A survey helps to determine the overall condition of your boat and can also establish an actual value. Having an up-to-date and objective opinion of the condition of your boat and its value will help any sale.

Depending on the boat’s size and age and the number of systems, it may be wise to get a Condition and Value Survey before you advertise. The larger and older your boat is, the more important this step will be. Your insurance company may also require a survey if your boat has been involved in an accident or had any major repairs, but insurance surveys are often less detailed than pre-purchase surveys.

When you see another boat bearing down on you, especially if there are no eyeballs visible—common sense says "get out of the way."

The surveyor will complete a thorough visual inspection of the boat and will probably also sound the laminate with a hammer or moisture meter. If you want the bottom inspected and the boat is in the water, arrange for haul-out ahead of time. Most surveyors quote based on the boat’s overall length, with prices that range from $14-22/foot. (For more detailed information about surveys, read Understanding Boat Surveys: What is Pre-Purchase?)

Many buyers will make an offer contingent on the boat passing a professional survey. If you do get a survey before you list the boat and the buyer doesn’t find that acceptable, the buyer should expect to cover the cost of any additional survey work. Otherwise the survey costs can be part of your price negotiations.

Tips for Boat Owners

Including a survey in your regular maintenance schedule will help you find out about problems before they become too serious. And when it comes time to sell, you’ll have all the information you need to set an appropriate asking price.

Next: How To Prepare A Boat For Sale