The corps of Damage Commissioners was set up in military arsenals under the Napoleonic Code. These Ministerial Officers were, in fact, the very first marine surveyors: public administrators who were responsible for coordinating and planning repairs to ships following accidents, maritime incidents or military campaigns.
These skilled men put their administrative and technical skills to good use in Toulon and Brest.
Before the Second World War, the profession of marine surveyor did not truly exist as such. In general, the role was fulfilled by marine engineers who were specialists in construction and naval architecture of pleasure boats or often by retired deck officers or mechanics who had experience of yachting.
In the 1950s, insurance companies drew up lists of surveyors who were mandated according to purely economic criteria and subsequently (regional) Committees of Marine Insurers were created, made up of damage commissioners.
In the 1970s and 1980s, the profession evolved and diversified as it gained a more structured form.
A surveyor now is a freelance technician who works in all maritime areas including yachting (insurance, construction, services, legal advice etc.)
The marine surveyors accredited by the FIEM uphold the ethical standards set out in its statutes.
These standards are : professionalism, experience, competence, diligence, intellectual honesty and fully impartial judgement submitting to no economic pressure.
And thereby from 1999, the FIEM (upon the request of the Transport Ministry and the European Commission)took part in a study for European regulation alongside the FIN. (Federation of Nautical Industries – Fédération des Industries Nautiques), the Higher Council of Pleasure Boating and Water Sports (Conseil Supérieur de la Navigation de Plaisance et des Sports Nautiques) and under the aegis of AFNOR (French Normalisation Association – Association Française de Normalisation) a European Community recognised organisation.
This study, which several members of the FIEM took an active part in, was finally presented in November 2005 in its final version and immediately adopted by the European Commission under the title: AFNOR Agreement ACX 50-827.
For more than 30 years, the rigorous and statutory selection of our members provides a guarantee to leisure users and nautical professionals. Only those who have been practising the profession of marine surveyor for more than three years can obtain an FIEM accreditation following an in-depth examination of their application in terms of technical aspects, legal aspects and surveying.
A final vote by FIEM members will definitively validate the candidate's accreditation.
FIEM Objectives and Missions:
Ensuring that its members represent the profession with competence and reliability regarding public authorities, insurance companies, credit institutions and individuals.
Promoting the profession across the world, forming groups of marine surveyors and advisers in order to help them in the most varied areas of their practice and respecting the rights of maritime consumers, users and professionals.
Defending and representing the profession of marine surveyor with regard to professional bodies :
– Federation of Nautical Industries
– National Security Commissions
– Professional Training Organisations
Since publication of the AFNOR Agreement, the F.I.E.M. has constructed a genuine "code of ethics" to apply to our profession and particularly respecting the definitions of MARINE SURVEYING described in paragraph 6 of the AFNOR Agreement ACX 50-827.
A marine surveyor is a free man who must maintain absolute independence and must not yield to any pressure or influence. He is an experienced technician who keeps his training and knowledge fully up to date with the most advanced technical domains.
Exercising the profession of marine surveyor requires wide knowledge of marine technology (leisure or commercial).
Training a marine surveyor so that he gains the full respect of sailors requires 5 to 10 years working alongside a recognised surveyor.
Any short cuts in training can only lead to disillusion and commercial failure for the under-trained surveyor as well as representing a gross betrayal of maritime users.
A marine surveyor is, by his very essence, an experienced field man.
His role is also that of a conciliator and a mediator between two parties whose conflict occurs in the areas of his technical expertise.