From mate to ABS?

Been sailing third and second mate for about 7 years now deep sea. Just started browsing shoreside options and was looking for information on the ABS surveyor jobs. Does anyone know if they hire prior mates for this position? The qualifications on the application just state prior seagoing experience as an officer or graduate from a nautical academy.

Anyone have any information or insight as to how this job is and if Mates are qualified?

I’ve personally met lots of mates and engineers who sailed and then became abs surveyors.

I bet @cmakin can shed some light on this for you.

Yup. Quiet a few mates have gone to work as Class surveyors. I think that the transition is a bit easier for engineers, but I may be prejudiced. I worked as an ABS field surveyor for nearly 10 years. Much of what is involved is deck department related, and the engineering can be picked up.

Last ABS audit we had one auditor who was fresh out of a non-maritime academy but had a marine engineering/architecture degree. I’d be willing to bet that you’d have no issues.

Was that an ISM audit? I am not sure how it works these days, because I left ABS before the ISM program started, but I believe that the auditors are a separate job from surveys (Class and Statutory), but they may have combined them.

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It was annual class and regulatory. My boat has never left the Gulf of Mexico, and he was asking about immersion suits. I had to break it to him that we did not have those onboard to which I got a very confused look and many questions as to why not.

Of course cmakin may not agree with this- I joined ABS as a Field Surveyor in 1989 in the NY Harbor Office (though it was then located at ABS HQ- Paramus). When I joined the Bureau, the unwritten rule was that Marine Engineers were hired as Field Surveyors- preferably after serving extensively as a Chief Engineer and then Port Engr. In fact, I was told by the Asst. Chief Surveyor that “I was extremely fortunate to get the job because I only sailed up to 1st Asst”

At the same time, various relatives of the higher up muckety-mucks were graduating as 3rd Engineers from the various Maritime Academy’s and the muckety-mucks wanted to get them jobs. This was before there was any kind of large “training academy”- the average just out of school Trainee Surveyor averaged about a 6-8 month “training period”. Mine was under 60 days.

Later (1993) I had left the Bureau and went back to sailing- and doing Port Engineer work on my vacations- I ran across a 3rd Mate who was hired in as a Field Surveyor- we were doing Renewal Class Surveys on Boilers, Turbines and etc on an old MARAD Owned Steamship… Needless to say, although very eager and very receptive- that was one Surveyor that really didn’t know what they were looking at… Lastly, one of my former “colleagues” (well not really- he was not very good at what he was doing) was a 2nd Mate who left SR and was hired on as a Field Surveyor- they detailed him largely to new construction in the Northwest- this guy didn’t know a weld from a jubilee patch…Later on he damned near got our Company ISM Certs pulled because of his ineptitude.

No, sorry- I believe that the best qualified Class Society Field Surveyors are individuals who have extensive experience in Marine Engineering, either as a Senior Seagoing Engineer or NA/ME…

Actually, I will agree. I started in 1988, and while I had NOT been a port engineer, I did have pretty broad experience on steam, motor and even tugs, having sailed CE for many years on string boats AND and ATB. To be honest, I hadn’t thought my previous post through, as I had always felt comfortable with Special Surveys on a variety of vessels, and that includes MODUs, of which there were many in my area. I had a very short “training” period when I started. I am also not convinces that the “Academy” was very useful. I seem to recall the head getting canned and escorted out of the Houston HQs. . . . My last couple of years (late 90s), we were given courses to get checked off in. That included one in reading ships drawings. . . really? A can say that it was an interesting part of my career. I was always on the go. For most of my time there, I WAS the Galveston office.

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Yes, one of your other Surveyors was a very old and dear friend , also someone I sailed with… (M.K. RIP)