SURVEY & SEA TRIAL
Okay, you have taken the leap and have made an offer on a vessel. Your offer has been accepted and all parties have a signed sales agreement. What happens next?
The next step is the marine survey and sea trial. Think of the marine survey like a home inspection and the sea trial like a test-drive. Before you shell out your hard-earned money on your dream boat, let's be sure it doesn't have hidden problems or damage, and you like the way it handles on the water. It is customary for the buyer to pay for the surveyor and the haul out at the boatyard. The seller takes care of hiring the captain for the sea trial.
Here is how it works:
1. The Scheduling: You will need to line up a qualified marine surveyor, a boatyard where the vessel can be hauled out, and find a mutually agreeable date for them, plus the you and seller, to all get together. The seller will also schedule a captain to operate the boat for the sea trial so you and the surveyor will be able to test the systems and see how the vessel performs on the water.
2. The Marine Survey: The goal is to find a marine surveyor who will examine the boat's structure, equipment, and electronics to be sure everything is in working order or to identify any repairs or issues with the vessel. We can provide a few names, but it is the buyer's responsibility to make the final decision. We suggest interviewing a couple of surveyors to be sure you are comfortable or asking your insurance agent if they can recommend a good one.
3. The Haul Out: The boat will be taken to the boatyard and pulled out of the water so the surveyor can thoroughly inspect the hull, bottom paint, prop, etc. This is important to check for blisters or other issues which are not visible when the boat is in the water.
4. The Sea Trial: This is usually the first time a buyer gets to see and experience the boat out on the water under stress. The engines, systems, sails, etc., are all tested and demonstrated to be in working order and you get to feel how the vessel handles and responds.
A few days after the inspection, the surveyor will provide a written report detailing the condition of the vessel, including any concerns or needed repairs, and the value of the boat. This will be necessary to secure insurance and/or financing for the vessel. This is also valuable information to help you determine if this is the boat for you or if you want to walk away and keep looking.
Congratulations, you are now an informed buyer!