All You Need to Know about Narrowboat Surveys
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Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 2:58pm
This blog article has been written to help you understand the 3 different types of surveys carried out on a narrow boat and why they are necessary.

Who carries out a narrow boat survey?

A qualified marine surveyor is the only person who is qualified to carry out this service. Most surveyors charge additional travel costs on top of the fee of the survey so it’s advisable to check this out before you employee a surveyor. Bearing this in mind look for a surveyor who is in the local area of where the boat is moored. The surveyor may need to do a return visit if he recommends that work is carried out on the boat. He will need to return to access the work before he is able to sign it off. You are able to find a list of surveyors on this website

When is survey required?

We recommend that all second hand narrow boats are surveyed before purchase. The survey is totally for the benefit of the buyer not the current owner or the brokerage company (if a broker is involved in the sale). The survey is carried out by the surveyor to validate the condition of the boat before it is sold. Just like when you consider purchasing a house you request a survey is under taken before you make your final offer, it is the same practice for when you have a boat surveyed.

How much does it cost?

If a full survey or hull survey is carried out the narrow boat will need to come out of the water and will require the use of a dry slip. The average cost for using a marinas slip way is around £190 inc VAT. Surveys will vary in cost depending on the type of survey and the individual surveyor’s prices, but a good guide line of what you should expect to pay is around £300 - £600.

Full Survey

A narrow boat that requires a full survey will need to be out of the water so that ultrasonic measurement of the hull can take place. This enables the surveyor to measure the thickness of the steel and check for damage and pitting.

Other checks that a full survey covers are:

  • Weedhatch assembly
  • Cabin fabrication, condition and fixtures
  • Stern gear/ propulsion and rudder assemblies
  • Engine and gearbox condition and installation
  • 12v system
  • 240v system
  • Gas system
  • Plumbing; domestic water and heating systems
  • Water tank/ toilet tanks Fit out, linings and vessel interior.
  • Insulation
  • External coatings
  • Cratch and fore and aft covers.
  • Windows and portholes Decks and deck boards
  • Fire fighting and safety equipment
  • Ventilation

Hull Survey

A Hull survey will only check the hull area and not any other area of the boat. It will be looking at the quality and thickness of the steel.

Check points;

  • Hull for cruising damage and build quality.
  • Hull plate condition and weld patterns to the base plate, counter floor and hull sides.
  • Hull outlets, freeboard and hull penetrations
  • Hull plate thickness particularly at vulnerable areas
  • Pitting depth and quantity
  • Weedhatch assembly
  • Cabin fabrication, condition and fixtures
  • Hull internal
  • Stern gear/ propulsion and rudder assemblies

Internal Survey

Internal surveys only check the boat for boat safety items, but surveyors can be asked to comment on the engine and stern gear if required. The cost for a Boat Safety Certificate is usually around £150.00.

Check points;

  • Fuel systems
  • Electrical systems
  • Propulsion
  • Fire fighting equipment
  • LPG system
  • Appliance’s and flues
  • Ventilation
  • Pollution prevention


This is a picture of a tractor hauled out a Narrowboat in readiness for a survey at our sister company Whilton Marina.  Venetian Marina have a wet dock so the boats are removed from the water in a different way.

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