mini-ism: a safety stepping stone for captains

George Self

George Self

Riela Yachts Safety and Compliance Manager

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As Captain for a commercially registered yacht under 500GT, you will undoubtedly be under a very different set of pressures from those managing larger vessels. However, operating a smaller vessel is typically where most Captains begin their command careers, either progressing through the ranks in similar yachts or perhaps arriving in a command role via a Chief Officer’s position on a yacht over 500GT.

READY FOR THE LEAP?

As an ambitious and professional Deck Officer ready for the next big thing, you will have worked hard, completed your courses and gained your Master’s Licence. In this context, you may have even been lucky enough to work as a Deck Officer on a yacht that implements a full International Safety Management (ISM) System and already have a good grasp of the necessary regulatory requirements.

Alternatively, you may have less experience, having only worked on private yachts without the full extent of the applicable regulations. Whatever your path, you now find yourself moving into the position of Captain on a busy Commercial Yacht under 500GT, but are you fully prepared?

As a Captain, you will want to clearly portray that you know the requirements of and how to balance the needs of both the Owner and guests, alongside the safety of all on board and the protection of the environment. From the perspective of safety management, there is a lot to learn when transitioning into your new role. So, with such varying specifications in relation to yacht size, how can a Captain ever be expected to gain enough experience for this leap in the job role?

THE KNOWLEDGE GAP

For many yachts who do host some form of Mini-ISM via generic ‘off-the-shelf’ manuals, these are inevitably unread, unused and uncontributed to. In effect, tokens of a well-intentioned desire to follow the best practice or meet regulatory requirements. It is critical that Captains, Safety Officers and indeed those aspiring to command start investing in their Safety Management Systems, overall safety culture and realise the many benefits of effectively implementing these best practices if there is a real desire to improve Safety within the Superyacht industry. The need for some “catching up to do” has been highlighted by my colleague Giuseppe Corrado in a recent article available here.

Based on our experience we have witnessed first-hand the significant gap in knowledge and implementation when it comes to the difference between these outdated and new practices in safety management. Yachts and their Captains need to embrace technological advancements to assist them in their work and should move away from cumbersome, dated and non-yacht specific systems instead of moving towards relevant, up to date and dynamic mini-ISM systems, which take advantage of the available technology.

THE MINI-ISM STEPPING STONE

This is where the Riela Yachts Mini-ISM comes in handy. The core principles behind its development have been both to meet the regulatory requirements imposed by the various Flag States, and to embrace the overarching aims and ethos of the ISM Code, whilst removing unnecessary administrative burdens. In addition to this, its electronic functionality promotes an active contribution and participation in vessel safety. By using our Mini-ISM, all involved, and in particular Captains, will be introduced to many of the same requirements and procedures as undertaken by the full ISM Code implementation. Our system allows you to improve efficiency by simplifying the procedures, manuals and record keeping. Using innovative technology allows the delegation of checklists and regulatory actions to Senior Crew whilst still maintaining a full oversight of all the documentation produced.

By taking responsibility for the safety of all those on board, you will engage clearly the most respected practice of all, you should not lose sight of this. By implementing a Mini-ISM system as a Captain, you will be left with the critical experience of this vital aspect of your role. It will also and most perhaps, more importantly, give you confidence, to handle the often daunting but very exciting challenges in career progression.

Until then, why not encourage peers and colleagues in the industry to get experience of the Mini-ISM? It will not only help those around them by improving safety, but also assist them in their career advancement.

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