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Marine Surveyor Services

Marine surveyors have been around almost since the beginning of boats. They inspect and examine existing water going vessels to insure proper maintenance and safety equipment is functioning aboard the boat. They can also be hired to inspect new equipment prior to installation on a vessel in order to insure the equipment meets current specifications for marine vessels. Only within the last few hundred years have marine surveyors been identified as a well established profession with professional organizations and ethics code governing surveyor behavior.

marine surveyor servicesMarine surveyors are usually hired in conjunction with marine insurance investigations regarding vessel damage, wrecked salvage, accident and marine insurance fraud. There are companies who provide marine insurance for water borne vessels; however the surveyors who work in conjunction with them are not direct employees. This distance is intended to insure the surveyor provides an unbiased third-party opinion to the company closing out a marine insurance claim.

There are many different methods available to become a marine surveyor; however there is no established set of guidelines used, nationally or internationally, to determine the certification of marine surveyors. The United States Coast Guard does not accredit or certify anyone looking to become a marine surveyor, either. At present time, any certification available for marine surveyors is only available via independent organizations with no nationally recognized accreditation.

There are generally four types of marine surveyor classifications; government surveyors, classification surveyors, private surveyors and small craft surveyors. Government surveyors are further classified into two separate groups, Flag State surveyors and Port State surveyors. Flag State surveyors report only to the government in the country the ship is registered and can sanction vessels for violations that will not allow the vessel to travel outside of its home port. Port State surveyors report to the government in the country the vessel has entered and can delay the further departure of a vessel if they find problems with the equipment or maintenance of the vessel.

marine surveyor services - surveyClassification surveyors are generally required to inspect vessels to verify all building components and equipment meet the set marine standards for a vessel of its size, or class. Upon completion of the classification survey, the surveyor will report to the Flag State of the vessel (registration country) that the vessel is sound. If they find defects, the surveyor will note to the government how much time the vessel builder has to correct the problems. Both government and classification surveyors are generally also qualified sailors. They will usually be qualified as ship’s masters, architects, engineers or other type of professional mariner.

Private and small craft surveyors are generally hired by marine insurance companies and are in charge of a large number of functions aboard a vessel. Private surveyors will examine onboard conditions for cargo and sailors, including fuel quality for environmental standards. They will also be onsite for accidents that happen in open water, prepare reports on damage and injury for marine insurance companies and survey cargo and ship’s stores to verify how much was lost during an incident. Private surveyors will also conduct pre-purchase inspections of vessels for companies and private buyers. Small craft surveyors are in charge of inspections of smaller personal watercraft and yachts. They are usually hired as independent contractors, or through marine insurance companies.

Depending upon the classification of survey and the extent of their duties to private companies or governments, marine surveyors can be paid widely ranging rates. Smaller independent contractor will generally charge less that an independent surveyor hired to inspect a large cargo container. There is no set international regulatory commission or group that sets rates and educational standards for marine surveyors. There are several independent survey organizations that are specific to the classification of survey. One of the oldest traditions to become a marine surveyor is to apprentice with an experienced surveyor and then strike out with one’s own business.

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