Prep your boat for survey

Story by Harris & Ellis / July 12, 2023

Author: Patricia and Grant Bowlby Yacht Brokers Harris & Ellis Yachts

The survey is a key part of any boat purchase, and your goal as the seller is to make sure it doesn’t reveal any big surprises—to you or to the prospective buyer. Normal wear and tear is not unexpected on a pre-owned boat. But there are things you can do to set your boat up for success:

  • Repair or replace any loose screws, broken hinges, etc. 
  • Ensure that any items left on board at the time of survey are to be included in the sale of your boat. Surveyors will make notes of “items found onboard,” and they will include the value of a dinghy and outboard.
  • Clean your bilge and make sure that all your bilge pumps are working.
  • Add bungs to each through-hull. While you’re there, ensure that all sea cocks are working.
  • Take time to declutter the decks and interior. Surveyors can get bogged down having to move items from one side of the boat to the other. 
  • Remove any sun pads or water toys from the boat.
  • Have your power cords accessible. The surveyor will be testing the electrical system, both on shore power and ship’s power.


As first-time boat buyers and as foreigners wanting to buy a cruising catamaran in the US, we knew we needed a reliable broker that had our best interests in mind. John Heintzman was just that, and more! He was extremely committed to understanding what we were looking for, gave great advice, and guided us through the purchase process with great patience and knowledge. All in all, we felt very well taken care of.

I feel compelled to reach out about the absolutely wonderful experience that I have had with Grant and Patricia Bowlby. I completed the purchase of a boat yesterday and I couldn’t be happier. They were so helpful, kind, and patient. This was my first experience with a broker, and I think I’ve found the best.

I can’t thank Ewan Campbell enough for the super job he did in selling G, making up for my lack of experience in this realm and patiently searching for just the right buyer and a win-win for seller and buyer alike.

It was a wonderful experience selling A with Jeff Cole’s expert assistance. Thank you for simplifying a complicated process. Your patience and kindness are especially appreciated.

I just wanted to thank Jeff Cole for all his hard work. He was very professional and effective.

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