We are happy to answer questions you may have if you cannot get the info you need off this website: 1-800-245-4425

Visit our YouTube channel!

We are asking a favor. If you could send, bring or email a copy of this to your local boat trader, boat wrapper, or boat newspaper it would help our organization with its REACH. Many newspapers are looking for free articles and please feel free to forward in your locale. This has become a very helpful tool in all respects

January 2021

We wish you a Happy New Year and like all of you glad to say goodbye to 2020. The bright spot is boat sales rose possibly due to Recovery Funds. Stay safe and standing by. If you are a transferring or inactive, give a call and we will make it easy to get together.

October 2020

NavTech News Fall Edition

October 2020

As we head into the winter season, please remember to stay safe.  We try hard here at headquarters to help you stay safe and pursue your boating professions. As COVID continues, we are constantly fine tuning our courses online to give you more honesty, efficiency and interface with your professional and personal boating experience. We avoid "gatekeeping" for knowledge and education at all costs.  We are educators first and put our students first.  We thank you for your kind words and support.  For current students--would you please get your exams in.

August 2020

NO GATEKEEPING! We would like to pause and send out thank you to all who have trusted us with your marine surveyor training, especially over the last 6 months. We know times are tough for some of us and for others, we have been able to reflect on what we really want to do with the rest of our lives. Our job is to show you how to use your knowledge and experience to make a better life by doing for business--what you love--boating. Often I forget to say thank you enough for trusting us to show you that you have what it takes. Education isn't about "gatekeeping." It's about knowledge sharing so that we all succeed at what we love best. Thank you.

July 2020

Welcome to our YouTube channel!

June 2020



This training is for the surveyor who wants to understand the rigging and sails systems on sailboats. An excellent guide for the surveyor who would like to add “climbing the stick” as part of their inspection services. This course offers a separate certificate and more detailed training than what is available in our popular Recreational and Small Commercial Master Marine Surveyor Course. A separate diploma is offered. Student/Member Price $45. Non Student/Non Member $95.


This training is for the surveyor who wants to understand engines. The guide covers the basics of all engine types and provides confidence building for report writing: Gas, Diesel, Jet Drives, Exotics. Checklists for report writings. Student/Member Price $45. Non Student/Non Member $95.

June 2020

Thank you for enrolling with us. Our COVID professional bundle online is hugely successful. We welcome our new students and please all, get your diplomas in as soon as possible. Summer is coming, storm season is coming...we stand by to help.

May 2020

During COVID 19 Restrictions
Online Only $995
Professional Surveyor Bundle
4 Certifications
Accident and Fraud Investigation
Introduction to Commerical Ship Inspection
Corrosion Control
Also available at an online discount:
Inter-Modal Cargo
Legal Guide for Marine Surveyors

March 2020

We will get through this because we believe the safest place to be, and you help make it that way--is on a boat. Students, members and friends: We have taken all Covid-19 precautions in our office and we sanitize all binders and courses before they are sent. We ask that you stay safe during your inspections. Wear gloves and if need be in tight spaces wear masks. Follow all guidelines.

March 2020

For thirty plus years Navtech has made and efficient, user friendly, distance learning program for experienced mariners. If you have been thinking about marine surveyor training, now is the best time to get started while we wait out this Corona Virus paradigm. We have always put safety first. All courses and binders are sanitized before the leave the office and always have been. We stand by to help.

March 2020

Accident and Fraud Investigation course may be for you. Accident and Fraud Investigation course has been revised, edited and annotated. It is also now online. Take advantage of special student/member pricing.

February 2020

Houseboats? Yes, we are always adding training information about houseboats. Alabama fire in the news.

January 2020

We often get asked about insurance for your business. Errors and Omissions is indeed expensive but may be necessary for your locale and operation. We often get asked about necessary business tools for practicing. Email us for our recommendation flyer. It's New Year...time for a New Business.

