Survey Preparation and Limitations

In order to be able to undertake a thorough survey, it is necessary to prepare the boat.

Personal Effects

We do not move personal effects, or equipment from lockers. Therefore please ensure that the boat is as clear from personal effects as is possible before the survey. Particularly when large and heavy items are found, these will not be moved. Clothing will not be moved. In essence a clear and tidy boat will ensure that as much can be surveyed as possible.

Panels Sole Boards and Carpets

We will not remove stuck down carpet or remove panels or sole boards which need tools to remove. If you want us to inspect behind any of these, then please have them opened up prior to the survey.


Flat batteries are also an area that commonly causes limitations on what can be achieved in the survey. If the batteries are flat, even with a shore power charger running the likelihood will be that some of the electrical systems cannot be tested.

Lift and Hold

One-hour lift and hold surveys will limit what can be seen of the hull, It is just possible to inspect the hull of a vessel less than 40ft in that time, but any problems that are found, particularly on the upper end of the size limit will extend the time needed. For boats over 40ft longer times will need to be arranged with the boat yards. Some yards are very accommodating, but others will want more money to leave the boat in the slings for longer.

It should be noted that moisture meter readings for boats just lifted from the water can be high, and are likely to reduce as time goes on.


Something you will not have control over is rain and humidity. Note that if the ambient humidity is high moisture meter readings are likely to be unreliable. Significant rain on deck will indicate that the deck surface is wet – rather than determining the condition of the core. We will do our best to dry the areas being tested, but often this will become a limitation of the survey.

When it is cold we will not venture onto icy decks, particularly on small sports boats which are designed to shed surveyors overboard when slippy. This is purely a health and safety issue.


A condition survey provides an opinion on the structural condition of all visible and significant aspects of the structure of the vessel as presented for survey, with particular reference to the hull condition.

Machinery, masts, spars, rig and sails, ancillary equipment, gas, electrical, electronic, pumping and plumbing equipment, sewage treatment plant, refrigeration equipment, air conditioning, navigational aids, other sundry services and tankage are inspected only for visual appearance, without dismantling or specific test and the client agrees that it is their responsibility for checking the critical systems operate correctly to their expectation. Where a mast is stepped only those parts of the mast and rig up to head height are inspected in detail. 

Hull condition is assessed by general non-destructive examination and by assessment of the condition of sample areas where coatings are removed. Where hulls carry heavy layers of paint, pitch or epoxy finishes the condition of all areas of the substrate cannot be guaranteed and condition can only be estimated on the basis of the evidence gleaned from sample areas scraped clean. The survey does not provide an opinion on the condition of areas not presented visible, for example behind linings, beneath fixed flooring etc. unless these are accessible through visible portable traps, and should not be taken to preclude completely the existence of isolated damage or deterioration concealed by paints, fillers or other means. The discovery of leaks depends on the conditions at the time of survey. Cosmetic issues are generally not commented on.

The engine and generator installations are inspected visually, and (where possible if presented in commission), the engine is run up to assess its general running characteristics, vibration levels etc. No dismantling of the engine or associated equipment is carried out within the scope of a condition survey so no detailed comment upon the condition of internal parts is possible without a separate full strip down and mechanical survey.

Electrical, plumbing, heating and other services are inspected where visible but not operated unless presented in commission. Electrical wiring is inspected visually (only) in all cases.

The bottled gas installation is inspected visually only and pressure tests are not undertaken within the scope of this survey. All gas systems should be regularly tested as part of a normal preventive maintenance routine by a Gas Safe fitter. The installation of a bubble leakage tester which permits simple non-invasive regular checks on the integrity of the system is strongly recommended.

Tanks are inspected where visible but not internally and are not pressure tested and no judgment is made regarding the quality of the fluids they contain. A separate pressure test by an engineer is the only way to be sure of the integrity of the tanks. Windows hatches and external doors are not tested for watertightness and no warranty is given. Hull fastenings and skin fittings are not withdrawn for inspection and no opinion is given to their internal condition.

Dimensions, if checked, are measured by means of a steel tape measure and should not be relied upon for total accuracy.

This survey does not seek to establish that clear title to the vessel exists or that it is being offered for sale free from all debts and encumbrances.

Unless specifically instructed to the contrary, the inspection, and any comments made relative to design, performance or suitability of the vessel, are based on the assumption that the vessel will be used as a private pleasure boat in the waters for which it was designed. Unless specifically stated to the contrary this inspection and report does not seek to address compliance with any national or international codes, standards or regulations.


We are not specialists in wood construction or condition. We will work with wooden or part wooden boats only on a best endeavours basis, but claim no expertise.