30 April 2021

A practical guide to ISM Compliance and International Safety Management Certification

Any commercial ship or passenger ship weighing over 500GT is required to comply with the ISM Code.

Superyachts and mega yachts MUST also respect the rules and international standards it’s aiming to uphold.

But what are they? And what exactly is a captain or owner required to do?

What is the ISM Code?

The ISM Code is an international set of guidelines that a vessel and its crew (on-board and on-shore) must adhere to so that safety is not compromised and pollution prevention is present, as per the SOLAS requirements.

The ISM Code’s full name is ‘The International Management Code for the Safe Operation of Ships and for Pollution Prevention’.

What does it mean for operators & owners?

To adhere to the rules of ISM Compliance, a vessel must hold two ISM certificates:

Document of Compliance: The DOC is issued to the operating company, following external verification of compliance. Valid for five years, it must be verified annually within three months of the functioning date of the vessel’s Safety Management System (SMS).

Safety Management Certificate: Issued to the individual vessel, this document states that the Company and its management operate safely and in accordance with the approved Safety Management System. Once issued, the SMC is valid for five years or until any modifications are carried out.

Download an ISM Code PDF

For more in-depth details, the UK Government has published an extensive ISM code PDF which is FREE to download.

The 55-page document outlines all the essential procedural requirements needed to achieve ISM Code certification.

Click now to download the ISM Code PDF and keep for future reference.

How do we help you achieve ISM Compliance?

ISM Compliance is a statutory requirement for commercially-registered yachts (in addition to ISPS), as it ensures the highest operational safety standards are in place.

Whilst it is NOT a legal requirement for privately-registered yachts, Wilson Yacht Management does recommend full compliance. So do most Flag States.

To avoid procedural violations and minimise the risk of being involved in an accident, we’re proud to offer ISM Compliance as part of our annual management package.

In accordance with the ISM Code, commercially-registered yachts must comply with either the Passenger Yacht Code (PYC) or MCA Large Yacht Code (LY3), and obtain a Safety Management Certificate from the relevant Flag State.

To achieve this, Wilson Yacht Management provide owners and captains with extensive managerial advice and assistance.

Our comprehensive ISM Compliance support includes:

  • Provide the vessel with a Flag State-approved Safety Management System (SMS) – including: Health, Safety and Environmental Policy, Drug and Alcohol Policy, Safety Management Manual, Procedures and Forms.
  • Appoint a Designated Person Ashore (DPA) to oversee the SMS and conduct Annual Internal Audits on board, ensuring compliance with the ISM Code as well as support and advice for the Captain, when required.
  • Ensure that on-board procedures are compliant with PYC / LY3
  • Help and support for the Captain and Crew to resolve all issues raised in Non-Conformance and Accident or Incident Reports.
  • Review the vessel’s Safety Management System to address all points raised in the Captain’s Annual SMS Review.
  • Regular amendments to the Safety Management Manual in order to remain compliant with new legislation.

Should a serious emergency occur – such as a fire, flood, collision, technical or medical incident, we are available 24/7 to provide ‘Crisis Support’ for the Captain and Crew.

This is a necessary requirement of the ISM Code, which states that documented procedures and checklists must in place for use in an emergency. We also produce and provide this ‘Emergency Procedures Booklet’ to be kept on the Bridge as a quick reference guide.

Enlist our help & advice

Wilson Yacht Management Group can support vessels anywhere in the world. Ships we manage can regularly be found in the Far East, Australia, the North and South Pacific, Canada, Alaska, India, the Indian Ocean, Alaska, North and South America and across Europe.

If you’d like us to ensure you’re vessel is ISM compliant, please get in touch or call +44 (0)1482 648322 – we can handle single or multi-asset fleets.

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