Marine Surveys, Condition Reviews, Appraisals and Damage Claims

Who pays for what?


The buyer/owner is responsible for the survey fee and the hauling charges.  A boat with a fouled bottom needs to be cleaned.  A pressure wash is typically the responsibility of the buyer.  NOTE:  Haul out fees must be paid at the time of hauling.  The seller is typically responsible for the cost of someone to operate the vessel such as a paid captain, as well as insuring that the vessel has adequate fuel.

How long does it take?


We schedule enough time to complete the survey adequately.  Small boats are not necessarily easier to survey than larger ones.  The same logistics are involved so small boat surveys do not necessarily take less time.  The fact is we don't know how long the survey will take.  The time involved is more a factor of the condition of the boat and the complexity of the systems than anything else.

Why should you have a vessel surveyed?


Insurance companies and banks will require a survey on most older and even on some newer vessels.  They will need to know her condition and fair market value in order to finance and/or underwrite the vessel.  Knowing her condition and fair market value before you purchase is also important.  However, the most important reason to survey your vessel is for the safety of the passengers and crew.

How do I choose a surveyor?


Anyone can title him or herself as a Marine Surveyor.  Certain marine surveyors are permitted to use a designation denoting membership in accrediting organizations that require members to meet strict professional, technical and ethical standards.  We provide you with a professionally prepared report that can be accepted by your bank and/or  insurance company.  We use ABYC, NFPA and USCG standards in our surveys.


A thorough inspection will not be rushed and will depend on the type of survey required based on vessel size,

equipment and on-board systems.  Well-conducted surveys can provide good information on the vessels'

condition, but they are not guarantees.  The surveyor reports the condition in accessible areas only as

it exists at the time of inspection.

FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions

What is an engine survey?


Clients will ask, "Do you survey the engines too?"  This answer is yes and no.  An exterior evaluation will be performed.  However, when it comes to some diesel-powered vessels the engines can be more complex and will require a manufacturer's certified technician.  Most surveyors do not perform diesel engine surveys.  In most cases we are not certified technicians.  It is highly recommended that an independent diesel surveyor be engaged for full diesel surveys.


On gas engines, we will perform a rudimentary engine survey.  What this means is that not only do we performance test the engines but also perform a complete visual inspection.  This is not to be mistaken for a complete mechanical inspection.   We advise you to employ a certified mechanic for a complete mechanical report.

What is our service area?


Southeast Texas - We are servicing the Southeast Texas area.  We provide condition and valuation surveys at a competitive rates in the Lake Conroe, Texas area (Conroe, Willis and Montgomery).  Also servicing the Kemah, League City and Seabrook areas plus Lake Livingston. We are available to service locations outside this area.  Please call to discuss additional mileage fees or travel arrangements.


Panhandle of Florida - We also service the Florida Panhandle area to include:  Destin, Fort Walton Beach, Freeport, Niceville, Pensacola and Panama City Beach.

How do I prepare for a survey?


Arrange to present a clean, shipshape boat and have all papers and miscellaneous gear ready.  Live aboard vessels should be put in ready for sea conditions.  If applicable, you will need to make arrangements with the marina to haul the vessel for bottom inspection, and retain a captain for sea trials.  Lockers and cabin areas should be cleared of all miscellaneous gear.


The surveyor should never be asked to prepare a boat for inspection.   The surveyor may request minor dismantling of interior ceilings, headliners, flooring, etc. in order to gain access to the suspected areas.  Random removal and examination of below-the-waterline fasteners on wooden boats may be required.  Any dismantling and re-installation of parts should be performed by qualified personnel and is the responsibility of the person ordering the survey.

How often is a survey required?


It will depend on the insurance company, the value of your vessel and its age.  For the sake of safety, a survey is recommended every three years.

Why do I need a sea trial?


Systems are checked for proper operation during the sea trial.  Making sure that the engines start without excessive cranking, examining color of smoke from the exhaust and exhaust cooling water, excessive vibrations, steering systems, throttle and shifting, and oil and coolant leaks are all checked during this portion of the survey.  Navigation equipment is powered up.


A back down test is performed to examine the condition of the engine mounts; as well as, checking that the vessel is able to reach its top speed and RPM.  We also examine structural hull elements while under load.  There are a lot of things that need to be looked at in a short period of time.  Therefore, at the very minimum, we recommend that a sea trial be carried out and could take up to one hour's duration, but longer for larger yachts.


We recommend trial runs whenever possible.  However, when conditions are rough, we have to defer to the owner/seller's discretion because of the liability risks that would be raised if we insist on going out in rough water.  Most insurance surveys do not require a water trial, however during a pre-purchase survey we highly recommend one be scheduled.

What are the three parts of a survey?


Surveys consist of three distinct aspects:

  • The state in water inspection
  • The haul out to inspect the underwater surfaces and running gear
  • The sea trial


No survey is complete without performing these three aspects.  The sea trial involves not only performance testing the vessel and its engines, but is also the time when many major systems are checked.  In addition to this, the surveyor will also check the internal hull structures to make sure that all is as it should be.

What is a condition and valuation survey?


A condition and valuation survey is a report on the current condition of a vessel and its current value as judged by geographical location and condition.   It assures the insurance company and financial institution that the vessel meets U.S. Coast Guard, National Fire Protection Association and American Boat and Yacht Council safety standards and that is insured for enough value to replace it if damaged or lost.

Regardless of the reason for the survey, it is important that the inspection be thorough, and that the final report be comprehensive, clear and easy to understand.  Nothing can irritate an owner, buyer, agent or banker more than a survey report that is overly complicated, unorganized or difficult to understand.

BONES MARINE SURVEY LLC