Article updated July 2023

What is a Designated Person Ashore (DPA)?

The Designated Person Ashore (DPA), has the overall responsibility for all matters relating to the Safety Management System (SMS). Having full access to the Directors of the Company, the DPA is able to ensure that adequate resources are available and tasks are delegated if required, whilst retaining overall responsibility. Importantly, if these areas are not delegated, then the Directors of the Company retain these responsibilities.

If you are a Director for a company owning a commercially owned vessel (500GT or more) which follows the International Safety Management (ISM) Code, you are required by maritime law to have a DPA. Even if you do not follow the ISM Code, you can still voluntarily adopt aspects of its best practices. In fact, there are several privately registered yachts that choose to appoint an experienced person or company to undertake similar responsibilities of a DPA to oversee the implementation of a Safety Management System (SMS).

As the ISM Code outlines, the DPA’s primary responsibilities revolve around the safety management and pollution prevention aspects of a vessel’s operation, including emergency response procedures. However, there is a misconception that emergency response is the only role of a DPA. Within the umbrella term of ‘safety’, there are several distinct roles a DPA will implement. Their duties and responsibilities vary, but here are five key roles you may or may not already know.

Roles of a Designated Person Ashore (DPA):

1. Safety Management System (SMS) Implementation

The Captain is responsible for the implementation of the Company’s Safety Management System (SMS) on board by ensuring that the requirements of the SMS are followed through regular maintenance, running drills and making constant improvements. A DPA complements this onboard activity by incorporating lessons learned from past incidents across the fleet of yachts operating under the same SMS. The result? Safety in numbers is effective and efficient. Yachts that ‘go at it alone’ are not able to benefit from this more comprehensive information poll and run the risk of having to learn all these lessons themselves by either experiencing the incidents or investing a significant amount of time studying the safety bulletins from the IMO, flag, and class. Time that could be better spent focussing on the successful implementation onboard of the SMS and supporting crew operations.

2. Supporting a Strong Safety Culture & Ensuring Continuous Improvement

A DPA supports and encourages a strong safety culture both onboard and ashore. From implementation to operation, this is achieved through disciplined training activities and overseeing onboard familiarisation and training programmes. The additional oversight and accountability ensure all crew are aware of the standards and benefits of adhering to the ISM Code.

By monitoring reports and providing analysis to the shore-based safety company, a DPA can report any actions or recommendations to ensure continuous improvement of vessel operations. In particular, regarding matters of safety and pollution prevention.

A DPA can maintain a view of the big picture to allow Captain’s and their crew to concentrate on the day-to-day operations and tasks. Working together succinctly ensures the SMS remains fit for purpose, always.

3. Ensuring All Parties Understand and Correctly Implement the Company Safety and Environmental Protection Policy

This includes ensuring the Safety and Environmental Protection policy is fit for purpose and regularly reviewed. An effective policy outlines the company’s aims and objectives and details how they are achieved. It is imperative that everyone onboard and ashore fully understand the importance of this policy and work together to ensure the policy objectives are met. A DPA will scrutinise documentation published through the SMS to ensure this remains the case and therefore keep the yacht ISM Code compliant.

4. Organising and Monitoring of Internal Audits Including Verification of Independence and Training of Internal Auditors

To ensure conformity with the (SMS) when carrying out shore-based and shipboard activities, internal shore-based and shipboard activities should be undertaken at intervals not exceeding 12 months. The DPA is responsible for organising these audits to guarantee that they occur within the allowed timeframe by someone trained and impartial to conduct a fair internal audit. By reviewing the audit reports, if there are any deficiencies, observations, or non-conformities, once the root cause has been found, the DPA will then be able to provide corrective action with a plan to prove that the issue is being appropriately addressed to establish whether or not the deficiency, non-conformity or observation has been resolved.

