Boat surveying advice: Interview with Gavin Clark

Mike McKiernan
Posted November 27 2015
Deckee: Can you introduce yourself and briefly tell us about your experience in boat surveying?

Gavin: I am a boat builder/shipwright by trade (27 years) and gained my qualifications in small craft surveying later on. For the past 15 years I have been carrying out pre purchase inspections. I travel locally, interstate and internationally.

Marine surveyors typically offer a few different services. Can you give us an overview of the most common reports you carry out?

Pre Purchase and Insurance reports are the two most common reports we carry out. The pre purchase inspection is more detailed and includes the use of thermal imagery and corrosion analysis as standard procedures.

We report any faults or inherent issues to the buyer. Insurance reports are more tailored to ensure the vessel is not a risk and an insurable item, this is often requested by the insurer. We also do assessing and reporting for large insurance companies.

Can you provide a few examples of issues you often discover during Pre-purchase or Insurance reports?

We have added corrosion analysis to all our pre purchase reports. Corrosion is fast becoming an issue in our industry, the usual seacocks and stern glands are always very common on the list, more often out of sight, out of mind.

What tips do you have for boat owners to adequately prepare for a survey of their vessel?

The modern day consumer wants bang for their buck. I find it all too often that the boat goes to market and then the boat owner switches off all resources to the up keep of the boat.

Time goes by and the day of the survey arrives, basics fail, dead batteries, the boat is poorly presented and cluttered. My advice is if you want your boat to sell, use a reputable broker, have your boat presented in the way you would expect to by it.

Have all your service records up to date and even though you are selling it, it is still yours, so keep up with the maintenance. You will get the money back at the time of sale.

Finally, what questions should a boat owner ask a surveyor to ensure they are experienced and knowledgeable, and carry out a professional and thorough service?

A good surveyor will ask the buyer more questions. Personally since adding thermal imagery and corrosion analysis standard to all my inspections, I believe it should be a standard. It replaces guess work with science.

Ask what they cover and what they don't. For example, we engage professional mechanics on all engine and stern drive inspections. If problems occur during the survey, we can engage mechanical, electrical and rigging experts for specialised reports.

Gavin Clark is the owner and operator of Slipstream Marine.

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