Boats’ inspection

An inspection before a sale or a purchase makes it possible to know the real state of the boat. The boat inspection gives the general and complete condition of the boat, helps to determine its price, and indicates the actions to be carried out to comply with the maritime standards in force.
For this expertise, it is important to contact an experienced professional specializing in the type of boat concerned. A written estimate is strongly recommended with mention of the services provided, the mission and the expected control points.
The detailed inspection is the best solution to ensure the general condition of the boat, to know its possible defects and to guard against hidden defects. If not mandatory, the expert report is strongly recommended. In addition, it can be requested by the lending institution or by the insurance company.


What does the boat inspection consist of?

A boat inspection is a complete examination of the vessel, exterior and interior, and all equipment and accessories on board. It is a bit like the technical control of a vehicle. It can be complete depending on the expectations of the buyer or the seller. No law makes it compulsory, but it is an important asset in deciding.
Mandated agents check the safety of the ship but also its safety in application of the international code for the security of ships and port facilities. All the elements are checked, checked, and tested, whether it is a motorboat or a sailboat.

The control touches a hundred points which are carefully examined. It is not obligatory in the context of a sale or a purchase but strongly recommended. The inspection report may be required in certain situations (insurance, bank loan, major repairs, disaster, etc.).

What is the purpose of boat inspection?

In most European countries, used boats for sale benefit from a report carried out by an approved expert. This professional provides a thorough inspection and overhaul that details the actual condition of the boat. It is an important document for the potential buyer who thus knows exactly the good or bad “health” of the boat in which he is interested.

The inspection allows you to know more before committing. With the intervention of an objective professional, not party to the sale and therefore impartial, the future buyer knows exactly what to expect. He will know if revisions are to be expected, if the boat complies or not with safety or environmental standards, will know any repairs or damage…

This inspection may also be necessary as part of a bank loan application or for insurance. This is a real technical check making it possible to obtain objective data on the condition of the vessel.

Inspection, an essential step before buying a boat.

Although not mandatory, technical inspection is a key element in the purchase decision. A good knowledge of the general condition of the boat makes it possible to limit the risks associated with the transaction. With a thorough inspection, the buyer avoids unpleasant surprises, unforeseen costs. This inspection makes it possible to negotiate a fair price considering the repairs or modifications to be planned. In addition, in the absence of inspection, it will be impossible for the buyer to initiate an appeal.

Finally, many insurance companies and lenders require such a report.

The seller is always entitled to refuse to lower the price, but he will be required to make the repairs pointed out by the expert. The expertise may seem expensive, but it ensures that the boat is ready to sail, with no hidden defects.


Who should we call for the inspection?

You should contact a professional nautical expert (others specialize in fishing vessels, merchant marine, etc.), a trusted professional. A search on the Internet can find licensed companies. Brokers or yacht clubs can also provide the necessary references.
The expert’s report must be complete and understandable. It is not useful to have an incomprehensible list and figures. The data must be clear, precise, accessible and correspond to the customer’s expectations.

It is important to talk to the expert, to let him know your expectations and your navigation program.

The expertise varies according to the boats and the expectations of the parties; with experience, the expert knows the weak points to check depending on the type of boat. It is important to ask for quotes to get an idea of ​​the costs involved. Indeed, an inspection can be complete and detailed.

How is an inspection carried out?

The inspection report must detail the characteristics of the boat and its general condition with defects and anomalies.
Several types of inspection are possible with in-depth inspections, an inspection of the boat at sea, dry …

Most often, an inspection is done afloat and then dry after a study of all the documents provided with the boat (invoices, interventions, repairs, maintenance, etc.).

Afloat inspection is carried out at mooring or at anchor… Some experts offer underwater expertise at a generally lower cost than a crane.

The whole boat is checked, inside and out. All mechanical and electronic equipment and the various technologies are checked with maintenance considered. Safety equipment, certificates, number of engine hours are checked, etc. The structure of the hull, engine room, deck, anchor, hatches, and closures are checked. If there is an inboard engine, particular attention is paid to all the elements, to the analysis of the oil… In the case of a sailboat, masts and rigging are inspected; the sails are hoisted and lowered, the winches are activated.

A navigation test can follow this first check afloat. The inspector assesses the condition of the engine, sails, steering, stability…

This inspection afloat completed by the sea test allows the expert to have a particularly good general idea of ​​the condition of the boat. boat. He examines the exhaust (smoke, water), the control panel (oil pressure, temperature, batteries, etc.), vibrations, noise, etc. Back in port, a new check is carried out to detect traces of leaks.

A dry inspection can complement the first two. Usually, the parties to the contract agree that the charges are deducted from the sale price. These costs include the dry dock, the costs of stay and cleaning and the release. The hull is carefully examined to detect traces of osmosis, shocks, repairs… The condition of the gelcoat, the hull-deck, hull-keel connections, the keel, the centerboard, the base, the propeller… are inspected.
At the end of the various inspection phases, the expert writes a complete report (generally at least twenty pages) with color photos and the mention “value to say expert”. Each point of the boat must be mentioned with the description of its condition (good, fair, bad) and accompanied by observations. In the conclusion, we have the general condition of the boat and its value as an expert. This report will be used to negotiate the sale but also to insure the boat at its fair value.

Boats that may be subject to inspection.

Inspection of a pleasure craft is not mandatory. Nothing obliges to make an expertise for a registration or during a sale. But we have seen that a prudent buyer will still carry out this inspection.
However, some boats are subject to a compulsory inspection under the SOLAS convention, to a “vetting inspection” (for tankers). This is the case of professional ships, fishing boats, merchant vessels. The assessment then focuses on safety, environmental protection, safety and possibly working and living conditions. These ships must comply with international and national standards enacted in terms of safety, habitability, and prevention of marine pollution. The 16 ship safety centers, the specialized services of the interregional Sea Directorates and the Sea Directorates are responsible for inspecting ships and thus verifying their compliance with standards. These professional boats are inspected throughout their life.

It conditions the issuance of several certificates and the navigation permit.

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