Preparing for the Pre-Purchase Survey:
The surveying of a vessel requires that the surveyor be able to observe/ inspect/ check a lot of things in a short amount of time. It is most helpful if the following guidelines, if they can be safely followed, are observed:
1. ENGINES AND GENSET(S) MUST BE COLD AT THE BEGINNING OF THE SURVEY INSPECTION, SO THAT THE SURVEYOR WILL BE ABLE TO INSPECT THE EQUIPMENT AND OBSERVE THE ENGINES/GENSETS AT COLD START UP. ENGINE KEYS MUST BE ABOARD AT THE START OF THE SURVEY INSPECTION. IF SO EQUIPPED, PROPELLER LOCK KEYS SHOULD BE ABOARD, AND READILY ACCESSIBLE.
2. The owner or the owner’s representative must have the vessel's papers on board, and be available for the entire time of the survey to operate the vessel during the trial run, and demonstrate all machinery aboard the vessel. This may take the better part of the day, or longer.
3. The survey requester will be responsible for the entire haul out expense, unless prior arrangements are made. This expense will need to be arranged/paid beforehand, or at the time of the haul out. Cash or credit cards are usually accepted; it is best to verify this beforehand.
AT TIME OF HAUL OUT, VESSEL BOTTOM MUST BE CLEAN AND FREE OF ANY SIGNIFICANT MARINE GROWTH. MARINE GROWTH PREVENTS THE HULL BOTTOM FROM BEING PROPERLY INSPECTED, AND WILL REQUIRE PRESSURE CLEANING TO REMOVE ANY SIGNIFICANT GROWTH PRESENT- PLEASE PLAN ACCORDINGLY WHEN THE HAUL OUT IS ARRANGED.
4. The Surveyor’s fee will need to be paid before date of survey unless prior arrangements are made.
5. The time required at haul out varies between a minimum of 30- 45 minutes to check the bottom of a 35 foot vessel, to an hour or more for a 45 foot vessel, and so on. A ninety foot vessel may require two hours or more. If the survey includes a mechanical inspection of a pair of outboards or stern drives, an additional 30- 45++ minutes will be required for the out of the water portion- It's best to plan ahead!
6. Adequate fuel supply aboard for a proper water test. NOTE: Absent full pressure testing of all tankage, a good practical method of checking for tank leakage is to HAVE ALL FUEL AND WATER TANKS FULL AT TIME OF SURVEY.
7. Shore power electrical cord connected and powered up at the berth.
8. Fresh water tank(s) should have an adequate supply of water for testing of all fresh water system components; however, a full tank will go a long way towards proving that there are no leaks in the tankage.
9. Waste tank should not be completely full.
10. All extraneous equipment and gear should be removed and stored ashore to provide for proper access to all areas of the vessel.
11. The number of passengers aboard should be kept to a minimum: With the need to remove hatches, gear and what not, and move around quickly to inspect everything, the surveyor will need all the space on board that he can get.The more people that are in the way, the more difficult it is to perform a proper survey inspection.
12. Time: A complete survey and water test of a thirty five foot express will be a two-thirds-day affair. A seventy foot vessel can take two days. An eighty five footer three days; engine inspections can add yet more time: The water test portion of the survey should be adequate in length to check all pertinent systems and performance, but it is not meant to be a joy ride: Please plan accordingly. The official report follows within 5 business days, sometimes sooner if required.
13. Water and Food: A long day in the sun can really take it out of you; and boat yards can be notoriously steamy: Fresh water/ refreshments a packed lunch or lunch plan, and sunscreen are vital; Don't forget to bring refreshments!
14. Patience, flexibility, and perhaps a sense of humor: Sometimes things don’t go according to plan.
Bill Potter wants to make the survey experience as informative and easy as possible!