‘The paperless transition in yachting is way, way behind commercial maritime. Yachting is still heavily paper-reliant, and there is a good reason for that. The official Electronic Nautical Chart (ENC) data is mainly focused on the main shipping routes around the world. AVCS data [for key cruising grounds] can be atrocious.’
It is a commonly acknowledged problem for the superyachting industry, and yet one that is rarely challenged – in part because yacht crew have become used to referring to paper charts and unofficial digital charts for navigating areas where official ENCs are lacking.
While yacht management companies play a very active role in operational safety, from a certification standpoint, they are historically hands-off when it comes to navigational compliance. But, with the spike in gross tonnage witnessed in recent years, larger superyachts, as well as those operating commercially, have come into stark focus among regulators and port state control.
“The general appetite within the industry is that everyone wants to do it properly, but feel they don’t always have the time to produce detailed passage plans that go above and beyond the minimum requirements,” explains OneOcean head of superyacht Chris Warde. “By giving them the tool with 2.0, we have a proven track record of saving substantial amounts of time on board which enables people to do a more complete preparation and planning phase. At the end of the day, if something went wrong or if plans changed halfway through the route, they have the information and tools at hand to make sensible decisions.”
Warde cites a diligent first officer, aboard a custom motoryacht, whose conscientious approach to paper route planning meant one passage could take anything up to two days to map, which then went down to somewhere in the region of two hours, with the introduction of OneOcean on board. But unfortunately, he estimates that the number of vessels following best practice at around 20 per cent of the fleet.
OneOcean 2.0 is an all-encompassing software solution, currently undergoing sea trials and coming to market in January 2021. It comprises a number of complementary operational tools: PassageManager (navigation and route-planning modules); Regs4yachts (regulations); EnviroManager (an environmental control application); DocMap (HSEQ document transfer tool); LogCentral (digital logbooks); FleetManager (an online, web-based interface that has been designed for shoreside support, so that a DPA can track their fleet’s location and monitor their progress).
“What FleetManager does is give managers the opportunity to look at all of their navigation, regulatory compliance, and check that both are up to the bar that the management company deems to be the minimum acceptable; and all from the comfort of their own desk. This frees up valuable time on board to focus on areas that can’t be looked at remotely,” Warde explains.
The superyacht industry is historically reactive rather than proactive when it comes to regulatory compliance. But there are tools available that can provide the intelligence to anticipate and manage regulatory parameters.
“With OneOcean we are slowly transitioning from back of bridge to front of bridge. Because we have NMEA feeds with real-time positioning, EnviroManager now becomes a product that is providing real-time information,” Warde adds. “Furthermore, if you’ve submitted your passage plan via the platform, then EnviroManager can show the chief engineer what they can do at the time, but also what options are available to them at each stage along their route.”
Ultimately, it’s about efficiency and optimisation at the front end, and the result of that is better situational awareness and decision-making when things are happening.
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