'Richard has surveyed a number of vessels for me, and I must say the advice and the service have been second to none. Had it not been for their professionalism and skill I would have paid good money where I should not. I cannot thank them enough'.

Tom Jones

Pre-Purchase Survey
Jeaneau Fantasia

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'Once again, thank you for your help and professionalism, I would not hesitate to use your services again or recommend you to others'.
Matt Hart

Pre-Purchase Survey
Karnic 2050

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'Thanks for a very professional survey'.
John Trim
Insurance Survey
Albin Vega

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Home General Information Purchase Process

The Purchase Process

Our pre-purchase surveyors service for yachts or motor boats may be through a broker or private sale, whichever the case the following steps will hopefully lead to smooth sale.


Step 1 – Purchase Agreement

You have found the boat that suits you needs and you want it taken off the market. It is strongly recommended that a recognised purchase agreement is used. The broker would supply these or they can be attained through the RYA. Important points on this contract are:

  • The purchase is subject to survey – this means that if significant faults are you can back out of the purchase.
  • If you decide you do not want the boat anymore, you may well lose you deposit.
  • Normally a 10% deposit is placed down.


Step 2 – Instruct a Surveyor

The surveyor is there to protect your life and monetary investment with regard to the boat. Please ensure the following;

  • The surveyor is qualified, for insurance I am a member of the IIMS (International Institute of Marine Surveying).
  • They have sufficient ‘Professional Indemnity Insurance’ and ‘Public Liability Insurance’.
  • The surveyor should use a ‘Survey Contract’ and ‘Terms and Conditions’, these protect you as well as the surveyor.
  • Be clear what you are getting, cheaper surveyors can spend less time on the boat.
  • Preferably use a surveyor which appears professional and has time to discuss your needs.


Step 3 – Preparation for the Survey

The following points will allow the surveyor to do the job effectively;

  • Arrangements made so the keys can be picked up
  • If the boat is to be lifted this is pre-arranged, any lift costs are normally down to the purchaser.
  • The boat should be as clear as possible to allow good access. You are paying for the surveyor to assess the boat, not to move gear around so they can access key areas.
  • If the boat is to stay out of the water after the survey this should be arranged.
  • Confirm the ownership of the vessel, there should a ‘bill of sale’ confirming ownership.


Step 4 – The ‘On the Water’ Survey

Ideally the boat is inspected in and out of the water. This will allow the seacocks to be checked and items like the toilet are working correctly.


Step 5 – The ‘Out of Water’ Survey

If the boat is not already out of the water it will need to be lifted out for the survey. The surveyor will need to have the boat out of the water for at least an hour.  For a fibreglass hull the moisture readings will be indicative and the fact the boat has just been lifted will be taken into account.


Step 6 – Survey Reporting

The surveyor should be able to give a verbal assessment on the day of the survey. It is appreciated that the purchaser wants to have a general ideal of the condition instead of waiting for the written report.

The written report should then be supplied to you within five working days. The report should be clear and precise.  It is advisable that a sample report is supplied, this will give you a good indication of what to expect. The recommendations should be clearly stated in the report. The report should be a factual representation of the condition of the boat.


Step 7 – Purchase Finalisation

The surveyor should have made recommendations that are classed into the following areas

  • Category 1 - These should be rectified before the yacht goes to sea or require immediate attention.
  • Category 2 - These should be rectified within the indicated timescale.
  • Category 3 - These should be dealt with as soon as practical, as a rolling program of a yacht’s maintenance.


It is often the case that ‘Type 1’ recommendations are used to renegotiate the price.  This is where the clarity of the issue is paramount. This is due to the fact that the current owner will understand the issue and not think you are trying it on.  In many cases the cost of the survey will pay for itself through these negotiations.


Step 8 – Acceptance

This is where the final price is finalised and payment is made. A ‘Bill of Sale’ should always be used.  From the date of acceptance you are the new owner and you are responsible for costs such as berthing and insurance.


Step 9 – Enjoy your new boat!