Without knowing much information most would err on the side of caution and go for a surveyor. And those posting
before me have done exactly that. The OP provided little information about the boat nor what she’ll be used for, value of spend etc. We do know the OP’s view of BREXIT and whilst it’s tempting to debate, may be another time.
To survey or not to survey is a very interesting topic. So perhaps a word for the negative side.
There are surveys and there are surveys, many are little more than educated guesses as to the value of the boat (for insurance or tax say), and then there are the more serious surveys where the integrity and soundness of the yacht are checked. The prospective owner conducting a survey needs to be clear on the purpose and communicate this. A few survey types include:
Rigs & Sails
The reality can be that finding and organising a survey is very difficult. Perhaps the remoteness of the boat, and /or lack of local expertise with respect to the vessel you’re pursuing. Surveyors might be experienced with hulls and rigs but how do you survey a motor
To do a comprehensive survey require:
Boat availability (in working order) both in and out of the water
Test sail/motoring period.
Accurate log book
And so we need a good weather
window, travel or crane availability, and (usually) owner availability.
How can this be timetabled from afar? Perhaps the surveyor will be willing to make the necessary arrangements locally; perhaps not. Obviously too this all costs money
I’ve heard/read of many stories (you’ll find a number on this forum) where everyone arrives at the boat and the motor
won’t go, or our travel lift
booking has been screwed up or is needed for some urgent boat lift
. For whatever reason the survey can’t go ahead as planned.
Another factor is who the owner(s) is. Will you get to know him/her well, will he/she be willing to help with questions post sale
? Is there a comprehensive and up to date user manual for the vessel? How long has the current
owner had the vessel, what has it been used for and why is the owner selling? For example, perhaps the yacht has been owned for 10 years by a couple and they’ve decided they’ve had enough of the cruising life (OK we know in this case it hasn't been). Given the yacht has been their transport as well as their home, possibly they’re far more likely to have taken good care of the boat.
Eeek! It’s just starting raining and all my hatches are open ... sorted, back now, sorry about that little interruption.
If you’re going to travel to see the yacht will there be an opportunity to spend a few days with them whilst they show you over the little ship and how she works? During that time you’ll be able to gain a reasonable impression as to their honesty and integrity.
Can you rely on a survey done locally? How do you gauge their independence/competence/reputation?
Something I discovered in my part of the world is that pretty much anyone can put a sign saying ‘boat surveyor’ on the sides of their van. There is no Surveyor’s Assn nor any recognised qualification.
Personally I’d always go see a boat to make my own evaluation before getting in professionals. It’s hardly difficult to see if the photos and the boat are the same. If the photo
of the engine showed it as all sparkly clean but what you see in reality is an old rust stained banger, well what can you make of that? There are web sites dealing with how to undertake your own survey. Mostly non technical, simple tips and tricks to look for.
Another option is having someone you do/can trust locally (qualified) and sending them on a short overseas holiday.
OP whatever you decide, don’t do so because of what a bunch of unknown keyboard warriors tell you from their comfy chairs. But personally, a 2017 boat. I wouldn't bother to do any more than get an insurance survey.
Oh and one last word. Some will suggest you can gauge an engine’s soundness by an oil
test. I’ve a simple response: oil change! Anyone selling a boat should make it tidy and presentable, a good old clean/polish, a bit of splashed paint
and an engine service