What’s a yacht and small craft marine surveyor worth?


Pause for a moment and ponder. How much is your life and safety at sea worth? Priceless? Yet many people misunderstand the worth of a surveyor, whose job is to ensure your safety at sea by surveying your expensive, potential purchase. Instructing a surveyor is not a distress purchase where price is all-important. 

If you are about to invest a significant sum, why would you be concerned about a few hundred pounds for a professional’s services to ensure the vessel is sound, fit for purpose and worth its price? A survey is one of the best investments you will make as part of your yacht buying process.

Surveyors come from various backgrounds with a variety of skills. By using their expertise, they can determine if you are about to make a serious financial mistake, or not. 

As providers of highly technical, professional services, surveyors are no different from other professionals; e.g. accountants or solicitors. They provide excellent services and charge an appropriate fee; a surveyor is no different. 
Instructing a surveyor can be daunting for both experienced boaters as well as first timers. Many people will choose a surveyor based on location. It pays to shop around as prices vary, but beware – someone who is considerably cheaper than the rest may not be the best and you generally get what you pay for! 

A tip is to engage a surveyor who is a member of a professional body, or surveying organisation. Avoid those who are not part of such an organisation.

Choose a surveyor who has the skills to survey your particular vessel. If you are planning to purchase a wooden boat, choosing someone who specialises in modern GRP yachts is not be the right surveyor. A quick check on the surveyor’s website or the listing on one of the organisations’ websites can help.  Ask about his/her experience of handling projects similar to yours. 

Technologies change fast. New models come on to the market. Composites and materials change. Is your chosen surveyor equipped to deal with these? The International Institute of Marine Surveying makes things easier. Those surveyors who are up-to-date with their continuing professional development are highlighted on their website listing.
There is no fixed price for a survey. Some price per foot, or per metre. Others offer a set price. 

As a rule of thumb for a medium sized, production yacht expect a surveyor to be on site for the day. Most surveyors will spend a further day compiling their report. You are paying a professional practitioner for two days of his/her time. 
Being a surveyor can be an uncompromising job. Not always will you like their findings and sometimes they must deliver bad news. But that is preferable to knowingly letting someone put to sea in a vessel that is unfit.

Formed in 1991, the International Institute of Marine Surveying is the leading worldwide professional body for surveyors with a membership of 1,000 in 97 countries.


see www.iims.org.uk

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