How long does it take a group of yacht managers to talk about the importance of safety? Answer: not long at all. In fact, when 10 yacht managers from the likes of Edmiston, Hill Robinson, Wright Maritime Group (to mention a few) sit down at a managers’ round table in Fort Lauderdale this week, the topic of safety comes up almost instantly.
The conversation quickly turns to incident reporting, and there is a unanimous frustration among the managers at the almost juxtaposing conundrum of a willingness to report incidents or near misses within a management company’s fleet, yet a seeming fear of those reports going beyond those managers’ doors. When, in fact, it shouldn’t take much to understand that sharing these kinds of reports within the superyacht fleet, rather than a management company’s fleet, is infinitely more beneficial to each and every superyacht on the water – something all managers in attendance agree should be the way forward.
It shouldn’t take much to understand that sharing these kinds of reports within the superyacht fleet, rather than a management company’s fleet, is infinitely more beneficial to each and every superyacht on the water.
And while superyachts are, the managers say, significantly improving the extent to which they approach their managers about near misses, incidents, accidents and safety reports, there needs to be a greater awareness of the value of reporting incidents and, in particular near misses. “Actual accidents are going to appear in the media anyway,” explains AJ Anderson, managing director of Wright Maritime Group. “It’s the near-miss reports that can be the most useful.” These reports can show if there is a design fault with the yacht, for example if every week multiple crewmembers bruise their knee on a particular railing – this could have an impact – albeit small but valuable – on the future of superyacht design. And what happens if a crewmember reads a report about something that was a near-miss for them, but a tangible incident for another yacht? That crewmember can understand, fairly easily, how one tiny action could have changed the status of their near miss to ‘incident’.
Every single manager is adamant that this conversation shouldn’t be the all too familiar bemoaning of an industry issue, only to meet up at a conference or seminar in 12 months’ time to have exactly the same conversation. Something, we all agree, must be done.
And The Superyacht Group is going to do it, so watch this space. In the meantime, to help with our first phase of implementing a process that will be appealing for managers and crewmembers alike, if you, as a manager, captain or crewmember, can think of any incidents, accidents or near misses that could be valuable learning experiences for anyone else on the water, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.