Marine surveying is a niche sector encompassing a number of specialties, such as ship survey, boat survey, yacht & small craft survey, cargo survey, oil rig survey, etc. Professionals performing a marine survey are in general known as marine surveyors, and depending on the type of survey they perform, they are referred to as, ship surveyors, boat surveyors, and so on.
Because of the critical nature of marine surveying, only highly skilled individuals with sound technical knowledge and professional training can become marine surveyors. Moreover, surveyors are expected to be competent, diligent, unbiased, and honest, as their decisions have a huge impact in the industry.
Selecting the right marine surveyor for your vessel or for your client’s vessel from a myriad of marine surveyors in the industry is crucial, and this article aims to help you for the same.
Analyze Your Marine Surveying Requirements
Firstly, understand the type of survey you need by analyzing your requirements and objectives. As there are a range of niches of marine surveying and hence marine surveyors, laying out the scope of the survey will help you find the right surveyor based on your requirements.
Find a List of Marine Surveyors
You can start by asking your clients, yard managers, boat owners or other friends in the shipping industry for a list of recommended marine surveyors. Although you cannot trust such lists entirely, you would be able to know that these surveyors have provided good services in the past. If you get multiple lists, you can sort, combine, and make a new list.
Alternatively, you can make your own list of marine surveyors using websites of organizations that maintain online rosters. For example, National Association of Marine Surveyors (NAMS) and Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors (SAMS) maintain a database of their members, from which you can find a list of certified and accredited surveyors in your country.
You can also use these websites as additional filters to screen your ‘list’ of marine surveyors that you obtained from your friends, clients, etc.
Marine Survey Credentials
Several organizations provide certifications to qualified and experienced marine surveyors.
A few of the well-known organizations are:
- Association of Certified Marine Surveyors (ACMS)
These organizations, especially NAMS and SAMS conduct rigorous examinations and assessments before awarding the certification. As a result, surveyors who have been awarded NAMS-CMS (CMS – Certified Marine Surveyors) and SAMS-AMS (AMS – Accredited Marine Surveyors) are highly skilled and experienced professionals.
Moreover, in addition to certifying marine surveyors, NAMS and SAMS also provide ongoing professional marine surveying education to their members.
Therefore, make a point to check the credentials of the marine surveyors in your list and choose NAMS-CMS or SAMS-AMS in your country, as you can expect highly professional and ethical services from them.
However, be wary of false credentials, as there are a number of ways by which one can buy impressive sounding acronyms that are virtually meaningless.
Marine Survey Experience
Experience of the shortlisted marine surveyors should be your next screening criterion. You should look for:
- General experience of the team
- Experience of having worked with your vessel model
- Experience of having worked with different types of marine surveys
Interview your Marine Surveyors
When you have finally selected a marine surveyor who suits your requirements and the above criteria, the next step is to contact your surveyor and collect information directly.
You can also look for the number of surveys the marine surveyor conducts in a year, the more the better. In addition, see if their website contains survey reports or ask them for sample survey reports. The survey reports reveal a lot about the surveyor’s approach, their practices and their professionalism.
Ensure that you choose the right surveyor, as choosing a wrong surveyor may prove a costly proposition, not just monetarily.
Jacob Kaczynski is an accredited marine surveyor (Retired) with 38 years of experience in marine surveying. Though retired from survey inspections, he continues to provide consultation services.