Winter 2020

Thank you all for your continued support. Please remember to like our Facebook page at NavtechUSSurveyors. Enrolled students, please get your exams into headquarters so we can add you to our web page and continuing education updates. We have a new white paper: Algae Toxins and the Boater. Please contact for a copy. Thank You for Your Support. Please like, share your stories, and photos, and friend us on Facebook at NavtechUSSurveyors. If you have something for members only please email to or Wishing You and Yours Prosperity Hope and Joy for 2020!

May, 2019

Summer 2019 NavTech News

September, 2018

Hurricane Season is upon us and the storms are lined up crossing the Atlantic. Now is the time to consider Accident and Fraud Investigation course. Batten down and get ready when ordered. A Navtech US Surveyor is standing by to help you.

July, 2018

Students and members: Please get your exams in for grading! Don't forget to post to the website.

March, 2018

THANK YOU! In our busy worlds, we often forget to thank those who are most important to us. We had the most successful renewal year in our 30 year history. I know that makes our web master/designer happy! Thank you all for your continued confidence. A special thank you to Attorney George Castagnola who continues to offer 30 minutes of legal consultation by phone or email. A titanic thank you to Frank Lawson who continues to care about your professionalism over and above by sending copies of unusual pictures and reports for our Facebook page. Don't forget to like our Facebook page and send postings or pictures. Thank you for sharing your reports and news. We now look to the future.

Staff at Headquarters

May, 2017

Navtech USSurveyors now has added online training. This online study exam is a welcome addition to our globally recognized correspondence courses and can be used as a stand-alone training or a supplement to course materials. MMS certification is offered. "Flexibility in learning is now the protocol for our sophisticated and knowledgeable mariners. Those who are experienced in the boating business will find the online training very suitable to their time constrained and busy professions. No shortcuts on knowledge, just greater savings of time and money. As always we serve the boating business." says long time Director Dr. Virginia Harper.

February, 2017

Many surveyors will misrepresent themselves as being associated with, affiliated with or part of US Surveyors. We have been around for such a long time that many surveyors have taken our courses and forget that they must renew to stay active in US Surveyors. Students may always advertise the fact they they have gone through our courses by using our Navtech name. But it is clearly stated in our courses that members must renew annually to stay active. So, if you are a former student or member and you would like this organization to continue to confirm your references and your affiliation as an active surveyor, please renew. Please do not place headquarters in an unethical and possibly litigious position.

May, 2016

Spring 2016 Newsletter available now!

February, 2016

NAVTECH Policies and Procedures

October, 2015

October 2015 Newsletter

September, 2015

September 2015 Newsletter

June, 2015

Summer Special is back! Order in the Master Marine Surveyor discount enrollment and receive The Accident and Fraud Investigation with Expert Witness Guidelines at no cost.

May, 2015

Get ready for summer boating season.  From Navtech USSA: Send for your free “PRESEASON CHECKLIST!”  Email or Call!

April, 2015

Navtech USSA Spring News!

Welcome New Members and Friends.  Many of you invite yourselves to come visit us during the winter months.  Please do.  While we have downsized our offices, you are always welcome to stop by!

Here’s hoping our Northern friends are thawing out.  We note cargo shipping brought almost to a complete halt on the Great Lakes and fishing in the Cape Cod area because of deep freezes!

Don’t forget to review our pre-launch checklist in your guide.

Good News coming from ABYC:
COMING SOON! ABYC National Group Insurance

Due to tremendous interest in offering a program that will help manage mandatory insurance costs, ABYC is getting ready to launch a National Group Insurance Program exclusively for our members. If you are a mobile marine technician, mechanic, surveyor, consultant, boat broker or naval architect and need liability or professional negligence insurance, this will be a great opportunity to obtain competitive rates for your business.   We will be sharing more information in the coming weeks, so keep your eyes open and check our website (

Stay in touch.

April 1, 2015
Members:  Warm weather is coming fast! Finally.
Reminder: this list is in your Recreational and Small Commercial Course.

January, 2015

2015 Winter News

April, 2014

The Marine Surveyor and Distance Learning.pdf

August, 2013

Members, send us your pictures so we can post them to our facebook page. The more interesting inspections the better. Visit us on facebook at Navtech US Surveyors.

