Accredited Marine Consultants, Inc.

Professional Surveyors and Appraisers of Power and Sailing Yachts




            If you are thinking of purchasing a new or used boat, you face a business arraignment that will involve substantial expense. You need to be aware of various pitfalls; dry rot, wet rot, osmosis, electrolytic action, stern gland leaks, ill fitting hatches,  portholes, weakened keel bolts, suspect sails and rigging. Not to mention has she been sunk, in a collision, grounded, poorly repaired or in need of major repairs. Further reasons for needing a marine survey are; insurance carriers and finance companies will require a survey on your used boat purchase, as they need to know what her condition and value is.

    First and foremost when considering purchasing any vessel and almost certainly a used vessel the following should be considered; choose the type and model you think you want, do some on line iGoogle for the the type you seek. This is to get as much information as possible before beginning your search. Start the search with Classified advertisements, boat buyers guides and online services like When you have found one or more that interest you make arrangements with the seller or broker to see the boat. Do not be rushed by the seller or the broker, take as much time as you need to reasonably go through and inspect every area if the boat. Look at hoses, hose clamps, bulkheads, stringers, operate the electronics, galley equipment, look at the gelcoat on the hull, cabin, decks, checking for stress cracks and other anomalies, have the owner take you for a ride. Note that brokers do not normally allow sea trials unless you sign a contract and put down a deposit. The number one most important thing is; does it look like the owner has maintained the vessel, is it dirty, gelcoat oxidized, paint peeling, bilges dirty and full of oil, corrosion on metal components, etc. Use the list below for areas and components to check. The preceding paragraph is not meant for you to do our job, but to save you money. If the boat doesn't meet your criteria it sure isn't going to meet ours, don't call us yet. Look at numerous boats, if you find one you think will pass muster, keep a record of where it is, how much it is and who the broker/owner is and continue to look. There are thousands of boats out there and your first choice may not be the one. You will know when it is time to go back to that special boat that got your attention. Now it is time to give us a call. By doing your homework it saves you paying survey fees on several boats. Happy hunting!!

A Marine Surveyor should subscribe to and uphold a Code of Ethics and Practices. They should be prompt, professional, competent, knowledgeable, diligent, unbiased and objective. The Marine Surveyor you select should hold membership in a professional organization that oversees, examines and accredits its members, through continuing education and field experience. Organizations such as Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors (SAMS) and your surveyor should have the Accredited Marine Surveyor (AMS) designation after their name. There are other organizations that allegedly claim certification of surveyor's qualifications, but for example BoatUS, one of the largest boat insurers in the U.S., only accepts SAMS or NAMS surveyors. There must be a reason why. You as a prospective buyer of a boat should have every confidence in the Marine Surveyor you hire. In all fairness to our clients, just because an individual is a member of one of the aforesaid organizations does not necessarily make him a qualified surveyor, check the credentials before hiring a surveyor.

A Marine Surveyor's responsibility is to give his client a detailed analysis of the prospective boat being purchased, financed or insured. That analysis should be presented to the client in a neat, well-defined, comprehensive, typed report, dated and signed by the attending surveyor. This report should include, but not limited to, information on the quantity, condition and operation of the following:

General: estimated replacement value, based on a comparable new boat, estimation of current fair market value, as boat is equipped and maintained at time of survey.

Detailed Description: of the hull and construction, including materials used in construction, hull or deck mounted fixtures, fastenings, running gear, fishing and tackle equipment, seating, portholes, hatches, through hull fittings, sea cocks, covers bimini.

Safety Equipment: life jackets, life rings, life rafts, life floats, MOB's, EPIRBs, smoke/fume detectors, fire fighting equipment, bilge blowers, escape hatches, ground tackle, U.S. Coast Guard requirements and standards.

Navigation and Electronics Equipment: compass, VHF & SSB radio, loran, GPS, SAT/NAV, radar, interfaces, navigation lights, auto pilot, log/speed, depth sounder, bottom/fish finder, chart link, sea temperature.

Electrical Equipment: Generator; make, model, serial number, gas or diesel, exhaust system, fuel lines, fuel & oil filters, belts & hoses. Storage batteries; quantity, type, voltage, security. Shore power, electrical panels, fuses, circuit breakers, wiring, bonding, under load test for voltage, current and frequency, lighting.

Propulsion Machinery: External inspection of engines; quantity, gas, diesel or other, make model numbers, serial numbers, horsepower, hours, reduction gears, fuel lines, fuel shutoff, fuel & lube filters, type of cooling, exhaust system, hoses, clamps, belts, etc. Shafts, shaft struts, packing glands, stern tubes, propellers, rudders, steering system, controls, shutdown, synchronizer, trim tabs, stabilizers, thrusters.

Pumps: Bilge: electrical & manual, including location. Pressurized potable water, waste (macerator), wash down, raw water, shower sump, air conditioner, heads, hot water.

Tanks: material & capacity; fuel, lube oil, potable water, waste.

Galley: location & equipment; stoves & ranges (including fuel type), refrigerators, freezers, icemakers, iceboxes, microwave, sinks, galley deck.

Accommodations Compartments: accommodations, heads, showers, furnishings, sole, bright work, air conditioning, TV, stereo.

Out of Water Inspection: running gear, shafts, struts, propellers, rudders, trim tabs. Hull inspection; blisters, delamination, cracks, damage of any nature, gel coat, anti fouling paint, zincs, through hull fittings, strainers, ground plates.

Sea Trial: check all operating mechanical and electrical equipment for proper operation, temperatures, pressures and speeds. Check for proper operation of all electronic, mechanical and electrical equipment requiring raw water.

Recommendations for Repairs and Corrections: List all determined deficiencies, malfunctions and damages identified by inspection and give recommendations for repair, replacement.

Additional Fee Based Services: Engine & Gear Fluid Analysis, FRP Moisture Content, Infrared Themographic Imaging, Ultrasonic Thickness Gauging, 12-VDC Battery and Charging System analysis, Comprehensive diesel and gasoline engine analysis to include compression test on gasoline engines by certified engine specific master mechanics.


        This concludes the basic outline of what will be observed, inspected and reported upon by the marine surveyor. There can and mostly will be more items to observe than can be described in this short narration.

Capt. Ronald Wm. Morgan, Sr. - AMS 691

President Accredited Marine Consultants, Inc. ~ USCG Licensed 100 Ton Master Mariner (Retired)

Sail Home