marine surveying as a career

Surveyors are appointed by shippers or their agents, Government departments, importers and exporters, insurance agencies and vessel owners.

They are appointed to inspect, assess and report on the condition of a vessel, its equipment and or its intended use and they issue a 'Certificate of Survey' 

They also inspect cargo, supervise the loading and unloading of cargo such as grain and coal and also inspect vessels for damage as well as inspect new vessels and vessels under construction to ensure their compliance with Australian or International regulations,  standards or specifications.

In Australia private commercial marine surveyors are Certified by the AIMS in different categories of surveys and some are accredited by AMSA  to make sure domestic commercial vessels needing a survey meet national law requirements. 

Certified professional marine surveyors are highly qualified in their different fields and are committed to undertaking ongoing professional development and training.

AIMS Certification is only awarded to those surveyors who are properly qualified and experienced, have appropriate insurances and business structures and who work to a code of practice. This gives consumers confidence

To be successful as marine surveyor you will need to have a flexible approach to your working hours and your skills should include a strong attention detail, the ability to solve problems and assess risks and you will need to be able to identify, understand and apply the legislation and statutory requirements for the type of vessel and type of survey you are conducting.  You will also need to be able to work alone or as part of a team and have excellent written and verbal communication and maths skills.

Marine surveying is a great choice of career for students who like design (naval architecture) engines and operational systems (engineering), environmental issues (bio security and ocean / waterways pollution) legal studies (maritime law) and even insurance. There are great choices in the maritime industry and marine surveying is a diverse and challenging career choice.


Marine surveyors are generally paid according to their qualifications and experience. 

To become accredited by AMSA or become an AIMS Registered professional marine surveyor in Australia you will need qualifications in marine surveying, experience in the maritime industry as a seafarer or maritime professional or as an engineer or shipwright.

Until 2014 all marine surveyors were trained on the job however the Diploma of Maritime Operations (Marine Surveying) was accredited by the Australian Government and became the accepted entry level qualification. 

An entry-level Marine Surveyor who is undertaking or holds a Diploma of Maritime Operations (Marine Surveying) as well as other maritime qualifications such as those suggested above and who has  less than 5 years of survey experience can expect to earn an average wage of around $70,000.  

A Marine Surveyor with more than 5 years experience can expect to earn somewhere between $80,000 to $90,000 depending on the type of experience they have had and their qualifications. 

A senior qualified and experienced Marine Surveyor with more than 10 years of experience can expect to earn between $90,000 and $150,000. 

For more information on wages and salaries you can click on this file

Average Salary Levels Marine Surveyor.pdf



Nearly all marine survey work is conducted at a port or slipway and nearly all tasks are performed outdoors and in all types of weather conditions. 

Travel is part of the job role and can be extensive and continual although many companies work a roster system.

The upside to the constant travel is the opportunity to visit other countries and ports and meet new people. 

Weekends and after hours work is common so if you are looking for a 9-5 Monday to Friday job then marine surveying is probably not suited to you.

Entry level surveyors are generally supported by a senior surveyor and are taught on the job skills that compliment their marine survey studies.

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