Marine Surveys By American Marine Specialists, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama American Marine Specialists
Chattanooga, Tennessee

Gary R. Wright SAMS
Accredited Marine Surveyor
(423) 451-0128

Marine Surveys By American Marine Specialists, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama

Safe Boats - Safe Enjoyable Boating!

Pre-Purchase Survey:
To Avoid:
  • paying too much.
  • buying someone else s problems.
  • purchasing the wrong type boat for your needs.
  • getting a boat that isn't insurable or is unsafe.
  • winding up with a boat that you can't resell without a huge loss.

The Complete Pre-Purchase Survey is the most comprehensive and in-depth type of inspection, highly recommended for buyers, whether this is your first boat, or your 21st. This survey assesses the structural, as well as the cosmetic aspects of the boat, and the condition of her equipment, accessories, complex systems and accommodations (if so equipped).

The Complete pre-purchase survey normally consists of three parts:

  1. The in-water inspection: While afloat, the vessel's trim (how she sets in the water) can be evaluated.
    Next, this is the only practical way to determine if there are any noticeable sea water leaks, and properly test the operation of the propulsion, steering, auxiliary generator, marine air/heat and water and waste systems.

  2. The out-of-water inspection: After haul-out (buyers expense), the surveyor can determine the condition of the wetted surface of the hull using visual and various nondestructive methods, and, inspect the running gear, steering and trim components, thru-hulls, corrosion protection devices and various transducers. Never buy a boat without having this inspection.

  3. The sea trial: Unless you are an accomplished boater with good mechanical skills, you should have your surveyor attend on a sea trial of the vessel to determine her stability and performance characteristics, state of electronics and navigation equipment, as well as checking for vibrations, leaks underway, and possible CO (carbon monoxide) or other safety hazards.

Pre-purchase Survey Considerations:
A buyer may elect to limit the pre-purchase survey to the in-water inspection, or a combination of the above. REMEMBER, if you do this, it is only a snapshot of the vessel's complex systems, not a complete pre-purchase survey. Not recommended.

Engine surveys:
While the Pre-Purchase survey does include a general exterior inspection and operation of the propulsion systems, the internal condition of the engine(s) and various drive systems cannot normally be evaluated by the Marine Surveyor. This phase should only be accomplished by an Accredited or Certified Engine surveyor, or an experienced, impartial mechanic, Certified on the particular engine(s) being considered. Engine surveys are highly recommended, especially when considering the purchase of high performance, and/or very expensive vessels, and older boats with diesel engines.

Oil sample analysis:
Oil sample analysis is generally recommended for boats with diesel or high performance engines. Although onetime sampling and analysis may not be conclusive, it can detect certain immediate problems, and certainly provide valuable information as to the need for further testing or impending component failure.

Corrosion and destructive testing:
Depending on the findings of the Pre-Purchase survey, various other testing methods can be employed to determine the condition of bonding and electrical systems, structural components and environmental hazards.

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Installed March 25, 2003, Last Revised April 12, 2019 - Hosted and maintained by Don Robertson