What is a marine surveyor? What do they do?

marine surveyor


Marine surveying involves inspections of marine equipment mainly cargo and boats to determine the market value and safety. Normally, a marine surveyor will conduct an assessment for damage vessels to be used for insurance or during court orders. There are professional organizations and local surveying businesses in this industry. Therefore, marine surveyors will be expected to exercise their knowledge and skills in using the Marine equipment to ensure there is safety from cargo vessels to a private yacht.

Marine surveying can be categorized into cargo surveyors, machinery and hull surveyors and sure of small watercraft.

Who is a Marine Surveyor

Being a marine Surveyor is a very noble profession that involves inspection of damages, examination or surveys of marine vessels, monitoring and reporting the condition of products. The Surveyor can inspect vessels to ascertain if they are complying with the standards and regulations. Typically, marine surveys include General conditions of the vessels, equipment, and structure. After surveyors have shown their satisfaction payments can be processed. The surveyors are highly qualified technicians who are evaluated based on their integrity and competence. Some people interchange marine insurance with marine surveying because it is largely associated with fraud investigation and damages that can occur in the Marine world.

Apparently, these surveyors requires some skills and training to be able to undertake an assessment on vessels they are hired by the customers who seek professional insurance and unbiased views. Some independent surveyors work with insurance companies to estimate the legal security risk which is imposed on surveyor requirements. They normally use credentials such as CMS, ACMS, USSA. They also undergo diversity training which can include taking marine surveying as a course or apprenticing through marine experience this profession requires international licensing requirements that meets the regulations and standards.


To be a marine surveyor, you will need diverse skills and specialization. However, the list can be very long that is why I will sum up by highlighting some of the qualifications such as having a substantial understanding of both construction and design and knowledge on the mechanical and electrical systems of the ship. Additionally, alongside the engineering certifications, you should be competent In insurance to provide compensation for both private or government properties when damages occur.

Types of Marine Surveyors

There are five types of marine surveyors.

Cargo Surveyor

Cargo owners can choose to appoint a cargo surveyor who will draft a survey to determine the specifications of the cargo which has been loaded on board. The surveyor will also check if the cargo meets the required limits. This is to prevent safety issues and contamination of sensitive products.

Government surveyor

Government surveyor is responsible for enforcing safety standards, surveying local and foreign ships and performing ship registration surveys. In some regions, they are known as marine inspectors and they can be classified into port state surveyors and flag state surveyors report. Port state surveyors are territorial vessel surveyors who have the authority to detain vessels that have defects or they can bring adverse implications to the environment.

On the other hand, flag state surveyors report only to the government following the registration of the vessel. They can also impose restrictions on vessels that fail to comply with the registration and safety standards.

Classification Surveyor

Classifications surveyors inspect the components in which the ship is built to ascertain if they meet the required standards according to its class. They have two major roles which include acting as an inspector to represent the state in which the ship was registered and to ensure that the construction of the vessel meets outfitting and construction standards and regulations. Classifications and government surveyors that can be involved in international treaties will include management schemes and international security.

Independent surveyor

Independent marine surveyors can be asked to investigate sea accidents, examine onboard conditions, prepare accident reports for insurance and analyze the lost or gained cargo.

Yacht and Small Craft Surveyors

Yacht and craft surveyors mostly inspect smaller vessels and that is why they are directly employed by insurance companies. However, most of them are independent.

Roles of Marine Surveyors

Marine Surveyors have broad duties but the most essential function is to ensure there is no potential risk by inspecting and accessing the vessels.

Investigate Marine accidents

They are in charge of investigating accidents that may involve spillages, collisions and other marine-related accidents they then have to come up with a way to address the issue. They also determine replacement value, damage repair costs.

Perform Inspection

They perform inspections as per the requirement of the International Maritime Organization. This is to ensure the overall safety of equipment and machinery.

Conduct Surveys

Maritime inspectors conduct surveys through their profession. This includes special surveys interim surveys, annual surveys, building a new ship to ensure the regulations and standards are maintained and upheld to meet international convention rules and regulations.

Measures ship tonnages

Determining ships gonna is very essential when it comes to ships safety. Therefore, there is a need to measure the tonnage to check if it meets the loads limit to avoid accidents and other safety hazards.

Representation in the court

They attend the court proceedings as witnesses of operations, tests and safety, and machinery and equipment.

Supervising Repairs

They supervise repairs to help with insurance purposes. They ensure the repairs are done as per the request specification and equipment to ensure they’ll be no failures as a result of incompetence

Preparation of reports

They prepare a report based on the surveys conducted to come up with an affirmative recommendation and action on the remedies given. This is an act of accountability which will help to uphold compliance.


Marine surveying has proven that through their dedicated service safety can be enhanced to minimize associated risks. Therefore, they require highly professional training to help them conduct surveys inspections and other duties as per their job description.

Generally, the marine surveyor should have technical skills communication skills and inquisitive mind with detailed attention to issues this will enable them to work enjoy their maritime activities.