Scroll Top

Do I need a Professional Marine Survey before insuring my boat?

Why do I need a Boat Survey and is it required to insure my boat?

The Ontario boat market has experienced major fluctuations in both boat tends and boat values.  Dealers are reporting record sales, and the options to buyers are making this the hottest boat market in years. Kawartha Quotes staff had the pleasure of attending the Toronto International Boat Show this past January.  At the show we had a number of people inquire about Marine Surveys and if they are required for insurance purposes, so we put together a Kawartha Quotes DIY Guide To Marine Boat Surveys in Ontario.  We do recommend getting a survey on a boat, before purchase and in some cases it will be required in order to provide the policy.  A survey isn’t always required for insurance purposes, so please contact us in advance and depending on your situation we can provide advice on if you should get a survey or not.

Marine Survey Ontario

Whats the purpose of getting a Marine Survey?

  1. To determine the value and overall condition to set a fair purchase price
  2. To receive an appraisal for insurance purposes.  Some of the marine underwriting companies Kawartha Quotes works with will require a survey with an appraised value in order to obtain a marine policy
  3. To alert you or the new owner of the boat to possible future maintenance or repair concerns

Whats included in a Marine Survey?

The important component to the survey is the moisture meter readings through the hull, decks, superstructure, frames, stringers transom and bulkheads. Because balsa and plywood are often used as the base in these areas its important to determine the condition of the core. This will tell you if there are areas of lamination that could be loose, air voids from time of manufacturing and the amount of moisture retention in the core and/or fiberglass. Most boats have some moisture in certain areas and it needs to be determined if it is at normal or excessive levels for the age of the boat. All of the systems will be checked for operation (not diagnostic), both shore and house electrical systems thoroughly inspected, fuel installations etc.

Your survey should also include electrolysis activity, osmosis, condition of underwater gear (cutlass bearings, struts, propellers) and any modifications, previous repairs, their condition and an overall inspection of fasteners such as bolts and chain plates.

Whats not included in a Marine Survey?

Surveyors are not licensed mechanics and what is not inspected by the surveyor are the mechanical items such as the engines, transmissions, stern drives and generator.

Are surveys only required for large boats?

Surveys are not just for large boats, or older boats.  In our experience, we have seen even small runabouts that have expensive problems with rotted stringers, weak transoms and floor boards, or saturated flotation foam.  Even if the boat looks like its in great condition, the survey will point out a lot more then just the cosmetics.  The survey will identify the structural condition and will make sure you aware of any problems with the boat before you complete the purchase.

Fining a Professional Marine Surveyor

Need help finding a surveyor?  Contact Kawartha Quotes and we would be happy to provide a list of local Surveyors that we work with.

Hiring a Surveyor

When you hire a surveyor, they will provide the condition of the vessel to you, not the boat owner.  The survey will include the present state of the vessel from a general examination and is limited to areas of the boat that are accessible for inspection.

Surveyor Guidelines & Standards

When hiring a surveyor make sure they adhere to the guidelines and standards to one or more of the designations below.

  • A.B.Y.C. (American Boat and Yacht Council Inc.)
  • N.F.P.A. (National Fire Protection Association)
  • U.S.C.G. (United States Coast Guard)
  • C.C.G. TP 1332E (Canadian Coast Guard).

If you are being asked for a marine survey by your boat insurance company, call and speak to a marine broker at Sentinel Risk as there may be insurance options for you with no survey required