As we near the time of the year when crew are looking to sneak home for a well earned rest, Captains and heads of department scramble to find suitable replacements for their crew. It can often be an administrative nightmare for those responsible for finding replacements. Not only finding a suitable replacement, but also being able to rest easy knowing the work will continue, maintenance will be performed and critical processes are understood and able to be carried out.
No two yachts are the same and with any new job there is a lot to learn. Engineers often have the steepest learning curve due to the sheer number of systems and components that make up a modern day yacht. Ask any engineer and they will attest that when taking over a new role, receiving a detailed hand over can drastically shorten the time taken to understand the vessel at a high level.
Also, rather than understanding the information provided by manufacturers in OEM manuals, much of what an engineer learns is through hands on operation, together with the shortcuts and unique protocols that usually exist onboard the yacht.
Someone stepping onboard for a short period of time can easily be overwhelmed without clear guidance on what is expected of them. Understanding what tasks are to be completed, remembering important start up/shut down procedures or the location of parts and inventory is a critical process during crew handover, whether it’s short term or longer.
The use of a Planned Maintenance System (PMS) on a yacht can greatly streamline the transfer of information to new crew. A digitalized system provides a platform for constant reference, but it’s also an effective reporting tool for logging daily progress and notes made by temporary crew. This information can then be viewed remotely and oversight provided to ensure the smooth running of the yacht.
It is often a nervous time for departing crew when taking time off. The idea of handing over control or responsibility of their department can sometimes cause concerns.
“We have Chief Engineers on vacation logging on to view daily logs and track the progress of major projects onboard,” says Matthew Hyde, Technical Director at Hunter Oceanic.
“The aim therefore is to provide transparency and easy access to information and the value of Planned Maintenance Systems is their ability to capture information and facilitate searches for critical information.”
Another good example concerns suppliers. Most yachts will have a network of preferred contractors based on the vessel’s history of completed work and their understanding of that particular vessel. Access to this list is a huge help to new or temporary crew and it avoids the late night phone calls to crew on leave.
While crew vacations can potentially disrupt a program and cause additional stress for yacht Captains and heads of department, this can be greatly reduced by using PMS technology. Being cloud-based, many systems allow for simple deployments and can be driven remotely, so do yourself a favor and look into what’s out there and how it’s changing the way programs are managed.
First published by OnboardOnline on 19th December 2017. Last updated 15th December 2020.