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How Often Does A Boat Need To Be Surveyed

  • Posted by:
  • Admin
  • Tags:
  • Pre purchase surveys, Condition and valuation surveys, Insurance renewal and valuation surveys, Damage assessment surveys, Pre sale surveys
  • Posted date:
  • 14-06-2023
How Often Does A Boat Need To Be Surveyed

Are you asking: how often does a boat need to be surveyed? Cetec Marine Ltd provide marine surveys throughout Surrey, Kent, Sussex, Hampshire, Berkshire and Greater London. We look at types of boat surveys, what kind of boat needs a survey and when you need a survey on a boat.


You might think that only large or expensive boats require surveys. But this isn't the case. There's no limit on the value or size of a boat to have it surveyed. Purchasing any boat usually accounts for the same proportion of a person's income, meaning surveys are almost always necessary.

Additionally, new and used boats can both benefit from professional surveys. Used boats may have been sitting in the water for months or even years until they are sold again. And boat builders can always make mistakes, potentially affecting the performance of new craft.

Therefore, there's every reason to have the boat you're considering surveyed. Not only will it tell you whether the listed price is accurate, but it will also give you peace of mind. Knowing the exact condition of the boat puts you in the best place to make a responsible purchase.

Can You Buy A Boat Without A Survey?

When do I need a survey on my boat?

The most important time to have a survey on a boat is when you are buying it. Unlike used car markets, there is little legal protection for those buying second-hand boats. Therefore, you'll want to make sure that everything is in order before your purchase the boat to avoid any nasty surprises.

This is especially true if the boat you want to buy seems like a bargain. Cheap listing prices usually suggest there is something wrong with the boat. While it may look pristine and ship-shape on the outside, there could be a whole host of issues inside. If this is the case, the repair costs could eventually total more than the listing price altogether.

Age is also a key concern. If the craft you're looking at is more than 30 years old, it will need a thorough survey. A professional marine surveyor can examine all areas of the boat to see if it's in good condition. These surveys should inspect everything, from the outside condition of the hull to the safety features, the interior of the hull and onboard systems.

Tying Rope around winch - How Often Does A Boat Need To Be Surveyed?- Marine Surveys Surrey, Kent, Sussex, Hampshire, Berkshire, Greater London

Your surveyor will also include structural reports and will define any existing issues. They might also suggest upgrades or repairs that are urgently needed. There are different ways to survey a boat, and a professional surveyor will know which are best for the type of boat you want to buy. 

Boat surveys are also necessary when taking out insurance. Unless your insurance company knows what condition your boat is in, they won't be able to offer a fair premium for your insurance policy. Therefore, these surveys are well worth the hassle, as they can ultimately save you money in the long run.


Depending on the condition of your boat, how often you use it and your insurance company, this figure can differ. However, for safety's sake, it's recommended that you survey your boat once every couple of years. This way, any issues that have started to emerge can be spotted and dealt with quickly.

Types of boat surveys

Professional boat surveys take roughly a day or two. Given that they're performing a thorough inspection of the entire boat, this isn't such a long time. There are also a range of surveys you can choose from, including:

Pre-purchase surveys

Condition and valuation surveys

Insurance renewal and valuation surveys

Damage assessment surveys

Pre-sale surveys

When it comes to selling, buying or insuring a boat, independent surveyors are your best choice. However, when it comes to condition surveys or damage assessment surveys, it's likely you can perform these yourself.

Most boat owners choose to carry out these surveys themselves (DIY surveys). This is because when your boat is damaged or has potential issues, it's best to deal with them immediately. Instead of waiting for a professional surveyor to arrive, you can survey your boat yourself and resolve any issues you find.

Insurance renewal and valuation survey

Boat wheel lifebuoy - Insurance renewal and valuation survey

For insurance renewal and valuation surveys, you'll want to conduct them roughly every five years. There's a lot that can happen to a boat in that time, especially if you go sailing often. Therefore, conducting these surveys regularly can help you learn what to look out for and how to solve common issues and faults that arise during this timescale.

Your insurance company will be mainly concerned about the faults and defects that could lead you to lose the boat. After all, this is what they're insuring you for. They'll also need an accurate and fair assessment of the boat's value, so their premiums and coverage are sufficient.

Damage assessment survey

If you encounter an incident while out boating, a damage assessment survey will determine the cause of the harm and its extent. This is another key survey your insurance company will want to see. As your may need to make a claim on your policy if the damage is significant.

Most insurance companies will liaise with everyone involved, from your surveyor to the boatyard to yourself, to determine the extent of the damage. This may sound like a hassle, but this also means you'll get the best repairs when everyone is working for the benefit of your boat.

Pre-sale survey

Woman in red coat kneeling next to boat - Pre-sale survey

Pre-sale surveys are essential if you are thinking of parting with your current vessel. They give you an accurate overview of any issues your boat has. This then gives you the opportunity to remedy them when putting your boat on the market.

Potential buyers will be more inclined to make a purchase if they know your boat has been recently surveyed. However, you should always conduct regular surveys for true peace of mind. You can discuss any issues with your buyers or brokers to determine a fair price.

DIY surveying

While you can perform your own boat surveys, there's no replacement for professional ones. Qualified marine surveyors have the skills and knowledge necessary to uncover the tiniest issues. This means having a professional survey every 2 - 5 years is best for your boat's long-term health.

However, where DIY surveys come in is in dealing with small issues immediately. This is a vital part of boat maintenance. Performing DIY surveys lets you spot smaller problems and deal with them before they can develop into major catastrophes.

One example might be your propeller shaft. If you've never inspected your propeller shaft before, how will you know if there is an issue? Therefore, DIY surveys also give you the opportunity to get to know your boat inside and out.

Therefore, performing surveys yourself gives you an in-depth understanding of your vessel, allowing you to spot potential issues even earlier. You'll also learn which issues are a high priority for repairs, helping you cut down on expensive fixes, and ultimately save yourself some money.

If you are looking for pre purchase yacht or marine surveys in Surrey and the surrounding areas contact our professional boat surveyor today. 

We work throughout Surrey and the surrounding areas including Kent, Sussex, Hampshire, Berkshire and Greater London. 

We can also travel throughout the UK if required.

Boat Surveys Berkshire