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Mini ISM for Yachts - A Guide

01 May 2013

It is the aim of this guide to provide further information concerning mini-ISM safety management systems for yachts. ISM is the short form abbreviation for International Safety Management.

Application

The UK Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) Large Yacht Code requires all commercially registered vessels under 500GT to maintain a mini-ISM system.

It is strongly recommend that wherever possible that all yachts under 500GT maintain a mini-ISM system.

Background

A mini-ISM is a safety management system based on the ISM Code but tailored specifically to the needs of commercial yachts over 24 meters and under 500GT which otherwise, under international maritime law, have to comply with a full ISM system.

The ISM Code stands for the International Safety Management Code which in turn is short form for the International Management Code for the Safe Operation of Ships and for Pollution Prevention as adopted by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO). The ISM Code provides an international standard for the safe management and operation of ships and for pollution prevention.

Purpose

The purpose of a mini-ISM system is to:

  • Promote and ensure safety at sea for the yacht's crew and guests and third parties
  • Prevent human injury or loss of life to the yacht's crew, guests and third parties
  • Avoid damage to the yacht
  • Avoid damage to the environment

Requirements

The requirements of a mini-ISM have been summarised by the MCA as part of the rules and regulations governing the operation of commercial yachts over 24 metres in length.

A copy of their summary can be found in Annex Two of the Large Yacht Code 3 (LY3) here:

MCA LY3 Annex 2 mini ISM

Operation

Although Annex 2 of LY3 provides a framework to develop a mini ISM system any format can in theory be utilised.

The key operational requirements of the system are as follows:

  • It should be simple and easy to understand by all users
  • It must be yacht specific and be owned by and developed by the yacht
  • It must be used and updated (during annual flag state surveys the system will be checked to ensure that it is being used)
  • It must be reviewed by the owner at least once every three years

Further Information

A generic mini-ISM template will with minor modification and adjustment provide a basic 'tick-in-the-box' system which will appear to take requirements seriously.

If however the mini-ISM system is to be used as a genuine tool to improve the safety and quality of the vessel's operation the template should require significant re-writing and adapting to specific onboard requirements, culture and unique threats.

Oceanskies can assist yacht owners and the captains of yachts with the implementation of a bespoke mini-ISM as stand-alone system or in conjunction with third party yacht managers.

Please do not hesitate to contact Adrian Ogier of Oceanskies for further information: [email protected]

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