Nautical appraisals and controls



We Italians, today, venture into the waves very cautiously, we are no longer a people of sailors and seamen as history reminds us. We are not all experienced sailors despite having the desire to venture out to sea. Often doubts and insecurities assail us both by letting go of the moorings and at the even more decisive moment of purchasing the desired boat.

Today there are truly used boats for every taste, expense, use and owner but there are never boats without problems and compromises.

It often happens that, in sales negotiations, not feeling sure to evaluate the "goodness" of the operation on our own, we rely on the opinion of an expert friend, the crane operator of the shipyard, the intrigued neighbor of the boat or more often the broker which usually reassures us: ……. "the boat is perfect" !!

There are implicit guarantees for hidden or hidden defects but I believe that the moment of purchase must remain a pleasure and must be faced with serenity and with certainty of what you buy.

Here then is that first of all the examination and careful study of expectations and what you want to do with the boat becomes essential in order not to make a wrong purchase.

Once you have identified the right boat for your needs, it will be time to check that everything is working ...

…… but all what?

In this way, a necessary figure for many (but not for all) comes into play, that of Nautical Expert that checks the marine and safety characteristics for the planned navigation and that there is a technical, commercial and documentary correspondence with what has been agreed in the sale.

The Nautical Expert must avoid the classic rip-off, perhaps hidden or perhaps involuntary, significant additional expenses and worse still disappointments and bitterness.



The appraisal is therefore a technical assessment necessary to define which defects and damages are detrimental to navigation and which are not; if they are ascertained, the purchase is renounced or the price retracted.

It is generally requested when you buy a used boat, when you take the boat to the shipyard for repairs or restorations, when the boat has suffered a breakdown or an accident, when disputes arise in general and when that slight state of anxiety suddenly arises. "Everything that is not known" about the sea, about navigation and about what sails on the boat.

The appraisal can be technical-estimative or legal. The first is used in pre-purchase and in the insurance field. It is a survey aimed at ascertaining the state of conservation of the boat for safe, peaceful use and up to expectations. The second following claims and breakdowns and disputes.

Impartiality, independence and equidistance must always characterize his work.

The pre-purchase appraisals are carried out with targeted inspections in 3 fundamental phases:

  1. Dry visit . Aimed at verifying the presence of osmosis, fractures and delaminations, the state of the gelcoat, the presence of treatments and the conditions of the hull appendages (keel, rudders and skeg), of the propeller shafts, of the propellers, trestles and relative bushings, the state of the intakes at sea and through-hulls and of the bulwarks. The living work is mainly examined.
  2. Try it in navigation . The deck equipment (mast, winch, rigging and sails), instrumentation, systems, electronics, the state of the structures under stress (bulb, beams, floors, moorings, shady, ballast pins), the sails in the different gaits and maneuverability in general both with motor and sail. The functioning of the engine, the trim and the correct functioning of almost everything the boat has to navigate.
  3. Visit to the mooring . It involves examining the superstructures, hardware, the state of the deck and the interior and examining the on-board documents, certificates, operating licenses and legal equipment.



Because the expert (good) finds any defects in the case that you are often not able to notice on your own.

It is a minimum investment of great importance. On used boats of 70 / 80,000 euros the cost of the expert on average is between 1% and 2% of the price (between 50-80 euros and up to 100 euros and more per linear meter in particular cases) . If we consider that the brokerage commission in Italy is about 5% of the price, we can say that it is certainly one of the cheapest and safest and most advisable investments to deal with. The work of the expert is really necessary and above all convenient if the boat has a certain size and a certain value, in all other cases the intervention is however suggested.

The written appraisal exclusively represents the state of affairs and the general conditions of the boat at the date of the appraisal, it is an impartial signed opinion and cannot be considered a guarantee, neither explicit nor implicit, nor can it certify the functionality and maintenance over time of the individual items.

The inspection, albeit accurate, carried out with the utmost care and in good faith, can almost never guarantee knowledge of all the anomalies or discrepancies present on the boat at the time of the inspection.

Areas that are inaccessible, covered, or not visible during non-destructive visits cannot therefore be evaluated.

The boat is mainly a "means", therefore in addition to being technically suitable for sailing, it must guarantee safety and the perfect balance between technical, aesthetic, documentary and future marketability qualities.

The expert is certainly an all-round consultant, impartial and prepared to evaluate the characteristics of a boat to ensure its use suitable for the performance for which it was designed and launched.

“….Practice must always be built on good theory. Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication ....”                                                                                                                                                                            Leonardo da Vinci



PRE-PURCHASE : in-depth examination in the general technical evaluation of the boat. It includes a complete detailed expert report and photographic report

The pre-purchase appraisals, the most requested ones, are aimed at ascertaining the general conditions with inspections and visits carried out mainly in 3 phases, necessary for a correct and complete evaluation.

  1. Dry visit. It mainly examines the hull, the integrity of the hull and its appendages. From osmosis in fiberglass, fractures, delaminations to the various degenerative processes of the planking.
  2. Try it in navigation . The deck equipment, instrumentation, operation of systems and electronics, the state of the structures under stress (planking, bulkheads and counter-molds, beams, floors, spars, moorings, shady, ballast pins), maneuverability in general, the state of operation of the engine, the interiors, the trim and the correct functioning of almost everything that the boat is equipped to navigate.
  3. Visit to the mooring . It includes an examination of the superstructures, the hardware, the state of the deck and the interiors. At the end, the on-board documents, certificates, operating licenses and legal equipment are examined. The important defects and flaws detected are immediately listed, thus being able to present the buyer with an immediate complete picture of the condition of the boat. A detailed report is then sent with photos and comments.

PRE-EXAMINATION : assistance in finding a boat. It provides for a quick preliminary visit for a synthetic assessment of the general conditions, the state of use, age and maintenance in a phase prior to the purchase proposal, without contractual restrictions between the interested parties.

PRE-DELIVERY : verification of the technical and contractual conditions of the SAL (work progress) in the storage operations and work on site. Correspondence between estimates and work performed, payments and boat delivery. Partial supervision to keep everything under control.

PRE-SALE : aimed at shipowners or brokers who wish to have an evaluation of the conditions of use for their boats on mandate delivery. A certificate of status useful to accompany the boat in the sale phase. 

PRE-DEPARTURE : a careful inspection by expert eyes with a Checkup before leaving the moorings. The boat is checked in order to prepare for the trip (transfer, summer cruise, other), with notification of any problems encountered, as well as suggestions and practical advice for quick accommodation. Sea trial on request. It is not an appraisal.

Architect Sacha Giannini

+39 338 44 02 633

PDF_examinations and checks


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The naval survey: how much does it cost?