Marine Surveyors: Who are they, and What do they do?

Simex Marine Surveyors is located in Fort Lauderdale,Florida. We always hear questions like, “what is that?”, or “what do you do?” Some of your questions about marine surveryors are answered here.

The most common things a marine surveyor does

  • Conduct surveys throughout the ship’s life (building new ship, annual survey, interim survey, special survey)
  • Perform inspections required by domestic laws and international requirements by the International Maritime Organization
  • Witness tests and operation of emergency and safety equipment
  • Measure ships and survey them for load line
  • Attend court as an expert witness
  • Investigate marine and boating accidents.

A marine surveyor is a person who conducts inspections, surveys or examinations of marine vessels to assess, monitor and report on their condition and the products on them. Marine surveyors also inspect equipment intended for new or existing vessels to ensure compliance with various standards or specifications. Marine surveys typically include the structure, machinery and equipment (navigational, safety, radio, etc.) and general condition of a vessel. It also includes judging materials on board and their condition.

Types of Marine Surveyors

  • Government Surveyor: Enforce safety regulations, register ships and inspect boats heading to foreign destinations.
  • Classification Surveyor: Inspect boats and make sure that all safety regulations and machinery are up to standards and coding for its boating class.
  • Private Surveyor: Carry out inspections before and after purchase. Used to help determine quality and cargo standards and investigate accidents. Private surveyors are one of the most common marine surveyors, and used by multiple companies.
  • Yacht and Small Craft Surveyor: specialize in inspecting smaller vessels that are most often used for pleasure boating

Marine surveying is often closely associated with marine insurance, damage and salvage, accident and fraud investigation as insurers generally lack the training and skills required to perform a detailed assessment of the condition of a vessel. While marine surveyors are sometimes employed by insurers directly, they maintain a certain professional autonomy in order to provide an unbiased view. Independent marine surveyors are often employed by the clients of marine insurers to provide evidence in support of damage claims made against the insurer. Insurance companies cannot require customers to use specific marine surveyors (although they often provide a list of recommended or pre-approved marine surveyors who are known to them).

Marine surveyors use many credentials, letters, and terms such as “accredited”, “certified”, “qualifed”, “AMS”, “CMS”, etc. There are many ways to train to become a marine surveyor including taking correspondence courses, apprenticing, or simply opening a business. However, marine surveyors pursue their profession independently of required organizations, and there is currently no national or international licensing requirement for marine surveyors. The U.S. Coast Guard does not approve or certify marine surveyors. All association terms and initials represent training and certification by private organizations.