An encouraging start to 2016

Almost too small to be surveyed, but just an image I like!
Almost too small to be surveyed, but just an image I like!

As the Institute starts its twenty-fifth year of operation and prepares to celebrate its Silver Jubilee in 2016, I can report that things are busy at IIMS head office as we have hit the floor running.

Currently we are in the midst of migrating to a new server (finally replacing our 8 year old ‘ancient beast’). These things are never easy. We hit an unforeseen glitch last week, but the way is now clear and we expect to be fully operational on our new server environment imminently. At the same time, we have finally managed to find a solution to our appallingly slow internet connection that has dogged us for years. Simultaneously with the server migration, we are upgrading to a 30Mb broadband line. This is a very positive start to the year and will make us even more efficient!

Plans for our 25th Anniversary Conference are now well advanced. I still have the finishing touches to put to the speaker schedule, but hope that will be concluded in the coming days. The venues for both days have been carefully selected and the whole aim of the two days (31 August to 1 September) is to deliver a Conference to remember and to make it an experience for all who choose to come. This is your chance to be present at a history making event in the Institute’s lifetime. Bookings for the various events that make up the 25th Anniversary Conference open on 1 February.

As part of my planning for the Conference events, I have had the pleasure to engage with some of those founding fathers who worked so hard to establish the Institute back in 1991. I very much enjoyed speaking with the very first IIMS President last week, Capt William MacDonald, or Capt Bill to his friends. He called me from his office in Houston. Watch out for his interview in the Report magazine in March. Capt. Bill also told me he hopes to be present at the 25th anniversary conference too in the summer.

In other news, our first Small Craft Working Group Training Day is being well supported. Being held on Monday 8 February, our Ultrasonics training day has attracted over 20 members and there is still time to book!

The first intake of the IIMS’s new Professional Qualifications in January since the split with Pearson edexcel last year has been very encouraging. Nearly 20 new students have joined the programme and we wish them well.

Membership growth is strong and continues on from a very progressive year in 2015. Only last week, we had applications from Iran and Japan, both countries where we have no membership currently.

It was wonderful to see the first of our new handy guides published on to the Kindle platform last week, oriving what a forward thinking organisation IIMS is fast becoming! Working in Enclosed Spaces can nw be purchased to read in Kindle format and the other guides will follow into this format very shortly.

Our Certifying Authority is gearing up for their big annual meeting, which is held with other CA’s at the Maritime & Coast Guard Agency in Southampton. There are changes afoot with the CA programme as the sector seeks to enhance surveyor competency.

Talking about competency bring me neatly on to the activities of the Marine Surveying Academy MSA). The CMID Vessel Inspector scheme, being run on behalf of IMCA, continues to break new ground. There have been around 200 applications for accreditation with approximately 160 being formally approved. Later this week, there are the first two CMID AVI accreditation training days in Aberdeen and Houston. The scheme is really starting to flourish and some of the major offshore operators are now taking a very close eye on the scheme.

MSA has also announced the launch of four specialised courses to be run in Amsterdam during 2016. Watch out for further new training courses and initiatives being unveiled by MSA in the coming weeks too.

Happy surveying!

Mike Schwarz

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