I’ve seen many changes in yachting, most of which were met with resistance from individuals that feared for their careers, a loss of control or being made obsolete. Today’s Alarm, Monitoring and Control Systems (AMCSs), as well as communications technology, make it possible to take yachting to the next level and open the door to manufacturers and managers that will benefit from data analytics. When I started working for yacht builders in 1988, there was no Large Yacht Code and luxury yachts were considered to be recreational craft and often built without class certifications. In 1995 I started working as yacht engineer with commercial tickets, there was no MCA pathway toward yacht specific qualification. So, crew didn’t have basic safety qualifications or certificates of competence (big yachts were being ran by Royal Yacht Association Yachtmaster’s).
In 2000 I worked on my first yacht with an Unmanned Machinery Space Certification. Such technology is driven by the power of the AMCS at the request of ship owners that desire less crew. When I started working as an owner’s representative and manager in 2006, the industry recognised the need for a mini International Safety Management Code, which I actually wrote an article for in 2008. When I started working as a fleet manager in 2004, I began to realise that management needed new benchmarks that would assure items that fall outside regulatory compliance have standards as well because everyone is working to minimum standards, rather than the elite level that yacht owners are sold by designers and yacht brokers.
Chaos diminishes owner satisfaction, increases operational cost & causes inconsistent standards. For years I’ve been using team viewer and allowing savvy manufactures to connect to technical systems & provide remote support and access machine system data. The build I did 10 years ago uses this type of technology to give the Captain 24/7 access to the AMCS and view engine room cameras. AIS equipment has been keeping ships safe and pinpointing their location for years. The yacht builders and equipment manufacturers that I talk to desire remote management, more professional crew and regulated yacht management standards. They are tired of dealing with improper operational benchmarks that allow for high levels of crew turn over and the chaos that comes with it.
I recently interviewed with a management company which explained to me that high crew turn over and technical issues strengthen their relationship with the yacht owner. This perspective particularly surprised me given that, in my opinion, management is supposed to be an invisible force that keeps people and machines working well together. Needless to say, I am working hard to create and implement a new management standard that benefits the owner, crew and manufacturers.
Companies are right behind me and it’s simply a matter of time before regulatory change demands remote monitoring and data analytics. Other transport industries have embraced remote monitoring & control and are working towards autonomous machines and pushing to remove the human element, because people are the weakest link in the machine knowledge equation.
Every designer, manufacturer and warranty engineer I talk too agrees that remote management and improved operational and crew specific equipment certifications are overdue. Chaos benefits nobody and to the people that say my ideas are crazy and too costly I have but two responses. Firstly, this is not my idea, it’s something that I have come to appreciate and something that I have witnessed in a number in similar industries. Secondly, good management always adds an element of control and yields useful data that enhances work process, reliability and predictability.
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