The survey: what is included and what is NOT included

Inaccessible parts:

Essentially the hull, in its most intimate structure, particularly in the fiberglass vessels, can not be analyzed directly.

The expert may evaluate, through the test of percussion or, on request, by ultrasonic testing, the presence of delamination (separation of the layers of glass fiber), and the external conditions of the gel-coat – for such operation part of antifouling paint and primer will be removed, and should be rispristinate before launching. We can evaluate the moisture absorbed by the hull, but only if the boat has been dry-docked for at least three to seven days.

Yet, the inside of tanks and what is behind or below, the interior of the engine and the transmission will remain invisible. The expert may require the boat owner to remove some panels, or dunnage, but for the rest we rely on our experience and ability to interpret the signals that the boats are capable of transmitting.


Normally the surveyor is not a mechanic. Nevertheless he could express its assessment on the conditions of maintenance and efficiency of an apparatus, provided that this can be tested at sea.

He can also get valuable information from the analysis of the engine oil, the presence of impurities allows him to understand the condition and history of the engine as if he could see inside. Even in this case the sea trial is essential, and it is necessary that the oil change has occurred at least a dozen engine hours before. Often in the evaluation of the engines we rely on the advice of mechanics that can also perform compression tests, if and when the need arises.

Be careful, though: the engine, especially if old, it is a piece of equipment subject to wear, even if at a given time may work perfectly, within a few hours you may encounter unsuspected problems.

Sails and rigging:

To assess the state of a sail is necessary to hoist and try it in the right conditions. A look at sailing in his bag, or badly open on the deck, can not say too much. If there are no conditions for a correct evaluation, it is desirable to bring the sails to a sailmaker.

The inspection of a mast aloft is feasible if the size of the vessel are adequate (at least 10-11 meters), with boat in the water, and with the necessary safety requirements. Of course the inspection of an unstepped mast is quite simple and complete, but it is not always possible.

Sea trial:

The sea trial is an important element of the visit. Many features of the unit can be assessed only during the sea trial.

The test aims to evaluate not only the performance of the boat and engine, but the steering system, transmission, standing and running rigging as well.

Massimiliano Panessa

In the following pages you will find some useful information about yacht and small craft surveys. From contact page can forward us your inquiries. The phone consultations are free.

Something you need to know about surveys


  • The client, usually the buyer in a pre-purchase survey, is the one who requested the report, and is obliged to pay the agreed fare
  • The buyer should arrange for the hauling out and cleaning the hull. He should so make arrangements with the yard and with the seller, and is required to pay the relative fees. Sometimes may be agreed with the seller so that in case of a negative appraisal, the cost of hauling, launching and cleaning the hull remain against him
  • The owner is required to make available the boat for sea trial, ready to sail in good standing, and to pay compensation for any skipper or crew. It’s against him also the necessary fuel cost. It is essential that the boat could sail safely, and only the owner (or operator) is responsible for this.

Prepare the boat

In order to save time and unnecessary costs, it is good that the boat is ready for the visit:

  1. The boat must be as much as possible in good order, cabinets and lockers empty, the equipment and the papers available. It is usually preferable to carry out the dry inspection first, being the vessel dry-docked for at least three days, then proceed to launch for sea trial (when applicable)
  2. Any fixed dunnage must be ready to be removed, for instance, the bolts must be loosen
  3. The very day of inspection the engine should not be started before the arrival of the surveyor: cold start and oil control are an integral part of the inspection
  4. It may be necessary the presence of personnel of the yard for the eventual dismantling of parts of the boat

How long does the inspection take

The inspection of the hull takes one to two hours, after which the yard can launch the boat. For the remaining part of the inspection it is necessary a slightly variable time, usually up to three hours. Approximately another hour is to be considered for the sea trial.

At the dry insepction it is not necessary the presence of others, even if the buyer can get good information on the use and maintenance of the boat, and the seller can immediately justify some doubtful situations. At sea trial must be present, at least, the surveyor and the owner or his representative (including someone who can sail the craft).

Of course, the timing may be different, depending on the size and condition of the unit: the complete inspection of large units may take even several days.

After the inspection

The surveyor, once performed the inspection, report verbally to the buyer about the condition of the unit, reserving himself to estimate more accurately the extent of repairs.

The report follows shortly, by e-mail in pdf format. In special cases it may be required to send a hard copy. If the report must be sworn by oath, may require further working days.

If repairs were necessary, the expert may be asked to agree with the yard their execution, planning work progress checks.

Underwriters or financial companies may require a certification of actual problem restoration.