The most common question an underwriter or lender asks for boat insurance or finance is, “Do you have the marine survey report?”
Marine surveying is a broad field concerning the determination of the condition and value of a vessel. It requires sound technical knowledge, competence and professionalism.
If you own a ship, or a boat, if you are planning to buy/sell one, or if you are in the marine insurance business, more often than not you would require the services of a marine surveyor.
Duties of a Marine Surveyor
A marine surveyor inspects a vessel to evaluate the condition of the vessel, any current or potential issues that might affect its safety or value, the seaworthiness of the vessel, or to judge the extent of damage in case of an accident. Marine surveyors have specialty niches like ship surveyors, boat surveyors, etc.
The general duties of a marine surveyor are:
- To perform regular surveys during the ship’s lifetime to ensure that all standards are met
- To determine if the ship meets the specifications of domestic and international conventions
- To examine and approve designs of machinery, hull plans, etc. during the construction of a ship
- To witness operation and tests of emergency and safety equipment
- To investigate marine accidents
- To appear in court as an expert witness for insurance claim resolution
- To measure ship tonnage and to inspect ships for load line assignment
- To assess a ship’s condition and value
Given below are a few scenarios where a marine surveyor can save more than your money.
Buyer’s Marine Survey
You are planning to buy a boat and you find one that you like. You settle on a price with the seller and you go to your insurance company for getting your boat insured. The underwriter asks for a marine survey report. You approach a boat surveyor.
In this scenario, the boat surveyor will conduct a thorough inspection of the boat to evaluate its current condition and its fair market value, and present the key findings in a comprehensive survey report.
With the marine survey report, you will be able to judge whether you are really getting value for your money. You will also be able to find out if the boat requires any maintenance or repair that might affect the safety, and make informed decisions. If you decide to buy the boat, you can get your boat insured easily with the marine survey report.
Getting your vessel surveyed by a professional marine surveyor before you buy, would therefore eliminate the risks of buying a boat, and reassure you of its safety.
Marine Damage Survey
Your ship suffers considerable damage to the hull and other machinery in an accident. The cause of the accident is not clearly known, without which you cannot claim your insurance. You and your underwriter decide to perform a ship survey. You approach a ship surveyor.
In this scenario, the ship surveyor will perform a Root Cause Analysis, evaluate the degree of damage, and the repairs required. The survey report will detail the cause of the accident, along with the list of equipment/machinery that requires replacement or repair.
Thus, you will be able to obtain your insurance claim settlements smoothly and make your vessel seaworthy again, based on the ship survey report.
The mentioned scenarios are only a few examples of how a marine surveyor can help you. A marine surveyor offers several marine surveying services in addition to those mentioned above.
A good marine surveyor would have a vast experience in different types of surveys and vessel models, and would perform a diligent, professional inspection, identify key issues, give an unbiased judgment and a set of recommendations for improving the vessel’s condition. Marine surveyors therefore play a role of paramount importance in the industry.
Carl Durant is a certified marine surveyor specializing in insurance C&V surveys and damage investigations. He is multi-lingual, with fluency in written and spoken English, French, Spanish, German and Italian languages.