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Most insurance companies require the owner to commission a survey prior to renewing a policy once a vessel is 20 years old, and then at five yearly intervals.

The purpose of the insurance survey is to identify any defects in the vessel that would represent an unacceptable risk to underwriters. Such defects could be found in the structure and structural attachments, ballast, steering system, gas system, electrical systems, sails and rig, deck fittings, ground tackle, windows and hatches, through hull fittings and their hose attachments, propulsion equipment and engines, safety equipment, tank and fuel installations, bilge systems and navigation equipment.

Most insurance companies will accept notification from the Owner when the required recommendations have been carried out, so a follow up inspection is rarely required.

Survey Requirements For Underwriters

Underwriters require that the survey report has been carried out within the last five years and must include (as a minimum) an evaluation of the following points where appropriate:

1. The condition of the hull beneath the water line and topsides. Any sign of impact, distortion or any form of flexing, or signs of delamination. If moisture readings are taken is there any significant signs of water ingress into the laminate. If the hull is steel or aluminium, hull thickness measurements will be required.
2. The condition of the internal hull, bulkheads, stiffeners, keel attachment and support structure.
3. The condition of the keel and external keel joint.
4. The condition of the rudder, stern gear including shaft and stern gland shaft / seal support struts such as the P bracket and cutlass bearing and propellers.
5. The condition of the decks super structure and deck fittings.
6. The condition of the mast and spars and age and condition of the standing rigging including bottle screws and hull attachments ( chain plates, stem head fitting, etc)
7. Suitability of and condition of ground tackle ( Number and weight of anchors, chain , warp and attachments)
8. Condition of the steering equipment. If wheel steering is the mechanism ( including quadrant, cables , hydraulics) in good condition. Is there an emergency tiller or other emergency steering available.
9. Can the vessel be secured against theft, ie do the main access hatches have locks.
10. The gas (LPG) installation conforms to current safety standards ( The report should confirm that gas bottles are secured in a dedicated gas tight locker that drains directly into the atmosphere and that the pipe work is of solid drawn copper and well supported /secured along its length, and approved flexible hoses are within five years of the date stamp. There must be a shut off valve at the cooker.
11. The condition of the electrical system and installation including the condition and stowage of batteries. If there is AC shore power installation, is it protected by a residual current device.
12. The condition of the engine and fuel supply.
13. The condition of the seacocks and through hull fittings. Are the hose connections double clipped with stainless steel clips.
14. Are the number and type of bilge pumps adequate for the vessel. And in working condition.
15. Are the fire extinguishers in date, is the fire fighting equipment adequate for the vessel.
16. Are there adequate emergency flares on board.
17. Number of sails and age.
18. Age of rigging and type.
19. Age of mast and construction.
20. Deck construction and sound test.
21. Hull construction and sound test.
22. Hull moisture test.
23. Keel Connection.
24. Builder & Date.
25. Safety Equipment.
26. Trailer.
27. Outboard motor age type.
28. Fuel storage.
29. Rudder type and gland.
30. Bulkheads and connections.
31. Batteries and electrics.

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