What is a Pre-Purchase Condition Survey?

A pre-purchase survey is usually requested by a potential buyer and is focused on areas where defects are likely to considerably reduce the value of the vessel and perhaps require extensive investment to correct.
The survey report is a factual summary of the inspection in a narrative format with extensive photographic record and other relevant documentation. The survey takes about 8 hours to complete for a 36’ yacht; this includes a short sea trial, inspection of the underwater areas after haul out, topsides, deck and interior structures, spars, machinery and safety equipment.


The short seatrial provides a basic performance benchmark for the vessels systems and is an important aspect to be considered.

What are the limitations?

The Owner is responsible for the handling of vessel on sea trials and during haul out and arranging the haul out plus powering up systems that are not operating. The Surveyor will request the owner or his representative to operate machinery in a manner that should demonstrate its current performance.

A limited number of hours are assigned to each vessel for the survey, based around the vessel’s size, age and complexity. Out of necessity we cannot inspect or advise on every minor item during this survey. We are always prepared to focus on the Buyer’s special instructions during the inspection and report preparation. Should the Buyer request a more detailed survey this can be undertaken.

What should be the expected outcomes?

The report will direct the client to the status of the vessel safety equipment, major structural, mechanical and electrical items and overall appearance and will enable if requested a value to be placed on the vessel as it currently stands.

Machinery Inspection

As part of the pre-purchase survey, an external examination of the main machinery is made. This is entirely none invasive with no items being opened for close up consideration. The gears are operated and engine mounts examined; the inspection is concerned principally with determining obvious defects rather than internal deterioration. Oil sampling and analysis is offered at additional cost, this determines current oil condition and detects if excessive wear metals are present and is a reliable method when combined with access to recent maintenance records, of gaining greater reassurance as to the condition of the engines without moving to full engine strip down.


Rigs are inspected from the deck only and sails are viewed “in bag” unless used during the sea trial. Detailed rig and sail inspections are specialist services that can be provided if required but will require removing the mast and laying out the sails ashore.

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