- Operations - Introducing: Superyacht Feedback

By Jack Hogan

Introducing: Superyacht Feedback

CHIRP Maritime aims to elevate safety standards via the industry-specific Superyacht Feedback publication…

Superyacht safety standards have been in the spotlight in recent years. A run of fires and groundings have highlighted potential shortcomings with practices onboard. However, formal reporting and sharing of information and insights lag behind comparable sectors. Reports from insurers and flag states take months and years, and in the meantime, the cycle of rumours and anecdotes fill the space, to the detriment of the collective appreciation of important issues.

Taking its lead from the aviation industry, CHIRP Maritime was formed 20 years ago. A UK-registered charity, it aims to improve safety in the maritime industry through vital knowledge sharing.  Now, by launching Superyacht Feedback the first superyacht-specific programme and publication, CHIRP Maritime aims to grow a culture of confidential reporting and safety analysis onboard.

“In a sector that focuses on meeting the needs and wants of its guests, where reputation is paramount and saying ‘no’ is difficult because of implicit ‘authority gradients’, how do we ensure that safety is not compromised?” says Adam Parnell, Maritime Director of CHIRP Maritime.

The reality of safety onboard is nuanced. All superyachts sit on a safety spectrum. Even fully ISM-compliant yachts will have a hundred near misses a season and more than a few incidents. These may be reported to management but more often than not the conversation ends with little follow-up, or constructive sharing of lessons learnt. 

“I have been an advocate for CHIRP Maritime since I was a cadet,” says Paul Naranjo-Shepherd, chair of CHIRP's Superyacht Maritime Advisory Board. “Working with Adam (Parnell) we decided to bring this platform to the yachting sector.”

Paul Naranjo-Shepherd, chair of CHIRP's Superyacht Maritime Advisory Board

Bringing a wealth of industry experience, Naranjo-Shepherd is a Master Mariner, training expert, ISM auditor and safety advocate. A key consideration for Superyacht Feedback, he explains, is that it is a yachting-specific publication. Secondly, each reported incident is reviewed by a broad range of industry experts.

“We have brought together a dedicated and diverse group” explains Naranjo-Shepherd. “Not just captains above and below the 3000GT mark. We have first and second officers as well as unlimited and yacht-specific engineers and DPAs. Eventually, we will be adding interior experts as well.”

The Superyacht Maritime Advisory Board then reviews each report that is submitted, to provide concise and expert feedback that is anonymised and then published via Superyacht Feedback. The superyacht specificity of these examples is clear, as is the need for equally precise guidance.

Taking issue two as an example, which can be read in full, for free, via the CHIRP website. Within there are detailed case studies and guidance notes.  These range from an incident involving the towing of an inflatable water sports toy and the subsequent flipping of a tender to a guest and bodyguard distracting a captain on approach to an anchorage (and the second officer’s hesitancy to inform them they were going too fast). These are yacht-specific situations that most crew can appreciate, and now, via Superyacht Feedback, the vital lessons learned can be shared. 

“The beauty of CHIRP is that it is a charity, and it is comprised of industry experts whose only angle is improving safety and sharing key insights,” concludes Naranjo-Shepherd. “We take great effort to ensure that there is no finger-pointing or shaming. There are some invaluable insights to be gained from these reports. If crew, management and owners can read these reports, we can elevate the conversation and hopefully the safety standards onboard.”

The first and second CHIRP Maritime Superyacht Feedback reports are currently available for download. Please sign up for the mailing list here. The team actively encourage the conversation to continue and welcomes confidential submissions via the CHIRP Website. 

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Introducing: Superyacht Feedback


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