Proceedings Spring 2016
A company's success level putting its SMS into operation is
directly related to the organization's commitment to achiev-
ing those goals amidst all the other priorities competing
for attention. Hence, strict discipline and a commitment to
safety objectives starts at the senior management level. This
requires a frm management and command structure with
clear and concise orders. Leaders must pay attention to all
matters affecting the safety of the vessel and those aboard
and must regularly review performance against the organi-
zation's safety objectives.
While managers demonstrate commitment through their
actions and involvement, all employees and crewmembers
need to follow suit for the system to be fully functional and
integrated. Accordingly, all employees and crewmembers
should be aware of the infuence their actions or inactions
may have on SMS effectiveness. An effective safety manage-
ment system starts with you — at the end of the watch, it's
your vessel, your life, and your responsibility.
About the author:
LCDR Corydon Heard is the Prevention Department head at Marine Safety
Unit Texas City. Prior tours include the U.S. Coast Guard Offce of Com-
mercial Vessel Compliance, Sector Baltimore, and Activities Europe. He is
a graduate of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and has also earned an
M.A. and a doctorate in business administration. He also holds an unlimited
U.S. merchant marine offcer endorsement.
Safe Work Australia, Guide for Major Hazard Facilities: Safety Management Sys-
Marine Safety Manual Volume II, Section E, Chapter 3.
Dead reckoning is the process of calculating current position by using a previously
determined position, or fx, and advancing that position based upon estimated
speeds over elapsed time and course. The resulting position is only an approxima-
tion, as it does not allow for the effect of signifcant errors.
This philosophy is maintained in Marine Safety Manual Volume II, Section E,
Chapter 3. Key elements of this approach have been excerpted here.
The View From the Bow
Though it occurred almost 30 years ago, the Herald of Free
Enterprise disaster remains a stark reminder of the conse-
quences of untenable safety management practices. One
goal of the International Safety Management Code is to
establish a process of continuous communication, training,
and actions that constantly maintain the vessel in a state of
full compliance with safety and environmental protection
regulations. This includes the processes and procedures for
reporting accidents and nonconformities.
The ISM Code doesn't necessarily prescribe a manner in
which this must be done. Rather, it allows companies to
defne their own ways of reaching that goal, taking into
account the prescribed functional requirements for a safety
management system. There is no one correct way to do this
because an effective SMS is tailor-made to ft an individual
company's culture, organization, service, and work environ-
ment. What may work for one company may not work for
Inspectors and auditors must therefore be vigilant to ensure
companies have an effective safety management system that
meets ISM Code objectives. An empty-husk SMS that only
exists to satisfy what is viewed as "just another regulation"
meets neither the spirit nor the intent of the code. A good
measure of an effective SMS is one that allows users to iden-
tify, report, investigate, correct, and appropriately docu-
ment nonconformities in accordance with the established
Inspectors and auditors ensure
companies have an effective safety
management system that meets ISM