Superyachts must do more to raise on-board safety says Lloyd’s Register

Lloyd’s Register, the world’s largest yacht classification society, is calling on the industry to step up enforcement of safety at sea rules.

“The number one priority of any yacht should be to provide a quality service, but with safety being one of the most dominant values,” said Thomas Zeferer, manager of marine training services for Northern Europe at Lloyd’s Register.

“A culture of behaviour-based safety must start from the top (and) filter down to the guests. Setting the right example means providing quality service, but also telling guests when they are doing something that is fundamentally unsafe.”

In a recent issue of Lloyd’s Register’s Horizons magazine, Zeferer discussed superyacht safety with Engel-Jan de Boer, yacht segment manager at Lloyd’s Register. The latter said safety “can often be taken for granted” by guests who pay a lot for some luxury yachting and are coddled by crews bent on keeping guests happy. “We should never forget those guests can only enjoy the luxury because of safety,” said de Boer.

“The crew can demonstrate, by their behaviour, that the sea is a potentially dangerous place. Their behaviour will influence that of everyone else on board,” said De Boer. He added as soon as guests get on board, they should get a safety briefing.

de Boer also said the industry should share details of both serious accidents and near-misses. “Accidents that get reported are usually investigated by flag states, which means a serious accident has taken place. That’s too late. There needs to be more emphasis on not just the big disasters but the near misses and learning from them as well.”

Design of safety systems and technology for human operators is often the root cause of maritime incidents. “We can gain more in terms of safety and quality by looking at human factors than by just increasing regulations and requirements,” said de Boer.

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