A Marine Surveyor is an individual who conducts surveys, inspections or examinations of marine boats or vessels to evaluate, monitor and document on their condition, and the working conditions and products on them, and also inspects potential damage caused due to collision with other vessels. They perform such duties in support of the shipping and boating industries. Marine surveys are performed for many different reasons such as environmental compliance, preventing loss or damage, environmental research, assessment of boat condition and safety, etc. The performance of these services requires the skills of a marine surveyor that is required to have knowledge in the navigation, design, construction, and operation of vessels. The main role of a marine surveyor is to ensure safety and security of shipping and barge traffic while ensuring the protection and conservation of marine resources.
There are two types of inspections that a marine surveyor may conduct. One is when a vessel is moored in a stationary area, where all the activities of the surveyor and his team including the batsmen, the captain, stewardesses, pilots, maintenance men, surveyors and scientists perform visual and physical inspections. In such a case, the results are documented in written reports that are forwarded to the concerned authority. The other kind of inspection is when the surveyor and his team sail out into the water to do the inspections and perform the physical and visual inspections on the craft.
Surveys are usually carried out in areas where there are low visibility or no light in the sea. Such cases necessitate the presence of the boats, the surveys equipment, and all the people who need to be aboard for the survey. All these are necessary for performing marine surveys that include both passive and active surveys where passive surveys refer to the surveys performed while the boats are at rest, while active surveys require the boats to move around so that the surveyors can gain a better view of the interior of the vessel.
Passive surveys are often done on the basis of charts, GPS and other means of surveying but the boats must be at rest for the entire duration of the survey. If this is not possible then the surveyors take pictures of all the important parts of the boat and take note of minute details of the position, size and condition of the different rooms and equipment. This is important in order to give the surveyor a clear idea of the condition of the vessel. The pictures are also used for comparing the condition of the boat with the figure given in the chart in order to find out whether the difference is statistically significant. After determining whether all the parts of the vessel are in good condition, the marine surveyor proceeds to the active part of the survey.
For carrying out a survey in a maritime area, the marine surveyor uses special instruments for measuring and locating all the various components of the vessel including the engines, the gear, the hull and the fittings. These instruments are designed to handle the dynamic environment that usually causes some damage or distortion to the equipment. The surveys also include a computer program that controls the instruments and gives accurate readings. The program enables the marine surveyor to know the exact position and size of the vessels that are being surveyed.
In addition to these specialized surveys, the marine surveyors also use special devices for finding the sunken boats and ships. These devices are known as “hydroacoustic surveys” that are capable of determining the exact location, shape and tilt of the sunken vessels. Most of these devices are very compact and can be attached right to the boat without any damage. Some types of hydroacoustic surveys require that the surveyors actually come on board the vessel and install the device, while other types are capable of being operated from the shore and operated from there. Once installed, these special instruments to record all the data that is being gathered by the sensors and send them back to the base station by radio or satellite.