I’ve heard it said that most people feel that a marine survey
is comparable to an IRS audit or dental surgery. We do have
contact with companies that import vast quantities of cargoes
and are extremely familiar with the documents and information
needed to proceed, but in most instances, it is very difficult to
convince someone this is what needs to be done and why.
In most instances the individuals or company representative has
never seen or heard of you before. Now here comes a person who
is said to be representing either your insurance company or the
company that you feel has damaged or lost your goods and we
want to know all sort of secrets.
The first step in acquiring a marine surveyor is to ask questions.
Anyone can title him or herself as a Marine Surveyor and start
a business. Certain marine surveyors are permitted to use a
designation denoting membership in accrediting organizations
for marine surveyors, which require strict adherence, and testing
to the professional, technical, and ethical standards that apply to
marine surveys. The type of inspection that the survey includes
as well as the reporting format combines to create a legal
document. Accredited marine surveyors should provide you with
a professionally prepared report that can be accepted by banks,
insurance companies, brokers, shippers, and attorneys or other
I grew up with a Dad who was a marine surveyor and spent my
young days traveling with him. It was always an educational
experience to learn something at each turn and along our travels.
I later served in the United States Navy and attended schools
to gain experience during my 48+ years in the marine surveying
business. I currently hold a US Coast Guard Merchant Marine
Captain’s License. I am certified by the National Association of
Marine Surveyors and a non-lawyer member of the Maritime Law
Association of the United Stares.
What a surveyor does is largely a function of what the person
who commissions the survey has instructed or implied that they
need. We generate a report after inspection that tells what we
looked at (from the documentation submitted and identified as
same) with a narrative giving the conditions found, cause of the
damage and our observations/recommendations as to how to
proceed. We will make recommendations to bring the commodity
or item into compliance or acceptable condition. This should be
accompanied with photographs of the damages as sighted.
The best advice I have is to cooperate with the surveyor by
completing any forms or submitting any documents requested.
An honest account of the incident and causes, if known, can be
advised to assist in the investigation.
A marine surveyor should be highly skilled for this non-routine
job that cannot be done by a computer. It involves critical
thinking and reasoning, imagination and creativity along with a
large amount of common sense for a job in an industry that is