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Out of the Water Pre-Purchase Survey

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  • 17-11-2020
Out of the Water Pre-Purchase Survey

An out of the water pre-purchase survey covers everything that the pre-purchase survey does, but also an additional and detailed hull examination. Depending on the accessibility, can also provide information about the original thickness of the plate, used in hull construction.

While a pre-purchase survey includes the analysis of the installation standard and a visual inspection of the engine, it does not give the surveyor a chance to see how the engine is running. However, it can show other problems. 

On a sea trial, the surveyor or the future owner will be able to see the engine running, and any potential issues such as; vibration, starting problems, smoke, steering problems, and power loss.

Most of the buyers will recognise these problems when taking the boat to the sea. While marine surveyors have the necessary knowledge to carry out a survey, most do not have access to proper diagnostic equipment. Marine engineers will have the appropriate equipment to measure engine performance (cylinder temperatures and pressure). 

Engine health is an essential factor when it comes to boat value, especially in powerboats. In this case, it is recommended that a qualified marine engineer tests the engine. The marine engineer will perform all the necessary tests, but this doesn't guarantee, that engine's future performance. However, the equipment will be thoroughly tested and checked to inform you of any potential issues. As with vehicle purchase, there is always some risk involved when buying second hand.

Sea Trials

The sea trial is not a part of the marine survey, but it can be done, for a reasonable extra fee. The main advantage of the sea trial is, to see the engine performance. It will also allow you to test the other parts of the boat, such as seacocks and toilets, for any leaks or problems. 

Every experienced sailor can perform these checks, which will help in making a realistic offer for the boat. It is always advised to take a sea trial, before making offers. As the sea trial may give you more insight on the boat's performance, it cannot guarantee the future performance of the boat.

Engine Tests

What happens, if the survey finds problems? The survey may discover some issues even on well-maintained boats or relatively new ones. The survey results come in two categories;


The recommendations do not need to be resolved before using and insuring the boat. The suggestions come in the form of advice, on how the boat can be improved, but are not crucial for the boat's safety. Recommendations might not cost a lot of money in some cases, as they might only require minor repairs, such as replacing small parts (lightbulbs etc.).


Some suggestions might cost more money, but since they are not crucial for the boat's safety, you don't have to solve them at present. 

At the beginning of the report, a list of suggestions and recommendations are provided. Ensure that you read them carefully and resolve the necessary recommendations.

Are you looking for a boat surveyor near you. Follow the links below to contact our marine surveyor for Surrey and South England.