June, 2013

Visit our Facebook page NavtechUSSA on Facebook!

February, 2013


It has been over 25 years since our founding. While our courses and training have changed with the times, we continue turning experienced mariners into the best marine surveyors in the world…literally. Most of the working surveyors today have trained at some time or other with us. We are proud to have you with us! There are big changes again this year, especially within the fishing vessel inspection industry. Anytime we can help, please contact us.

October, 2012

MEMBERS: Renew early and receive THE LEGAL GUIDE FOR THE MARINE SURVEYOR absolutely free.

Your fellow Master Marine Surveyor, Author George Castagnola, is offering you his course: THE LEGAL GUIDE FOR THE MARINE SURVEYOR absolutely free for renewing your membership early.

Please call Navtech Headquarters for more information, to renew and to sign up for the free course.


October, 2012

Members, please click the following link for Notice of CFVS Examination Requirement.

September, 2012

Can My Insurer Require Yacht Surveyor’s ‘Recommended’ Repairs?
By David Weil, Esq. | Featured in The Log News 9/1/2011

Q: I recently hauled out my boat at a local yard for routine maintenance. While it was out of the water, I had the boat surveyed ― pursuant to a request by my insurance company.

We are now ready to launch the boat, but the insurance company wants us to complete all of the surveyor’s recommendations as a condition for their renewal of the policy. We’re a little annoyed at this, since a lot of the recommendations seem to be along the line of cosmetic issues rather than problems that will affect the safety or seaworthiness of the boat. We called around to a few other insurance brokers, but they all require this work to be completed. Is there any way to get around this requirement? What risks do we face if we don’t complete all the recommendations?

A: Marine insurance companies evaluate the risk of a particular yacht policy based on a lot of factors, and the physical c ondition of the boat is, of course, an important consideration. The survey report is usually their only tool for evaluating the condition of the boat, and they invariably require the items listed on the report as “recommendations” to be addressed as a condition for issuing or renewing the policy.

Many yacht owners are inclined to take care of the “important” items on the surveyor’s list of recommendations, while overlooking some of the items that they perceive to be less important. They may believe that these lesser projects are “cosmetic” in nature, and that the insurance company will be unlikely to learn of the oversight. However, the signed statement required by most insurance companies to confirm the completion of survey recommendations must be executed by the yacht owner in good faith, and a misrepresentation will probably lead to the denial of an insurance claim.

Marine insurance policies are generally controlled by the doctrine of “uberrimae fidei,” requiring the parties to the policy to deal in “utmost good faith.” Simply put, this doctrine requires the yacht owner to disclose any information that may be related in any way to the coverage that is being considered, and to deal with the insurance company in good faith in all aspects of that relationship.

Failure to do so may lead to their denial of an insurance claim, even if the oversight had nothing whatsoever to do with the loss.

Most insurance companies will require the deficiencies noted as “recommendations” in a survey report to be corrected, and a misrepresentation or inaccuracy in that communication will be deemed a violation of the insured’s obligation to deal with the insurance company in “utmost good faith.”

If a yacht owner wants to be relieved of the obligation to correct all of the recommendations on a report, his or her first course of action should be to discuss the report with the surveyor. This is actually a good idea, regardless of the insurance issues.

A marine surveyor is an expert in evaluating the condition of a boat, and the survey report provides valuable information to the boat owner that may not otherwise come to light. Most survey reports include a narrative discussion and a set of “notes,” in addition to the more serious “recommendations.” Insurance underwriters do not typically require any action to be taken for items that appear in the discussion or “notes” section of the report. A boat owner may, therefore, have an opportunity while discussing the report with the surveyor to move certain questionable items from the “recommendations” section to one of the less critical sections of the report.

If the surveyor is reluctant to reclassify any of his findings, there may, nonetheless, be some amount of flexibility in dealing with the insurance company. But the key ― in all of this ― is communication. The insurance company may agree that the replacement of a cosmetic feature of the yacht’s interior is not necessary, but the yacht owner may void the insurance coverage if he or she reaches that conclusion without the insurance company’s cooperation.

