The surveying profession is unregulated so anyone can set themselves up as a “Specialist”. However there are Professional Bodies which voluntarily regulate their members with Professional Exams, Inspections and Codes of Practice.
Many marine surveyors are “accredited” by the professional organizations that they belong to. Most of these organizations set stringent professional expectations of their membership and in some cases will bestow qualification titles such as “Certified”, “Accredited” or “Registered” upon the members.
Regardless of what you hear or are told there is no single organization that is any better than the other. In the U.K. there are typically two major national organizations that marine surveyors belong to or are members of. Both have very rigid membership requirements and both are very good at promoting professionalism within their ranks. Most marine surveyors are members of at least one of these and some may be members of both. These organizations are:
- I.I.M.S. (International Institute of Marine Surveying)
- Y.D.S.A. (Yacht Designers and Surveyors Association)
Qualifications and memberships are, however, not everything. You would be well advised to enquire how long he has been working as a surveyor and indeed in the marine industry in general. Many surveyors have joined the profession in semi-retirement and may not be as experienced as they claim.
Surveyors holding professional qualifications such as Naval Architects, Marine Engineers or Mechanical Engineers are positive indicators. Almost all surveyors have a speciality field such as steel, wooden, or fibreglass construction; machinery or have more experience with power or sailing vessels.
When buying a vessel through a broker he should provide you with a short list of local, recognised surveyors but if you feel that emphasis is being made on a particular individual you would be wise to ask yourself why he is being recommended.
Mark Dorrington-Niblett & Associates cover France, Italy, Spain, England, Holland, Norway, Sweden and the entire western Mediterranean basin. Our Principal Surveyor, Mark Dorrington-Niblett, is authorised by the IIMS and YDSA Certifying Authority to undertake examinations in connection with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency Code of Practice for small commercial vessels. Tonnage surveys are a pre-requisite for registration. We also work closely with shipyards throughout the world, advising on modifications necessary during the build for the vessel to meet the stringent MCA coding requirements.