What Is Marine Surveying?

Marine surveying is the practice of inspecting marine equipment, primarily boats and cargo, to determine safety and market value. A marine surveyor may be called in to assess a damaged vessel for insurance purposes, appraise a vessel that is being sold, or even serve as an expert witness in court. Schools offering Engineering & Technology Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Industry Overview

The marine surveying industry is comprised of independent, local marine surveying businesses and professional organizations, like the International Institute of Marine Surveying (IIMS) and the National Association of Marine Surveyors (NAMS Global). Through these businesses and organizations, marine surveyors provide expert advice regarding the safety and value of marine equipment ranging from private yachts to cargo vessels. They may also act as claims investigators for insurance companies or provide expert testimony in marine-related trials.

There are many types of marine surveying. Three common categories are:

  • Surveyors of small watercraft
  • Machinery and hull surveyors
  • Cargo surveyors

Important Facts about this Occupation

Median Pay (2018) $62,580 (all surveyors)
Job Outlook (2016-2026)11% growth, faster than average (all surveyors)
Work EnvironmentFieldwork is common; may be required to stand or walk outside for long periods
Similar OccupationsLand Surveyors, Surveying and Mapping Technicians, Cartographers, Geophysical Prospecting Surveyors

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Yachts and Small Vessels

These marine surveyors typically deal with watercraft that are less than 300 feet long. They might conduct an appraisal for someone selling a used yacht or conduct an insurance investigation of a boating accident.

Machinery and Hulls

Marine surveyors who are experts in machinery and hulls inspect industrial equipment like commercial ships, cranes, and barges. They assess the safety and market value of commercial and private vessels that are longer than 300 feet.


Marine surveyors who specialize in cargo are experts in assessing cargo transportation methods and damage. Cargo surveyors may be knowledgeable about various types of cargo, including rail, air, and marine.

Education and Training

If you'd like to learn more about the subject of marine surveying, or if you're thinking about becoming a marine surveyor, these educational options might interest you:

  • The Maritime College at the State University of New York offers certificates in various marine surveying topics, some of which are available via distance learning
  • The IIMS offers a handful of marine surveying courses

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
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