The denial of a marine insurance claim may be based on various factors ― but, regardless of the basis for denial, it may subject a yacht owner to a catastrophic loss of thousands of dollars. The completion or negotiation of a list of survey recommendations is a comparatively simple process that will help to keep your coverage intact.

David Weil is licensed to practice law in the state of California and, as such, some of the information provided in this column may not be applicable in a jurisdiction outside of California. Please note also that no two legal situations are alike, and it is impossible to provide accurate legal advice without knowing all the facts of a particular situation. Therefore, the information provided in this column should not be regarded as individual legal advice, and readers should not act upon this information without seeking the opinion of an attorney in their home state.

David Weil is the managing attorney at Weil & Associates ( in Long Beach. He is an adjunct professor of Admiralty Law at Loyola University Law School, is a member of the Maritime Law Association of the United States and is former legal counsel to the Californi a Yacht Brokers Association. He is also one of a small group of attorneys to be certified as an Admiralty and Maritime Law Specialist by the State Bar of California. If you have a maritime law question for Weil, he can be contacted at (562) 438-8149 or at

August, 2012

Don't miss out on our 2012 summer discounts. We only offer these discounts once a year. If you have thought of entering the marine surveying profession, take advantage of the best distance learning using your experience as background. Please contact us at 800-245-4425 or local 239-481-5150 for details! Hurry, discounts end soon.

April, 2012

Surveyors: Click here to see our introductory video on youtube!

November, 2011

Hiring Surveyors: Submit your resume by visiting then select Marine Survey.

October, 2011

Navtech USSA has been around the boating business now for almost 25 years. When we started, distance training, while a vital part of the education industry, was regarded somewhat skeptically, especially in the hands on profession of marine surveying. However, time has proven us to be future predictors, groundbreakers and forerunners of simple, efficient training and certification. Thank you for support over the years. In answer to one of the most asked questions we receive, please read our certification summary: Certification programs should always have a terminal examination. Certification should be based upon pre requisites or standards based learning. Standards such as USCG and DOT regs dictate marine surveyor training. Certification programs should interface material covered in the exam with necessary components of conducting the business. Certification such as our school is both broad based and complimentary to vendor based (Navtech--education/school) and non-proprietary certification (USSA-trde association). Diplomas from courses are not generally the same as certificates of membership.

September, 2011

We have added two new courses in the last year: Our newest course, the Navtech Marine Surveyor's Took Kit is a cost-effective business start up guide. The Marine Surveyor Refresher Course is free to our members for CPU credit and may be purchased by professional surveyors of other organizatinos by contacting headquarters.

December 1, 2009

Need a surveyor?  Check the membership roster for your state.  Click on the Boat Buying Guide....and yes, we have a boat inspection short form checklist that you can simply email and ask us for and we will send as an attachment.  Note: For our complete surveyor comprehensive marine surveyor forms and for our standard ethics checklist, you must be a full active member.  Those forms are available only on the Members Only section of the website.

July 4, 2009

Type of Survey

Types of Surveys for Modern Surveying of Craft

Condition survey The most common form of survey when buying a secondhand boat, which should cover all aspects of the boats condition. It should also include an out of water assessment of the hull condition along with detailed assessments of metal thickness, etc.  A full written report is provided on completion and will generally include an estimated market value as part of the valuation survey. This survey should also include an engine or mechanical survey.
External hull survey It is becoming increasingly common for insurance companies, and some finance companies to request this survey. It is less onerous than a full condition survey and is often used for intermittent insurance updates or quick sales/appraisals--buyer beware.
Valuation survey Again, far less cumbersome than a full condition survey, but which will provide a guide to the current market value. Be careful if you use this as your only basis for purchase as it will not include an out of water survey, or cover major components or systems in detail, but probably better than nothing asking a friend or mechanic for advice. Ideally the valuation survey should form part of your condition survey.
Damage survey As the name suggests, only carried out after an accident, Act of God, sinking, piracy or sometimes used in mediation disputes with insurance companies to arrive at a second opinion.
Tonnage survey
This is generally required if you are applying for a marine mortgage, loan, sponsorship or for registration/restrictions under foreign registry.
Repossesion/Default Survey:  This Survey is for institutions and lien holders requesting present condition and could incorporate all of above.

