CHESAPEAKE, VA, February 27, 2003 — Most people making major
purchases today turn to professionals to help them decide which
product or service is best and represents fair value. When it comes
to recreational or commercial vessels, buyers use marine surveyors
to provide objective assessments of the new or pre-owned vessels
they may purchase. It's logical to do so, since a recreational boat
is, after homes, often the second largest investment people make.
For maritime businesses, “floating assets” are almost always their
largest single investment. Beyond operational integrity and fair
value, surveyors offer readings of the safety of the craft and crew
and how well suited a vessel is for intended use.
Finding a marine surveyor is an easy task, since there are
several thousand practicing in the US alone. A more difficult task
is finding the marine surveyor who is the best fit for inspecting
and reporting on the specific vessel a buyer is considering. The
National Association of Marine Surveyors (NAMS) recommends three
primary criteria for choosing a surveyor:
- Qualifications -
At least five year's experience as a marine surveyor with
one-half of the time surveying is a good minimum. It affirms the
surveyor is active and knows current regulations, industry and
market conditions, and trends.
- Specialization -
Marine surveying disciplines include Yachts and Small Craft,
Hull & Machinery, and Cargo. Surveyors tend to focus their work
in one of these areas, however surveying firms often have
individuals qualified in all of the disciplines.
- Certification -
Many marine surveyors are certified by professional
organizations. NAMS certification (those who carry the “NAMS-CMS”
after their names are so identified) is a stringent process and
requires individuals to re-certify annually.
To localize the search for a qualified surveyor, ask for
referrals from marine dealers or brokers, marine insurance agents,
marine lenders, or other boaters. Anyone may claim to be a marine
surveyor, advertise and collect fees for services rendered and, in
the U.S., is not required to be licensed. As a result, NAMS
suggests, when hiring a marine surveyor request a resume, copies of
their work, and references, then actually check the references.
Verify their membership in professional organizations like NAMS. It
may also be helpful to meet them at their place of business to
determine its viability.
A marine survey may be the least expensive and most valuable
tool to assist boat buyers. Boat operators who know the condition
of their vessel are better prepared to handle unexpected
occurrences than those who aren't. The surveyor hired to inspect
the boat should have the knowledge and expertise to determine if it
has been properly built, maintained and is in safe condition.
That's why growing numbers of prudent buyers are making their final
acceptance of the boat subject to the findings of a marine
NAMS is a global organization of 350 carefully-certified
individuals who provide surveying and related services to the
boating public and recreational and commercial marine, marina,
cargo, salvage, fishing, insurance and finance industries. Each
member holding the NAMS-CMS certification has practiced for at
least five years, must recertify annually, and ascribes to a Code
of Ethics. NAMS produces major trade conferences each spring and
fall for marine surveyors and related professionals (the next one
will be held April 13 – 15, 2003 in Chicago). To find NAMS-CMS
surveyors, visit www.nams-cms.org or call toll-free (U.S.)