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Why do I need a marine surveyor?

We can answer that be telling you the advantages that a survey provides:

  • A list of safety hazards that may endager you and/or your family
  • A list of deficiencies that can effect the price of the vessel and/or help in your negotiating a purchase price
  • An insurance record of the condition of the vessel at the time of survey, which is invaluable in the case of a collision/allision, sinking or fire.
  • A record if condition for a future buyer


Why not hire the cheapest surveyor?

In this case the old saying holds true: “you get what you pay for.” A surveyor charging less than his competitors is most likely inexperienced or not fully vested in the profession. Anyone can print a business card and build a web site saying they are a surveyor. Career surveyors are very qualified, members of SAMS (Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors) and/or NAMS (National Association of Marine Surveyors) and are current with these organizations’ stringent educational and ethical requirements. An experienced surveyor is going to charge a fair price and provide a thorough presentation of the vessel’s condition and provide valuable feedback on repair options and resources.


What do you charge?

There are too many variables to each customer’s situation to provide a blanket price. Contact us for a quote. We have a reputation for providing a very thorough report with customized service.


What is your availability?

We try to adhere to customers’ schedules as much as possible. We usually only need about 3 days notice to schedule an appointment. If a weekend is desired, we need at least 7 days since those are the days that fill first.


Do I want an out-of-water survey or in-the-water?

If the insurance company is asking for the survey, ask them exactly what they are looking for so you don’t waste any money obtaining services beyond what the insurance company requires. If you are purchasing, an out-of-water and in-the-water survey and sea trial from a qualified surveyor will give you the most thorough picture of the vessel you are buying.


Can I be there for the survey?

You are welcome to attend but it is not required. It is optimal if the customer arrives near the end of the inspection. This way, the customer is not waiting for hours and the surveyor can take you through the vessel efficiently and give you full attention to consult on its deficiencies.


What (geographic) areas do you cover?

Most of Lake Michigan, Green Bay, and the Mississippi river.


What do you do as part of an inspection / survey?

We inspect every accessible area of the vessel from bow to stern. We are inspecting the hull and deck structure, plumbing, electrical, and mechanical systems. We do not engage in destructive testing, meaning we do not disassemble systems or compartments to gain access to every part of the vessel. Compartments, joinery, or fixed parts are not considered “accessible” within the normal scope of an inspection. If circumstances arise in which some disassembly is required to determine the condition of a particular system, the surveyor may recommend, as part of the report, further inspection by a qualified marine technician.

Also, the report includes the surveyor’s opinion of the vessel’s fair market value, which will help you set a sale price or negotiate a purchase price.


Do you do compression or leak down tests?

We look for abnormalities and refer you to the specialist. When talking about marine engines the tools we use are the visual inspection and the sea trial. If you are not getting good compression, that is likely to show up in the RPMs or speed during a sea trial. It may also be evident in the appearance or smell of the exhaust. These observations may also indicate fuel system problems, ignition problems, or running gear problems. These problems are not detectable from a compression test or leak down test. Compression and leak down tests also run the risk of being inaccurate for many reasons.  An inspection by a qualified marine mechanic is usually recommended when buying a used boat.


Do you perform moisture checks of the boat’s hull?

A moisture analysis of the hull and deck is performed during every survey. This includes:

  • A visual inspection for any signs of water infiltration
  • “Sounding” with a plastic hammer
  • Analysis with two moisture meters

With these three tools, we can deduce what is going on in the hull or deck. The findings are explained in detail in every survey.


How do I prepare for the survey?

  • It is helpful if registration papers and title are onboard for me to review.
  • It is helpful if the vessel is clean and free of clutter.
  • No areas on the vessel will be inspected if tools are needed for access.
  • Tell us ahead of time if there are certain areas of the vessel you are concerned with so we can analyze the area and provide a thorough response to your concerns.