crew safety: the education gap

George Self

George Self

Riela Yachts Safety and Compliance Manager

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my safety experience

As a former Seafarer who has experienced different aspects of yachting, from roles in the Deck and Interior Departments to shore side (Safety & Compliance Manager). I can confidently claim first-hand, that there is an education gap when it comes to safety management practices in yachting… and it’s about time we fix it.

When training for a career at sea, you will be awarded Certificates of Competency (CoC) as you progress through your professional development. Whether this is for entry-level, Engineering or Deck. However, there is a noticeable absence within the training industry when it comes to the effective application and implementation of the International Safety Management (ISM) Code.

When I first began my training for a UK Officer On Watch (OOW) CoC, I, like all others following the Deck/Navigation route, took a number of courses which varied from General Ship’s Knowledge to training in Electronic Aids and Navigation. More recently additional leadership aspects have been added via the Human Element, Leadership and Management (HELM) courses. However, despite part of the oral exams covering safety management and the requirements of the ISM Code, the record-keeping requirements, best practices and most importantly how to scrutinise an SMS and ensure it is fit for purpose, are not covered in sufficient detail.

When I was at sea, no one explained or described to me the benefits of having a relationship with maritime safety and compliance staff ashore. I wish they had, as shore staff are there to help you (if in your experience they are not, then changing them should be considered). The staff in these roles are there to support you, by answering queries, clarifying issues and to promote and assist the onboard safety culture.  They should be considered an extension of the crew, aiding with environmental protection and contributing to ensuring that you, your fellow crew and all those on board keep safe. This is the day-to-day job of maritime safety and compliance staff, and their success is yours. I know first-hand because this is what I now do, and I love it. Like many, I took this safety education into my own hands, but the same cannot be said for everyone. Particularly if you have not been shown why it is so important to have this safety knowledge in the first place.

why we need to see change

Safety education for Crew, based on the ISM Code and associated conventions and other codes is, I believe, important for several reasons:

  1. It allows Crew to understand actions and recognise consequences, this should also bring a more professional experience to Guests and Crew alike.
  2. It prompts and assists in compliance with rules and regulations in relation to ship safety and the environment.
  3. Most importantly, it will reduce common incidents. Through education and reporting, it will help mould the future safety culture for all at sea.
Yacht Crew Safety Education

By writing this article, I hope to encourage an in-depth level of discussion within the early stages of Crew training in the areas surrounding safety management education. However, in the meantime, it is worth highlighting that there are alternate ways to achieve this goal. As discussed in my previous post, most Crew and Captains tend to start their careers on smaller vessels. Therefore, becoming familiar with and taking advantage of the tools provided through a Mini ISM system is the ideal opportunity to learn more about how to manage safety onboard and put best practice into place.

personal development of crew

In addition to the many benefits of increased safety compliance, yacht Crew safety education will also assist in personal development of the Crew. For example, being taught the concept of a safety culture onboard will help it become second nature when navigating the seas. The Mini ISM system can assist with this when working on smaller vessels, as the similar skills used to follow the intuitive system are in parallel to that of larger vessels who adhere to the full ISM Code. Therefore, and in the absence of any mandated training, adopting a Mini-ISM could be the best way to bridge the education gap often experienced in Crew training.


If at this stage you are sat thinking: “this is me, I have no ISM training”.

Remember, there is always opportunity to learn.

Even if you only work on a smaller vessel, using the Mini ISM system, if you have one, still allows you to learn these practices on-the-go, allowing for the adoption of a safety and environmental culture onboard.

Due to the high frequency of serious incidents which occur at sea, as Crew, it is important to recognise your own responsibility in breaking this trend. You owe it to yourself and others around you to value your own safety.

The next time you are looking to join a yacht and its Crew, ask the question of whether the vessel has active ISM Code practices in place, when the SMS was last reviewed or verified internally/externally and most importantly whether its effectiveness is being monitored and how. You won’t regret the difference it could make!

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Rob Tobin Riela Yachts

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”.


Telephone: +44 1624 605650

Clive - Riela Yachts

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.


Telephone: +44 1624 605661

Giuseppe Corrado

Safety & Compliance Manager | Director

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.


Telephone: +44 2380 633794

George Riela Yachts

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.


Telephone: +44 1624 605662

Ken - Riela Yachts

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.

Telephone: +44 7769 881418

Louise Gimson

HR & Senior Finance Administrator

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.

Matthew Roberts - Riela Yachts

Matthew Roberts

Head of Group 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.


Telephone: +44 7425 314973

Mark Bridson - Riela Yachts

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.


Christian Moore

Product & Development Lead

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.


Telephone: +44 1624 605664

Megan Crouthers - Riela Yachts

Megan Crouthers

Safety & Compliance Manager

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.


Telephone: +44 2380 633794

René Otto

Financial Manager

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 - 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.


Telephone: +44 1624 605658

Christian Goelz

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.


Telephone: +44 7624 222 567

Ewelina Cieliszak

Safety & Compliance Administrator

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 - Riela Yachts


Junior Finance Administrator

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.

Alex Halsall - Riela Yachts

Alexandria halsall

Marketing Executive

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.


Telephone: +44 7706 806443