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Who is This Course Suitable For?

The Diploma in Ship Surveying is suitable for marine surveyors and people working in related areas that wish to learn about this topic. Ideal for the seasoned professional looking to update their knowledge or the novice wishing to learn about his subject for the first time.

12 – 18 months

12 in total

Diploma: £2,950
Certificate: £2,150

Recognised by:
University of Portsmouth

About the Course

This unique Ship Surveying course provides outstanding teaching as a result of extensive research and close links with the surveying industry. With this training course you will develop your knowledge of Ship Surveying, enabling you to conduct a survey with effectiveness and efficiency.

Module subjects include essential law, safety and operational surveys, incident and accident investigation along with other essential subjects such as writing the survey report and flag and port state control inspections.

Course Structure

Level One – Diploma or Certificate

The Ship Surveying course consists of 12 modules. All students are required to successfully complete and pass the module assignments. Diploma students will also be required to sit and pass a final examination.

Level Two – Practical

Surveyor’s Log Book (SLB)

Level 2 consists of a Surveyor’s Log Book (SLB).
As a surveyor under training completes each task, he/she gathers evidence to support the experience and learning gained, in a structured manner, guided by the Log Book. Once completed, the Log Book will be submitted to MTA for review.

Level Three – Peer Review

Leading to a CoC issued by MTA

The MTA Peer Review is a detailed oral examination lasting between two to three hours and is graded on a pass/fail basis. The three members Peer committee will ask a series of questions to test the students practical and theoretical knowledge of surveying in their chosen specialist field. Successful completion of the Peer Review is required to achieve the MTA Certificate of Competency in Ship Surveying.

1. Introduction
  • An overview of the shipping industry
  • Vessels
  • Cargoes, passengers and other in the industry
  • The regulation of the shipping industry
  • Commercial law and International trade
  • Marine Insurance
  • Ship management
  • Marine surveying
2. Essential Law

Part One – Legal Concepts

  • Introduction to English Law and our Legal System
  • Legal concepts
  • The law of contract
  • The law of tort (negligence)
  • Liability in contract and tort
  • Responsibilities
  • The expert witness and the law of evidence

Part Two – Maritime Law

  • Admiralty law and jurisdiction
  • International maritime law
  • Shipboard documentation
  • Codes of practice for commercially operated yatchts
  • The flag state
  • Collision, and salvage
  • Pollution
  • Marpol
  • Chartering
  • Pilotage
  • Governmental control of shipping
  • Health and safety on board ship

Part Three – Marine Insurance

  • Types of insurance cover
  • Claims and the surveyor
3. Report Writing for Marine Surveyors
  • The basis of reports
  • Preparing for the report
  • Report types
  • Writing the report
  • Touch Typing
4. The Different Types of Survey
  • Damage surveys
  • Hull and machinery
  • Grounding
  • Surveying fire damage
  • Cargo surveys
  • Personal accident and injury
  • Audits and compliance inspections
  • ISPS Code
  • SIRE (Ship Inspection Report) vessel inspection questionnaires for oil tankers, combination carriers, shuttle tankers, chemical tankers, and gas carriers
  • CDI (Chemical Distribution Institute)
  • Cargo pre-loading survey
  • Fitness for purpose survey
  • Towage
  • Heavy lift
  • Tie down
  • Other types of survey
  • Bunker surveys
5. Safety and Operational Surveys
  • A definition of surveying
  • Flag state safety standards
  • Introduction to safety standards
  • An introduction to Safety Surveys
  • Life saving appliances
  • Fire protection, detection and extinction
  • Navigational aids and equipment
  • The role of classification societies with safety surveys
6. Incident and Accident Investigation
  • The background to marine incident and accident investigation
  • The human factor in incident investigations
  • Initial actions in an investigation
  • Managing the investigation
  • Witnesses and interviews
  • Collecting physical evidence
  • Human factors
  • Analyses, tools and techniques
  • Developing conclusions and making recommendations
  • Witness interviewing
  • The cognitive interview
7. Surveying Engines and Ship Systems
  • Diesel engines
  • Ancillary systems
  • Steam plant
  • Power transmission
  • Control systems
  • Anti pollution
  • Pumps
  • Filters and filtration
  • Emergency systems
  • Refrigeration
  • Electrical systems
  • Deck machinery
  • Hatch covers
  • Units
8. ISM and ISPS
  • A short history of maritime safety
  • International safety management (ISM) Code
  • Health and safety on board ship
  • Civil and criminal liability
  • The code of safe working practices regulations
9. Warranty and Insurance Surveys
  • Marine insurance
  • Warranty
  • The different types of warranty survey
  • Tugs and towing equipment
  • Insurance damage survey
  • Collision, speed and angle of blow
10. Cargo Surveying
  • What is cargo surveying?
  • Surveying tools
  • Pre-survey requirements
  • Duties of a cargo surveyor
  • Documents required
  • What a surveyor is expected to do on survey
  • Terms of sale of goods and their transport insurance
  • Mode of transportation
  • Forms of conveyance of goods
  • Types of packaging
  • Types of cargo and possible forms of damage
  • Resolution of claims
  • Determination as to how / where loss occurred
  • Surveyor Acting for Carrier’s Liability / P&I Insurers
  • Brief Summary of an Example Survey
  • Report writing
  • Hague-visby rules
  • Role of a claims / loss adjuster
  • Health and safety issues
11. Flag and Port State Control Inspections
  • Port state control
  • Regions and co-operation between port states
  • Port state control inspections
  • Deficiencies and detentions
  • Commercial implications of port state detentions
  • Maritime labour convention
12. Surveying the Hull Structure
  • Ships’ structure
  • Structural strength
  • Main structural components
  • Use of ships’ plans
  • Determination of condition or extent of damage
  • Calculation of steel weight and repair cost
  • Presentation of information
Career Pathway

Career path:
Either working for marine surveying organisations such as a Classification Society or Government Marine Department (such as the Maritime and Coastguard Agency) or as an independent undertaking direct work for shipping companies or contracted work for independent surveying companies.

From £35K to £75K per annum depending upon seniority and experience.

Carrying out physical surveys of the condition of ships and/or investigation work following accidents and incidents.

Meet the Course Director

Ian Biles

Managing Director at Maritime Services International

Ian has led MSI to become one of the world’s leading surveying companies. Ian’s qualifications include: Master Mariner, RYA Yachtmaster Ocean, Naval Architect (BEng Ship Science) and Business Management (MA Business Management).


On passing the Diploma, you will receive the above icon. Please use it on your business cards, LinkedIn profile and website(s)!

You can also use these letters after your name: MTA Dip ShipSurv


Online learning allows you to study in your own time, at your own pace from anywhere in the world. This saves on travel and classroom costs and allows you to fit your studies around your job and progress your career.


While the nature of distance learning is independent study, we recognise the importance of support. Students can contact us at any time during their course for assistance and our team of industry experts are always on hand for advice.


We have over 50 industry experts writing, developing and advising on our course material. We truly believe that allowing students to tap into their expertise and knowledge is of the utmost importance to fulfil your dream career.

If you would prefer to complete this as a classroom-based course, please contact us.


How long do the courses take to complete? What's the difference between a Diploma and a Certificate? Read through our Frequently Asked Questions below to find out the answer.

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