Marine Surveyor Hands-On Forensics Lab Rant

One of my current projects is creating a map of known boat graveyards. Establishing a boat workshop in an area that is dense with such businesses makes a lot of good sense and creating relationships with such businesses is high on my reconnaissance priorities, along with touring dozens of marinas and yacht clubs. Once I find a boat graveyard with an appropriate attitude towards indiscriminate hull core sample collection and liberal application of chainsaws I have an idea. I would like to hire a marine surveyor to do a hands on lab on preforming hull forensics and grading, including demonstrating discovery techniques.

What Does A Marine Surveyor Do?

A marine surveyor is likely to be preforming your pre-purchase survey, first and foremost. This is an independent study done on a craft at your request, usually charged by the foot of the vessel. I've been ballparking the price at 15-20$/foot but obviously ymmv. This person is trained in the mystic arts of 'tapping a hull and knowing what a bad sound is', recognizing symptoms of problems, and gives a complete report on condition. They also preform other various tasks including inspecting cargo and other official services. 

Who Died And Made YOU A Marine Inspector?

A marine surveyor also makes money preforming such services and the road to being an official inspector is extremely easy. A written mailed-in test and $150 seems to be the entry level for those aspiring to take the mantle. Reputation seems to be EXTREMELY important in this field but as always it is hard to say for sure. The subject matter itself is very accessible but people with dozens of years hands on experience aren't. You have to know a lot about boats, that's for sure!

A Marine Inspector Certification Curriculum Would Be Useful

I'm tempted to say that I would want to do a one on one session with an inspector, cutting into hulls and decks investigating strange bulges and cracks in some boat graveyard. I want to sand the paint off the bottom of more than a few different wood hulls to learn what I would learn. I have learned long ago that such a session without a curriculum and more than 3 people becomes a disaster. I personally will cram for months before doing something like that but many people cannot. Using an established curriculum out of a community center to get everyone up to speed before outings with our inspector for hand on labs would be my preferred SOP if operating out of a hackerspace.

Other Possible Hands On Lab Opportunities

Plan B, which is the most liberating, is to take shitty work at a string of boat recycling operations and spend some time destroying yachts. If I want to see what different kinds of balsa-cored hull failures look like from the inside I can probably even nail down a simple internship for access. Even dumpsters full of post-removed panels would be invaluable. I want to see what the actual delamination looks like from different kinds of water ingress firsthand before I ever have to worry about it, that's for sure! I'd settle with being able to study the post-compacted cubes of yachts after they went through a 2 story shredder. I'm also VERY interested in seeing what different kinds of wear patterns form on the main drive shafts.

Just Sounds Like You Are Short-cutting A Lifetime Of Boat Exposure

I AM! Famous last words, INDEED.

1 comment:

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