Safety Management Systems for Yachts

Under the ISM code, each Commercial Yacht over 500 GT is required to have a Safety Management System (SMS) in place. The system demonstrates compliance with regulations that control safety, environmental protection and communication with land-based support.

However, for yachts which are less than 500 GT, a Mini ISM is required where full certification to the International Safety Management Code is not required



Safety Management Systems for Yachts | Consult Maritime LLC
Safety Management Systems for Yachts | Consult Maritime LLC

Owning and operating a yacht requires numerous safety and compliance considerations concerning the maritime codes (ISM/ISPS) and Flag State regulations.

A mini-ISM is a safety management system based on the ISM Code but tailored specifically to the needs of commercial yachts or vessels registered as private with limited charter usage over 24 meters and under 500 GT which otherwise, under international maritime law, have to comply with a full ISM system.


The purpose of a mini-ISM system is to:


- Promote and ensure safety at sea for the yacht’s crew and guests and third parties

- Avoid damage to the yacht and properties

- Avoid damage to the environment


The key operational requirements of the system are as follows:


  • It should be simple and easy to understand by all users

  • It must be yacht specific and be owned by and developed by the yacht

  • It must be used and updated (during annual flag state surveys the system will be checked to ensure that it is being used)

  • It must be reviewed by the owner at least once every three years


mini-ISM system is to be used as a genuine tool to improve the safety and quality of the vessel’s operation the template should require significant re-writing and adapting to specific onboard requirements, culture and unique threats.


Consult Maritime can assist yacht owners and managers with the implementation of a bespoke mini-ISM as stand-alone system and will provide the necessary expertise to ensure the regulations are completely complied with.