Both Marine Surveyors, and Appraisers specializing in marine assets, are unlicensed by state and federal governments in the United States. In other words, there is no requirement by regulation or statute that practitioners of either profession obtain licensure prior to practicing their craft. However, both professions have professional associations that certify / accredit members.
The two main Marine Surveyor associations offering certification / accreditation are the National Association of Marine Surveyors (NAMS) and the Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors (SAMS).
Neither NAMS and SAMS have any formal coursework or training in place to become certified or accredited; instead they rely on the individual’s prior education, experience and training. Both associations require 5 years of experience as a surveyor, and then require that the prospective member pass a written test. Both NAMS and SAMS require that a member take a minimum number of continuing education units. NAMS requires 24 CE credits every two years and SAMS requires 60 every 5 years.
The only professional association offering accreditation in marine asset specific appraisal is the American Society of Appraisers (ASA). Like both NAMS and SAMS, ASA requires 5 years of appraisal experience. However, ASA goes a step further requiring completion of four area specific courses that are 30 hours each. The courses include in-depth instruction and testing on the three appraisal approaches; the Market (sales) Approach; the Cost Approach; and the Income Approach. ASA also requires a test to achieve a designation in commercial or yacht Marine Surveying, as well as taking the updated Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) 15 hour course once every five years (or a 7 hour refresher course once every 2 years). ASA also requires reaccreditation once per five-year period by submitting a minimum of 100 hours of continuing education units.
In summary, either a NAMS certified or SAMS accredited marine surveyor may be able to perform an appraisal. However, if the appraisal assignment is complex, or the assignment is being done for a specific purpose (i.e. litigation, audit, underwriting, etc.) then it may be worth hiring an Accredited Senior Appraiser who has the education, training, and experience to produce an appraisal report that will be as accurate as possible, and will stand up to scrutiny.
Currently there are ten ASA accredited commercial Marine Surveyors, and four ASA accredited yacht Marine Surveyors in the entire country. The link for the ASA “Find and Appraiser” is http://www.appraisers.org/find-an-appraiser.
Dana R. Teicheira is a NAMS Certified Marine Surveyor and an ASA Accredited Senior Appraiser in both Appraisal Review and Management (ARM) and Machinery and Technical Specialties (MTS), with a designation in Commercial Marine Surveying. Mr. Teicheira is headquartered in Northern California and can be contacted at 707-769-9171 or by email at email@example.com