Classification and certification are not the same, and fitness for purpose may or may not be determined by either. This paper compares and contrasts classification, certification, and fitness for purpose. Included are not only the general policies and definitions used by the major classification societies, but also how these services fit into the various quality certification schemes like ISO and API. As a result, when you have a need for third party verification of "quality", you will know what you should specify and the correct terminology used by those in this industiy.

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