Top tips when hiring a yacht surveyor
Last updated: 04/07/2016
Choosing a yacht surveyor and commissioning them for a survey is a crucial part of ensuring that your vessel(s), whether commercial or private, is seaworthy, complies with the relevant maritime standards and will meet the necessary insurance and finance requirements. Be aware that choosing a yacht surveyor, especially the right one, can be fraught with difficulty.
Before hiring a yacht surveyor it is essential to know exactly what the aim of the survey is. There are several types of marine surveys on the market (pre-purchase, damage, valuation, equipment, insurance) each of them focusing in a special area and targeted to provide answers to a specific need.
Yachting Pages spoke with two leading superyacht surveyors 2G Marine and Marine Surveys & Engineering Services Ltd and a leading yacht refit company, EMV Marine Yacht Refit and asked them to share their experiences and advice when on the market for a yacht survey.
Marine Surveys & Engineering Services Ltd said, there are some core things to ask first and foremost.
- How long have they been surveying and is their experience as a surveyor with similar yachts – if a sailboat do they have sailing experience?
- Are they a member of any of the survey organisations that have codes of practice and requirements for continuous professional development (IIMS, MECAL, SAMS)?
- Surveyors are akin to a general practitioner - find out what their areas of expertise are.
- Request a typical report and judge if the report is in a manner you feel comfortable with. Ask them to provide a sample survey they have completed on a similar vessel
- Always ask for references
Erdem Tufan from 2G Marine commented, “I usually tell my clients, before asking for a meeting or a price quotation, that they should ask their other surveyor candidates about ''TEKA''; a formulation of training, experience, knowledge and accreditation.”
When hiring a surveyor, check they have had adequate training and are certified on related subjects to yachting such as rigging inspection, system surveys, stability, non-destructive testing (NDT) etc…
Training itself cannot create robust confidence; it should be supported with the experience gained through years.
Accreditation is proof that the surveyor has been checked and certified by specialist organisations. Even though these organisations are not well known by the general public, when you meet someone who has a binder showing their references, certifications and accreditation, it gives confidence in hiring them.
Avoid these common yacht surveyor misconceptions?
- Your survey has priority and should be completed as soon as possible.
- Safety is always the number one concern
- The surveyor is on your side
- Osmosis damage testing
- Surveyors can only inspect what they see
When scheduling a survey, it’s safe to assume you usually insist on starting and completing as soon as possible. However it is important to remember external factors can affect timescales i.e. environmental conditions such as weather and sea condition.
Safety needs to be upheld through the survey phases. Never insist to carry out a sea trial if the yacht does not have safety equipment on board, or has expired fire extinguishers aboard, or not enough crew to act in an emergency.
Sometimes you will want a surveyor to be on your side to find non-conformities to help with the negotiation of the price of the yacht. Surveyors will not manipulate the findings or negotiate on them to adjust the price. They are neutral.
Alejandro Diaz-Asensio from EMV Marine Yacht Refit added, “Many clients ask for osmosis damage test and for moisture readings when the boat has just been hauled-out of the water, giving incorrect measures.”
It is important to make clear that a survey is limited to the accessibility on board and most items are visually inspected, which means there will be some aspects that are overlooked.