Nautical Services, Inc., Marine Surveyors, Gulf Shores, Alabama, Dennis Heine, SAMS® AMS® Nautical Services, Inc
Marine Surveyors
Gulf Shores, Alabama, USA

Dennis Heine, SAMS® AMS®
Principal Marine Surveyor
251-979-5006


Immediately serving the Gulf Coast region of Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and the Florida Panhandle, to include regular travel to other countries and regions.

Services We Provide


Pre-Purchase Survey

The Pre-purchase survey is the most comprehensive survey available right out of the box. There are additional tests available to the survey purchaser to precisely identify a potential or particular problem, but these are usually outside the scope of a routine pre-purchase survey. However, any tests outside the scope of a routine pre-purchase survey can be discussed with the surveyor at any time as needed.

The Pre-purchase survey description in general is as follows:
  • Percussion sounding of deck, hull and hull side laminates for any potential anomalies, followed by Moisture meter testing as may be needed.
  • Engine room interior and vessel peripheral equipment: seacocks, strainers, raw water intake hoses and clamps. Fuel lines, fuel filters, fuel transfer and priming pumps, all engine hoses in general, as well as fuel tank(s) condition where accessible.
  • Motor mounts and isolator condition, DC batteries, terminal connections and overall electrical health, AC systems such as main panel breakers and general operation, terminal connections, shore receptacles and shore power cords as well as transformers, inverters and chargers, all with various testing procedures in general for both AC and DC systems.
  • Generators are also inspected for load and general performance of the engine.
  • Propeller shaft(s), packing gland assemblies as well as underwater appendages and running gear.
  • All fresh, grey and black water systems plumbing, pumps, macerators and seacocks which include heads, waste tankage, fresh water tankage and grey water collection and discharge systems.
  • All A/C air conditioning systems are inspected for proper operation and below the water line continuity, seacocks, strainers and pumps.
  • The interior of the vessel is also inspected and systems operated, refrigeration and ice maker systems, cooktops, ranges, microwaves, ventilation, water heaters, water makers, lights, stereo systems and televisions are just some of the interior components checked for power-up and operation.
  • Other systems such as: electronics power-up and operation per manufacture specs only, steering, throttle/clutch controls: mechanical or electronic, stabilizers and thrusters if equipped.
  • Usually unless otherwise specified a sea trial follows the haul out inspection. This may or may not be in conjunction with an engine tech if one was hired for a full mechanical inspection. NSI conducts a sea trial to identify any anomalies or factors which prevent the vessel from operating at its design configuration, whether it be handling, steering, backing down or engine wide open throttle (W.O.T) full load operating RPM's or the lack thereof. NSI conducts tests to ensure the vessel's power plants are operating within their parameters or specifications, and the vessel is operating at speeds and handling within its design. (Full mechanical inspections should be completed by an authorized engine technician)
Additionally, the vessels safety systems are also tested and checked for compliance; smoke detectors, CO detectors, PFD's, re-boarding ladders, fire suppression systems - fixed and hand-held, flares, placards, navigation lighting and documents, all of which are necessary for the safe and proper operation of a vessel, and also needed to maintain compliance with USCG requirements. Again, other testing can be provided which may or may not be outside the scope of a routine Pre-purchase survey. Note: Systems, equipment and components listed above is a general reference only, and does not include all aspects of the inspection process nor its components.

Condition & Valuation Survey

This survey inspection is usually reserved for Insurance and/or financial underwriting due to its somewhat abbreviated survey scope and content compared to the Pre-purchase survey. It is performed and meant to satisfy insurance/financial underwriter requirements so they may determine whether or not the vessel is an acceptable risk with regard to its intended use, and an opinion as to its fair market value. This inspection/survey is less comprehensive than the pre-purchase survey (usually), and it is less expensive for that reason. Predominately the vessel is already owned by the individual purchasing the survey, therefore keeping the cost down while providing the necessary information is all that is required or wanted.

Other reasons for a Condition & Valuation survey may be for a diligent owner wanting to bring the vessel into compliance with certain standards, evaluate the current overall condition, or just to double check his or her maintenance and repair schedules from a third-party professional.


