How Much Is a Boat or Yacht Survey? (Costs & How to Prepare)
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How Much Is a Boat or Yacht Survey? (Costs & How to Prepare)

Boat and yacht surveys have become commonplace in the nautical world, both for people buying boats (wanting to check the conditions) and for insurance companies.

Both insurance surveys and pre-purchase surveys are led by marine surveyors, who check every component on the boat applicable (for example, the engine, navigation lights, water systems, safety equipment, etc.).

Yacht surveyors will help to determine a more accurate purchase price and policy costs for your insurance company.

But, how much is a boat survey?

The prices of a pre-purchase survey and an insurance survey can vary from around £10 per foot to around £20 per foot, if not more.

The price will depend on the:

  • size
  • age
  • model of your specific boat
  • type of craft or vessel
  • as well as the surveyor you have chosen, their hourly rate and any travel costs for your/their location.

Let’s take a closer look at what you might expect on a boat survey day, and what else will influence the price.

How Much Does a Boat Survey Cost in The UK?

The cost of your boat survey will usually depend on the surveyors themselves.

Most marine surveyors charge per foot of the boat, while others have a set amount based on the general size and model of the boat. 

Some surveyors will charge you just over £20 per foot. 

Generally speaking, a boat survey can cost anywhere from about £450 to over £700, total.

That is why it is best to contact a few marine surveyors before making a final decision.

Their prices may not vary a great deal from one another, but if they are charging per foot of the boat, even a small difference in price could be significant.

In England and the rest of the UK, these are the fees you’re looking at for surveying boats

What About the Cost of A Yacht Surveyor?

Again, when it comes to the actual cost of a yacht surveyor, everything depends on the surveyor you choose, and the size and make of your boat. 

Some yacht surveyors will only charge you about £10 per foot, plus a baseline price, whereas others will cost you more (depending on their premium services, etc.). Once again – shop around.

Methods and Types of Boat and Yacht Survey (and how They Impact Price)

There are various types of boat and yacht surveys to choose from.

Most surveyors will need instruction from you about the specific inspections they need to carry out – based on insurance demands, etc. (Find out How to find good marine surveyors)

For example, they may be asked to do a full condition survey, which is common for buyers to seek before purchasing their boat and becoming a new owner. 

This ensures their future purchase is sound and ready to sail.

An insurance survey, meanwhile, will test an older boat and check its various components for the purposes of insurance coverage (as is obvious by the name!).

Ultrasound surveys, on the other hand, are useful for measuring the thickness of the hull platings. Rig surveys check rigging wires, and machinery and systems surveys check mechanical and electrical components in close detail.

Generally speaking, the most common boat surveys are insurance and full condition.

However, each survey carries a specific cost and fee.

Since full condition and insurance surveys thoroughly check multiple components of the boat, they tend to be the most expensive.

How Much Is a Boat or Yacht Survey blog post image

How to Save Money on Boat or Yacht Survey Costs

Thankfully, there are a few things that you can do to ensure that you save yourself a bit of money on your boat or yacht survey. 

  • Clean the boat thoroughly before the survey. Cleaning up before a survey will save you and the surveyor a lot of time, ultimately saving you money. 
  • De-clutter your boat. Taking non-essentials out of the boat before the survey will make it easier to clean and easier for the surveyor to access – saving time and money, too.
  • Ensure that the batteries are working. If your boat is onshore and the boat is connected to the power of the port, then ensure that it is well connected and does work as expected. That means no need for extensive work or survey time.
  • Service your engine before the survey. Ensuring that your engine starts easily during the survey will help a lot with time and with any potential issues that the surveyor could note!
  • Check the hull for any damages. The hull will need to be in the best condition possible as the surveyor will look for any noteworthy damages – and again, the more time they spend, the more money you spend, too.
  • Preparation for a sea trial – if you’re going on a sea trial (which is a key part of inspections), it may seem obvious, but if you haven’t turned on your vessel in a while, then it’s worth checking it still turns on and runs.

How to Instruct a Yacht Surveyor

Before hiring a boat surveyor, you must ensure that they are right for the job.

That means checking with your yacht insurance company about what they expect to be checked, what qualifications they expect the surveyor to have, and more. 

You should also always check that the boat surveyor that you hire has a professional indemnity insurance cover. 

If you’re worried, reach out to your insurance provider as soon as possible – they know what they’re doing and can tell you what to look for.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some frequently asked questions on a boat survey or yacht surveys:

Do I Need a Survey to Buy a Boat?

You do not necessarily need a boat survey to buy a boat.

Most insurance companies ask for boat surveys on vessels that are over 25 years old, although some might ask for surveys on newer models, too. 

However, if you are buying a boat, hiring a boat surveyor for yourself is highly recommended for most people.

They will be able to see any underlying issues that the ship might have, which helps to give you a better idea of what price you should be paying – and what investments and repairs you may have to make in the boat in the future. 

How Much Does a Narrowboat Survey Cost in The Uk?

Much like a survey for any other boat, the cost of the survey will depend on the size of the narrowboat and the surveyor you have chosen. 

Generally speaking, you will pay between £10 and £14 per foot for a narrowboat inspection.


Seeking out a marine surveyor or boat survey expert shouldn’t be a hassle.

Whether your insurance carrier needs a survey completed, or if you’re paying the above fees to gain assurance on a future purchase, surveying offers fantastic confidence.

Their report will show all their important findings and their inspection may uncover a red flag you wasn’t expecting. This makes the fee well worth it.

Keep a close eye on fees payable, surveying scope, and do your best to get your vessel up to code – getting someone to inspect your boat is great value for your protection and peace of mind.

If you need any advice, contact us. We’ve been a boat insurance broker for over 20 years and will be happy to help give you any independent advice on the process and what you need for your vessel’s intended use.

You can also find qualified surveyors here

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