Put simply – never, ever buy a boat without a full survey, or, to be more precise – a full set of surveys. Obviously this depends to some extent on the nature, size and cost of the boat. A megayacht demands substantially more than a modest sized sports cruiser. In general however, we recommend you have three types of survey carried out.
- A marine surveyor to cover the hull and major systems on the boat. Frankly, different marine surveyors provide different degrees of detail. We can help you find a good marine surveyor. Note, however that most marine surveyors are not engine specialist. Therefore, you also need –
- A marine engineer to cover the engine(s) and the drive and steering systems. Wherever possible, we recommend a specialist on the specific manufacturer of engine in your boat. However, there is a limit to what the marine engineer can tell you about the general internal condition of the engine and gearbox / outdrive / sterndrive without expensively dismantling these systems. Therefore you also need an –
- Oil analysis. We have a special kit which enables oil samples to be taken from each engine and each gearbox or (if out of the water) outdrive / sterndrive. The condition of the oil is then analysed by our specialist laboratory which will tell you the ppm (parts per million) of various metals in the oil, and whether this is indicative of a problem or not. This gives you an indication of the overall wear in these components. Further, different metals in the oil tell you which parts are likely to be worn as, for example, bearing shells are made of different metals than cylinder walls. The analysis can also point out specific issues with the outdrives / sterndrives. If the oil is emulsified (has some water in it) then this may be because the oil seal is damaged; and this in turn may mean that the bearing is damaged because, for example, the prop has hit something, pulling the bearing and therefore damaging the seal. Oil analysis is so important that commercial shipping typically does oil analysis every three months. For leisure boating we recommend that you do oil analysis every year, as part of the annual service, so that you can establish a baseline, and help get early warning if parts of your engine are wearing. We can provide this oil analysis service for you. (The cost is only £295 for a typical twin-engined boat.)
By getting your boat surveyed properly at the start, you can save yourself a lot of time and money. If you do decide to go ahead with the boat, these surveys should help give you a full set of any outstanding issues that need some work on – so you should know exactly where you are, and help avoid any unexpected surprises.
If you want more information, then complete our Contact Us form or phone us on 0 33 33 05 8424 (a 24/7 service).