Damage/Failure Analysis

This type of Survey is specialized primarily for insurance companies, and Nautical Services Inc. has handled thousands of daily claims for various companies over the years. In many instances, an insurance company will hire a Marine Surveyor to inspect damaged vessels as a result of whatever happened to get the insurer involved. This survey/inspection is to assess the extent of damage, determine the cause of loss, recommend additional repairs if necessary, collect estimates, sometimes prepare an estimate in addition to the repair vendor's, and if requested and necessary arrange salvage of the vessel. It is then up to the insurance company adjuster to determine if it is a covered loss or not. (Surveyors do not make coverage determinations) Also, and if necessary, Nautical services Inc. has the experience and training to provide failure analysis determinations on vessels, engines and components.

Conversely, boat owners alike will sometimes hire a Marine Surveyor of their own to contradict the veracity of a potentially unfair or subjective evaluation from an insurance company surveyor/inspector, to ensure they are being treated fair and reasonable on their insurance claim.

Nautical Services, Inc has also been active in catastrophe claim work as late as Hurricane Michael 2018, Hurricane Ike and Gustav in 2008, the Missouri ice and snow load damages in 2007, Hurricane Katrina in 2005, which included Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama, and miscellaneous smaller storms and anomalies throughout the country.


Engine Surveys

Our engine surveys are performed by qualified marine engine technician. We specialize in small and large outboard motor applications. Diesel engine mechanical surveys are provided by local diesel engine technicians, and we can help arrange that service for you.

Click the link above for more information.

Corrosion Surveys

This specialized type of survey is a result of (typically) rapid sacrificial anode or zinc loss on the vessel. The corrosion survey utilizes a millivolt reading via a silver/silver chloride half-cell to determine the hull potential and suspect accelerated deterioration of underwater sacrificial anodes.



TESTING

Spectrometric Oil Analysis

Oil/fluid analysis is performed on engines, generators, gears, heat exchangers and/or any component that uses fluid to cool or lubricate, and identify abnormal or premature internal engine/gear metal wear, cooling system leaks or leeching, failed gaskets, failed seals/o-rings, cracked engine/gear components, carburetion/fuel injection problems, previous overheating, faulty air induction systems, heat exchanger failure, and viscosity breakdown.

Oil analysis testing and cost is based on per unit/sample…. one (1) unit being one (1) engine or one (1) reduction gear and so on. Fluid is removed carefully from the unit being tested, sent to a laboratory that specializes in fluid analysis and a report is generated by them. If an anomaly is found, an interpretation of that particular anomaly is then provided, and a potential or probable cause given.

If no anomalies are found, then a report is still generated and can be used later as a trend or comparative analysis upon routine or further sampling.


Moisture Testing

Moisture testing is performed using a Sovereign or GRP33 moisture meter or Flir MR176 moisture meter usually in conjunction with percussion or phenolic sounding to determine, if any, possible delamination, laminate failure, hydrolysis in the laminate and the content of moisture in a vessel's fiberglass surfaces and topsides (hull's bottom is dependent on whether it's painted or not due to false positives of paints). This procedure is also used to determine the moisture content (if any) on any of the interior laminates, stringer systems or suspect coring material.

Moisture testing is routine on pre-purchase surveys unless of course its an aluminum or steel vessel. (This is usually part of the pre-purchase survey, but can also be an independent inspection)


Sea Trials

Sea-trials are typically a by-product of the pre-purchase survey if elected by the survey purchaser, however, Sea-trials are absolutely recommended on any pre-purchase to identify a potential performance issue or an attempt to correct a performance problem. Sea-trials are usually priced in addition to the survey because of the differences in the size of vessels and engines and complexity of systems, therefore smaller takes less time, larger takes more time and considering larger vessels require offshore testing only.
(This is usually part of the pre-purchase survey, but can also be an independent inspection)

Other testing available to the survey purchaser may include:
  • Ultrasonic thickness testing (aluminum & steel vessels)
  • Ultrasonic leak detection
  • Carbon monoxide testing
  • Corrosion testing
  • Oil analysis (this is drawn by the surveyor and tested by an independent laboratory)
  • Sea Trial (part of the Pre-purchase survey, but can be an independent inspection)
  • Moisture meter testing (this is usually part of the pre-purchase survey, but can be an independent inspection)



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