“It used to be all about paperwork – tonnes of it. More than 10 years on there is still a lot of paper involved in yachting. For example, most Safety Management Systems are paper-based. Then you have invoices, receipts, purchase orders and so on. These things could, and should, be done digitally, online,” Taggart tells The Crew Report.
According to Taggart, there is an increasing demand for digital features that help captains and crew maintain compliance with the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC). “The best example of this is hours of work and rest. There are some pretty complex calculations required.” However, with advancements in technology, this need be no longer done on paper. “We have developed an algorithm that ensures crew can keep on top of when they should be resting and for how long. This is a big step forward from recording everything on paper and adding up times manually."
There can be some hesitance towards going digital, however. “We do observe quite a generational gap in terms of captains,” perceives Taggart. “The younger captains are very keen to adopt digital management practices, which means their crew do, whereas the older captains are more resistant. We must bear in mind that they have a management methodology that has worked for them for a number of years. They might be master mariners who have seen software come and go, and are understandably a little cynical about how their working lives can be improved by any yacht management software.
The younger captains are very keen to adopt digital management practices, which means their crew do, whereas the older captains are more resistant.
“I’m not sure it’s for software developers to encourage senior captains to change their working practices,” adds Taggart. “I think we just have to ensure our software reflects the changing nature of yacht management, particularly with regards to increasingly onerous compliance requirements which senior captains are particularly fed up with.”
With so many technologically-apt crew, Taggart notes there aren’t really any issues with crew using the software incorrectly. “It’s more a question of getting crew to see the benefits,” concludes Taggart. “Every compliance directive, like the MLC, eventually means more work for the crew. We don’t want to create more work for them, that’s for sure.”