This is an important piece of the boating puzzle. When looking to purchase, finance, or insure a boat, a surveyor will be needed. A marine surveyor is an independent third party hired by the purchaser or seller who undertakes a thorough inspection of the boat, testing all systems and structure. The surveyor looks for deficiencies, safety hazards and potential problems and provides a complete written report. This report assists in the making of an informed decision regarding the purchase of the vessel and is also used by finance and insurance companies.
A surveyor is used to help make an informed decision about buying, selling, financing and insuring a boat and to ensure it is safe and seaworthy. There are no legal requirements or qualifications to become a surveyor, so anyone can title him or herself as a Marine Surveyor. Certain marine surveyors are permitted to use a designation denoting membership in accrediting organizations that require members to meet strict professional, technical and ethical standards and so choosing the right surveyor is critical. To complicate matters, yacht brokers can’t ethically recommend a surveyor; in doing so, it is seen as a conflict of interest. They can, however, provide you with a list of experienced and respected surveyors in the area.
There are three main organizations—the National Association of Marine Surveyors (NAMS), the Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors (SAMS) and the American Boat & Yacht Council (ABYC)— these are the best resources to help find the right surveyor. Yacht brokers can also provide a list of potential surveyors. Alternatively, one can review the NAMS, SAMS or ABYC websites for a list of reputable/accredited local surveyors.
If the boat has particularly complex systems, look for experience in these areas or call in an additional specialist. Aviso Yacht Sales will gladly assist you on how to research potential surveyors. Below is a list of underwriter approved surveyors to help you get started. Aviso Yacht Sales does not endorse or accept any liabilities of the surveyors listed.