How to become a Marine Surveyor

Marine surveyors carry out inspections of passenger and cargo ships, commercial charter craft, fishing vessels, recreational craft and yachts.

Personal requirements of a Marine Surveyor

  • Enjoy the sea and maritime activities
  • An inquisitive mind with attention to detail
  • Good written communication skills
  • Aptitude for using computers
  • Able to work with a variety of people

Education & Training for a Marine Surveyor

To become a marine surveyor you usually have to complete a VET qualification in maritime operations (marine surveying). As subjects and prerequisites can vary between institutions you should contact your chosen institution for more information. You can also become a marine surveyor with a degree in applied science, specialising in marine surveying. To get into this course you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of mathematics, chemistry and physics are normally required. Contact the Australian Maritime College at the University of Tasmania for more information. For full details, refer to the entries on the website at or university handbooks. Entry to this occupation may be improved if you have experience in another occupation. See the separate entries for Marine Engineer, Naval Architect, Ship’s Officer or Shipwright for details.

Duties & Tasks of a Marine Surveyor

Marine surveyors may perform the following tasks:

  • examine and approve design plans of hulls and equipment, such as main propulsion engines, auxiliary boilers and turbines, electrical power generating plant, refrigeration and air conditioning plant and pumping systems
  • inspect standards of construction and witness tests of materials
  • inspect hulls, machinery and equipment during ship construction to ensure standards and legislative requirements are met
  • conduct surveys throughout the ship’s life to ensure standards are maintained
  • perform inspections required by domestic statutes and international conventions
  • witness tests and operation of emergency and safety machinery and equipment
  • measure ships for tonnage and survey them for load line assignment
  • attend court as an expert witness and assist with coronial enquiries
  • investigate marine accidents.

Employment Opportunities for a Marine Surveyor

Marine surveyors work for port authorities, shipping companies, insurance companies, government agencies and classification societies. Private marine surveyors work for ship owners and operators, insurance companies, freight forwarders (companies that arrange for the transport of goods) and consignees (people who receive goods). With the changing nature of the international shipping environment and technological advances, there is likely to be more emphasis on specialist maritime areas in the future at the expense of the traditional marine surveyor. Depending on their area of work, a marine surveyor could be asked to travel overseas to investigate causes of accidents or damage to cargoes.


Classification Society Marine Surveyor

A classification society marine surveyor inspects ships, components and machinery to ensure they are built according to the standards required for their class, and examines accident damage.

Government Marine Surveyor

A government marine surveyor inspects ships, components and machinery to ensure they meet crew and passenger safety regulations and construction standards. They may also assess and approve safety reports and plans, and examine candidates for certificates of competency.

Private Marine Surveyor

A private marine surveyor examines ships and their cargoes, investigates accidents in port and at sea (oil spillages, for example) and prepares accident reports for insurance purposes.

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