February 15, 2009

Surveyor Secrets*

The following checklist is gleaned from a combined 523 years of experience from our best surveyors.  Don’t be surprised by the fact that your survey said “sound and seaworthy” (sic) and then the boat didn’t perform well on the water. 

Indicators of Previous Sinking:  Mud, dirt, sand in tight spaces and bilges.  Check spaces where decks join hull and hidden bulkheads.  Always review boat’s history.

Fire Damage Indicators:  Use destructive testing, ultra sounding.  Check fiberglass core .

Bad wiring, fire in wiring, sinkage damaged wiring:  Corroded wires throughout.  Burnt ends.  Hastily reapplied ends.  Look at all terminals in panels and wire ends.

Excessive mold and mildew:  Sinkage, partially sunk, not cared for.  Long term storage.

Cracks in hull:  Critical areas of the hull that present are beneath engine stringers, at bow, encircling rudder, post or shaft.  (Trivial gel coat cracking should be indicated as well).

Engine:  Look for excessive rust.  Remove oil filler.  Inspect as far as you can see to and past rocker arms.  Dirty? Rusty? Sludge buildup?  Have a mirror affixed to a long wand to look under, behind the engine, for rust, oil leaks etc.  Always recommend an engine survey.

Wet hulls:  A moisture meter by itself does not indicate a wet hull.  And a dry hull can be just as deceptive.  Know the boat’s history.

Blisters:  Many good used boats will have some blistering. Some boats had factory recalls especially during the late 1980’s.  Check the USCG website for factory recalls for the past 25 years.  Some great boats will have some blistering problems that can be readily fixed with time and money.  Use your inspection judgment.

Fuel Tanks:  See engine above and use a wand mirror to check as far as possible over under and around tanks.  Iron fuel tanks are common in older boats.  Check for water under tanks.  Use a clean rag and wipe all over the tank, under and around the bilge, AND ESPECIALLY THE CORNERS. If you see fuel or oil on the rag, caution the boat owner or buyer to have the tank lifted for further inspection or possible replacement. Fiberglass tanks?  Use the same due diligence because of the ethanol creep with fiberglass.

Deck and topside:  When water enters the sandwich through screw or bolt holes or flaws, serious problems arise.  Check for discolored paneling, flooring, painting. Port holes, hatches, doors, gangways  with water stains or filtering may indicate past problems.

Superstructure coring:  Check for coring and fiberglass thickness using a thickness gage.  Older boats will have weaker coring but the amount of fiberglass  repair can often compensate. 

*Navtech US Surveyors Association           Copyright 2009

November 27, 2006

At Navtech US Surveyors, we have helped the professional expert for over 20 years.  In fact, we are the one true source for continuing education expertise.  What would be your professional answers to the following definitions and how can Navtech USSA help you?

Are You An Expert?
"an expert is a person who has made all the mistakes which can be made in a very narrow field..."  Physicist Niels Bohr

You are considered an expert by others.  The title marine surveyor shows the public you have the desired knowledge to be a professional authority.  Researchers (Cortada, 2001) define an expert by the following criteria:
  1. One who has much training in and knowledge of a particular subject.
  2. Experts are very familiar with a large number of facts about a subject, but more importantly knows where to get more facts in a timely fashion.
  3. Experts know how to stay current and apply current knowledge on the subject. Experts read the current journals, important books, and consult in a collegial fashion with other experts. 
  4. Experts know and recognize other experts in their fields.
  5. Experts are recognized as experts because they practice their body of expertise regularly.
  6. Experts usually make a living applying their subject knowledge.
  7. Experts add to, expand, and help define the scope of their field of knowledge.
  8. Experts gain recognition by winning awards in their profession.
  9. Finally, an expert has learned by trial and error and has made many mistakes.

