Accredited Marine Consultants, Inc.

Professional Surveyors and Appraisers of Power and Sailing Yachts

 

                

SCOPE OF A MARINE SURVEY

                The purpose of the survey inspection is to determine, insofar as possible within limitations of visual and physical accessibility, through non-invasive/non-destructive means, the condition of the subject vessel's structure, systems, cosmetics, levels of compliance with currently applicable mandatory and voluntary standards, and other industry standards and commonly accepted marine practices. The survey is based solely on a careful visual inspection of all accessible portions of the vessel's structure and available equipment.

    Certain parts of the hull and structure, equipment and machinery, plumbing and electrical systems, and rigging can be inspected only by removal of flats, soles, decking, bulkheads, headliners, tanks and joinery. This would be destructive in nature, prohibitively time consuming, and expensive to restore, and therefore is not done as part of a standard survey. Components requiring access with tools or by disassembly will not be inspected. Only accessible areas will be inspected. It is understood and agreed that the surveyor assumes no responsibility to inspect for any defects in non-accessible areas, nor accepts responsibility for conditions subsequently arising because of non-access. Where dirt, marine growth, coatings buildup, rust or corrosion obscures the surveyor's ability to inspect, this limitation will be noted in the report's text. Conditions suspected or discovered by non-destructive methods may be further subject to invasive testing for confirmation. No destructive or invasive methods are involved in the usual survey procedures. Destructive testing will be undertaken only with the express written approval of the owner or the owner’s legal agent. Standing rigging will be surveyed from the deck level only; an experienced rigger may be recommended upon  our initial findings. Fasteners on wood vessels may require inspection. We can make arraignments  to contract a qualified wood vessel specialist to perform removal and reinstallation of these parts.

 Complete inspection of machinery, auxiliaries, piping, tanks and systems can be made only by disassembly or by continuous operation. This is usually not done; but may be recommended. No mechanical tests are performed nor are fluid samples drawn from tanks, propulsion or auxiliary generating machinery, but can be done if requested. No pressure testing of tankage undertaken. No audio gauging of metal structure or structures performed but can be done and may be recommended. No structural moisture testing/analysis performed, but can be done and may be recommended. Only the installation and external condition of machinery and accessories are visually inspected. This should not be considered a complete mechanical inspection. Qualified marine mechanics experienced with brand specific engines should be employed to survey engine(s) and generator(s), qualified marine engine surveyors may be provided upon request. Propulsion and rudder shafts are not drawn for inspection, but this may be recommended. Inspection of flexible piping, as installed in applications, is limited to the condition of its external casing and only where accessible for visual inspection.

Electronic and electrical equipment is tested by powering up and observing function. No calibrations or adjustments are made. Batteries are not load tested, but this service can be provided upon request. Only the external condition of electrical wiring, connections and systems' installations will be visually inspected. No attempt is made to perform a complete analysis of marine electrical systems as to do so often require extensive removals of joinery, disassemblies, etc., to gain access to components.

Generally, it is this surveyor’s experience that few vessels surveyed today meet all of the applicable standards for marine electrical system fabrication and installation. This fact is further aggravated by the wet and corrosive marine environment, owners’ tolerances for poor installations, "do it yourself" add-ons, and a general lack of preventive maintenance. Therefore, when our surveyor's limited visual inspection of an electrical system raises significant standards' compliance questions, the recommendation will be made to employ a qualified marine electrician for an in depth inspection. Attention to compliance with electrical standards is critical to avoiding conditions, which will lead to fires, explosions and personal injury or death.

Sea trials are strongly recommended and are conducted as part of our prepurchase survey. The owner or an authorized agent must operate the vessel. If no sea trial is requested or conducted, operation of propulsion and auxiliary machinery and the steering system is observed in static mode, and only if the vessel is afloat. If the vessel is blocked ashore, no machinery is operated. Vessels in a state of winter lay-up preclude operation of winterized systems.

Bimini tops, awnings, covers, etc., are not laid out for inspection. Other "canvas" is visually inspected when in position in installations.

Vessel’s systems and vessel component parts have a limited useful life and must be considered perishable. Conditions affecting "useful life" include original material specifications, fabrication and manufacturing techniques, atmospheric exposures, history of use, etc. These systems and component parts often give no readily detectable external indications of deterioration or impending failure.

The Federal Rules and Regulations for Recreational Boats, as excerpted from the United States Code and Code of Federal Regulations and published by the American and Boat and Yacht Council, along with the voluntary Standards and Practices for Small Craft, also published by ABYC, and those of the National Fire Protection Association, Section 302 (NFPA), provide some of the reference bases for our recommendations where relevant. Where compliance with a standard cannot be readily determined, this will be so noted. Insurance underwriting standards vary and may or may not be known to us.

The foregoing commentary on the scope of the survey process and its limitations is designed to give the purchaser of the service some perspective about what can and cannot be expected from a prepurchase survey. Since records of the vessel's history of use and its maintenance schedules may not be available, the findings of the surveyor are necessarily limited to the current condition of the vessel as accessible for visual inspection.

 

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