5. Reviewing All Reports of Non-Conformities, Hazardous Situations or Accidents Received from the Various Vessels Operating the SMS

Any non-conformity, hazardous situation or accident is severe. Every report of this type requires a root cause analysis. A DPA and their team will work closely with Captains and Crew to identify what happened and how to avoid recurrence in the future. Referring to the first role mentioned above, a subsequent task completed by a DPA by sharing this information with the rest of the managed fleet presents an opportunity to avoid the recurrence across all yachts operating under the same SMS.

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Yacht Manager

Alexandra Hernández is Riela Yachts’ Yacht Manager. As part of this, Alexandra is the initial point of contact for our vessels; working closely with our other specialists to provide support and service coordination. Alexandra supervises crew management and plays a heavy involvement in the development and maintenance of our award-winning electronic Safety Management System (eSMS).

Born and raised in Colombia, Alexandra completed her degree as a Lawyer, and she is on track to receive her diploma in Superyacht Management.

Alexandra’s legal background and experience within the Marine & Aviation industries cover a wide range of roles, helping to gain invaluable knowledge, develop communication skills and actively cultivate solid industry relationships to deliver the highest of standards in every project.

Jay Houghton


Riela Group Finance Director

Jay Houghton is the Riela Group Finance Director. Jay is responsible for overseeing the Financial Strategy of the Group alongside the financial reporting and control structure of the Group and its companies.

As a qualified accountant with over 30-years in the financial and service industries, Jay has built a wealth of experience in business analysis, investment appraisal, financial control and reporting.

Cameron findlay

Safety & Compliance Officer

Cameron “Fin” Findlay became a part of the Riela Yachts team in late 2021, initially joining as a Trainee Yacht Safety & Compliance Assistant. Fin’s commitment and dedication have enabled him to understand the intricacies of the industry from the ground up, leading him to being promoted to Yacht Safety & Compliance Officer in 2023. Fin is now a qualified Company Security Officer (CSO), actively contributing to the implementation of Riela’s Safety Management System across our fleet, working closely alongside Clive Harrison and George Self.

Christian Crompton Yachts

Christian crompton

Product and Development Lead

Christian Crompton is the Riela Yachts’ Product and Development Lead responsible for translating the requirements and operations of the Safety and Compliance team and implementing this into the forefront of the electronic Safety Management System (eSMS).

Since graduating with a first-class honours degree in Computer and Information Security in 2018, Christian has worked on designing and developing superyacht solutions using Laserfiche in the Maritime Software Industry.

With Christian’s security background and software experience streamlining business processes, Christian applies his knowledge into the Riela Yachts strategy and innovates new systems for both Riela and their clients.

Tony Partridge

Tony Partridge

Product and Development specialist

Tony Partridge is a Product and Development specialist at Riela Yachts where he will be working closely alongside Mark Bridson and Christian Crompton. Tony’s main focus is building an innovative client focused dashboard, whilst providing a new outlook and perspective to our current processes, policies and procedures.


Before joining Riela, Tony started his own web development business where he built applications and websites for a large group of different sectors, growing a strong and long-lasting clientele base. With over 10 years of experience, Tony brings a depth of knowledge and expertise to the Riela Yachts team which will be used to help progress the company’s development through the innovation and development of Riela Yachts solutions.

Robert Tobin

Riela Group Managing Director

Rob Tobin is the Managing Director of the Riela Group of Companies and is responsible for overseeing our business operations, our people and driving excellence in all we do.

Robert brings over 25 years of successful leadership and entrepreneurial experience across a range of industries including Family Office, corporate services, construction engineering, Superyachts, cyber security and information technology development to our Group, and to our customers.

In the past 15 years Rob has gained a prominent reputation within the Superyacht industry for his passion, integrity, innovation and achievements to date.

“Being part of an awesome, capable and forward-thinking team that have a shared passion for Superyachts, people and the environment is the highlight of my career and puts a smile on my face and a spring in my step every day”.

Clive Harrison

Clive Harrison

Operations Director

Clive Harrison is a Director at Riela Yachts and leads the Operations Team.

