In an increasingly litigious world, demonstrable competence and skill is needed more than ever for surveys, audits and inspections, says the International Institute of Marine Surveying's (IIMS) chief executive Mike Schwarz
Marine surveyors, auditors and inspectors come in all shapes and sizes worldwide, but sadly in all shades of competency too.
No matter where in the world ships, yachts, trawlers, workboats, superyachts and offshore installations float and operate, a marine surveyor, auditor or inspector will most likely have been present at some point to assess, examine and report on the asset with the ultimate aim of ensuring the safety of life at sea, the asset and its cargo. In this line of work, high standards and competency really do matter.
I believe passionately in increasing standards worldwide. There is no barrier to entry in to this profession – the bar is set low and anyone can claim to be a surveyor or an inspector.
Clearly this is wrong and IIMS is committed to driving standards ever higher by developing those who practice in this sector, no matter which branch of the surveying profession they operate in.
Two current examples of work that have been and are being undertaken by the IIMS and its sister company, the Marine Surveying Academy (MSA), highlight what can be done to ensure the standard bar is set higher.
On 6-7 November, IIMS broadcast the first Marine Surveying International Fest 2018, a 24-hour, non-stop marathon hosted live from the Institute’s head office on the UK south coast. One new presentation on an aspect of surveying was presented on the hour, every hour – 24 in total. Presenters came online from USA, Singapore, Australia, South Korea, mainland Europe and the UK to deliver bite-size training. It is this type of innovative thinking and application that makes it possible for any surveyor or inspector anywhere in the world to get involved, to gain fresh knowledge and to keep themselves current in the marketplace.
Those who concern me most are the ones who have been surveying for a number of years, who have not developed new skills and embraced disruptive technologies and who have become complacent. The presentations will be made publicly available in May 2019, but before then it is possible to retrospectively buy-in to the Fest and relive it on video. The full programme of topics and presenters can be found online.
In similar vein, over the past couple of years MSA has developed, launched and managed the eCMID Accredited Vessel Inspector (AVI) scheme on behalf of the International Marine Contractors Association. Historically no-one knew who was boarding a vessel to carry out an audit, or indeed if he/she was competent to do so, or if they understood the dynamics of that particular vessel.
Since launching the scheme over 500 people have come forward for accreditation and more than 400 have gained the standard. Importantly, CPD plays a role ensuring that AVIs stay up-to-date; accreditation courses are held around the world on a regular basis. As a result of this painstaking work, finally vessel owners and operators can be sure that the person boarding their vessel to undertake the inspection has been assessed and is competent.
Surveying and inspecting standards matter more than ever in an increasingly litigious world. It remains the responsibility of the person commissioning the work to ensure they are using the services of a skilled person and it is also the responsibility of the surveyor to be able to provide evidence of his/her competency when challenged.