Here you can find answers to some of our most frequently asked questions about yacht operations. If you cannot find what you are looking for, please browse our other guidance for yachts or feel free to contact us.
Who is responsible for safe manning?
The yacht owner or manager is responsible for ensuring that the captain and where necessary, the crew of the vessel have, in addition to appropriate qualifications, recent and relevant experience of the type and size of vessel, the machinery on the vessel and the type of operation in which the vessel is engaged. The owner or manager should also ensure that there are sufficient additional crew on board having regard to the type and duration of voyage being undertaken.
How are minimum safe manning levels established?
Assessment criteria will vary between flag States and the Club recommends that the applicable flag State should be consulted for their particular requirements. Assessments may consist of, but are not limited to:
- Operational elements of the vessel, duties, workload and responsibilities of personnel on board.
- Consideration of how many personnel are required to safely operate the vessel with due regard for the safety of life at sea, protection of the environment and property and including emergency scenarios.
- The required competence and qualifications of personnel.
- Trading limitations, the maximum period of continuous watchkeeping, length and nature of voyages and frequency of port calls.
- Consideration of the flag State’s basic manning requirements.
- Vessel size and design, facilities and internal communication systems.
- The amount of machinery/equipment on board and any unmanned machinery space (UMS) systems fitted.
- Consideration of any applicable conventions such as the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) or STCW 95 and codes such as International Ship and Port Security (ISPS) Code.
A new assessment should be carried out where there are changes to trading area, operations, construction or machinery/equipment which may affect the minimum safe manning level.
What should the manning levels be for a commercially operating yacht?
The flag State should be contacted to arrange for an assessment of the minimum safe manning levels for commercially operating vessels, including yachts. Each flag State will have specific criteria to assess when establishing the appropriate safe manning levels and may require the Owner to submit an assessment of the minimum safe manning level.
How should the manning levels of a private yacht be assessed?
The applicable flag State may require minimum safe manning assessments/documents on privately registered vessels but put the onus on Owners to carry out their own assessments. Assessments made by Owners should be in line with the manning assessment practices of the applicable flag State. For further guidance, the Club recommends that Members contact the applicable flag State.
How do I know if the Master's qualifications are appropriate?
Commercially operating vessels are required to comply with flag State requirements and the flag State should be contacted for further guidance, to ensure that your crew comply with applicable requirements.
The Club requires that entered yachts registered and operating for private pleasure purposes will be under the command of a captain that holds a navigational qualification that is suitable for a yacht of that size, the operations to be undertaken, and issued by an authority which is recognised by the Yacht’s flag State. The operations to be undertaken should encompass where the yacht navigates, how it is used and what equipment might be used from the yacht. The Club recommends that Members should approach their flag State to learn more about what will be appropriate according to flag requirements and standards for commercial yachts.
How do I promote competence and good seamanship of crew and prevent incidents?
The Club knows that Members are committed to operating safe ships with capable crew. For owners of smaller/private vessels, good seamanship and practices on board can be developed with the incorporation of a Competence Assurance Scheme (CAS). These schemes, which incorporate skill and knowledge development through the means of tasks and goals for crew, promote good practices on board and can be used as a tool to measure progress of personnel and identify training requirements, supporting the implementation of a Safety Management Systems (SMS).
Although implementation of an SMS may not be mandatory for all owners, the provision and use of standardised company procedures and policies which offer guidance to crew for on board operations, contributes greatly to the reduction of accidents and incidents. The SMS should be proportionate to the size, type and trade of the yacht so as to remain accessible to crew.
What guidance can be provided to crew to encourage good physical and mental health on board?
Crew can download the ISWAN App which is free of charge and available offline. There, crew have access to a wide range of health and wellbeing guidance, as well as the 24 hour support helpline.
What other guidance does the Club provide for Yacht Owners?
You can find more loss prevention advice here.