Have a Great 2007.

November 22, 2006

We celebrate 20 years of training marine surveyors in 2007.  Thank you for your continued support.  We appreciate that you have joined us in our quest for improving the marine industry both personally and in your business.  Our members have now performed surveys for more than an estimated one million boating customers internationally, for banks, underwriters and personal clients.

We have trained more than 70% of working surveyors in all organizations and membership societies, with at least one of our courses or course programs.  Our surveyors run the marine spectrum and perform inspection reports for recreational, charter, large commercial and fishing vessels.  In the past year we have added our Marine Surveyors Guide to Pollution Control.  Please note, the price of the Library Package will rise to $1595 on January 1, 2007.  If you are thinking of ordering, please order before January 1 to save money.  Special thanks to our webmaster Lori Brooks who is always ready for your interactive needs.  We look forward to serving you for the next twenty years as well.

Update for 2006

Navtech US Surveyors continues to grow.  The marine surveying business has become increasingly important as hurricanes and natural disasters affect the boating business.  We also have students and members serving in war zones who are able to use their inspection knowledge in evaluating repair and refitting of boats during rebuilding. We have added a 6th course:  The Marine Surveyor's Guide to Pollution Control and Inspection.  It can be purchased separately or this course is included with the Library Package as well. There are no price increases for 2006.  Please call us if you would like to discuss our courses, enrollment, or need help determing the best course for your business needs.

Update for 2004

We have many new services for our students and members!  Contact headquarters for all the details on our new courses and services and free reprints!

US Surveyors beats all competitors hands down in training, networking, member support and ethical business practices. US Surveyors stands by its Code of Ethics and its members and stays above underhanded, unethical, and conflict of interest business practices.  

A Fourth of July Message

Navtech US Surveyors wishes the boating public a safe and patriotic 4th of July 2002.  Please boat responsibly.  Watch for factors and combinations of factors which can affect boating operation and boat damage:  alcohol, overloading, weather, timing and distance from land.  Please have a safe vessel inspection check by your local Power Squadron or USCG Auxiliary and in extreme cases, make sure if you need a surveyor, don't hesitate to call one.

Boat Smart and Boat Safe

The summer boating season is well underway.  Some of you are busier than ever helping re-launch used boats, transfer them, appraise them for insurance renewals.  Some of you are still finishing up coursework that you began in the cold, dark winter months and many of you will use the summer to begin your coursework and get an apprentice business season under your tool-belts.  Since summer is also the time of year when most boating accidents occur, we ask that you remember over Memorial Day...with Safe Boating Week...and especially over the 4th of July and Labor Day....please Boat Smart and Boat Safe.  This is also a good time to review your very own personal boating safety practices as you go about your business. Spend some time re-reading the courses, reviewing the material, and fine-tuning your paperwork.  In the Members Only section, members will find information about fine-tuning their wording and warranty clauses.   Headquarters will be open throughout the summer season.  Faxing to us is best in the early morning hours.  We will be glad to send Safe Boating Flyers to those visiting us here at the website.  SEND A SELF-ADDRESSED STAMPED ENVELOPE TO HEADQUARTERS at 13430 McGregor Blvd. Ft. Myers, Florida  33919.

Most of all...relax, enjoy the warmth and sunshine and feel blessed that we are able to work and play at what we all enjoy most.

Give thanks to whatever or whoever you believe your Creator to be....

Accredited?  Certified?  Know Your Surveyors Credentials! 

Don't be fooled by misleading titles, letters and organizations claiming to be "the only approved" one. There are many of these so-called approving/membership/accredited/certified organizations. US Surveyors Association members are  Master Marine Surveyors who have passed extensive coursework based on need for their own business acumen.

 * Accreditations by nationally recognized coursework from Navtech Marine Surveyor School. 

 *Certifications with membership number are issued by US Surveyors Association.  Check your surveyor references or ask any other surveying related questions by calling 1-800-245-4425.

