19. Reporting 415
Learning to Write 416
Writing Style 417
Adequate Time 418
Critical Components and Systems 420
Good Descriptions 421
Descriptive Adjectives 424
Statements of Omission 425
Survey Forms 426
Dealing with Cause and Effect 427
Fact -vs- Opinion 428
Achieving Balance: The Positive -vs- the Negative 429
Avoid Clichés 430
Report Summaries 433
Excerpt: Chapter 19
Writing reports is the Achilles's heel of most surveyors, and few are able to do it well.
Make no mistake about it, writing good reports is just plain difficult, a skill that very few people in any profession learn to do well.
While some people seem to believe that good writers are born with this particular talent, every good writer will tell you that that is not true. Good writers learn to write well through years of painstaking effort and the study of what constitutes good writing.
Taking the time to write a good report never seems quite so important until one comes across an example of a bad report. Understandably, writers tend to be less critical of their own work than that of others; it's less easy to critique yourself.
The writing of survey reports is every bit as important as the physical work of surveying the vessel because the report is the memorialized record of the surveyor's work.
It's the document of fact that will be used by the client, as well as others, to make important financial decisions. Not only is it important that the information contained therein be factual and accurate, but it should also be borne in mind that the surveyor's presentation constitutes a direct reflection on his professionalism.
In the course of concluding a sale on a vessel a number of people will see and read that report and the surveyor's work will be judged accordingly.
To understand the full import of a poorly written report, merely observe your own reaction to one.
People rarely notice well-written reports, but a poorly written one always attracts immediate attention. For this reason alone, taking the time to learn to write a good report is well worth the effort.
However, there is an even better reason to learn the art of good reporting: to protect yourself and your client.
One of the most important parts of the surveyor's work is to make sure that the client understands the results of the survey. The failure to effectively communicate all necessary information to the client is a failure in performing the service being rendered.
From my own experience, I will hazard a guess here that more surveyors get in trouble based on ineffective reporting rather than through any failure in the physical performance of the survey.
(Additional spaces are added for easy screen reading.)
- 2nd Edition
by David H. Pascoe
Publisher: D. H. Pascoe & Co., Inc.
David Pascoe - Biography
David Pascoe is a second generation marine surveyor in his family who began his surveying career at age 16 as an apprentice in 1965 as the era of wooden boats was drawing to a close.
Certified by the National Association of Marine Surveyors in 1972, he has conducted over 5,000 pre purchase surveys in addition to having conducted hundreds of boating accident investigations, including fires, sinkings, hull failures and machinery failure analysis.
Over forty years of knowledge and experience are brought to bear in following books. David Pascoe is the author of:
- "Mid Size Power Boats" (2003)
- "Buyers’ Guide to Outboard Boats" (2002)
- "Surveying Fiberglass Power Boats" (2001, 2nd Edition - 2005)
- "Marine Investigations" (2004).
In addition to readers in the United States, boaters and boat industry professionals worldwide from over 70 countries have purchased David Pascoe's books, since introduction of his first book in 2001.
In 2012, David Pascoe has retired from marine surveying business at age 65.