It is widely agreed that a Safety Management System (SMS) yacht manual works most efficiently when the system is tailored for a specific vessel or company. The availability of off-the-shelf manuals, whilst comprehensive, may contain procedures and sections that are not applicable to the vessel or company in question. But can internal customisation be equally fraught with risk?
By utilising a template-style system, Ocean Time Marine has removed the technical burden associated with comprehensive documentation and its production. Following a series of questions and selectable, customisable and pre-written procedures, a SMS can be managed by any relevant individual.
On completion, the SMS can be used digitally – on Mac, PC or tablet – or can be printed and bound for application as a management system and safety manual. Written in a standard PDF template format, this software makes digital or physical submission to governing bodies and other interested parties simple.
The software references the ISM code as well as other international and national standards ensuring that vessel owners and operators follow compliance. Users can select and customise over 40 operational pre-written procedures, add new blank pages and paste in any existing procedures, making sure the SMS stays up to date. The system also features interactive checklists and permits to work.
In an exclusive conversation with SuperyachtNews.com Jon Pike, lead developer at Ocean Time Marine stated, “We realised early on in the development of the software that there wasn’t a cost-effective solution on the market for anyone needing to write an SMS for their vessel. We wanted to create a solution that didn’t require any technical learning to manage and required no ongoing consultancy enabling its users to take control of their own safety policy and safety procedure documentation as cost-effectively as possible.”
The practical benefits of Ocean Time Marine’s new software appear to be myriad. Usage and communication have been streamlined and the creation process itself appears sound and compliant. But who is best positioned to create a SMS? The use of independent assessors - one hopes - is a guarantee that flaws will be exposed and corners will not be cut. But does putting soul responsibility in the hands of internal individuals risk oversight or negligence?
SuperyachtNews.com posed this question to an Ocean Time Marine representative. “Just because there are consultants for virtually any need you could imagine, it doesn’t mean you should use one. A consultant may do a great job of writing an SMS - but - are they really the best person to identify your risks and how to mitigate them?”, the representative questioned.
The response further outlined the belief that the best way to guarantee an effective safety management system is to create inclusion and responsibility amongst senior and junior crew. “One of the most important resources you need to devote to the operation of your SMS is your expertise. While safety management requires the involvement of all crew, without commitment from the captain and senior management, your SMS will not be effective,” not to mention that consultancy is expensive.
Ocean Time Marine’s new software provides ample opportunity to create a comprehensive, compliant, and custom safety management system. It is down to individuals - internal or external - to implement the systems efficiently and in the interest of all parties.
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