form of a full condition report.
The surveyor may identify faults that the average boat owner will not be aware of, often using specialist equipment. Knowledge of faults and deterioration can assist the purchaser regarding associated rectification of defects or appropriate allowances. Occasionally defects are found at survey that result in the purchaser re-considering the purchase or negotiating a price alteration.

The full condition report will give brief details identifying the craft – name, type of construction, year of build, registration number if applicable – and will outline the extent or limitation of the inspection. This is followed by a full description of any defects found, together with graded recommendations for remedial action indicating how urgent the repair is.



Most insurance companies will require a survey for any boat aged 20 years old or more, and then again, every five years or so. Some yachts may require a survey earlier than this if they have sustained damage, if they are wooden, or if they have been self-built.



A valuation is not normally included with a survey report and you will need to request one if this is required. An additional fee for providing a valuation will normally be charged. The “current market value” incorporated in the valuation may be relevant both for purchase and insurance purposes. It is based on, amongst other issues, the price that a willing buyer will pay a willing seller. A keen buyer who has researched the market thoroughly will have perhaps the most up-to-date knowledge of likely value of a particular vessel type, however, a surveyor normally has access to accurate information regarding the actual sale price (rather than advertised price) via specialist websites and other surveyor and broker colleagues.

Accompanied Viewing

Prior to submission or acceptance of your offer subject to survey and/or sea trials, I can be engaged on a consultancy basis to attend for a preliminary inspection of the vessel.  There is no obligation to commit to a survey purchase at this stage. A written report is not provided however the survey’s presence and initial advice can prove invaluable at the earliest stage.


Annual inspection and moisture monitoring with images and readings for your peace of mind.


Tonnage Measurement in brief

You can register your boat under Part 1 or Part 3 of the Registry of Shipping and Seamen operated by the Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) at Cardiff.

Part 3 is a simple registration, requiring no measurement but does not provide any evidence as to title, or ownership, of a vessel. It is useful if, for instance, you want to take a ski-boat on holiday with you to an EC country as it shows that you did not buy the boat in that country and therefore that countries taxes, etc. are not due.

Part 1 is the closest to evidence of title and applicants send in a Declaration of Eligibility as well as Bills of Sale showing the history of the boat’s ownership for at least 5 years.

If you are taking out marine finance over approx £50k you will be asked to register the boat so the finance can be noted against it.. Registration under Part 1 requires a measurement survey of the boat known as tonnage measurements – dating from the days when cargo capacity was all important. Registration on Part 1:

• Enables you to prove title to your boat
• Allows you to register a marine mortgage
• Provides internationally accepted documentation to ease passage to foreign ports
• Entitles you to protection from the Royal Navy and the services of British Consuls
• Can enhance the resale of your vessel
• Provides proof of date of build in respect of the EU Recreational Craft Directive
• Ensures that your boat’s name is unique on Part 1