Where will the next generation of marine surveyors come from?

A belated Happy New Year. As we ponder what 2018 might hold for us and, let’s face it, projections for the marine world appear to be very mixed, depending on who you listen to, I have been shocked and saddened by the awful start to January with one disaster after another.

In the first instance, I am referring of course to the tragic accident and substantial loss of life and potential environmental meltdown caused by the collision between the Iranian owned tanker MV Sanchi and the Hong Kong-flagged cargo ship CF Crystal, leading to the subsequent sinking of the former. That such a shocking event can still occur in 2018 seems hard to understand. It is not known yet if the cause will ever be discovered. What can we learn from this awful incident? And yet this incident has meant that numerous other accidents at sea in recent weeks, costing the loss of many human lives, have been sadly buried. It is a reminder that being at sea is perilous for those who choose this life aboard ship and yacht.

But it remains a dangerous profession for marine surveyors too as the sad loss of two of our own IIMS members – Terry Reynolds MIIMS and Peter Green MIIMS – both as a consequence of work related incidents demonstrate. Our condolences to their wives, families and friends. Full obituaries will appear in the March Report Magazine soon.

Often I debate with others within IIMS and externally too where the next group of younger marine surveyors will come from and how we might help to develop them. The UK Maritime & Coastguard Agency has recently concluded a highly successful recruitment exercise and as a consequence has employed a considerable number of new surveyors, so it seems the talent is about.

So, it was with great interest that I recently found myself at a meeting in London to discuss the development of a trailblazer apprenticeship scheme for marine surveyors. It was an eye opening meeting, consisting of IMARest, other surveying organisations, a couple of employers and various interested seats of learning in the form of maritime universities. But the most important delegate at the table was the man who has implemented similar apprenticeship schemes before, including one for marine pilots. He knows who to engage with, how to prepare and execute the paperwork and so on. There is a willingness to explore the concept further, but unless it can both deliver good surveyors who are theoretically and practically astute and the all important route to jobs, the scheme may struggle to succeed. Watch this space.

Survey well

Mike Schwarz

Chief Executive Officer

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