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After months (or sometimes years) of searching, you’ve found your perfect boat. All the time and research to get you to this point are great steps towards realising your dream, but have you considered who can assist you in ensuring your purchase is all as it appears. Engaging a quality marine surveyor will help to ensure your investment, and the safety of those onboard, are protected.

The marine survey industry can be a minefield for the first time purchaser to navigate, but the good news is you’re not alone in your journey. The Australasian Institute of Marine Surveyors (AIMS) has a membership of over 400 surveyors around Australia helping consumers connect with and make an informed choice in their surveyor. When engaging a marine surveyor for the first time, take the time to ask a few questions.

Do you know what type of survey you need? A pre-purchase and insurance survey are often not one and the same. An insurance survey is primarily for the needs of insurance companies to assess their insurable risk while a pre-purchase survey is a more detailed report of not only the features of the vessel but also the condition including any evident recent repairs or future maintenance requirements. A pre-purchase survey will cost you more, but its value is worth every cent.

Don’t be afraid to ask the qualifications and experience of your surveyor. What is their professional background that led them to marine surveying? Have they undertaken any marine surveying specific qualifications? Do they have the expertise to provide a mechanical report as part of their survey? A quality surveyor can answer these questions to confirm their suitability for your survey.

Is your surveyor covered by Professional Indemnity Insurance? Ask for evidence of their insurance coverage before you begin, you want to make sure all bases are covered in the event things don’t go as planned.

Make sure that you as the buyer, appoint an independent surveyor of your choice. An owner may already have had a survey prepared and offer you the report. Or perhaps the seller or broker is adamant about you using a particular surveyor. To ensure your surveyor is working for you and no one else insist on obtaining your own independent survey.

Armed with all this knowledge, you can move forward in confidently getting the survey you need with the surveyor of your choosing. There is no better way to proceed on the adventure of boat ownership than with peace of mind.

AIMS members represent the full spectrum of the marine surveying industry from international shipping, domestic commercial vessels, and super yachts to recreational small craft. Members are qualified and experienced in their profession, with many joining the marine surveying profession following a maritime career as a seafarer or shore-based maritime role.

SHIPPING SURVEYORS – inspect, survey or examine marine vessels to oversee cargo loading and unloading operations, assess damage or may inspect or monitor the condition of the vessel or onboard cargo, machinery or equipment.

DOMESTIC COMMERCIAL SURVEYORS – are accredited by Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) to undertake statutory surveys on domestic commercial vessels in accordance with National Law and Regulations.

RECREATIONAL VESSEL SURVEYORS – undertake survey of recreational vessels on behalf of an owner, insurer or potential purchaser with the purpose of assessing the vessel’s condition and/or value.

If you are looking for a surveyor in your area, you can search the AIMS database at, send an email to or give our team a call on 02 6232 6555 and we can connect you with local surveyors.



Published in print April-June 2024