After a 22 year service as a Deck Officer in the UK Royal Navy, Clive moved ashore and is enjoying a second career, spanning over a decade,  in the yachting industry and relishing the challenges that this brings.

Clive brings a wealth of expertise and experience to our Company and has earned a reputation for providing a professional and pragmatic approach to the delivery of our services.

George Self

George Self

Safety & Compliance Manager

George Self is a Safety & Compliance Manager and responsible for the implementation and development of operational compliance for yachts at the company.

Accruing a 10-year service of sea time, beginning as a deckhand before respectfully concluding her career as a Chief Officer, George now contributes a wealth of first-hand practice and insight into the support she now provides to yachts daily. George also brings shore side experience from her time working at a number of established Ship Management firms on the Isle of Man.

Ken Hickling

Ken Hickling


Ken Hickling is a company Director at Riela Yachts (UK) Ltd.

Ken has spent over 30 years working in the Yachting industry at Boatyards and materials manufacturers, and more recently as a Specialist Business Advisor. During this time Ken has served as International Superyacht Society (ISS) President and is currently on the Superyacht UK Executive Committee. He also works as a project leader on the ISO work group focused on Superyacht Quality.

The experience that he brings to The Riela Group in optimising our internal business processes helps to ensure that the quality of service we provide to our clients is at the highest level.

Louise Gimson


Louise Gimson is a Director, Senior Administrator and in-house HR Manager and is responsible for the day to day running of the company and client accounts at the Riela Yachts.

With an extensive background in finance, Louise brings almost twenty years’ experience in accounts within the ship management industry to Riela Yachts, where she is dedicated to implementing dynamic solutions to benefit clients.

Louise has diversified her responsibilities by taking on data handling duties within the company and in 2016 began assisting the Operations Team with internal compliance procedures.

Matthew Roberts

Matthew Roberts

Head of Sales

As the Head of Group Sales at the Riela family of companies, Matthew leads the company’s sales strategy, execution, and growth.

Matthew has a successful record building trusted client relationship and delivering upon set expectations. An accomplished sales leader, he delivers a sales process that provides clients with the information and support they need to make the right decisions for their organisations and their constituents.

Matthew has significant experience within the maritime industry having previously worked across various sectors including insurance, security, satellite communications and managed IT. Matthew’s most recent experience encompasses almost 5 years spent with the leading satellite communications and managed IT provider in the maritime industry, focusing on their superyacht clientele.

Mark Bridson

Mark Bridson

Product & Development Specialist

Mark Bridson is a Product and Development specialist and responsible for the integration of Laserfiche within the company and the developing of an electronic Safety Management System.

Marks career started in the Royal Air Force as a data analyst maintaining Aircraft engineering records and the provision of Aircraft statistics.

Returning to the Island Mark spent the next 25 years working in IT for an aircraft design company. In this role he provided Computer Aided Design and document management support for offices within the UK and Europe.

Moving from the Aircraft industry to Maritime, Mark has spent two years with a Yachting software solutions company using Laserfiche to design purchase ordering systems for Superyachts.

Tina - Riela Yachts

Tina Dahn

Crew Officer

Tina Dahn is a Crew Officer and responsible for the administration of yacht crew contracts, monthly payroll and crew certification at Riela Yachts.

After a 12 year service in the Royal Navy undertaking various administration and PA roles, Tina began working for the NHS in 2001 and was responsible for duties including managing payroll, recruitment and HR administration.

Tina returned to the Isle of Man to undertake the role of Crewing Officer in the superyacht industry in 2011, where she oversaw a portfolio of clients whom she provided crew employment, administration and payroll services.

Christian goelz


Christian is involved across the Riela family of companies with particular attention to the technology businesses, Cyber and Tech.

Christian gained a postgraduate Master in Finance degree at the University of Neuchatel, Switzerland and completed his MBA at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

Before joining us, Christian worked for six years at Argosy Capital, an Isle of Man-based private equity and venture capital business focusing on early-stage growth businesses. At Argosy, he focused on managing investment companies, research and financial analysis and served as a director on several boards.