We often hear captain’s saying, “ We are private, we don’t need ISM or a Planned Maintenance System.” What they really mean is, “ We are not legally required to have a mini ISM or Planned Maintenance System.” There is a difference.

Even though a yacht isn’t commercially registered, it doesn’t mean your vessel, owner or crew won't benefit from a Safety Management System (SMS).

Yachts are expensive assets and proper safety and maintenance systems should go without saying. However, it is common to find yachts repairing systems after they fail instead of maintaining preventative maintenance.

Recent fire and sinking incidents on yachts within the 25m to 40m range have highlighted the need for risk management on yachts that do not legally require a SMS.

When this is combined with poor operational procedures, the risk of catastrophic incidents increase exponentially. By implementing a basic SMS, which are continuously improved with ongoing risk analysis on board, the likelihood of an incident occurring decreases. Incidents and accidents should also be followed with a root cause analysis, corrective action as required and applicable preventative measures. This is where vessels can benefit from independent ISM services that can assist in objective inspections and audits. This ensures safety standards are maintained equal or better than those required by class or flag state regulations.

When Safety Management Systems are correctly implemented and monitored the records will improve resale value and assist in any possible legal actions. 

Recent fire and sinking incidents on yachts within the 25m to 40m range have highlighted the need for risk management on yachts that do not legally require a SMS.

A legal requirement for a SMS should thus not be a factor in operating a safe vessel. 


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