“A ship is a little world, sufficient to itself. It is a planet moving in space. One is caught up out of time, and there is only the now and the here (Peter Gerard 1962)

A boat is a complex machine is made up of different functional parts, all of which work together, but cannot work without each other. In addition, these parts require constant upkeep and maintenance to ensure maximum potential, as well as insuring against possible failure. This may seem difficult when buying a used vessel, but that is what Caribbean Marine Surveyors is here for and, of course, we start with the survey.

The purpose of the Purchase Survey is to provide the buyer with the information they require in order to evaluate the structural condition of the vessel prior to purchase. This is the most comprehensive type of inspection and is strongly advised when purchasing a new or used vessel.

The Purchase Survey can also be used for insurance and financial purposes

The Survey Report will, as far as possible:

Identify the vessel and major equipment using serial numbers wherever possible.
Identify defects, damages, previous repairs where visible.
Include an evaluation of the structural integrity of the hull and deck.
Report on the hull bottom for delamination and osmosis evaluation.
Report on the condition of the mast and rigging including the rig aloft.
Report on the installation of machinery and the condition of engines as far as can be ascertained from their operation.
Report on the installation of electrical equipment.
Report on the tankage.
Include details of the safety equipment.
Evaluate the navigation equipment.
The report will be written in concise normal language using marine terminology where necessary.
The report will contain digital photographs of pertinent items.
The report will be completed in a timely manner.

The survey does not include a detailed evaluation of the sails or a detailed mechanical evaluation of the engine(s). These are available through local contractors.


We advise owners to check the vessel themselves before the marine survey. Check through hull fittings, hoses, hose clamps, expiry date of safety equipment, etc. The vessel should be presented for the boat survey in a clean condition with the ships papers and miscellaneous equipment ready for inspection. If the lockers are full of equipment, you will be asked to empty lockers. The marine surveyor may also ask you to provide some minor dismantling of some areas, for example access to chain plates. We encourage prospective buyers to be present at the survey.

It is our opinion that the purchase survey should be both in and out of the water. You will need to arrange to haul at a boat yard. Most yards offer a survey haul, when the vessel is kept in the slings over the lunch period, which saves the cost of chocking, etc.

If the owner is not present during the survey, you need to arrange for a skipper to move the vessel for the haul. A short sea trial can usually be carried out after the haul. After the survey has been completed, the surveyor will verbally discuss the details with the buyer.

For 20 years, we’ve been surveying vessels throughout the Caribbean, particularly on the British Virgin Islands. We have vast experience of a huge range of yachts. Our trained and qualified surveyors have the expertise to inspect your future prized possession. Do not hesitate with any comments or feedback you may have – surveying is not a one-man job. We need full participation from the buyer and seller in order to get the best possible boat for your buck.


Please review our Survey Contract. You can print it and either fax it to us or scan it and email it to us when we have agreed terms, etc.


We have a basic fee structure of US$36.00 per foot for normally equipped fiberglass monohulls UP TO 50′ and US $40.00 per foot for catamarans UP TO 50′. Click for a PDF sample survey report. For reference, check out our Catamaran sample and Monohull sample.

Payment can be made by a cheque drawn on a US bank, Travelers Cheques, Cash, Credit Card, Wire Transfer or through our “Payment Page” on the website. The payment page takes you to a secure website operated by 2 checkout.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us today. Call (1) 284 346 2091 or email info@caribsurveyors.com. The time zone is GMT-4 or Eastern US time. We are located in the Caribbean, Tortola, British Virgin Islands.