Tombstoning: The Yachting Industry's Duty to Not Condone

This Summer has seen the rise of a concerning trend in the yachting and pleasure boat community known as ‘tombstoning’, a trend where crew are jumping from 10M+ heights. Tragically, the emergence of such activities has been accompanied with injury and devastating loss. This article aims to disseminate why such activities have risen in popularity and understand how the yachting industry as a whole can become a safer place. To do so, we must ask, who is responsible for the popularity of viral trends?

The Appeal: Tombstoning and Social Media

The adrenaline rush, the thrill of defying gravity, and the breathtaking views – these are the factors that draw individuals to tombstoning. Social media platforms have amplified this allure, portraying it as the epitome of adventure and excitement. Unfortunately, the stark reality is that these activities can lead to serious injuries and even fatalities.

Social media like TikTok and Instagram Reels only show an individual’s highlights. You will never see footage posted of when things tragically go wrong.

However, crew should know better, and be empowered to share this message amongst one another. Tragic events should not be shied away from but rather shared and embraced in a safety culture for lessons learnt.

The Industry's Responsibility

As representatives of the yachting industry, it is our duty to not condone unsafe practices and trends, not for the purpose of shaming those involved but for the sake of saving lives and educating the next generation of seafarers. A quick Google search will show yachting media companies proudly sharing footage of individuals jumping off of superyachts for people to believe is not only acceptable but inspirable.

Learning When to Say "No"

From the perspective of crew, a moral dilemma can be faced when others wish to participate in such dangerous activity. In an industry where saying “yes” is the expectation, it can be difficult to set realistic boundaries. Above all else, no one wants to be the so-called ‘Party Pooper’ colleague who doesn’t allow any fun on board and as a result, many crew are falling victim to peer pressure.

With many crew starting their career in yachting based on the unrealistic expectations seen on social media, it is more important than ever to set realistic expectations on board. Ask yourself, does your team discuss media trends, and how they apply to your yacht?

It is the responsibility of the Captain to empower their crew to say no when appropriate and not become pressured into allowing unsafe practices to occur. This again ties to the greater picture of reducing the on board authority gradient to allow for open-communication between all members of the yachting hierarchy, something CHIRP have discussed heavily in their recent reports.

The challenge lies in finding the equilibrium between adventure and safety… But we shouldn’t have to choose. It is possible to offer thrilling experiences without compromising on safety.

Collaborative Efforts in the Yachting Industry

In conclusion, creating a culture of safety requires collaboration across the yachting industry. By sharing experiences and success stories of adopting safer practices, companies can inspire others to follow suit. Partnerships with influencers and social media platforms can be harnessed to promote responsible yachting, demonstrating that exciting experiences can be had within safe boundaries.

It is not just one person’s job to set safe practices in the yachting industry, but a shared responsibility from all who partake. The goal of all yachting bodies is for stakeholders of the industry to have a safe and enjoyable time. By providing safe alternatives, educating crew and clients, and enforcing policies, we can lead the way in promoting responsible yachting.

We started this article by stating that it is the yachting industry has a “duty to not condone” unsafe practices, but taking this one step further, we also believe it is our responsibility to continuously educate crew on safe practices for the wellbeing of all involved. 

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ALEXANDRA HERNáNDEZ

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

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

Director

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

Director

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

Director

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.