Month: September 2016

Refitting A Yacht

Refitting Your Yacht


Refitting of a yacht is a requirement from time to time. It is like the refurbishment of our houses or our cherished cars, a necessary requirement that can be quite a stressful experience or one of great enjoyment and a sense of achievement.


We have, over the years, been involved in many refits and have experienced what we would consider satisfaction and disappointment from owners, and yards in equal measure.


The Owner.

Whilst it is important to understand, that the owner’s satisfaction is paramount in this process, there are factors that can, and do, detract from this.

Example: –

“I want a bow thruster” the Client has asked.

“OK, we recommend this model Sir”.

“Oh No” the Client has replied,” I have seen a much cheaper option online!”.

Upon completion, the finding was that the bow thruster was under powered, therefore, over utilised, leading to eventual overheating and failure. Luckily, no fire.

The yard then changed the thruster for the one that they recommended in the first instance. It now works fine.

Bow thrusters do have similarities to ears.

You don’t have to use them, but generally it helps, and what is the point of having something if you do not use it!

Having a third party surveyor in the above circumstance, may well have removed the stress, eased the decision making process, and reduced the financial and time penalties.

We could harp on about this for many paragraphs, but feel the above alone, gives a firm example of how things can become stressful.


The Yard.

The yard, or yards, invariably are busy places, with many projects underway at the same time. Projects can become very convoluted and timelines stretched, budgets over run. Eventually the vessel approaches completion and the invoice arrives on the owner’s desk. The invoice is now 35% more than the owner was expecting, and a dispute ensues! The yard’s opinion is that certain jobs were fraught with problems, corrosion etc., and the over runs were unavoidable. The owner’s version is,” Why was I not told”. The yard operatives were requested to undertake works, keep time sheets, but were never told of the budget, or the exact specification, it happens, daily! This is eventually cleared up, generally leaving a bitter taste with one party, and the vessel is launched.




Sea Trials.


The vessel goes for sea trials, “where is the new navigation equipment”, askes the owner.

“What new navigation equipment”, says the yard hand.

“Well, when I visited the yacht in mid February, ish, I spoke with one of the electrician chaps, and we agreed it would be a good idea”.

This obviously never got to the office, and it never got done. I am sure the yard would have preferred to have done this, and had it gone through the correct channels, it would have been done.


A Surveyor.


In all of the above, a suitably qualified marine surveyor would have been invaluable. A comprehensive specification with all pricing signed off prior to a yard being awarded the project.

Any anomalies to work requirements, to be notified, and costs agreed, prior to the work being complete.

What was not mentioned above, was the fact, that many items may well have come in below budget, and these funds could have been used against any over runs, and more competitive pricing may have been obtained for many items prior to the refit commencing.


Surveyor, or no Surveyor?

Qualified to manage the above?

Contact Jim



read more

Building a Boat

Building a boat?


You lucky thing!!!


So, you are going to buy a new boat and it is one of the slightly or totally bespoke options available.

The question is – do you have a Project Manager/Surveyor to oversee this or not?

Unless of course, you are from a marine background and have all the relevant experience to undertake this without it taking over your life you will need to know the following: –





Timeline – knowing what is realistic and what is just plain ridiculous or unachievable.

Option list pricing –  with a lot of options having a price tag of more than 100K, do you understand enough about this to possibly save a few points on all of them.

Quality control – have you built a boat, with your own hands, have you overseen a team of boat builders, have you been involved in the repair of vessels when it has gone wrong, do you have industry connections within just about every part of the marine industry to check out if things you are told are correct?

We Do…….


Drop us a line.


Let’s get safety and operational quality designed in, rather than being an after thought.

read more

Conditional survey of yacht for insurance purposes.

Conditional survey of yacht for insurance purposes.

So, your insurer has made contact with you and requested that your vessel is subjected to a conditional survey; “Aaargh”, I hear you cry, more expense. Well, is that actually the case?

We carry out many of these surveys, and you would be quite surprised to see some of the results.  Recently, whilst doing a conditional survey, I entered into a conversation with the boat owner regarding the plans for the next few months cruising. The vessel, and the family who owned it, were crossing the Atlantic to spend a few months in the Caribbean. The vessel was a twenty-ish-year-old blue water cruising yacht that had already made this trip and returned in the last 5 years. “How old is the standing rigging”, I asked the owner? “As originally specified”, he replied. “But how old is it sir?”, I asked. “As I said, original” replied the owner! So, twenty some years old, it had crossed the Atlantic twice at 15 to 18 years old! “Sir, 1 X 19 wire has a life expectancy of 10 years when all safety factors are taken into consideration” I replied. He was not happy, but neither would his young family have been if they had been stranded mid-Atlantic, neither would he have been when the insurers declined his claim!


Next, I was looking around the engine.” I have just serviced the engine myself, I’ll start it for you”, the owner exclaimed, which he proceeded to do. “STOP THE ENGINE!” I shouted, which he then did. Why did I tell him to stop the engine?  The oil filter was cross threaded and engine oil was being forced out of the now defective seal, this would have resulted in catastrophic failure of his engine.


So far, we had saved the owner, and probably the insurers, quite a sum of money, for what could have been a dangerous situation for the family.


The vessel had quite a number of safety-related issues, the owner felt we were unfair until his wife became aware of the situation and insisted that all was dealt with prior to the family going sailing; she also called me and apologised.


The owner seemed more concerned with the fee than the results of the survey!



It would seem, that the standard practice of Brokers and Insurers, is to ask for a Conditional survey every 10 Years. We know that this is not a rule that is upheld, especially with long-standing clients who with modern systems, just get an automated renewal note, and pay the premium. We feel that more emphasis should be put upon this, as it would significantly reduce the risk to the underwriters and more importantly, the clients who are sailing these vessels. We all know that some people assimilate the insurance business to professional gambling, so Underwriters, take an understandable risk and be a professional rather than an amateur. I would also suggest that ten years may be fine for the first survey, but it would in our opinion, be advisable to have a survey carried out every five years following on from the first. I know change is hard, but almost weekly, we see visual evidence of the current system having shortcomings.


Here comes the sales bit:


We have a network of surveyors that operate nationwide. Put your clients in touch with our office, we will do the rest. We aim to significantly reduce your risk and the risk to your clients. Contact us at or


A simple email to all of your clients, asking them to confirm.

Age of vessel

Last survey date, with supporting evidence

Policy validity requirements


Next week, Building a boat


And the last line ….

Your Bottom Line!

read more