The job of a Marine Surveyor is many and varied, depending on the experience of the surveyor.
A surveyor may be inspecting a 60' shark boat in Port Adelaide, damage assessing a 40' catamaran after storm damage, delivering a 20 metre work boat from Sydney to Lakes Entrance, conducting annual inspections of the charter fleet in the Gippsland Lakes, commanding an offshore ROV vessel completing pipeline inspections, performing a pre-purchase inspection of Bob & Dolly Dyers (of Pick a Box fame) original game fishing boat on the Gold Coast, assessing corrosion on a steel fishing vessel, returning old vessels back to operational status survey, carrying out annual commercial inspections from Apollo Bay to Eden, or the preparation and delivery of a motor cruiser from Lakes Entrance to Hobart. These are just some of the recent activities of Ashworth Maritime Services.
Traditional marine industry rule denotes the surveyor is required to have been engaged in the marine industry as a Qualified Ships Master, Ships Engineer, Naval Architect, Shipwright or Marine Engineer for 25 years prior to commencing his survey duties. This allows the surveyor to have had the experience in operation of seagoing vessels, knowledge of the onboard engineering and navigation systems, construction, building and repair of vessels. This experience is gained by hands on operational duties, maritime college training and personal professional development.
A qualified surveyor is required to have membership of a surveyors association such as the International Institute of Marine Surveyors or the Marine Surveyors Association and carry expensive Professional Indemnity Insurance cover.
Categories of surveys include (but are not limited to):
Clients requiring these surveys should ask the surveyor for a copy of their qualifications and insurance cover prior to the survey with most surveyors having a small contract to sign prior to survey.
A pre-purchase survey when buying a vessel requires the vessel to be slipped for an underwater hull surface and machinery inspection followed by a sea trial to ascertain the propulsion, auxiliary machinery and construction condition. The vessel's safety gear compliance and operational equipment are also checked. Machinery items inspected should include engines, generators, electrical, fuel, water, sewage and control systems. Depending on the surveyors qualifications, this also may involve engaging a marine engineer to ascertain the machinery condition.
A sea trial is essential to ascertain if the vessel is stable and fit for the purpose the client requires. The differing construction of the vessels determines the process of the survey. A fibreglass vessel requires a moisture meter test to check for osmosis, a wooden vessel requires a hammer tap test to check for rot, whereas steel and alloy vessels require electronic thickness testing for corrosion. An insurance survey should also cover the same points.
The document produced by the surveyor should contain a full description and report on defects found, to enable the client to negotiate the sale and inturn obtain insurance cover on the purchase. This document must not be divulged to any party except the client as the surveyor becomes the client's representative.
Commercial operators are used to the government surveyor inspecting their vessel every year for compliance. This process is now governed by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA). Private AMSA licensed Marine Surveyors now attend commercial vessel inspections when required. These surveyors have had to complete a thorough AMSA accreditation process to be professionally licensed.
Many surveyors are qualified Masters and Engineers and, following a survey, can command the vessel to its new port commonly called a delivery. This is an advantage to the new owner as the surveyor has prior knowledge of the vessel, its capabilities and the preparations required for the voyage. Quite often during a pre-purchase survey, if the surveyor is a Master they may give tuition on vessel handling to the new boat owner or following the purchase.
The marine industry has constantly trained mariners to ensure that vessels and crew are safe to operate in that hostile environment: THE SEA. Many Masters and Surveyors lecture at maritime colleges to ensure high standards of training, one being Seamec Maritime College at Lakes Entrance and the Australian Maritime College in Tasmania.
Rob Ashworth of Ashworth Maritime Services feels fortunate to have worked in the marine industry for over 40 years, gaining qualifications as a Master Shipwright, Lighthouse Keeper, Ships Master & Engineer, AMSA Accredited Surveyor and Marine Trainer, to provide all facets of marine surveying to the industry.
Ashworth Maritime Services also operates the charter vessel "Lady Jodie" from Paynesville, providing passenger charter throughout the Gippsland Lakes. Recently, a trainee Master gaining sea time on the charter vessel "Lady Jodie" obtained a cadetship on an Australian ship, daily traversing Bass Strait to Tasmania; a very satisfying result.
Over the years Rob Ashworth has been proud to train apprentices and mariners to a continuing high standard for industry, and enjoys seeing young mariners gaining qualifications to work in the vibrant marine industry both locally, interstate and overseas.
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