How to Become a Marine Surveyor

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Marine surveying is an important practice that involves the inspection of water vessels to make sure they meet government and international regulations. Marine surveyors are highly trained professionals that specialize in surveying a variety of marine vessels.


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What does a marine surveyor do?

Marine surveyors evaluate, inspect and appraise a variety of marine vessels and watercraft such as ships, yachts, boats, dredges, and tankers to determine overall condition and ensure quality and safety. They monitor and report the conditions of the equipment, machinery, and products of vessels. They conduct a variety of operating tests and inspect interior conditions. They perform their tasks, prepare reports, and provide recommendations for maintenance and repairs. Marine surveyors conduct surveys throughout the life of marine vessels to make sure they are abiding by the necessary standards at all times. Some marine surveyors act as investigators and expert witnesses in marine accidents.

What kind of training does a marine surveyor need?

Marine surveyors typically need at least a bachelor degree in marine surveying or related field. Some marine surveyors complete formal apprenticeship programs that combine classroom instruction and paid on the job training. Most employers provide some on the job training to enable new marine surveyors to learn the required policies and procedures. All states license marine surveyors. Licensing requirements vary, but typically include minimum education and experience and passing a written examination. Most marine surveyors obtain the Certified Marine Surveyor certification from the National Association of Marine Surveying (NAMS) to remain competitive in the field. Marine surveyors must complete regular continuing education to maintain their certifications and keep up to date with advancements in the field.

What are the prospects for a career as a marine surveyor?

Employment of marine surveyors is expected to grow faster than average for all professions, increasing 19% from 2008 to 2018 (1). The growing population and increase in a variety of marine vessels will drive job growth.

Job prospects should be good especially for marine surveyors with advanced training and extensive experience. Many job openings will result from the need to replace marine surveyors that retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.

How much do marine surveyors make?

As of March 2010, marine surveyors with 1 to 4 years experience earn average annual salaries between $30,000 and $72,500. Those with 5 to 9 years experience earn average annual salaries between $27,600 and $81,500 (2).

A career as a marine surveyor is a great choice for people with a strong interest in performing a variety of surveying tasks on many different types of marine vessels. Marine surveyors must have a solid understanding of the necessary policies and procedures related to inspecting a variety of marine related vessels. Detail orientation, critical thinking, patience, and good problem solving skills are necessary characteristics. Marine surveyors must have excellent communication and interpersonal skills and ability to interact with a variety of people.

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