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Marine Surveys 

Captain Ed, Principal Surveyor, for The Boat Guy USA Inc. has a thorough knowledge of the boating industry standards, recommendations, regulations, and the CFRs used by the U.S. Coast Guard.

The Boat Guy USA Inc. offers a full array of survey services including, prepurchase, damage, insurance, vessel walkthroughs, sea trials, and oil testing. 

Our comprehensive reports will be completed within 3-5 business days and are easy to read. The report contains a separate "Findings and Recommendations List" for your easy reference. 


Types of Surveys

Pre-Purchase Survey

This is the most comprehensive type of inspection and is strongly advised when purchasing a new or used vessel so, buyers can be informed of possible needed repairs or missing equipment. The condition and overall operation of the vessel are examined. This survey covers structural integrity, electrical systems, the propulsion system, the fuel system, machinery (cursory inspection), navigation equipment, miscellaneous onboard systems, cosmetic appearance, electronics, and overall maintenance. It may also include a sea trial (limited trial run). Vessels are surveyed to ABYC boat building standards (non-mandatory but best boat building practices), as well as USCG federal regulations.


All pre-purchase surveys include a report describing the condition of the vessel, a list of vessel deficiencies and recommendations, and a professional assignment of "Fair Market Value" to the vessel. If you are purchasing a vessel utilizing any type of loan, most banks and loan officers will require a survey prior to issuing the loan.

Insurance Survey
This inspection is performed so that your insurance company can determine whether or not the vessel is an acceptable risk. Insurance companies are typically interested in the structural integrity and safety of the vessel for its intended use. Most insurance companies require a survey on older boats. They will also want to know the vessel's fair market value. 
Not all insurance companies are the same. It is important to find out from your insurance company if an in-water inspection will be satisfactory, or if an out-of-water inspection and/or limited trial run is also required. Note this is for insurance renewals only, and not new policies.


Appraisal Inspection
This inspection is performed to gather enough information to justify or determine the fair market value of the vessel. This is normally needed for financing, estate settlements, donations, and legal cases.

Pre-Survey Inspection /Walkthrough
This is a quick inspection of a vessel usually done for an out-of-town buyer who has not yet seen the vessel. A short written report along with photographs will be provided to help the buyer decide whether to proceed with a survey.

Damage Survey
This is performed to assess the extent of damage, recommend repairs, estimate repair cost, and if requested, possible cause.

Sea Trial (limited trial run)

A sea trial (limited trial run) is conducted to determine that the engine(s) operates within the manufacturer's specifications. A rudimentary engine inspection is conducted. The engine is observed for wide-open throttle RPMs, as recommended by the engine manufacturer. The condition of the hoses, belts, and fuel lines is observed. Motor mounts are checked and the engine is monitored for any fluid leaks. Exhaust smoke is gauged and engine temperature readings are taken. The steering, throttle and shift controls, navigation, and deck equipment are also observed. If an engine is not performing properly or a problem is observed recommendations may be made, or you will be advised to consult a manufacturer's certified mechanic for further diagnosis.

Osmosis Testing

This test is used to determine if excess moisture is present in areas of the hull that may not be visible to the eye. Moisture can be present without delamination occurring and this test can help pinpoint potential problem areas. This type of testing may be undertaken on a vessel that shows signs of moisture intrusion around fittings, blisters, or soft spots in the transom stringers and bulkheads. However, this test is not an infallible way to test for moist areas. Many variables come into play when using a moisture meter. These include delamination, bottom paint, voids in the lay-up of mat and resin, water in the bilge, and the length of time the boat has been out of the water. The meter may detect moisture that can only be verified by destructive testing of the hull to verify the meter readings. 

Corrosion Survey

This is a dockside survey performed to determine how well the submerged metals on a vessel are protected against corrosion. This survey will show the level of cathodic protection provided by the paint system, anodes, and active cathodic protection system (IE Mercathode and others) A corrosion survey inspects for any galvanic currents, stray currents, and dock grounding for possible corrosion problems. The bonding system can be inspected on the hard for continuity and security, however, to fully inspect the system and determine its function ability, it is necessary to have the vessel in the water at its berth with, normal systems activated.

How Much Does a Marine Survey Cost?

Navigating the Survey Process & Ensuring Your Survey Goes Smoothly

Congratulations! You have finally found your dream boat, and have hired The Boat Guy USA Inc. to conduct a survey on your behalf. Since this is your survey and may soon be your boat, it is best to be proactive and have a good understanding of the survey process. The broker will usually assist in coordinating the big day and in helping to make sure the boat is properly prepared for the survey but some brokers are better than others with this task and in some cases, a broker will not be available. 

Here are some important steps to take and considerations to keep in mind prior to the surveyor's arrival:


  • Generally, the preparation of the vessel and coordination of the survey process is the responsibility of the person(s) ordering the survey. Time for the survey is usually limited and will be determined by factors such as weather, yard accessibility, travel lift schedule, Captain's schedule, etc... In order to make sure the surveyor's time can be used efficiently and maximize results, some preliminary items should be taken care of in advance. 

  • Some marinas may require written authorization from the owners to board the boat, so it is important to check with the marina or yard if this is the case and ensure all paperwork has been completed.

  • The vessel should be easily accessible & keys available.

  • The vessel should be presented in a clean and shipshape condition. Lockers and cabin areas should be cleared of all miscellaneous gear and personal contents. 

  • All vessel documents, paperwork, maintenance logs, and miscellaneous gear should be on the vessel and ready for inspection.

  • The underwater running gear and hull will likely be inspected. This is important to check the hull for signs of previous groundings, the condition of propellers, shafts, thru-hulls, rudders, and other items that cannot be inspected when the boat is in the water will likely need to be inspected and this will need to be done while the boat is out of the water. The hull should be clean and power washed. Depending on where the boat is located, arrangements may need to be made with the marina to haul the boat for this inspection. If the boat is already out of the water and "on the hard" this portion of the survey will be done first. 

  • If a Sea Trial (limited trial run) will be conducted, a Captain or operator of the vessel will need to be arranged. 

At the request of the surveyor:

  • Minor dismantling of interior ceilings, headliners, flooring, etc. in order to gain access to the suspected areas may be necessary.

  • Random removal and examination of below-the-waterline fasteners on wood boats may be required.

  • Any dismantling and re-installation of parts should be performed by qualified personnel and is the responsibility of the person ordering the survey and written authorization may be required.


  • Our rates are competitive and will vary from boat to boat.

  • Vessel type, age, location, brokerage type, and sea trial duration all affect rates.

  • The minimum daily charge for a survey is $500

  • Call us to discuss the type of services you require and we will provide a quote either on the phone or within 24 hrs. by email.      




Conduct and Code Ethics 

 As a member of The Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors (SAMS), you can be sure that by hiring The Boat Guy USA you will be working with dedicated professionals.  Our number one job is to protect your interests.

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