This survey is very thorough and, besides the actual physical inspection and inventory of the vessel’s equipment, usually includes moisture meter testing of the hull underbody and deck surfaces, verification of the operating condition of the engine(s) and electronic equipment and the condition of all of the vessel’s various system such as electrical and plumbing. A sea trial is also part of the inspection  if the customer requests it and conditions permit.  The surveyor will also research and attach a current market retail value for the vessel. Any defects found by the survey inspection may influence the eventual purchase  price of the vessel. The price of a survey inspection is very minor compared to the overall cost of a used boat. In spite of this I am always amazed that some potential buyers will consider making a purchase amounting to tens of thousands of dollars and yet balk at the cost of a pre-purchase survey. 


Insurance companies periodically require a survey inspection of their policy holders’ boats in order to ascertain the condition of the vessel and its current market value in order to assess risk. Just how often an insurance company will require a survey varies but most insurance companies are now requiring a current survey on their policy holders’  boats every three to five years. In my opinion,  the insurance survey should provide the same in depth inspection as a pre-purchase survey and most surveyors today really do not differentiate between the two.


This type of survey is often required by banks or other lending institutions before money is advanced to one of their customers who is considering buying a used boat. Most often the bank wants to know what shape the vessel is in and what its current market value is. In my experience this type of survey is much more prevalent in the U.S. as compared to Canada.