Many insurance companies will require a full ‘out of water’ survey by an experienced and qualified surveyor before they will put a boat on cover. This is particularly true of wooden boats, boats of a design with a known history of failure and imported boats. It is also true that with some older vessels, insurance companies wish to ensure they have been subject to a regular programme of maintenance.
An insurance survey is the same as a full condition survey. Although a purchaser may feel he or she is being burdened with an unnecessary expense, they will get the satisfaction of having their own record of the full condition of their boat. It will also be a valuable selling tool when it comes to moving the boat on to a new owner.
Below is a list of all the items that are checked out.
Hull general. This is a general description of the kind of construction used in the build and covers materials and processes employed.
Bottom. An in depth analysis of the condition of all the underwater surfaces and inner hull structure. Sometimes referred to as the ‘canoe body’ of a boat. Tested with moisture meters for water ingress, delaminations and voids.
Topsides. This is the hull above the waterline to the sheerline. It is tested for the state of cure of the resins and hardness of the gelcoat as well as cosmetic appearance.
Keel. Whether externally mounted iron or lead ballast keels, or internal or encapsulated ballast, the security of the keel and its fastenings are of essential concern
Deck. The deck is subject to considerable wear and tear as well as impact and stress damage. But it is often overlooked as a structural component. Also tested for water ingress and saturation through deck fittings.
Superstructure. The cabin top or coachroof is also a structural component and subject to close examination, particularly with deck stepped masts.
Hatches & companionways. The security and physical condition of these are essential to the water tightness and safety of the vessel in storm conditions.
Windows & portlights. These are tested for security, water tightness and clarity. Their construction is described to assist in possible routine replacement.
Deck gear and fittings. Closely examined are all sail control equipment as well as mooring and anchoring gear and rig attachment points.
Safety equipment. Stanchions, pulpits, pushpits, guardwires, jackstays, harness points, handrails, granny bars etc. Are all closely examined for security.
Skin fittings & seacocks. All through hull fittings and associated valve closures are analysed and tested to for condition and potential for corrosion.
Engine. Whether inboard or outboard, petrol diesel or electric. The condition and reliability of the engine, its installation and ancillaries are inspected.
Fuel system. From deck filler to the engine, the hoses, tanks, filters, pipework, pumps etc are all inspected for condition and compliance to safety standards
Stern gear. This covers the power train from the gearbox output flange to the propeller. It is particularly prone to electro-chemical and electrolytic erosion.
Steering system. Whether a simple tiller, or a complex two helm hydraulic set up, it is examined for condition. Also tested is provision for emergency steering.
Mast, spars and standing rigging. An electronic and visual check is made on all available rig components as well as the mast and its spreaders and spars.
Sails and running rigging. Where practical the sails and all sail control and handling ropework is examined for condition and efficiency of operation.
Sea toilet. A necessary piece of comfort equipment, yet one that can also imperil a yacht if poorly designed or badly maintained.
Fresh water system. From a single cold water foot pump, to a pressurised hot and cold water system with multiple outlets. All are fully tested and described.
Galley. The cooker, refrigerator and sink is tested where possible and the efficient and secure storage for cutlery and crockery is inspected.
Electrical system. Both 12 volt and 240 volt systems are tested and inspected. They are also checked that they are effectively separated and insulated.
Gas system. Probably the most potentially destructive piece of equipment and yet often the most neglected and abused. It is thoroughly checked for faults.
Fire fighting equipment. Essential equipment which must be checked that it is of adequate capacity, of the most suitable type and efficiently located.
Bilge pumping. There must be systems of sufficient capacity and adaptability to enable the crew to ensure the vessel has the maximum ability for survival.
Interior fit-out. This is a thorough description and survey of the accommodation fit out whether it is all joinery and cabinetry or combined with internal mouldings.
Additional Equipment. All other equipment which is not within the vessels original specification including signalling gear, personal safety equipment and communication and navigation electronics. Where possible it is tested.