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What is Travel Risk Management?

hiking mountain backpacker rock cliff PXhere

The superyacht fleet has more than doubled in the last 10 years with over 6,500 yachts over 24m in length currently in operation. According to Coherent Market Insights, the global superyacht market has been valued at US$ 22.5 billion in 2017, with a projected CAGR of 5.3% from 2018 – 2026. Many requiring 20+ crew, collectively superyachts now employ over 37,000 people.

With numbers on this scale and further growth forecast, the pressure for vessel owners and employers to have watertight procedures to mitigate risk and manage crises is becoming ever more necessary. The risks faced by the yachting community are constantly evolving, including the trend for vessels to cruise in more remote destinations.

Travel Risk Management (TRM) is the approach you take to identify, evaluate and mitigate risks to protect yacht owners, guests and crew. The aim of TRM is not only to respond to an event but to put in place measures to prevent an incident from occurring in the first place. It’s a three-tiered approach: PREPARE, SAFEGUARD and RESPOND.

Hurricane Caribbean SYAG

It's common for destinations beloved of superyachts to experience extreme weather and natural disasters.

PREPARE - The need to be more risk aware

Preparation should focus not just on the personnel onboard but also on the vessel itself. It is essential for any potential risks to be identified and understood, always bearing in mind that situations can be fluid and change for many reasons. For example, the threat of a natural disaster may increase or decrease depending on the season; a country’s political situation can deteriorate quickly if there are imminent elections; a refugee crisis might suddenly arise after civil unrest.

In a rapidly changing world, having access to real-time intelligence, analysis and advice is vital. You should also consider how this information is disseminated to the crew and passengers onboard. Who is responsible for informing personnel of the local customs and political situation, or issues around health or crime? Although the captain is responsible when the vessel is at sea, what happens when the vessel is docked and passengers disembark?

Top Tip

Maritime threat assessments identify hazards to ensure any potential risks have been reduced to appropriate levels. Pre-travel training and access to advice, country and port threat summaries, intelligence reports and global incident alerts 24/7/365 will provide you with the necessary information to be risk aware and to support decision making.

Planning can help to ensure that an incident does not escalate into a crisis.

LEGEND Antarctica EYOS Scholey DSC 4726

MY Legend cruising in Antarctica. The trend for exploring remote destinations creates a new and evolving risk profile. 

SAFEGUARD – What mechanisms have you got in place?

Do you have support in place to know where all your crew are, at sea and ashore? Do they know what to do if they feel unsafe? And do you have access to assistance 24/7?

It is not uncommon for a crew member to go missing before joining the yacht or on an overnight stop. More than likely they’re running late or simply got lost, but how do you know and how can you be sure they are safe?

With the growing trend for yachts cruising new destinations in search of novel and unique experiences, how can an owner or guest ashore raise the alarm if they are feeling uneasy?

Enhanced safety and duty of care should include the ability to communicate directly with guests and crew in the event that they need urgent assistance.

Top Tip

Having a global assistance system in place to locate personnel at the touch of a button, two-way messaging, access to 24/7 assistance and the ability to send an SOS alert in an emergency will support your duty of care obligations, safeguarding crew, guests and assets.

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RESPOND – If an incident occurs, what happens next?

Despite the best preparation, things don’t always go to plan, which is why emergency response and crisis management are essential components of Travel Risk Management.

What if a guest or crew member falls victim to robbery, physical assault or kidnapping? Management companies, captains and crew who have not given sufficient thought to crisis management risk both their businesses and reputations. Reputation accounts for a high percentage of the value of a business and superyachts are not exempt. Often it may not be the crisis itself which damages the reputation of a business, but rather how that crisis is seen to be handled.

Top Tip

Working with an expert provider of Travel Risk Management ensures that you have adequate systems in place and 24/7 advice and support to manage an incident in line with your pre-determined protocols. This could be acting as a simple conduit between insurers and management companies to manage an incident or coordinating local security and medical services ashore should the need arise.

Founded in 1987, Securewest International is the UK’s leading provider of maritime and port security. We provide travel risk consultancy, pre-travel training, regional threat assessments, travel alerts, check-ins, monitoring and in-country ground services, with the full support of our Global Response Centre operating 24/7/365.

For further information or advice on our Travel Risk Management solutions please contact our team:

Tel: +44 (0)1548 856001



*Photo credits: Thumbnail, pxhere, CCO Public Domain; hurricanes, Yacht Aid Global; MY Legend EYOS Expeditions/Scholey; Fiji, Bay of Islands, APS.  

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