Marine Surveys by Port City Marine Surveyors, Donald J. (DJ) Smith, SAMS® AMS®, Mobile, Alabama, USA Port City Marine Surveyors
Div. of Port City Marine Services, Inc.

Mobile, Alabama, USA
Service Areas Include:
Orange Beach, Alabama & Biloxi, Mississippi
Worldwide Service Available

Donald J. (DJ) Smith, SAMS® AMS®
Principal Marine Surveyor
Cell: 251-421-5426


Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is a Pre-Purchase Survey?

A: The purpose of obtaining a pre-purchase survey on a boat is to gain as much information on the condition of the boat as possible before you buy it. What the surveyor does, and how he does it has a lot to do with his skill, experience, and personal methods of work. The amount of information that can be obtained is dependent on a variety of factors. The most common question a surveyor is asked by someone who has never experienced the survey process is, "What do you do?" To put it as succinctly as possible, the primary work of the surveyor is observation and testing. Typical tools used in surveying consist of moisture meters, hammers, awls, multimeters, and infrared heat sensing unit. These types of services may require extra charge and permission of the owner. The better educated, the more experienced, more careful a surveyor is the higher the caliber of his work. The survey involves examining every aspect of the boat possible without taking it apart, and includes examination of all major systems where applicable and accessible.

Q: Why should I have my vessel surveyed?

A: Most insurance companies and banks will require them on older 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 passengers and crew.

Q: How should I prepare my vessel for inspection?

A: Time and additional expenses can be saved by preparing the vessel for inspection and making her more accessible. Arrange to present a clean, shipshape boat, and have all papers and miscellaneous gear ready. If applicable, you will need to make arrangements with the marina to haul the vessel for bottom inspection, and a captain for sea trial. 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 suspected areas. Random inspection of fasteners on wood boats below water line could be examined for condition. Any dismantling and re-installation of these parts should be performed by qualified personnel, which is the responsibility of the person ordering the survey. The vessel should comply with Coast Guard requirements for safety equipment.

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Installed July 20, 2000, Last Revised July 23, 2017 - Hosted and maintained by Don Robertson