Before you purchase a boat you'll want to have it surveyed.
Unfortunately, you're the one who will have to pay for it. You
may not think it's necessary. After you visually inspect the boat
you may feel good about the vessel and believe it's a good buy.
And the owner may not particularly want the survey. But if you
plan to finance the boat and/or insure it, the lender and the
insurer will demand it.
Even though the lender and the insurer are the two people who
absolutely require it, the prospective buyer is the person who
has to pay for the service.
Unless you're that unusual buyer who has extraordinary knowledge
of the structure and systems of boats, you should get a survey
performed by a qualified marine surveyor. The lender and insurer
will require the survey is performed by a full time surveyor.
You should understand at the outset that a survey is not a guarantee
of the boat's condition, or a warranty against its future breakdown,
or of its performance. The work done for the normal boat purchase
is called the "Standard Valuation Survey." It's done
to meet minimum requirements to set a value of the boat. So you
can't expect it to uncover every potential problem that may exist.
The Standard Valuation Survey isn't designed to disassemble sections
of the boat to perform a full thorough inspection. That can be
done, but it's very expensive.
People usually get surveys for pre-purchase or appraisal. Although
some people may think that there's a difference between the two,
a good surveyor will perform the same thorough work on each type
What you usually won't get in a survey without extra cost:
expensive is the average survey? Surveys are priced per foot. They
average 6--8 hours plus the writing of the report.
trials (involves extra time by surveyor)
engine inspection (the surveyor is not a mechanic)
aloft to survey mast and rigging (surveyor usually won't go
aloft on subject boat's rigging-- he engages the services of
a third party)