Professional Associations - The Facts

Marine Surveying in North America is an unregulated profession.
In order to ensure some measure of legitimate competence amongst those practicing the profession, tradesmen form associations, to which like-minded individuals will take out memberships. This process is aimed to protect the integrity of the profession and to encourage ethical conduct. Many professions have such organizations coexist in numbers that encourage healthy competition for public image and exposure, which translates to a more skilled professional and a better informed client.


Marine Surveying is a rather obscure profession. The best Surveyors come from a line of skilled craftsmen, who had reached a point in life where practical experience can be applied in a more sophisticated way. The industry does not support very many individuals in any given geographical local, especially not in seasonally effected areas such as the North East.

The Province of Ontario can be viewed as a typical demographic model for the Marine Surveying Industry. We have about 80 individuals claiming to be “competent Surveyors”, and about 20% of those do 80% of the work. This is an industry where incompetence simply does not mask many eyes for too long, albeit in very short time an unscrupulous “surveyor” can inflict major damage upon the unsuspecting consumer.

There are times when questions arise in regards to who belongs to what Professional Association. Tradesmen talk amongst each other about which is the best, and sometimes organizations can get too political in their infrastructure. They lose sight of the original goal of providing a platform for education, or feel that theirs has become a rightful monopoly over the profession. But, can they offer a concrete warranty in regards to the ability of their membership? No, they can not, and the insurers, lenders and knowledgeable buyers have always been able to determine who is going to have a long career and who is just a fly-by-nighter.


  Membership in a professional organization does not necessarily warrant the member to posses any particular level of competency.   Not in the real world...

Yes, both of the two major entities recognized in the
US and North America (NAMS© & SAMS©) do have competent Marine Surveyors striving to do the best to their ability.   .........but then so are the Lawyers in all the Bar Associations and all the Doctors in the Medical Associations,   but ...no guarantees!

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CAVEAT! Some groups flare up from time to time claiming to be legitimate organizations. Some may very well be, but many are simply a receiver of checks in exchange for indiscriminately bestowing credentials upon mostly undeserving individuals – Boat Owners, Purchasers, Insurers, Lenders beware!

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I know fellows who are very good Surveyors and do not belong to any association, and I know some who do and are blind, incompetent or just simply don't care. Nevertheless, I do believe that belonging to a well organized, well established and proven Professional Association does better the chances of the client ending up with a qualified  Surveyor.