Should I get a marine survey before insuring my boat?

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A marine survey, being an independent evaluation of a boat’s value and condition, is an essential evaluation that any person wishing to purchase a boat needs to consider.   This is as a result of fluctuations realized in the Ontario watercraft market.  Even with the recent COVID-19 pandemic, this has been one of the hottest boat markets in several years as more Canadians are staying local and spending money on boats instead of traveling.

Having an up-to-date marine survey will make sure you get the best insurance coverage for your boat. However, a marine survey can also help you before buying a boat.  In this article, we will explain the purchase of a marine survey, what’s included in one and common questions we are asked.

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Why do I need to get a marine survey?

There are three reasons why it’s good to get a marine survey, these are:

  1. To get a fair price and understanding the condition of a boat that one wishes to purchase.
  2. For insurance appraisal purposes. Before getting a marine insurance policy, there is a chance that an insurer will request an assessment be done to determine the extent of insurance coverage required.
  3. To give you an idea of the expected repair costs (if any).

What will I see in a marine survey?

Several items are included in a marine survey. Most importantly, the survey includes the moisture reading through the hull, frames, and structure. It’s also essential to determine the core condition, bearing in mind that balsa and plywood are used as the base. Knowing the state will give an overview of any areas that may be loose, contain air voids, and the amount of moisture retained in the core.

Moisture is generally impossible to prevent. All boats have a certain level of moisture. It’s important to know whether the range is within normal levels. The older the boat, the greater the concern.

Other essential checks in the surveys include checking the electrolysis, condition of the underwater gear, osmosis, any modifications, whether previous repairs were performed, and the overall inspection of fasteners and bolts.

Keep in mind that professional marine surveyors are not mechanics. They are not required to inspect the main mechanical items, these include the engine, transmissions, generator, and other electronics. If you’re looking to purchase a boat, it’s wise to also get a certified mechanic to look at it.

Are surveys only required for large boats or old boats?

A question we get asked often is are marine surveys only required for a large boat or an old boat? The goal of a surveyor is to check on the boat regardless of size and age. This is because even small boats develop issues upon purchase.  This provides the buyer with an opportunity to understand the watercraft’s condition before purchase.  It also allows an insurer to understand the condition to provide adequate coverage.

Already have a boat? Looking to buy a boat? Not sure if you need a marine survey? Not sure who to contact to get a marine survey? We have a network of reputable professional surveyors that can assist.  Do not hesitate to get in touch with us and we will advise you accordingly!

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