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I first joined the yachting industry five years ago after several years at sea onboard cruise ships. Initially, I could not understand why many of the international conventions and regulations I previously worked, lived by and was required to follow did not apply to privately registered yachts. This included the International Safety Management (ISM) Code.
During my deep-sea career, ISM was a fundamental part of daily life. Having experienced the benefits of the ISM Code first-hand, I am surprised that the same standards do not apply to many yachts. In my opinion, if the yachting industry wants to be recognised as a professional area within the wider maritime sector, with regards to safety management, we have some catching up to do.
Being privately registered, yachts are presented with the choice of complying with the ISM Code, but it is not mandatory. A sizeable portion of privately registered yachts choose not to comply on a voluntary basis and so are not supported by a shore-based ISM company or have an allocated Designated Person Ashore (DPA) and his or her team of safety and compliance specialists.
Find out more about the roles of a Designated Person Ashore (DPA) here.
However, it is encouraging to see that despite compliance being non-mandatory for privately registered yachts, more and more are deciding to do so voluntarily.
But why should yachts comply with the ISM Code in the first place? Why should more, if not all, privately registered yachts comply with the ISM Code (over 500GT or over 300GT)?
Full disclosure, the benefit of ISM compliance is challenging to objectively and accurately measure. This is in part a result of the disproportionate number of vessels now complying in comparison to when the ISM Code was first introduced in 1997. Since then, the total number of vessels sailing and operating today under the ISM Code has more than doubled. An argument could be made that despite this increase in fleet size, the number of marine safety incidents has not increased at same rate. However, this simple analysis cannot reflect upon the effectiveness of the ISM Code as a whole.
The International Maritime Organization (IMO), back in 2005, published an assessment of the impact and effectiveness of the implementation of the ISM Code and the conclusion was: “Based on the data collected, the group concluded that where the ISM Code had been embraced as a positive step toward efficiency through a safety culture, tangible positive benefits were evident” .
In yachting, a common path to yacht Ownership stems from chartering. Future Owners start their experience onboard yachts that are commercially registered which are therefore yachts that must comply with the ISM Code. As a reminder, ISM Compliance is mandatory for yachts that are:
So, the question is, are Owner’s aware that when using chartering as a stepping stone or testing ground for yacht ownership they are benefiting from safety standards which may not be necessary replicated on their private yachts?
Based on my experience, yacht owners may sometimes be unaware of this and the pivotal role of senior officers in maintaining those standards on private yachts cannot be underestimated.
The SMS of private yachts are commonly developed ‘in-house’ without seeking the support of safety and compliance specialists or obtaining Flag State certification voluntarily. As a result, these ‘in-house’ SMS systems do not receive the benefit which arises from external verification of the system’s effectiveness. I view this approach as a ticking time-bomb. An accident waiting to happen. Shortfalls will only come to light when it is too late.
In areas such as technology, innovation and design, the yachting industry is (nautical) miles ahead in terms of leading industry standards. However, when it comes to safety management, this statement is far from true.
During my career at sea, I have been fortunate to experience a harmonisation of safety management systems at a corporate level. This meant any areas of the system which could have been improved was changed based on lessons learned, as well as experience gained by other companies and vessels within the same corporation. The changes applied at the time helped me understand the significant positive impact of a Safety Management System (SMS). Constant review by several different Flag States, Companies, Captains and Crew led to regular improvements compared to any other systems which do not benefit from the same widespread review and input.
A core objective of the ISM Code is to reduce the high proportion of maritime accidents attributable to human error. Therefore, greater participation and effective compliance with the ISM Code will undoubtedly achieve a much safer industry for our Crew, Owner’s, and their guests to enjoy their time aboard. None of us want to see accidents or fatalities due to a lack of oversight, accountability, or the ability to learn from the accidents and mistakes of others.
Unfortunately, due to several different factors there seem to be yachts operating their very own Safety Management Systems (SMS ) or in some cases, none at all. Whether or not external support is required, there is undoubtedly some catching up to do compared to the rest of the maritime industry. For me, it can only start with uniform participation in ISM compliance and external verification of the safety management activities across the yachting sector.
Why not make scalable ISM compliance mandatory for all private or commercially registered over 300GT? Or 200GT? What do you think? Would the yachting sector be safer? Would the costs deter smaller yacht Owners from becoming yacht Owners?
