Here at Shorlink, we have reopened after our Christmas Break and rearing to face 2022 with a renewed vigour for our industry, especially in safety and training.

Hopefully, your business’ have flourished over a season that was much needed given the past 2 years and what we have all faced. Now is not the time to reflect, it’s time to move forward and to do that, we want to make sure that both yourself, your crew and your business have everything in place to be successful and safe.

This is a long newsletter, however, we feel it is important!

 

Here is a checklist that you should complete to start the year!

 

  1. Risk Assessment!
    Is your Risk Assessment updated, or have you ever done one?

AMSA advises that your operations and just as important, your SMS should be based on a risk assessment of your operations. If you have not completed one or left it a while – Call Shorlink!

  1. Safety Management System (SMS)
    Is your SMS up to date AND provides the legal protection that you need?

We hear so often…. I have a SMS, I’ve done mine online, I’ll just update the dates on my existing one, or worse, I’ll let you know if I need one.

This is AMSA’s directive: All domestic commercial vessels must have a safety management system (SMS). This system will demonstrate and document how your vessel meets the mandatory general safety duties.

An SMS is an important aspect of your vessel as it details all the important policies, practices, and procedures that are to be followed in order to ensure the safe functioning at sea. The SMS needs to be reviewed annually and recorded appropriately of Section 12 of your SMS.

We do a hand over of our SMS’s, we don’t just deliver and leave. We do this with the owners and/or crew to ensure that every person handling the SMS knows it, understands it, and follows it. A great question to ask your crew….. what happens if the Skipper has a heart attack, what do you do? If the question is answered different ways or worse still, they are unsure, please contact us to do a handover with them.

You need one!
It’s needs to be updated, especially if you have made any changes to your vessel!
Please ensure your SMS covers you legally if the worse was to happen.

If you’re reading this, questioning whether your SMS is OK, it’s not. You should have 100% confidence in it, as much as your vessel being safe, so give us a call to discuss for peace of mind.

  1. Training!
    Do I/We really need it? Yes!

We believe that AMSA will be ramping up their inspections in the near future to ensure every vessel and person at sea is following the SMS and handling their vessel safely.

Here at Shorlink, we’ve seen an increase in demand for our training services. Last year, we added to our staff, with Lindsay Hutton. Lindsay has over 20 years hands on experience in the marine industry and his knowledge and training style is incredible and invaluable to his participants. Having both Wayne and Lindsay at the helm of our training division, we believe we offer the very best of the best training to our clients.

Training gives peace of mind to the owners and/or skippers that they have provided the necessary training to ensure their vessel and in turn their business is operating as it should in every facet.

Our training services include:

 Onboard Safety Training – onboard your vessel

 Practical Vessel Handling – onboard your vessel

 Practical Flares & Fire Extinguisher Training – our participants let off actual flares

We also offer individual training courses according to our client’s needs.

Training makes the difference between a successful outcome and a disaster!

Our aim and focus are to not only to ensure your crew are able to handle emergencies but handle them efficiently and effectively. Click Here for more information on our training services.

  1. Log Books!
    Are they completed correctly? Do you have one for all your needs?

If you’ve spoken to Wayne, our Principal Consultant at any length, then you understand the importance of Log Books.

On an AMSA Inspection Report, they have a very large section with covers ‘Documentation.’  AMSA take this extremely seriously and if you don’t have a log book when it is required OR IT IS COMPLETED INCORRECTLY OR NOT AT ALL, then AMSA can and will cease your operations immediately.

All log books should be treated with as much importance as fuel. These books are an integral part of the vessel and its operations.

After seeing log books that were not designed correctly, over complicated, hard to follow/use or a combination of all, Shorlink have designed and released Log Books both our company and clients are successfully using for years! In fact, we’ve been told they are the best in the industry, and we agree!

These log books have been developed for easy, simply use that meets the requirements for your vessel.

In Australia, both owners and AMSA require specific information to be recorded in your vessels log book plus there are other vital details, especially if your involved in a marine incident.

Our log books provide ALL the details that MUST be recorded and other information to ensure you are covered! We even include a sample page so as you have a full understanding of how to fill out your log books correctly!

We also develop Log Books to suit owner’s specific requirements.

Check out our full range of Log Books, by Clicking Here with free postage!

  1. Maintenance!
    Is your vessel/s to code and have you noted the changes in your SMS.

We’ve seen many owners and/or business’ using the down time over the last two years to upgrade and update their vessels. This is great use of time. It’s never too late.

Maintenance is key to ensuring there are no ongoing issues in the future, especially during a busy season when no-one wants to be on the slip, instead of on the water, making money.

Now, if you have completed any maintenance, ensure to update your Log Books accordingly.

If you have made any changes to your vessel, including but not limited to new engine, gearbox etc, please contact Shorlink as your SMS will need updating immediately.

  1. Medical Stores!
    Check and stock!

We recommend that Medical Stores should be checked before any vessel departs. However, here is a reminder to check to ensure your medical supplies are all fully stocked and overstocked in some cases for products that are used often, especially if you will be out to sea for a period of time.

Also, check expiry dates of all products and replace where necessary.

Making sure your Medical Stores Log Book is designed to record the dispensing of ALL medical supplies to enable a verifiable means of tracking. Having this log book allows the Master and/or Owner to monitor usage of items and who they were dispensed to and how often.

Shorlink offers a Medical Log Book. Click Here to see!

  1. Emergency and Safety Equipment!
    Check and Replace!

Where do we start!! This is the most common equipment which is overlooked and assumed all is fine and usable – believe me, they can easily deteriorate or become out of date without realising.

Fire Extinguishers – making sure you have the right extinguisher for any emergency is key to ensuring the safety. We have actually seen where a vessel has been saved and lost on the back of the correct or incorrect extinguisher being used. Obviously, also ensuring they are within date of use, and there is no corrosion on any part of the equipment. If in doubt, replace.

Fire Blankets – when was the last time you checked? These easily become something thrown at the back of a cupboard, normally in the galley. Or if it is hung up, it never gets opened or used. How do you know it is still intact? Check all fire blankets and ensure they are accessible, and crew know how to use these efficiently.

Flares – check all flares are within usable date, especially for future and that all crew know how to correctly locate and use these in an emergency.

Lifejackets– Tracey, our Administrator has been shocked at the images that have passed our business of the condition of lifejackets on some vessels. We all understand the importance of lifejackets in an emergency, but when you are out on the water often, many crew become complacent with them.

All lifejackets should not be water logged while stored, this can cause corrosion which means they made fall apart in an emergency.

Lifejackets should be stowed in a dry location and be easily accessible in an emergency. Especially if you have large crew/passengers – you should have an accessible point that provides easy distribution. Also, all crew and passengers should know how to don them if necessary. Also, bringing attention using the lifejacket if required in an emergency.

We understand that this list is long and comprehensive. However, taking 10 minutes now to complete can assist with ensuring the safety of your crew, business and vessel.

Now, let’s focus on a great 2022 and also feel free to contact Shorlink should you need!


Shorlink’s Recommendation

If you have questioned any part of the checklist, please contact us immediately.

It is imperative, that your business, vessel and crew are conducting themselves safely and within guidelines at all times and we want to assist to ensure that happens.

Here at Shorlink, our priority has been and will always be Safety.

That is why we offer free assessments of your SMS, and we are happy to chat on the phone any time, obligation free to ensure our industry stays and remains buoyant, safe and flourishes!


Tip

Complete our checklist, please!

If you would like us to email you a simplified copy of the checklist for ease of completing, please send an email to admin@shorlink.com

Well, here we are again at the end of another year and what a year it’s been! Not only for the maritime industry but all industries worldwide.

Tourism has suffered incredibly due to border restrictions which has flowed through to so many service providers. Although there has been a huge downside to the pandemic there has also been many upsides as well.

Vessel owners have been able to complete outstanding maintenance and a number have undertaken refits and improvements to their vessels and operations. We’ve also seen a lot of operators bringing their SMS manuals into line with MO504 and the NSCV which is a good thing for safety.

Here at Shorlink we’ve been focused on expanding our onboard training services which is an initiative we started years ago.

Owners and operators are starting to realise the benefits of having an external provider undertake “vessel specific” crew inductions and emergency response training.

We have been receiving great feedback on our training services including many participants saying they get more from our onboard training then they get from other sources!

To ensure we continue to meet the demand and deliver the best possible training services we’ve taken on a new trainer, Lindsay Hutton.  Lindsay has a wealth of maritime experience and is fully trained in our systems and delivery methods and is now a valuable asset to the company.

As the Managing Director, I have been focused on expanding the company to cover not only commercial operators but also the recreational sector.

Although its been my focus I have to give full credit to our wonderful administration officer, Tracey McManus who has not only taken a huge load of my shoulders but been instrumental in developing the marketing which has helped Shorlink grow in all facets.

I can openly say that Tracey is an administration wonder and marketing guru! Since she joined us just over a year ago she had to learn a new industry and all of the systems Shorlink has in place and Tracey has adapted so well and is an integral part of the Shorlink team.

Our overall business focus has been on our service offering including our managed services which have received a great industry response.

We can email out a pack which includes all of the services we provide. Contact our office today to get yours!

With the boarders opening I’ve travelled near and far to complete SMS handovers, action our management requirements and along with Lindsay deliver onboard training. It’s been exciting to get back into it after all the lockdowns and boarder closures.

What does 2022 look like for Shorlink and the maritime industry in general?

For Shorlink we’re moving into an exciting time of business growth by expanding not only our management and training services but also our Occupational Health and Safety systems for maritime based businesses.

I believe it’s also going to be a good year for the maritime industry with borders reopening and tourism starting to get moving again. In talking with a number of our clients they are excited with the growing numbers of bookings and the potential of getting back to full-on business.

It’s also good news for the commercial fishing industry with restaurants reopening and seating getting back to normal the demand for fresh seafood is on the rise which is great news for the industry in general.


Shorlink’s Recommendation

My recommendation is to put the past 2 years behind you, look forward to 2022 and get going!

While things are getting back to the new normal, I further recommend taking a close look at your business and/or operations to see where and how you can better adapt to the ongoing business climate.

While there’s been a lot of heartache for many there is a lot of opportunities for those who are prepared to adapt so…go forward and prosper!


Tip

My top tip is to ensure your safety management systems comply with the relevant standards and are up to date to ensure you’re protected as both AMSA and WorkSafe are going to be very active in the new year.

As always, feel free to pick up the phone or drop us an email – if you want to check in, making sure you are AMSA compliant and how you can adapt and grow your business/operations too!

We all love a great time on the water, especially during Christmas and New Year. Whether it is commercial or recreational use, time on the water evokes merriment which in turn may lead to a sip, a stubbie or a session of alcohol.

Whether you are an owner, skipper, deckhand, server or cook – when you mix alcohol with your boating activity the consequences can be fatal.

Combine this with the responsibility of your fellow crew and passengers, it is imperative that you take this risk seriously, especially as we come into the festive season when alcohol consumption may be at its highest.

Alcohol consumption combined with the unpredictability of wind, waves and sun – can magnify the effects of alcohol very quickly and affect your judgement and skills.

It is extremely important to understand the alcohol limits and restrictions for each State, which do vary.

Please click on the following links for more information:

Queensland : https://www.msq.qld.gov.au/Safety/Alcohol-and-drug-rules

Western Australia: https://www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdb/au/legis/wa/consol_act/wama1982278/

New South Wales: https://legislation.nsw.gov.au/view/whole/html/2000-04-03/act-1991-080

Victoria : https://transportsafety.vic.gov.au/maritime-safety/recreational-boating/safe-operation/operating-rules/alcohol-and-drugs

South Australia: https://www.sa.gov.au/topics/boating-and-marine/boat-and-marine-safety/boating-safely/alcohol-drugs-and-boating

Northern Territory: https://nt.gov.au/marine/marine-safety

Tasmania: https://www.police.tas.gov.au/services-online/pamphlets-publications/alcohol-and-boats/

Canberra: https://www.accesscanberra.act.gov.au/s/article/boating-on-canberras-lakes-tab-boating-safety

Alcohol Testing on Vessels

Anyone operating a vessel, or a member of the crew, may be required by a police officer to submit an alcohol and or drug screening test.

There are penalties when your blood alcohol limit meets or exceeds the stated allowance detected in the:

  • operator of a vessel
  • members of the crew
  • water-skiers
  • observers
  • those towed in any manner behind a boat.

The penalties can include large fines and/or imprisonment. The court may impose an additional penalty and suspend or cancel a certificate of competency, including a boat operator’s licence.

If you hold a commercial marine qualification and are convicted of a drink driving offence, this information will be provided to AMSA, who may consider whether the person is a fit and proper person to continue to hold that marine qualification.

Did you know that the drivers of vehicles leaving boat ramps, yacht clubs and marina’s can also be prosecuted under the State Driving Acts applicable?

If you are entering the waterways, in any capacity, it is your responsibility to know the rules and ensure yourself, and everyone on the water with you is abiding by the law.

As we now approach one of the busiest times of the year for our industry, this year especially will be demanding given the border openings etc.

When times are busy, you can often become complacent with the little things, especially ‘assuming’ that all staff know not to drink on the job.

This definitely isn’t the case!

Don’t assume!

Now is the time to look at your alcohol policy and ensure all crew understand their responsibilities and their responsibilities to others.


Shorlink’s Recommendation

Whilst some states allow blood alcohol limits higher, we recommend that all skippers and crew have a blood alcohol limit of zero as part of their general safety duty. This ensures their full awareness of their environment, and their judgement/skills will not be impaired with alcohol and/or drugs

Also, please ensure to have an open line of communication with your team. Safety is everyone’s responsibility and if staff witness alcohol consumption that is against your policies and/or may endanger safety, they should be encouraged to come forward and understand how the reporting process should be followed.


Tip

Our best tip is to ensure all persons onboard have read, understand and acknowledged the Alcohol Policy within your vessel and/or Company.

To ensure there is no confusion, here at Shorlink, we include with all of our SMS’s – an Onboard Alcohol Policy, Onboard Drug Policy plus Drug and Alcohol Testing Policy.

This ensures that our clients have peace of mind as they have provided their crew with strict policies. Should the need arise, crew can refer back to the SMS and owner’s have this in writing of their direction regarding alcohol.

If you are unsure if you have a Policy in place, please contact our office to discuss further.

This is a safety reminder to business operators to review their contingency plans for the 2021-22 cyclone season.

Employers in control of workplaces in cyclone sensitive regions must have adequate plans in place and provide adequate training to protect workers in the event of a cyclone.

According to the Bureau of Meteorology’s Australian Tropical Cyclone Outlook (link is external), the cyclone season runs from November to April.

Each year an average of three tropical cyclones occur in the Northern region and an average of four cyclones occur in the Eastern region.

According to the Bureau of Meteorology the Norther region has a 57% chance of more tropical cyclones this season while the Eastern region has a 66% chance of more tropical cyclones.

Cyclones can isolate workers by cutting off access to emergency services, roads, transport, power, infrastructure and communications.

Cyclonic weather conditions increase hazards to crew members and workers and may devastate commercial vessel operations and shore-based businesses!,

Commercial vessel and business operators must prepare response plans for the likely risks of cyclones.

Operators must also coordinate the plans for sites with multiple employers by appropriately training all workers.

“All crew members and employees must know exactly what actions to take in the event of a cyclone.”

Employers in control of workplaces should consider the following:

  • Develop emergency procedures and plans
  • Regularly review training and include the plan when providing on-site inductions.
  • Detail site-safe actions to be undertaken at all levels of cyclone warning phases. For example: remove or restrain loose objects or structures; have step-by-step plans for the safe evacuation of workers; and have clear communication protocols established for reaching all personnel on-site during all cyclone alert warning phases.
  • All transportable buildings on worksites in cyclone sensitive regions are to be adequately secured including accommodation units, dongas and offices.
  • Plan for a safe and orderly evacuation of non-essential personnel prior to worsening conditions e.g., during the blue and yellow cyclone warning phases.
  • All personnel remaining on-site during the cyclone should move to an appropriate designated shelter well in advance of the arrival of the cyclone.
  • Adequate food, drinking water, medical supplies and other essential items are to be available for all isolated workers.
  • During the red alert cyclone warning phase, a reliable emergency backup communication is to be available for contact with external emergency services.
  • Cyclone warnings are monitored via radio, television or the Bureau of Meteorology websites. Battery-powered radios are to be available in the event of power interruptions on site.

Shorlink’s Recommendation

If you operate a vessel or a business in cyclone regions you should have a procedure in place which covers all warning phases including:

  • Pre-cyclone
  • Cyclone watch
  • Cyclone alert

If in doubt or unable to complete, please contact our office for assistance.


Tip

Our best tip is if you don’t have a cyclone procedure in place – contact our office for assistance.

In addition to a cyclone procedures, it’s wise to have a Continuity Plan in place in the event your vessel or business suffers damage or loss not only due to a cyclone but any other major event.

Completing a risk assessment for the number of crew required to operate your vessel in emergency situations is not as easy as you may think.

There are many factors to take into account including but not limited to:

  • The class or classes the vessel operates under
  • How many Certified crew are required
  • How many uncertified crew and/or Special Staff are required
  • The general layout including the number of decks and considerations relating to access to different decks, passenger exit points (if applicable)
  • Abandon ship locations
  • Access to and deployment of lifesaving appliances and equipment
  • Location and deployment of firefighting appliances and equipment

Once you’ve got all that together you then have to calculate emergency response capabilities for all crew members and Special Staff if included in emergency response actions.

Now you’ve identified your emergency response capabilities you can then go through the appropriate crew calculations taking into account but not limited to the following:

  • Minimum crewing or what used to be Core complement
  • Design factors
  • Operational factors
  • Emergency response

It’s no wonder most people just give up when trying to put together a risk assessment for their vessel. AMSA does have a basic and I mean very basic template on their website. You can find it by clicking on the link below.

https://www.amsa.gov.au/vessels-operators/domestic-commercial-vessels/appropriate-crewing-evaluation-template

If you operate a passenger vessel and are involved in a marine incident where crew numbers come into question, you may be asked to produce your risk assessment or appropriate crewing evaluation as AMSA call it.

This is to assist in identifying if you had an appropriate number of crew onboard to safely and efficiently deal with the emergency under investigation.

If you can’t produce it or your crew numbers are too low you can find yourself in a world of hurt!


Shorlink’s Recommendation

Number one recommendation is if you operate a vessel that carries passengers or multiple crew get to work and complete an Appropriate Crew Calculator or an appropriate crewing evaluation as AMSA call it.

If in doubt or unable to complete one, contact our office for assistance.


Tip

While it might sound like it’s not too hard to do to get it right requires quite a bit of training in risk assessment and vessel operations and that’s where Shorlink comes in.

We use a detailed Appropriate Crew Calculator to cover all the areas identified and more to ensure your crewing requirements cover the vessel and its operations.

Don’t waste time trying to do it yourself, its much easier and cheaper to get the professionals at Shorlink on the job for you!

This is another one of those things that often gets overlooked, especially on smaller vessels but…it can be a major asset in the event of an emergency onboard!

Many operators are still today asking what an emergency station list is so let’s get that out of the way first.

An emergency station list details what each crew member does in the event of an emergency situation. It is simply a duty list for all crew members.

All too often I see an emergency station list that that details what each crew members will do in each and every situation. That’s great for ships with highly trained crew who are on the same vessel for long periods.

In the size of vessels, we are dealing with and crews that come and go, achieving that can be quite difficult. In developing your emergency station list, you need to take into consideration the following:

  • Size of vessel
  • Operations
  • Number of crew
  • Do you carry passengers?
  • Are there special/service staff onboard?
  • If so are they trained in emergency response
  • Number of special/service staff onboard

Before we go any further, it’s vital that you undertake a risk assessment in relation to the number of crew required or adequate crew (more on this next week) required to operate the vessel.

It’s no good saying I have a passenger vessel that does day trips with up to 200 passengers onboard and usually have a Master plus 3 crew onboard. You need to know how many crew are required to deal with emergencies safely and efficiently.

Once you have the adequate crew number established you can then allocate duties. Where you have a Master and deckhand only it’s pretty simple. Where you have regular crew you can allocate tasks accordingly.

On vessels where the crew includes an Engineer and/or a Mate plus deck crew my preference is to have the Mate or Engineer go to the point of incident and the rest of the crew to Assembly stations and await instructions.

With so many potential emergency situations I usually find it more efficient to have the Master instruct the crew in relation to the emergency at hand.

If you have special/service staff onboard who are trained in emergency procedures you need to incorporate them into the emergency station list as well allocating them set tasks relevant to their training.


Shorlink’s Recommendation

Key recommendations are…

  1. Complete a risk assessment for the number of crew required to safely operate your vessel then;
  2. Develop an Emergency Station List based on your risk assessment.

If in doubt or unable to complete a detailed risk assessment, contact our office for assistance.


Tip

Need an Emergency Station List that is waterproof and reusable over and over again then call our office and tell us about your vessel and its operations.

We have a number of ready to go formats for different vessels, crew numbers and operations. Our Emergency Station Lists come ready to use and are laminated using a high density laminate and come with a washable ink pen and double sided tape to secure to a bulkhead.

What most operators don’t realise is that there is a requirement to have a Medical Log Book onboard your vessel to record medical information including the dispensing of drugs.

The NSCV Part C7A H8 specifies that all vessels shall carry and record the use of all medicines, first aid and medical incidents in a Medical Log Book and record the stock movements for Controlled Drugs in a Controlled Drug Register.

To date AMSA have not been pushing Medical Log Books other than on larger vessels but I’m guessing that this is another area that is going to surface in the near future, especially on passenger and charter vessels!

If you operate passenger or charter vessels you should consider getting a Medical Log Book in place sooner rather than later.

Other vessels that should be getting one together are commercial fishing vessels and vessels engaged in construction or towage and in particular those that undertake long voyages.

Medical Supplies: Things to consider

When considering your requirements for medical supplies you need to take into account the tables specified in C7A. Now there are more flexible rules for first aid supplies on DCV’s.

The owner/master of a domestic commercial vessel (DCV) operating in operational area C, C Restricted, D or E may undertake a risk assessment of their vessel and operation and determine the appropriate type and quantity of First Aid supplies that are to be carried on board the vessel for that operation.

Please note that the first aid kit must also comply with the Work Health and Safety Code of Practice. If necessary, assistance may be sought from an appropriately experienced pharmaceutical provider or First Aid provider/supplier in order to do so.

Based on your risk assessment you may apply for and Equivalent Solution. A few questions that you need to take into account when conducting your risk assessment…

  • Is your operation considered high risk in the WHS code of practice?
  • Do you have crew with current First Aid qualifications onboard ALL the time?
  • Are you operating more than two hours from medical assistance?
  • Based on your operations are persons on board likely to encounter specific hazards e.g., burns, stings, cuts and abrasions, etc.?

These are just a few of the things you need to take into account when undertaking your risk assessment. If you need help with completing a risk assessment for your First Aid requirements don’t hesitate to contact Shorlink or request First Aid Risk Assessment sheet.

What’s required in a Medical Log Book

There are specific requirements for a Medical Log Book which include:

  • Date
  • Time
  • Patient
  • Condition
  • Treatment

If you carry Controlled Drugs your Controlled Drugs Register should include:

  • Supply
  • Use
  • Disposal
  • Loss
  • Theft

While all of this may seem a bit daunting it’s really not too bad if you have the right layout in your log book and register.

First Aid Kits and Medical Cabinets

There are also a number of other considerations in relation to First Aid Kits and Medical Cabinets which includes…

  • Location
  • Construction and provisions
  • Labelling and identification
  • Construction and illumination for Medical Cabinets
  • Maintenance for Medical Cabinets

Shorlink’s Recommendation

The one thing that we see so often is OUT OF DATE First Aid certificates which means that person may not be up to date with the latest First Aid knowledge and skills. We strongly recommend that you ensure your First Aid is current.

 

 

For vessels with more than two crew we recommend at least one other crew member has current First Aid training. This takes the pressure off the Master in the event of an incident where injuries are sustained.

 


Tip

If you think you can have a case for an Equivalent Solution then do a risk assessment on your operations or if you need assistance in doing one then contact our office. We can assess your situation and develop a risk assessment for you.

Need a Medical Log book then look no further as Shorlink has them available and they meet all the legal requirements.Medical Stores Log Book

 

Are Boils Contagious?

On their own, boils are not contagious. However, the infection inside a boil can be contagious if it is caused by a staph bacteria.

If you or someone close to you has a boil that is actively leaking pus, you should cover it — or encourage them to keep the abscess covered — with a clean bandage.

Can boils spread?

Technically, boils cannot be spread. However, the infection that causes the red bump in your skin is likely caused by Staphylococcus aureus.

This staph bacteria can be spread by contact with other people or with other parts of your body, possibly resulting in boils or another type of infection.

Boils can also be caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). This isa type of bacteria that has become immune to some antibiotics, making it harder to treat.

If a boil has been caused by MRSA, you must be very careful to prevent the pus and liquid from the boil from coming into contact with other people.

How do I prevent boils from spreading?

To prevent the infection inside of boils from causing other infection, you must practice good hygiene and care for the infected area.

  • Wash your hands often.
  • Do not touch the infected area more than necessary.
  • Do not share towels, razors, or washcloths.
  • Cover the wound with clean bandages.
  • Do not attempt to pop or lance (cut open with a sharp instrument) the boil at home.
  • Wash the area gently and often with a washcloth, but do not reuse washcloth.

What is a boil exactly?

A boil is an infection that develops inside the hair follicle. Therefore, boils can occur anywhere that you have hair, but are commonly found on the

  • face
  • armpit
  • thighs
  • buttocks
  • pubic area

A boil occurs in the hair follicle and pushes itself up towards the surface of the skin. The bump that results from the boil is filled with pus. If the infection spreads to hair follicles in the immediate area, the boil is classified as a carbuncle which is a cluster of boils.

How do you get boils?

Boils are caused by an infection that develops in the hair follicle. You have a higher risk if you have:

  • come in contact with staph bacteria
  • a weakened immune system
  • diabetes
  • eczema
  • shared personal items with someone who has boils
  • come in contact with surfaces that may carry bacteria such as wrestling mats, public showers or gym equipment.

Boils are not typically sexually transmitted. However, if you come in close contact with someone who has a boil that is leaking, you should wash with antibacterial soap as soon as possible.

You should encourage that person to keep the boil covered. The pus inside of a boil commonly carries contagious bacteria.

How do I treat a boil?

Boils can heal on their own with time, but usually need to drain in order to heal completely.

To help the boil heal quickly, apply warm compresses to the boil to help it open naturally and drain.

Do not pick or attempt to pop your boil as this will allow the pus to come in contact with other surfaces and spread infection. Be sure to keep the area clean and covered with sterile bandages.

If your boil does not heal on its own in two weeks, you may need to have the boil surgically lanced and drained. A doctor will make an incision in your boil to allow the pus to drain. The doctor may pack the wound with gauze to help soak up any excess pus.

Takeaway

Boils themselves are not contagious, but the pus and liquid inside of the boil can cause additional infection to yourself and others. The pus can contain bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus.

If you have a boil, keep the area clean and do not share personal items with other people.

Sharing towels or clothing that touches the area can cause the bacteria to spread to other people or other places on your body, which can result in more boils or other types of infections.


Shorlink’s Recommendation

Personal hygiene is our top recommendation to prevent boils from occurring. Commercial vessels all have (or are meant to have) an up to date medical supplies which include the drugs required to treat boils.

If you notice anything that is a potential boil tell the Master immediately so as you can be treated before serious issues develop.


Tip

Personal hygiene is key but so is ensuring you cloths, bedding, towels, etc. are kept clean and free from the bacteria that transmits boils.

Our best tip is to wash your cloths using a medicated anti-bacterial treatment in your washing machine. We strongly recommend using Seabreeze Puro Rinse which has been scientifically proven to kill the bacteria and fungi in your washing machine and your washing including cloths, bedding, etc.  Click Here to purchase for only $23.95 including free shipping!

As a commercial operator we’ve all had to deal with vessel inspections by marine agencies including AMSA, Fisheries and the Water Police.

While on most occasions you get through them without too much hassle there are times when we wonder what the hell some of these officers are talking about.

I think most of us have gotten disturbed at times and even downright angry at some of the things we get thrown at us.

I can say that in most cases the officers are not displaying any form of prejudice against you as a person. Unfortunately, I have to admit to being witness to an officer going out of his way to make life hard for an operator they believed should not be on the water!

Ordinary situations can be hard enough but when you have to deal with that sort of behaviour, its hard to keep your calm.

What’s important to remember is that the person undertaking the inspection is only doing their job and they are only human after all!

One of the biggest issues to deal with is consistency. What we’ve seen happen is an inspection being undertaken in one port and being given the “all good” then going to another port only to be told all these things are wrong.

The worst one is with SMS manuals, where officers out their twist on what they think should be in your SMS.

AMSA have an SMS Assessment check list that lays out what they need to ensure is in your SMS. That’s what they should be sticking too!

So… how do we deal with onboard inspections?   

Dealing with onboard inspections at any time can cause stress, especially when you feel things are not going so well, so below I’ve listed how I recommend ALL Owners, Masters and Crew Members to respond.

During an onboard inspection I always recommend all persons involved to remain calm and respect the officers conducting the inspection, even if you disagree with their decisions.

Actions and reactions

  • Keep calm at all times
  • Don’t blow your stack no matter what
  • If you disagree with something ask them for an explanation
  • If something is found to be non-compliant or unsafe ask to be shown what it is and have them explain to you if you’re uncertain
  • If you feel the officer has been unjust or wrong in some way don’t argue about it. Let them know your concerns and ask for clarification
  • If you’re issued with a Report of Inspection with defects listed, make sure you have anything you don’t understand explained to you
  • Being issued with an order to return to port or tying up the vessel up for any reason accept it, don’t argue with the officer and follow the direction then deal with whatever was the cause
  • If you feel any decision is wrong, first follow the instructions then you can report it to AMSA but ensure you are clear about the issue have all the facts together to support your case. Be clear and concise!
  • In relation to SMS Manuals be aware that officers are viewing them to ensure they have all the required information relevant to your vessel and its operations. They are not meant to go through procedures and issue instructions about them. They may make suggestions but remember for DCV’s there is no actual approval system in place.

If you follow the above your onboard inspections will go much easier, no matter what the outcome is!


Shorlink’s Recommendation

My number one recommendation is to follow the guideline above but if you feel there is a problem with any notices given during an inspection the I strongly recommend you contact our office for advice immediately.

We have the experience and knowledge in dealing with these matters and can make life easier for you. If you have an inspection scheduled and would like assistance in dealing with it then you can arrange for us to be onboard during the inspection (based upon availability).


Tip

Safety Management Systems (SMS) are one of the biggest issues with vessel owners and operators at present due to AMSA’s increase monitoring of them.

For those who aren’t clients, my tip is to have us undertake a FREE assessment of your SMS so we can point you in the right direction. Feel free to send us a copy to sms@shorlink.com and we would be happy to assess and advise!

If you’ve received a MO504 SMS Assessment and there are items listed as “not met” then our tip is to send them to us if you’re unsure about what’s required ASAP.

Among the many question we get another common one is “what is a DP?”

DP stands for Designated Person which used to be called Designated Person Ashore (DPA) but for DCV’s a DP can be the owner operator and may be onboard when at sea.

Section 4 of Marine Order 504 specifies:

“The owner of a vessel must designate a person to be responsible for monitoring the safety of the vessel, the environment and all persons on or near the vessel and ensuring appropriate resources and shore support are provided to the vessel.”

What’s required to be a DP?

Ideally a DP will have a solid working knowledge of the vessel, its operations and crew requirements so as to be able to provide appropriate assistance and/or advice to the crew in the event of an emergency situation.

While this is the ideal situation it’s not always possible for owner operators as they are usually the ones that have all the knowledge about their vessel and operations. In these situations its quite often the wife or partner who is listed as the DP.

Larger organisations and multi-vessel operators usually have someone who is up to speed with the organisations vessels and operations and is listed as the DP. These people usually have the knowledge and resources to deal with emergency situation efficiently.

No matter whether you’re a single vessel operator or operate multiple vessels your DP must have the owners authority and resources to act in emergency situations involving the safety of the vessel, all persons onboard, infra structure and the environment.

And the good part is to ensure your DP is available at all times when your vessel is operating which for many operators this means 24 hours a day, 7 days a week! If you’re a DP you must answer all calls from the vessels when they are operational, the safety of the vessel and/or persons onboard may depend on it!


Shorlink’s Recommendation

Ensure your DP has the appropriate authority to act in the event of an emergency situation as well as the resources that may be needed.

Have a list of emergency contact numbers ready including emergency services (Police, Ambulance and Fire) 000 and any other numbers that can assist in specific situations; e.g., mechanics, volunteer marine rescue organisations, etc.


Tip

Our best tip is to have an alternative DP listed in your SMS in the event the primary DP is unavailable for any reason whatsoever.

If you and your partner take holidays together and you’re listed as primary and alternative DP’s then you may have an issue with who deals with an emergency situation if both parties are absent.