Whether you’re purchasing a new or used boat, getting a survey done is essential to know how well the boat has been constructed and what shape it’s in.
Ideally, you want to hire a surveyor with lots of experience, particularly with the kind of boat you are asking him to survey, and you want him to be credentialed by The Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors (SAMS) or The National Association of Marine Surveyors (NAMS).
If you can, it’s a good idea to do as much preliminary surveying on the boat that you can. The main reason for this is not to take the place of a professional survey, but to eliminate the need for one when a boat has glaring problems even you can see yourself, and you decide to walk away before paying money for a pro to tell you to do just that.
William Wallace Gouk of Port Credit Marine Surveys (firstname.lastname@example.org or 416-526-3845), has created an excellent, illustrated guide to help you conduct such a preliminary survey yourself. He has posted many photos of boats he’s surveyed, and explained what’s important, and in many cases why what he saw was an instant reason to get off the boat immediately due to imminent danger!
We had not one, but three surveys, done on Cinq a Sept before we boat her. We had an “official” surveyor, and also James Power, who does the most warranty work on Antares boats and is most familiar with them (and although he works for Antares and so cannot be officially objective, we found him to be extremely responsible), and a separate rigging survey from a company that will go up the mast – something our official surveyor no longer does.