Everything You Wanted To Know About Marine Surveys

(This article was written for Houseboating World magazine)

So,  you have decided either to buy your first houseboat or have decided to upgrade to larger boat and  either your bank or insurance company has said the magic words “Marine Survey”.   In this article I will attempt to dispel some of the myths and fairy tales that you have heard or possibly will hear regarding this subject.

To begin with many banks, financial institutions and insurance company’s want a survey performed by an “accredited” marine surveyor.  Some “first time” boat owners want a marine survey performed because they realize that they are new to boating and want a professional opinion.

What is an “Accredited” Marine Surveyor ? 

A Marine Surveyor is a person who by virtue of their experience or training is considered a subject matter expert in the field of  boat or seagoing vessel inspections and appraisals.  There is no official singular or governmental organization that certifies, registers or qualifies Marine Surveyors.. Anyone who tells you that they are a U.S Coast Guard Certified Marine Surveyor will be telling you a fairy tale.  The US Coast Guard  does not   and never has approved or certified Marine Surveyors.

Many Marine Surveyors are “accredited” by the professional organizations that they belong to.  Most of these organizations set stringent professional expectations of their membership and in some cases will bestow qualification titles such as “certified”, “accredited” or “registered” upon the members. Regardless of what you hear or are told there is no one organization that is any better than the other.   There are typically three major national organizations that Marine Surveyors belong to or are members of. All three have very rigid membership requirements and all three are very good at promoting professionalism within their ranks. Most Marine Surveyors are members of at least one of these and some may be members of two or more . These organizations are as follows:

National Association of Marine Surveyors  (NAMS)

U. S  Surveyors Association  (USSA)

Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors (SAMS)

Types of Surveys:

There are several different reasons to have a marine survey performed. These typically are:

Pre-Purchase :  where you the perspective owner, hire a marine surveyor to conduct a survey and tell you the general condition and value of the vessel.

Insurance Survey :  where the insurance company wants information and inspection on the vessel to determine if it’s an acceptable insurance risk.

Appraisal Survey: where the bank, financial institution or legal entity wants information and appraisal  to determine  the condition and fair market value of the vessel.

Damage Surveywhere the insurance company or claimant wants to determine or estimate the costs and extent of damage or repairs and in some cases determine the probable cause of the damage.

Surveyor Qualifications: 

Many Marine Surveyors are self employed or may work as contactors for companies associated with the marine industry.  Regardless of the employment or affiliation the surveyor should be qualified to do the job at hand.  Length of time in the business is not always indicative of a qualified or good marine surveyor.  A good rule of thumb is to find one who has been in the business at least two to five years.

Do not be afraid to ask for a copy of the surveyor’s resume or qualifications and references before hiring the surveyor…after all your probably going to take a leap of faith dependant upon this persons ability and skill.  The end result could be as painful as hiring a bad dentist !

Choosing a Surveyor:

Your insurance underwriter or financial institution can not require you to use a certain surveyor or a surveyor who is a member of a particular organization. This would be classified as a restriction in trade or blackballing.  The decision to hire a particular surveyor is yours and yours alone. If you’re paying for the survey then it’s your choice.  Certain organizations keep a “vanity” list of approved surveyors in which the surveyor has paid to be included on the list. You should be aware that inclusion on this list does not guarantee the surveyors qualifications. You should be suspicious of anyone who is selling you a boat and insists you use their surveyor. This action reeks of a conflict of interest !

A good marine surveyor should be:

  1. independently qualified
  2. a member of a professional survey organization
  3. use the latest information, tools and technology
  4. conduct the survey and issue reports based upon ABYC  “American Boat and Yacht Council”, NFPA “National Fire Protection Association” and US Coast Guard safety and inspection guidelines and standards.

Last but not least you need to understand that the surveyor works for who ever is paying the bill.  That is why it is particularly important to select one that you are comfortable with. If you’re still feeling a little uneasy about choosing and hiring a surveyor try asking around the marina.  My experience has been that other boaters are always willing to help steer you off the rocks !

Bill Burke, USSA,  Master Marine Surveyor