Surveying a vessel is a complex task and a thorough job requires a person with a broad range of well-developed skills, backed by years of experience. This range of skills should include good practical abilities, excellent technical and theoretical training and good communication skills. All these attributes should be linked with a sharp focus on the objective(s) of the survey.

All Surveyors Are Not Created Equal
Like all professional occupations, there are good and not so good surveyors. So it pays to shop around and research the reputation of as many surveyors as possible before a choice is made. A good surveyor can pay handsome dividends by finding hidden problems that may otherwise have cost many thousands of dollars in repairs long after the vessel has been purchased.


Before choosing your surveyor, you should ask lots of questions and gauge their willingness to give detailed responses (generally a good indication of their knowledge and style). The individual style of a particular surveyor may often better suit you, the client. You should also ask to see some of their previous reports – although you need to keep in mind that some reports may be subject to commercial confidentiality. And you need to be aware that very rarely does the cheapest quote yield the highest quality job – a poor quality survey is of little real value and defeats the purpose of the whole process.


Good surveyors usually have a specialty or preference for a particular type(s) of vessel and/or method(s) of construction. Surveyors who boldly state that they can survey any type of vessel and method of construction should be asked to prove their claims with hard evidence or otherwise be treated with caution.
I have met, and worked with many surveyors and without exception all of the good surveyors were well qualified boat builders with many years of experience. However, I have found the exceptional surveyors were usually qualified naval architects. A sound knowledge of naval architecture gives the surveyor the additional knowledge and understanding to observe the myriad of hidden problems and identify any potential issues that may develop over time. Remember, you are paying for the surveyor's services, so don't be afraid to question them about their experience and qualifications.

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