If you are a privately registered yacht using an in-house Safety Management System or just a small collection of onboard procedures, I would suggest you first engage with safety and compliance specialists. The likelihood is the in-house Safety Management System (SMS) has not been inspected externally or received a thorough inspection or audit in the past 12 months. Maritime safety and compliance specialists can then arrange internal audits and conduct a GAP analysis against the ISM standards to ensure the SMS is fit for purpose and compliant with the functional objectives of the ISM Code.
As with any audit or inspection, there will likely be areas identified that can benefit from more detail or improvement.
After an internal audit or GAP analysis, the Safety Management System (SMS) can then be developed further with the results of the internal audit until an ISM Company and DPA are appointed. An “Interim Audit” may be requested by the yacht’s Flag Administration. An interim flag audit would be the first step towards voluntary compliance and the achievement of full-term certification. This commitment speaks to the crew and the industry that despite not having a mandate to comply, the beginning of a continuous improvement process has begun with the aims of embracing the highest standards of maritime safety.
The yachting industry is one of a kind. I feel lucky having met large volumes of extraordinary professionals over the years. The industry is full of visionary characters who make yachting one of the leading industries of innovation. However, if we want yachting to become a true industry-leader, safety is where innovation is required.
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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 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.
Giuseppe Corrado is a Safety & Compliance Manager / Deputy DPA, CSO and Director at Riela Yachts UK. Giuseppe ensures that our Safety Management System is fit for purpose and correctly implemented across the fleet of superyachts.
After 8 years in the cruise sector Giuseppe moved ashore to further his studies at university attaining a Bsc (Hons) degree in Marine Operations Management. Since joining in 2015, Giuseppe is very much enjoying the new challenges that the yachting industry brings
Having worked both onboard and shore-based, Giuseppe brings a range of skills, knowledge and contacts to our company and has earned a reputation for supporting a strong safety culture and providing a practical and professional approach to the delivery of company services.
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 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.
Telephone: +44 7769 881418
Louise Gimson is a Senior Administrator and 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.
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 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.
Christian Moore is our 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 eSMS solution.
After graduating in 2011 Christian began a graduate trainee scheme at a Yacht Management company, working interdepartmentally gaining experience in all aspects associated with the yacht industry. Christian subsequently became part of the Operations Team in 2012.
As well as the experience taken from his previous roles, Christian has gained proficiency in implementing electronic document management solutions for yachts. These skills are being capitalised on in the roll-out of the company’s electronic Safety Management System (eSMS) and other projects.
Megan Crouthers is a Safety & Compliance Manager and responsible for the implementation and development of operational compliance for superyachts in our fleet.
Primarily from an administration background Megan joined Inserve Yachts three years ago. She is well versed and experienced in ISM, ISPS & MLC2006 and was subsequently promoted to Safety & Compliance Manger in January 2018.
Megan has a passion for the superyacht industry and through her work promotes an effective and efficient safety culture achieved by working closely with clients offering practical support and guidance.
René Otto is the Financial Manager at Riela Yachts and responsible for overseeing the financial and accounting systems at the company.
René is a qualified chartered Accountant with over 18 years’ experience in administering finance and corporate services within the shipping, telecommunications and property maintenance industry.
Specialising in arranging financial and corporate service solutions for clients, René can provide the tools to ease the administrative load and bring peace of mind to our clients.
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 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.
Ewelina Cieliszak joined in September 2018 as trainee Safety & Compliance Administrator supporting both the Operations & Crewing Departments. Ewelina is very excited to start her new career in the super yacht industry and hopes her fresh approach will complement the already experienced and knowledgeable Riela Yachts team.
On graduating from the University of Life Sciences in Lublin in 2014, she relocated to the Isle of Man from her native Poland. Since then Ewelina has worked in different fields and has developed outstanding customer relations skills. During her time as senior cabin crew with an international airline Ewelina has developed a strong understanding of essential concepts of safety & compliance. This has provided her with a sound basis for her transition to the maritime world and a welcome addition to the team at Riela Yachts.
Lucy Banks joined Riela Yachts as a Trainee Finance Administrator and is responsible for financial administrative tasks within Riela Yachts Group.
An Isle of Man University-College graduate, Lucy joined Riela Yachts in November 2018 bringing experience and vocational qualifications from her previous employment into accounts and client relations at Riela Yachts.
Lucy has a proven track record of delivering solutions and easing the administrative burden, which brings peace of mind to our clients.
As a Marketing Executive, Alex is responsible for all marketing duties spanning the Riela Group.
Alex joined the Riela Group in August 2020, shortly after graduating with a Psychology degree from Nottingham Trent University.
With past work experience in content marketing, event management and web design, Alex is able to apply her creative and analytical skills into the Riela strategy.