FAQ on Havorn Surveying School
Lee H. Ehrheart, Director
Marine Surveyor, Shipwright, Consultant
Q-1 Are you affiliated with any surveyor organizations?
A. No, the school is not affiliated with any surveyor organization. Although, members of both major national/international surveyor organizations accept the school attendance for Continuing Education Credits for their members. Further, students completing the course of study at HMSSS can use the credits on their resume when applying to the organizations for membership. Many of our graduates go on to join a surveyor organization. Current members attend to expand their knowledge. The majority of our instructors are SAMS accredited marine surveyors.
Q-2 Does the HMSSS help students join one or the other organization?
A. There are two primary surveyor organizations based in the USA. Both have international memberships. The HMSSS helps to provide information and resources for information about both SAMS and NAMS. Each organization has its individual membership requirements and processes. We encourage students to look into each organization and determine which meets their needs.
Q-3 Does a surveyor need to be a member of a surveyor organization?
A. No. Although, surveyors associated with a surveyor organization are presenting reports to a standard the industry is coming to expect. As a result, there is a growing trend by insurance companies and financial institutions to look for work by surveyors “accredited” (SAMS) or “certified” (NAMS) primarily. These institutions do accept work from surveyors who have a known track record with their institution.
Q-4 Does HMSSS help students find survey work after attendance?
A. No. Each individual graduate is responsible to direct their own career and promote himself or herself.
Q-5 Does a student have to take all seminars?
A. YES. It is highly recommended that one take the full course of study. Anyone interested in becoming a marine surveyor will need the full course. A student may wish to take a session in the spring and the next session in the fall. They need to be taken in order. Students are quick to say, “…taking the series is the way to do it.” Taking the full course in one offering has a number of benefits, including the camaraderie and interaction building between the students, a vital part of the program. EXCEPTION: There are some exceptions; experienced surveyors with some years of experience who are interested in fine-tuning or adding to their skills and knowledge in a professional environment.
Q-6 What does it take to become a marine surveyor after the seminars? Seminar? What seminar?
A. Practice, practice, practice, study, study, study! Each individual brings his or her own experience to the school and the profession of marine survey. The HMSSS helps the students understand the basics of the skills and requirements needed for the surveyor specialty of yachts and small craft. It enhances and adds to the student’s knowledge. Not every student who attends the school becomes a marine surveyor; their goals are individualized and may simply be to become more knowledgeable. Becoming a marine surveyor is a journey, not a finite point in time. Although there are numerous hands-on opportunities during the classes, it takes much experience and practice following the classes, using the knowledge gained during the school sessions, working toward a goal. Being part of a professional organization helps provide mentors and continuing educational opportunities.
Q-7 Is there a lot of competition to find work after completion of the seminars?
A. Yes, there is competition! Every self-employed person has competition in the workplace (industry? profession?). Success in the workplace takes time. Success takes time; like any worthwhile professional or personal endeavor, making a name for yourself can take time. New surveyors will find successful surveyors out there, those already having become known in the industry, the community of yacht brokers and loan department officers. But, at the same time, no prudent broker or banker would recommend only one surveyor. They would recommend several. Then customers will choose from a list which includes many names.
Q-8 Are there scholarships to the HMSSS?
A. NO. Although, some students have attended supported by vocational retraining programs. Call for information.
Q-9 Is there any financial assistance available?
A. We do not offer financial assistance. Over the more recent years some students have come to us as part of their vocational retraining program, often changing from one marine-related profession to another. Fishermen are an example, often being eligible for retaining by state or provincial governments. We have assisted individuals with filling out their required paperwork. We have spoken to rehab training consultants to help facilitate a successful career change.
Q-10 Can you recommend local motels/hotels near the school?
A. The best source of lodging options is to search the web for options closest to the corner of Terry and Valley Streets in Seattle.
Seattle has excellent bus transportation. Some local students bring their boats and rent marina space nearby during the course. We provide an updated current list of local motels/hotels in the area, but the web has the latest and best deals—we can’t keep up with the changes.
Q-11 How long does it take to become successful as a marine surveyor?
A. Years are usually involved. Most people entering the profession have past skills that are an asset, like past sea time as crew, or as owners/skippers of a yacht. Some have prior mechanical experience. Others have worked in a boatyard and/or have hands-on woodworking skills. The more successful surveyors are usually hands-on people, learning by doing, and having a platform of experience to build upon. Success does depend on experience and how one promotes that experience.
Q-12 Are there marine surveyor companies that hire surveyors to work for them?
A. Very few. They primarily hire those surveyors with many years of experience. The vast majority of marine surveyors work for themselves. Some companies working with ships and cargo often employ several surveyors.
Q-13 Is any experience needed to become a marine surveyor?
A. Some of this is answered above. The best answer is being hands-on, having some sea time experience on boats. Even being a yachtsman counts, liking boats and boating, knowing nautical terms, having compassion for the subject are all assets. Knowing nothing about boats or boating makes for a “much longer climb up hill.”
Q-14 Where are classes held?
A. In Seattle, Washington, at:
This location is two miles north of downtown Seattle, off of I-5, Mercer Street Exit, #167.
Seattle Parks Dept. Building
860 Terry St. N
South Lake Union
If you have further questions, please contact us.
Havorn Marine Services, Inc.
P.O. Box 17521
Seattle WA 98127
Call Lee on his Cell Phone at: