A common mistake we often see when reviewing or auditing SMS manual is the grouping of procedures, in particular emergency procedures.

The most common one we see is the grouping together of collision and grounding which sometimes often includes flooding! Let’s look at them individually.


Collisions are when a vessel comes into contact with:

  • Another vessel
  • Navigational aids including beacons, poles and markers
  • A wharf, pontoon or other structure
  • An oyster lease or other aquaculture facility
  • A marine creature such a whale, etc.

A collision can best be described as hitting or colliding with a solid object such as another vessel, navigational aid, infrastructure or a marine creature!

Collisions, in the most part are avoidable by ensuring a proper lookout is maintained at all times when underway and at anchor!

Underway means when not secured to a marina or pole berth, mooring or at anchor. You are underway even if you not secured to any of the items above and do not have your motor running!


A grounding can be described as a vessel coming into contact with:

  • the mainland
  • an island
  • coral reef
  • sand or mud bank.

A grounding can be described as running into a land mass, reef or sand or mud bank!

Groundings as with collisions are avoidable when a proper lookout is maintained in conjunction with good navigational practice.

Good navigational practice means either local knowledge or consulting the chart for the area where you are operating.

By consulting the chart, you will be able to identify all areas where potential grounding may occur and avoid the embarrassment of being left high and dry.

So now I hope you can differentiate between a collision and a grounding and realise that there a two separate procedures required.

The other interesting thing is we often see flooding grouped with collision and grounding. While flooding can occur in either of these  incidents it is again a separate procedure and should not be grouped together with other procedures.

Shorlink’s Recommendation

We recommend you check your SMS to ensure that collision and grounding (and flooding) are not grouped together in one procedure. If they are you need to separate them and develop individual collision and grounding procedures.


When developing a grounding procedure, we recommend you take into account the seabed structures in your areas of operations and reference how you re-float your vessel.

Ensure you are familiar with the areas you operate in including local sea life, navigational aids, infrastructure, land masses, reefs and shallow water areas.

Remember that hazards are NOT risks!

They are different things which many people confuse as the same.

Systematic approach to the management of hazards and associated risks.

The aim of the process is to minimise the likelihood of a risk to an acceptable level.

The risk management process includes:

  • Identification of the hazard (see last week’s newsletter)
  • Identification of the associated risk or risks

Assessment of the risk

  • the likelihood
  • the consequence

Control of the risk

Using the hierarchy of control measures in order of preference

  • Elimination
  • Substitution
  • Isolation
  • Engineering controls
  • Administrative control (such as SOP’s or training)
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Risk Identification

A couple of common risks:

  1. Hazard: Frayed wires on electrical items
    Risk: Operator may receive electrical shocks or be electrocuted
  2. Hazard: Unguarded drums on a winch
    Risk: A persons may have a body part drawn in and crushed

Risk assessment

First step is to evaluate the likelihood of an injury occurring.

The second step is to the probable consequences.

The two key factors for risk assessment are:

  1. The likely severity or impact of any injury/illness resulting from the hazard; and
  2. The probability or likelihood that the injury/illness will actually occur

A simple risk matrix that is commonly used which cross references likelihood and impact, enables risks to be assessed against these two factors and identified as one of the following:

  • a critical risk
  • a high risk
  • a moderate risk
  • a low risk
  • a very low risk

Please note that the risk assessments undertaken by Shorlink are more complex than the matrix above.

We incorporate an “exposure” level as well. This adds another layer in the risk assessment process and makes it more real.

Risk control

Risk that are assessed and identified as Critical or High risks, require urgent action which may include:

  • an instruction to cease work immediately
  • isolation of the hazard until permanent measures can be put in place

Risk Control Hierarchy

Elimination of the hazard is 100% effective but not always achievable

Substitution of the hazard: e.g., replacing solvent based printing inks with water based ones.

Isolation of hazard: e.g., isolating a piece of machinery where only trained workers have access.

Engineering controls: e.g., installation of guards on machinery.

Administrative controls: includes training and education

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): includes safety glasses/goggles, hearing protection, etc.

Once you have your risk assessments in place remember to review them every three years or if new risks are identified, changes are made to procedures or new operations are started.

Shorlink’s Recommendation

Our top recommendation is that if you, like many businesses, find there are a lot of improvements that you could make – both big and small, don’t try to do everything at once. Make a plan of action to deal with the most important things first.

Secondly, be sure to document your plan of action and set realistic dates based on the level of severity.


A good tip for a plan of action includes a mixture of different things including but not limited to:

  • priority and quick action to hazards identified as high or critical risks
  • a few easy improvements that can be undertaken quickly as a temporary solution until more reliable controls are in place
  • long term solutions to those risk with the worst potential consequences or cause accidents or illness.

Always remember, if you need help with hazard identification or undertaking risk assessment simply contact or office as we are here to help YOU stay safe!

The documents required by AMSA today and, with so many options of hard copies versus electronic it’s difficult to completely understand what is required onboard.

We have listed the primary documents that should be carried onboard  Domestic Commercial Vessels (DCV) at all times:

  1. Vessel Certificate 

    You must always carry your vessel’s Certificate of Operation (CoO) and/or Certificate of Survey (CoS) on board. This can be in hard copy or an electronic version, such as a copy on your smart phone.
    Your vessel’s certificates and surveys must be available upon request by an AMSA inspector or their compliance partners.

  1. Permissions 

    Any permissions relevant to your vessel’s operations; e.g., landing permits for specific locations, etc., must always be carried onboard. As with Certificates these may be in hard copy or an electronic version, such as a copy on your smart phone.

  1. Safety Management System 

    All DCV are required to have a Safety Management System (SMS) that complies with Marine Order 504 (MO504) Again this may be in hard copy or an electronic version.

  1. Vessel/Deck Log Book 

    All commercial vessels are required to have a vessel or deck log book in which they are required to record specific information (see our newsletter dated 15/03/2022 for details).

  1. Maintenance Log 

    All maintenance must be recorded either in a dedicated form in your SMS, a Maintenance Log Book or in an electronic maintenance program.

  1. Sewage Management Plan 

    All declared Ships must ensure they have a Sewage Management Plan onboard and available for inspection.All vessels, including recreational and commercial vessels that are fitted with sewage treatment system must ensure they have the appropriate documentation and follow specific guidelines.

    What is a Declared Ship?

    A declared ship has a fixed toilet and is:

  • a domestic commercial vessel with a certificate of operation issued, or taken to be issued, under the Marine Safety (Domestic Commercial Vessel) National Law Act 2012 stating it is a class 1B, 1C, 1D, 1E, 4C, 4D or 4E ship, or
  • any other Queensland regulated ship regulated under the Transport Operations (Marine Safety) Act 1994 and Transport Operations (Marine Safety) Regulation 2016 designed to carry more than 12 passengers.
  1. Copies and/or receipts for serviceable items service for inflatable life rafts, electrical installations, fire extinguishers, EPIRB,

Shorlink’s Recommendation

Number one recommendation is to ensure you have ALL the required documents onboard at all times. You must be able to present the relevant documents to AMSA or their delegates when asked.

Secondly it’s not good enough to just have them onboard, they must be up to date which means you need to ensure your SMS is reviewed annually and your log books are filled in daily when operational.


If for any reason you are unsure about exactly what you require on your vessel, what format is best for you (hard copy or electronic) or anything in relation to documents required don’t hesitate to contact our office!

Crossing a coastal bar can be an easy task or it can be one of the most dangerous parts of a voyage, so by ensuring you have the knowledge and a sound procedure in place lessens the dangers!

Coastal bars build up at the entrance to coastal rivers and are formed by the movement of sand and sediments. They cause waves to become steeper and often break as they approach the bar. Bars can change quickly and without warning making any crossing dangerous!

Any crossing of a coastal bar can be a dangerous event even when it appears calm. Bars can produce dangerous waves that have the potential cause injury or loss of life and severe damage to or loss of vessels.

All bars are different and remember that slow displacement vessels handle bars differently than high speed planning vessels do.

Going out

The vessel must match the energy of each incoming wave by maintaining a speed that will lift the bow over the wave and reduce the chance of the wave breaking over the bow into the vessel.

Do not hit waves at high speed but take them as close to head-on as possible. Be prepared to take a wave head-on and take water over the bow if there is no other way.

A guideline for you when crossing a bar:

  • cross on an incoming tide when possible
  • look for lulls and choose the line of least wave activity and avoid breaking waves or the calmest water
  • look for the deepest water to avoid grounding
  • keep your vessel head-on to approaching waves. Do not let your vessel turn side on to approaching waves
  • head up into the waves and accelerate where possible, but avoid getting airborne
  • head for the lowest part of the wave and continue until clear.

Coming in

When coming in, high-speed boats (capable of at least 18 knots) should travel at the same speed as the waves.

Slow displacement boats may have to come in very slowly to avoid surfing and getting caught side-on to a wave.

Try to travel in on the back of a wave and stay ahead of waves that break behind the boat. Watch for patterns and deeper areas.

When returning over a bar you should:

  • look for lulls and choose the route of least wave activity
  • look for the deepest water to avoid grounding
  • increase power to maintain speed within the set of waves when approaching from the sea
  • position the boat on the back of the wave – do not surf down the face of the wave
  • adjust the boat’s speed to match the speed of the waves, but do not try to overtake the waves.

In bad conditions, it can be safer to stand off in deeper water, or find another shelter, instead of re-crossing the bar.

For passenger vessels

If you’re operating a passenger vessel and carrying passengers when crossing a coastal bar, it’s critical that you notify all passengers that you are about to cross a bar.

In all but calm weather, advise them to be seated and hold on until advised the bar crossing has been completed. When the bar crossing has been completed advise passengers that the bar crossing has been completed.

Never, at any time allow passenger on the bow area when crossing a coastal bar!

Shorlink’s Recommendation

We strongly recommend that when crossing a bar everyone should wear a lifejacket as no matter the size of your vessel there is always the potential for capsize, especially on rough days! Remember putting a lifejacket on in the water is difficult but putting one in in rough seas is almost impossible!

Choose your route carefully and once you have started keep going as attempting to turn around in front of an incoming wave is dangerous.


Our vital tips for crossing coastal bars.

  • Check the tide and weather
  • Check your vessels steering
  • Check your vessels engine/s and controls
  • Ensure your vessels trim is appropriate
  • Secure all cargo, equipment and other items that may move around
  • Ensure all lines are secure and not likely to go overboard

I’m regularly asked, “what’s the difference between an enclosed space and a confined space?”

SO…here’s my response…

What is Enclosed Space?

An enclosed space is defined as any enclosed space that has limited openings for entry or exit, inadequate ventilation and is not designed for regular occupancy.

Because of the lack of ventilation within enclosed spaces, these areas generate and store toxic gases that are either produced from chemicals within the place or from leakage out of surrounding pipelines.

Air movement is almost entirely limited, meaning any flammable atmosphere is unable to be dispersed.

What is Confined Space?

A confined space is any enclosed or partially enclosed space with normal atmospheric pressure not designed or intended to be occupied by a person.

Confined spaces are likely to contain an atmosphere with unsafe oxygen levels and can often contain contaminants such as airborne gases, which can cause injury or death.

Similar to that of enclosed spaces, the possibility of engulfment within confined spaces is very real. Thus, it is crucial that occupants of confined spaces have a strong understanding of precaution, working safety equipment and solid communication processes with colleagues in place.

Examples of confined spaces include pits, underground sewers, tunnels, wells, tanks, etc.

On your vessel

As you can see from the above both have a lot of similar properties therefore require a number of the same safety precautions. Below are the four most prevalent hazards when entering enclosed or confined spaces.

  1. Fuel fumes: Fumes from fuel, in particular gasoline are a major hazard. Highly volatile and a leading cause of marine related explosions and fires, gasoline fumes, which are heavier than air, can easily accumulate in a vessel’s bilge due to improper refuelling or fuel system leaks. There, it’s only a spark away from causing a fire or explosion.
  2. Liquid Propane Gas (LPG): LPG vapor is heavier than air and tends to “flow” like water, seeking the lowest possible point. As a boat’s hull is essentially a watertight envelope, escaping LPG can be trapped in bilges or other low areas, where they can rapidly accumulate to explosive concentrations.
  3. Carbon Monoxide: Carbon monoxide (CO) is a potentially lethal gas produced when burning any carbon-based fuel (e.g., gasoline, wood, propane). CO is colourless, odorless, and tasteless, and mixes evenly with air, meaning it readily travels throughout a boat’s interior spaces. CO enters the body through the lungs and is readily absorbed into the bloodstream, where it displaces oxygen levels in the body and can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.
  4. Hydrogen Sulfide: Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is a colourless, toxic gas that is also flammable and highly corrosive. Symptoms of H2S exposure include skin and eye irritation, headaches, loss of balance, nausea, delirium, tremors, and convulsions. Inhalation of high concentrations of H2S can lead to rapid unconsciousness and death. H2S gas occurs naturally during the breakdown of organic matter.

How do I stay safe?

The first question is to ask, “is it an enclosed or confined space?”

Question number two is “what hazards are there when I enter the space?”

Let’s look at a couple of different scenarios for enclosed spaces…

  1. The bilge space of a vessel under 35mtr. My quick check list
  • open the relevant hatch, ensure the hatch is fully open and secured in place
  • ventilate the space
  • check if there are any noticeable fumes
  • advise another person that I’m entering the space
  • have a person stand watch
  1. The engine room on a vessel under 35mtr. This depends on if the engine room has ventilation/ extraction fans. My quick check lists follow…

With fans:

  • open the relevant hatch, ensure the hatch is fully open and secured in place
  • advise another person that I’m entering the space
  • have a person stand watch

Without fans:

  • open the relevant hatch, ensure the hatch is fully open and secured in place
  • ventilate the space
  • check if there are any noticeable fumes
  • advise another person that I’m entering the space
  • have a person stand watch(if necessary)

Confined Spaces

NO person should enter a confined space without the appropriate training. It’s critical that if you have confined spaces on your vessel you have a dedicated procedure for entering them. The key steps for entering any confined space are:

  • Ensure any person entering the confined space has the appropriate training
  • Complete a “Confined Space Entry Permit”
  • Undertake a Risk Assessment (this is part of the Entry Permit)
  • Ventilate the space
  • Test the air quality using certified testing equipment
  • Having lighting equipment available if required
  • Use breathing apparatus if required
  • Ensure clear communications
  • Ensure there are rescue procedures in place

This list is not comprehensive but only a guideline for entering confined spaces

Shorlink’s Recommendation

Number one recommendation is if you have confined spaces on your vessel or in the workplace ensure you have a procedure for entry and the required equipment and documentation available.

Failure to complete a Confined Space Entry Permit, including a Risk Assessment leaves you in a dangerous position in the event of an incident.


If you have confined spaces our tip is to have at least one person trained in confined space entry available. In the event entry is required you have a qualified person available to deal with potential hazardous issues.

The alternative is to have a person or company readily available if the need arises!

Commercial fishing vessels and some other vessels have refrigerated holds which may be set to anywhere from 0°C to 3°C on average. Freezer holds can go from -2°C to -60°C or even lower in some cases.

So how safe is it to work in these holds?


If you follow a series of proven steps it’s very safe and crew have been doing it for years but…there are a few hazards that need to be monitored.

If you’re working in a refrigerated hold where the temperature is 0°C to 3°C on average there is no real need for all the PPE unless you’re going to be there for an extended period.

Working in a freezer hold is a whole different world where temperatures from -2°C to -60°C or even lower are maintained PPE is essential.

How does your body respond to the cold?

While this newsletter is about refrigerated holds this part is also relevant to being in the water!

When the body is exposed to the cold, it responds in two way to reduce heat loss:

  1. By constricting the blood vessels in the skin and extremities (fingers and toes) to keep your core as warm as possible: and
  2. By increasing the metabolic heat product rate, either by physical work you are doing, or by shivering. Shivering is an independent way of increasing your heat production through as it increases oxygen consumption and reduces your effectiveness.

As your body responds in these ways, it is using more energy than it would in ambient temperatures. Hence, it is burning food and drink faster and will tire faster.

The serious risks of working in cold environments

If you stay in cold environments for extended periods of time and/or are not wearing suitable protective clothing, your body may be at risk of more serious implications. These can include:

  • Frostbite. This is where the fluids in the body tissues actually freeze, causing permanent damage to the skin. Body parts at the most risk to this are the extremities; fingers, toes, the nose and the ear lobes.

  • Hypothermia. This is where your body temperature decreases significantly (below 35°C) and can ultimately (and quickly) lead to death. Early symptoms include confused though processes, loss of general motor control, slurred speech, aggressive shivering and a perception the victim feels hot. Hypothermia is rare in cold storage however and can be avoided through protective clothing that is adequate, and importantly, not damp or wet.
  • Long term conditions. Conditions such as arthritis, rheumatism and bronchitis are commonly associated with the cold, and may only come out years after working in the cold. Muscle and tissue damage can also occur.

Other factors for cold storage facilities

Cold Stores and Warehouses often have poor ventilation, which presents a hazard. Any gases or contaminants, such as LPG or fumes from forklifts, will not easily escape and could be dangerous for those working in the room.

Another thing to consider is ammonia is often used for refrigeration which can be deadly, should there be a leak on site. If you are worried about any irritating smells inside the cold store you should report them quickly to your supervisor.

Another area to focus on is door openings between different areas. Because of the changes in temperatures or conditions, ice/water/condensation can build up in these areas, making them extremely slippery and dangerous.

Back to the boats!

It’s critical that if you have cold storage on your vessel that you have a procedure to ensure the safety of your crew when entering and working in the refrigerated hold.

Here’s a few key point to observe:

  • Always notify someone that you are about to enter the refrigerated hold
  • Ensure you have another crew member in attendance while you are in the hold
  • Prior to entry ensure you have the appropriate PPE
  • Test the space prior to entering if you have the appropriate gas meter
  • Be aware of refrigeration gas, remember it colourless, odourless and can kill you. While some newer gases are less potent than the older ones still remain alert at all times
  • While working in the refrigerated hold the hatch must be left open
  • Do not enter a refrigerated hold if you see a crew member fall down due to refrigeration gas poisoning

Shorlink’s Recommendation

Our top recommendation is if you have refrigeration onboard it’s wise to carry an Emergency Life Support Apparatus (ELSA). By donning the ELSA, you have 15 minutes (or other time based on the brand) which allows you to enter the hold to rescue a crew member safely.


If you have refrigeration onboard remember it’s not just the refrigerated compartment that presents a potential problem. It may be the engine room or other area where the refrigeration equipment is located. So, at all times remain aware of potential refrigeration gas leaks.

Whether a commercial or domestic vessel, when you are the Skipper/Master, you are responsible.

Skippers are responsible for:

  1. The Safety of their Vessel
  2. All those on board
  3. Other water users operating nearby

Skippers have direct control over the major factors which contribute to incidents on the water, and must do their part to reduce incidents and deaths by:

  • Taking control.
  • Always observing the regulations.
  • Meeting the safety requirements for their vessel.


      • Check the weather and tides. If in doubt about any of the conditions, don’t go.
      • Tell someone where you plan to go and when you intend to return. If your plans change, let them know.
      • Make sure your boat is suitable and capable of making the trip.
      • Carry all necessary supplies such as fuel, food and water in case of an emergency.
      • Study a chart or local boating guide of the waters you intend cruising.
      • Are you familiar with the many dangers on the water?
      • Check for rocks or submerged obstructions and various speed limits and local laws.
      • Ensure that all safety equipment is operational and in easy reach.
      • Let everyone know what safety equipment is carried, where it is stored and how it works.
      • Check, and double check, that your craft is not overloaded.
      • Check that your marine radio works.
      • Maintain boat stability by centrally loading your boat.
      • Make sure you and your crew can handle the boat properly.
      • Be sure lifejackets fit all passengers properly and are in easy reach, in bad weather, when boating alone, if you are a weak swimmer or when you are not comfortable they should be worn at all times.
      • Consider the needs of all of your passengers. Do they have any special medical problems? Are they prone to sea sickness?
      • You can delegate various jobs to people on board, this adds to the fun of a voyage as well as giving every person a sense of responsibility.
      • A final check of basic mechanics. Has there been regular maintenance, particularly on the steering gear?

Shorlink’s Recommendation

It’s very simply recommendation this week.

Know your responsibilities, respect them.

Every Skipper in the marine industry should adhere to not only the AMSA and Department of Transport regulations, but your own/companies as well.  Please ensure all staff are aware of these.

Make sure yourself and your crew understand your responsibility as the Skipper and always adhere to your commands.  These commands are to protect and ensure your responsibility is met at all times.



Either download, print, laminate and display the Skipper Responsibility Checklist on your vessel.

Or email us today for a copy.

We often get asked “how important are Annual Reviews?”

The simple answer is they are not only important, they are critical!

ALL Safety Management Systems including those developed for Domestic Commercial Vessels (DCV) under Marine Order 504 and the ones developed for workplaces under Work Health and Safety are required to undergo an Annual Review or Audit.

Failure to complete your Annual Review or Audit leaves you non-compliant and exposed to legal action in the event of an incident or accident.

With AMSA having made changes to MO504 during the last 12 months it’s critical that your manuals are updated to incorporate the changes to ensure you are compliant and protected.

The Annual Review is also more important than ever due to:

  • Increased monitoring activity by AMSA, Fisheries and Water Police;
  • Poor recording of follow-up’s to incidents. Refer to Section 9 in your SMS; and
  • AMSA bringing in Work Health and Safety in the event of a marine incident.

When reviewing your SMS, here at Shorlink we incorporate the following…

  1. Any Legislative changes or updates;
  2. Any improvements that we may have developed since delivering your SMS;
  3. Modifications to any existing procedures where changes may have been made;
  4. Inclusion of any new procedures that may be required;
  5. Incorporating any incidents into Section 9 (if required)
  6. Updating the Annual Review form.

While having a compliant Safety Management System in place is great, ‘keeping it compliant’ is something else!

If you would like us to undertake the review as a matter of priority, would you please contact our office immediately.

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 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!


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, especially this year.  If you are unsure, send us an email today with your current SMS, and we can assess for free and advise of any changes required.

I know we’ve been over this before, but as it’s the start of a New Year.

Getting on top of all of these things should be a priority for all business owners and operators!


While this is a bit lengthy I strongly urge anyone who owns, operates or manages a business to read this newsletter to the end.


If you have your workplace safety management systems in place that’s great but…

are they up to date?

Have you completed your annual review or just hoping it’s all good?


Don’t have a safety management system in place then you’re at risk of some very heavy penalties if there’s an incident or accident in your workplace!

Here’s three reasons why an OHSMS must be in place in YOUR organisation:


  1. A Brisbane based company was fined $3 million for Industrial Manslaughter. A worker was killed in a forklift crush accident. The company did not have any safety systems or a traffic management plan. 
  2. Dreamworld was fined $3.6 million for 3 x category two offences. The Thunder River Rapids Ride accident killed four members of the public. They did have a safety management system in place but was not followed!
  3. A paper mill was fined $1.01 million for 2 x category two offences. Two workers died and a third was placed in mortal peril after being exposed to hydrogen sulphide in a tank.

The above fines do not include personal settlements, that of course, can be extremely costly!

Categories of offences

There are four categories of offences which I’ve outlined below. I’ve outlined these to demonstrate what penalties can be applied in Queensland. Other states and territories are similar!

Industrial Manslaughter

This is the highest penalty where a person or PCBU causes the death of a worker


Where a PCBU, or senior officer, commits industrial manslaughter, a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment for an individual, or $10 million for a body corporate, applies.

Category 1

This is the next highest penalty


  • For a corporation: up to $3 million
  • Individual as a person conducting a PCBU: up to $600,000 / 5 years jail
  • Individual (worker) Up to $300,000 / 5 years jail


Category 2

Failure to comply with a health and safety duty or electrical safety duty that exposes a person to risk of death, serious injury or illness. Offences will be prosecuted in the Magistrates Court.


  • For a corporation: up to $1.5 million
  • Individual as a person conducting a PCBU: up to $300,000
  • Individual (worker) Up to $150,000


Category 3

Failure to comply with a health and safety duty or electrical safety duty. Offences will be prosecuted in the Magistrates Court.


  • For a corporation: up to $500,000
  • Individual as a person conducting a PCBU: up to $100,000
  • Individual (worker) Up to $50,000


The top five problems in safety management today!

  1. Safety culture: The over-riding focus on safety culture leads organisations to focus more on how much individual workers care about safety, rather than organisational resources on understanding and improving the conditions surrounding the work itself to manage tangible risks.


  1. Safety performance measures: An exclusive focus on measuring the workplace injuries that occur (which are often minor when compared with the serious risks workers face) pushes resources towards reacting to minor problems instead of proactively focusing on material risk reduction.


  1. Safety work: Investing in safety work activities, inspections, audits, investigations, training and risk assessments are often nothing more than a “tick and flick” exercise leading to a safety culture leading to safety clutter and disempowerment. At worst it creates the illusion of safety management that in turn makes organisations less safe.


  1. Safety communication: Top down broadcast style communication in organisations – including generic messages and platitudes – supress the flow of information from the front line people in the organisation with decision making authority. The people in the organisation with the knowledge on how to improve safety don’t have the power to do so and the people with the power don’t have the front line knowledge of what is best practice.


  1. Safety professionals: Safety managers and officers in organisations spend time on administrative tasks that make managers in the organisation feel safe without having any actual impact on how safe frontline workers are. Safety professionals are rarely involved in the strategic and operational decisions that have the most impact on creating the conditions for safety or reducing incidents within the organisation.


There is a clear pathway for your organisation to address these five problems with safety management today, and it will require a significant departure from current thinking about safety. Here’s a three point plan as a starting point to review your safety management approach.


  1. Focus on how work is done, not on the attitude of workers or safety processes;
  2. Understand the serious injury risks and build the psychological safety to communicate about their status openly and continually;
  3. Re-design the role safety professionals so they can proactively lead material risk reduction efforts.


Shorlink’s Recommendation

My main recommendation is to take into account the three point plan above and review your existing safety management system or if you don’t have one yet use those three points when developing yours.

Critical action is to do a complete review on your existing system to ensure it meets WHS legislation and has procedures that are developed based on “how the task is actually done” and up to date!

Secondly, if you don’t have a safety management system in place in your organisation it’s seriously time to get it underway…now! If in doubt go back and check the three reasons why to have an OHSMS in place.


There are a multitude of safety management companies and individuals out there trying to sell their wares and some are good while others not so good.

My number one tip is to do your homework before engaging anyone to do your safety management system and ensure they have hands on experience in your industry.

Engaging someone with a list of qualifications but NO industry experience has the potential to cause problems down the track and…it’s something I’ve witnessed a number of times before.


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!


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