Canal Boats
Marinablu International Ltd
All your canal boat, yacht and marine finance solutions in one place

Boat Surveys

canal boats Like licensing, many canal boat owners consider surveys an annoying additional expense that they could well do without when buying used canal boats, which I'm afraid is a false economy. You may be lucky and buy a boat which has been well maintained and cared for, but the chances are you won't, particularly if you are looking to save costs anyway. In my view, a survey is a must, and please don't think that the BSS certificate can be used in place of a survey - it cannot, and neither can the CE marking. The RCD is a certificate of compliance and nothing else. The other trap that many new boat buyers fall into, is to take a "so called" expert ( generally a family member or friend) along to view the boat and cast his or her "expert" eye over the boat. This approach will cost you more in the long run - bite the bullet and get a professional survey done before you buy - if something horrible turns up in the report you can either walk away or negotiate a better price with the seller.

Canal Boat Survey

First of all, your survey should be conducted by a qualified boat surveyor. They should be a member of the Institute of International Marine Surveyors who will have an up to date list of members for you to contact, so you should be able to find someone local. Now there are several different types of surveys which will vary according to your requirements, but the principle types are as follows :

Type of Survey Main Points Covered In Survey
Condition survey The most common form of survey when buying a secondhand boat, which should cover all aspects of the boats condition. It should also include an out of water assessment of the hull condition along with detailed assessments of metal thickness etc  A full written report is provided on completion and will generally include an estimated market value as part of the valuation survey.
External hull survey It is becoming increasingly common for insurance companies, and some finance companies to request this survey. It is less onerous than a full condition survey and is often used in conjunction with the BSS certificate.
Valuation survey Again, far less onerous than a full condition survey, but which will provide a guide to the current market value. Be careful if you use this as your only basis for purchase as it will not include an out of water survey, or cover major components or systems in detail, but probably better than nothing or the "use a friend" route. Ideally the valuation survey should form part of your condition survey.
Damage survey As the name suggests, only carried out after an accident, or sometimes used in disputes with insurance companies to arrive at a second opinion.
Tonnage survey This is generally required if you are applying for a marine mortgage or for registration under Part 1 of the UK shipping register.


Whichever one you choose, please, please, please get a survey done before you buy - it will save you money in the long term and you will be grateful, even if nothing untoward is found - at least you can then buy with confidence knowing that your hard earned cash has been well invested.

And speaking of hard earned cash, finally let's look at the options for financing your canal boat with a marine mortgage - canal boats, like any other boat can be used as collateral for borrowing even if you are living aboard.

Canal Boats - Next Page

Marinablu International Ltd is an Introducer Appointed Representative of  Pantaenius UK Ltd who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority (FSA)  - boat surveys