Pre sale survey; improve sale prospects

The pre inspection survey/inspection is one of the key hurdles to be crossed when selling a second hand vessel. We often find many minor things wrong that could easily have been fixed. Or the owner, broker and purchaser all discover unpleasant truths about the vessel that with forewarning could have been corrected.

A pre sale survey can identify the issues. With this knowledge the sale process can be planned by either repairing the faults, mitigating issues or adjusting the price at the beginning to get the maximum interest before the listing goes cold. This can save all parties time and grief. Examples of things easily fixed  include:

  • non ventilated boats with excessive condensation
  • water in the bilge, oil in the bilge
  • lockers full of personal stuff making the vessel difficult to inspect, and makes the vessel seem small
  • rusty gas bottles
  • rusty hose clips, especially on salt water intakes, holding tank and toilet hose clips
  • Hose clips on systems connected to underwater through hull fittings that only have one hose clip instead of two on connections
  • seized or semi seized salt water valves (through lack of operation)
  • leaking toilets
  • rusted anchor chain
  • non functioning bilge pumps
  • insecure bilge pumps
  • loose stanchion bases
  • bent stanchions
  • chafed lifelines connection lashings
  • stainless fasteners weeping rust from being surrounded by wet structure – potentially leading to crevice corrosion of the fasteners (to fix: remove, dry, replace and reseal)
  • wet anchor lockers without ventilation leading to windlass rusty motor, and corroded electrical connections
  • sliding hatches without stops (unwary new owners may pull the hatch open and find it keeps going over the side).
  • expired flares
  • rusted up emergency steering equipment
  • plastic deck hardware that has degraded badly in the sun (i.e. aerials, plastic sheaves on blocks, plastic nav lights)
  • loose/missing screws on beltings that can be replaced easily
  • damaged beltings
  • poor condition antifouling
  • rusty or corroded mechanical parts such as engine mounts, and steering gear that has had salt water leaking on to it – best if you can find the leak and remove rust/corrosion and prime
  • mouldy running rigging and canvas work, remove clean in the bath and replace
  • mouldy tops of flying bridges

Addressing the above things will help to achieve a clean survey report and a fast sale.

Surveying a new or existing vessel for commercial use

Here is the short story of what is involved:

The vessel needs to have design approval given before it is built. The approval must be done by a surveyor recognised by MNZ for the type/construction of vessel (usually a Naval Architect). Exceptions are:

  • If the vessel is a production boat that has a sistership in survey, the design may already be approved. In such a case design approval is required for the sistership. The approval must be from a surveyor recognised by MNZ to do design approval for the type of vessel.
  • It is generally possible to bring an existing vessel that has been in Survey in Australia to USL code into New Zealand survey using the Australian design approval. New Zealand limits are assigned that are equivalent to those assigned in Australia.
  • If the vessel is under 7.5metres and has a sistership in use that has a record of safe use for a period exceeding 5 years. The sistership must be a constructed in the same facility to the same specification.

For new vessels, after design approval is given/established, the build is monitored by an in-construction surveyor to ensure compliance with the approved design and the relevant maritime rules for equipment etc. We can do this for wood and composite vessels up to 15m. The surveyor that does the design approval is not permitted to do the in-construction survey. After the construction is complete the in-construction surveyor issues a report.

The initial survey is done, a Certificate of Survey issued, and a future survey plan approved by the surveyor (can be the same surveyor as the in-construction). The vessel can enter in to a Maritime New Zealand Marine Operator Safety System (MOSS) operation. The certificate details the operation area limits, number of passengers, conditions etc.

Periodic surveys are done in accordance with the vessel specific survey plan (every 2-3 years) with Survey Certificate renewal every 5 years (typically). The periodic surveys must be done by a surveyor recognised by MNZ for the type/construction of vessel for periodic surveys. We can perform this function for wood and composite vessels up to 24m.

A list of surveyors and their survey recognition can be found here:

We are also able to provide technical files and vessel documentation services for commercial or recreational vessel operation.