With the relaunch of its website, CHIRP Maritime has taken a significant step forward in the superyacht industry’s move to improve its accident reporting culture. The body, which aims to improve the safety of the UK aviation and worldwide maritime industries, via confidential reporting on accidents and near-misses, is not specific to the superyacht industry. However, the superyacht industry’s safety culture is one, it is generally agreed, to leave many things desired, with so many appropriating a blame culture and, subsequently, thinking it easier and safer in the context of future job prospects to leave near misses unreported.
In this remit, then, it is of great benefit to the superyacht industry that captains and crew can send their confidential accident reports electronically – something that was not possible previously and that would have been an obvious deterrent in an increasingly electronic world. “The design, how to report in confidence and how to make best use of the safety lessons learned from others is much improved and ideal for the superyacht industry. Most notably, all of the website functions can now be accessed using a mobile phone or a tablet, and the use of photographs to go with a report is now easy to include and actively encouraged,” John Rose, director of CHIRP Maritime, tells SuperachtNews.
The irresponsible action of others should also be reported. Take a photo, and the name of the vessel, and CHIRP does the follow-up without revealing the identity of the reporter or the names of the superyacht or, where applicable, the management company.
One issue CHIRP Maritime has found in the context of the superyacht industry is crewmembers’ unwillingness to report incidents, a likely result of the industry’s blame culture. “It is time to address the apathy that surrounds safety on superyachts,” asserts Rose. “We see photos of crewmembers cleaning superyachts, wearing no safety harness with only a concrete dock to stop the fall. So take a photo and send it in. It can be of your own vessel, or of another one close by.”
While this particular example highlighted by Rose – crew working overside – is one that circulates the social sphere fairly regularly, it’s not something CHIRP Maritime sees officially reported. Rose reminds crew that they have a responsibility not only for the crew on their own vessel, but for the safety of any crewmember they see acting in an unsafe manner. “The irresponsible action of others should also be reported. Take a photo, and the name of the vessel, and CHIRP does the follow-up without revealing the identity of the reporter or the names of the superyacht or, where applicable, the management company.”
This all comes back to a fear of being named and shamed but, as Rose states, no one involved in the accident or near-miss is named, nor is the person who submits the report. And, Rose adds, “any action taken following a report is only done so with the reporter’s agreement.”
It all comes back to duty of care and responsibility; not just for one’s self, but for the wider superyacht industry. In an industry that’s calling for a move towards becoming proactive towards safety, rather than reactive, the new website from CHIRP Maritime is a very good place to start.
CHIRP will be hosting an incident reporting workshop, looking at current practices and how we can improve, at the Global Superyacht Forum (GSF), on Wednesday 16th November. Find out more here.
Read more in issue 80 of The Crew Report, where we investigate accident reporting standards in the superyacht industry, out in November and available at GSF.