Using a marine surveyor
Types of survey
Terms & Conditions
Survey contract
Booking a survey
. 1-Glossary
. 2-The Safety Culture
. 3-Skin Fittings
. 4-Marine engine development
. 5-Diesel oil in wood
. 6-Timber problems
. 7-Stainless Steel
. 8-Documentation
. 9-Legal Matters
. 10-Galvanic action-Electrolysis
. 11-LPG systems
. 12-Yard storage
Discussion room



A traditional chore
Over the centuries good ship owners have kept detailed records of each of their vessels and its trading mainly to keep the taxman and the law at bay. But keeping a ship’s papers, log, maintenance and refurbishment records accurately and in order were also important factors should she ever come onto the market and dangerous ‘rot-buckets’ could frequently be detected by looking through the records (or noting the lack of significant records) before any inspection of the actual vessel was carried out.
Before MP Samuel Plimsoll pushed through The merchant Shipping Act (1876) overloaded and rotting merchant ships were frequently put to sea so that the owners could claim insurance on the vessel and its alleged cargo when it sank, usually with all hands. Such vessels were known to seafarers as ‘coffin ships’.
With the advent of the private yacht the good practice, forced by the law onto all merchant shipping owners in the late nineteenth century, was reflected by a different set of owners and many records survive in the archives long after the vessel itself has ceased to exist. Today, with thousands of privately owned yachts and cruisers on the water, keeping the records can be as important as it ever was.
Pressure from the insurance man
Insurance companies have become increasingly aware of the risks that they cover in providing for privately owned, leisure craft. As a result ‘best practice’ codes have developed in an attempt to define what is, or is not, acceptable to most insurers. LPG systems, standing rigging, skin fittings, safety equipment and indeed any area which could produce calamitous results should failure occur are all under scrutiny and keeping the right records is fast becoming an essential element. If the records don’t exist a surveyor can only report that he ‘has been informed that...’ from which the underwriters must draw their own conclusions!
Making a sale
A wise buyer (or more likely his/her surveyor) will spend some time reviewing a boat’s documentation before making the final commitment or agreeing the actual price. For example accepting that the standing rigging on a twelve year old sailing cruiser was replaced two or three years ago without having the bills to back it up could well mean that the proud new owner’s first move, before a sail comes out of its sailbag, will be to replace the rigging. It’s tough but its true!
That shiny, stainless wire may be only three years old but, without the bills to prove it, many insurers won’t want to know. And the material itself will not necessarily show any outward signs that it is coming to the end of its useful life.
So if you’re on the other side, having the right paperwork gives confidence to your potential buyer and his/her surveyor, to your yacht broker, if you’re using one, and your own surveyor when the inevitable insurance survey is called for. Popping receipts for everything into the ‘boat file’ along with all the other ship‘s documents (Bill of sale, VAT certification, VHF licence and so on...) could save you a lot of time, a lot of hassle and, in the long run, a bob or two!