What Is the Safety Management System SMS?

What Is The Safety Management System SMS - Merchant Navy Info - Blog

Maritime transportation is exposed to various risks. Therefore, SMS meaning maritime, ensures the safety of crew and passengers. It also protects the business from compensation claims in case of accidents. Shipping companies have faced increasing pressure in recent years to ensure the safety of passengers and vessels. Although the number of vessel losses has dropped dramatically in the past decade, the number of actual accidents remains high and increases every year.

What Is A Maritime Safety Management System

An SMS, meaning maritime, is a set of processes and procedures used by maritime companies to manage risk and improve safety. It is similar to a security management system for land-based operations but is aimed specifically at the maritime industry.

A SMS Contains Three Main Components: 

Policies And Procedures:

It defines how the company will identify and operate against risks.

Security Management Plan:

It outlines the company’s specific measures to mitigate risks.

Security Control Measures:

The details of the company’s procedures and processes.

What Safety Risks Can A Company Address Using A Maritime Safety Management System?

Today, ships are benefiting from being built much better than ever before. They are also harnessing the power of technology. However, to address these and other risks, they need to improve how they use SMS meaning maritime : 

  1. Engine or machinery failure 
  2. Fire and explosion 
  3. Collision with other vessels or obstacles at sea 
  4. Cargo loss 
  5. Injury to passengers and workers 

Is There A Legal Requirement For Marine Safety Management Systems?

Around the world, each sovereign nation decides which ships require an SMS, which means maritime, and what these security systems should include. In the United States, it is a legal requirement for all commercial ships owned by US companies and all foreign ships operating within US jurisdiction. Ship-owning companies and their representatives can develop an SMS, which means maritime, that meets their specific needs. The details depend on the ship type, purpose and cargo. Benefits of automated data capture Digital checklists, forms and circulars Instant distribution of latest versions Data synchronisation between shipboard and shore offices. 

What Should Be Included In The Various Sections Of A Maritime Safety Management System

Some companies may divide the sections based on the three elements above. Others organise the information to answer more than one component where possible. Review these sections and the specific information they contain:

General Information 

This section should include your company name, carrier type, location and contact information. It may also outline the purpose of the maritime SMS.

SMS Validation: 

This section contains information on verifying and checking the SMS. It establishes procedures for keeping the document up to date.

Personnel And Resources:

This section should identify your maritime SMS team. The team typically consists of the ship’s safety officer, the Master and other senior staff.


The SMS documents the key responsibilities of the two key units. Identifying the specific duties of each person ensures more effective management and allows for a proactive approach to resolving potential liability issues.

Designated Person: 

This person’s primary task is to review and update the SMS, which means maritime. This section should include the person’s specific role on the vessel and their relationship to the unit and the owner.


The role of the Master can vary widely depending on whether the person doubles as a tasked person or is the only leader on board the ship.

Typical Responsibilities Include: 

  1. Motivating the crew 
  2. Ensuring compliance with safety guidelines 
  3. Monitoring and resolving environmental issues 
  4. Reviewing and updating the SMS 

The Company:

This section describes how the company supports the Master and personnel in carrying out their duties. If the company, Master or appointed person is not the owner of the vessel, information about the vessel owner must also be provided.

Safety And Environmental Guidelines

Vessels can cause destruction to the marine environment. The SMS writer here includes ways to reduce the impact of offshore operations.


There are three main procedures described in the SMS. This shows the importance of both proactive and emergency response processes.

Operational Procedures 

These procedures refer to the daily actions taken by the crew to ensure safety on board the ship. They also detail who is responsible for which task. Some of the operational tasks that are covered in this section are: 

  1. Obtaining Permits 
  2. Reducing Safety Risks 
  3. Reducing Environmental Risks 
  4. Conducting Inspections 

Emergency Procedures 

Safety measures do not cover all possible risks. So, this section explains who has what responsibility in case of an emergency. It also details the emergency response measures. Examples of emergency situations that require special procedures include floods, rescue operations, fires, biological contamination, etc.

Reporting Procedures 

This section describes how to document and report incidents that occur. It also describes what should be in the report and who should receive the report.


This section details the documentation process. It also describes where to store the SMS meaning maritime and where the associated documentation is located.

What Are The Best Practices For Marine SMS Maintenance

No system works well enough to do this without maintenance. These best practices can simplify the process.

Routine Maintenance 

Have a qualified person check the SMS at least once a year. This person should be familiar with maritime safety and environmental regulations such as B, The SMS guidelines of the ISM Code. You also need to have a good knowledge of SMS.

Central Storage 

Store all your documents in one place. This makes it easier to find what you need and update your SMS if necessary. It also reduces the risk of misplacing or losing documents.

Full Involvement 

Marine SMS includes everyone involved: everyone from the shipowner to the crew. By involving everyone, you will be able to better understand what works, what doesn’t work and what needs to be changed.

What Are The Benefits Of Marine SMS

Marine SMS improves communication between all involved parties. This ensures that everyone is aware of their roles and responsibilities. Establishing roles reduces confusion in high-risk situations and allows for more effective emergency responses. Secondly, maritime SMS plays a vital role in protecting delicate marine ecosystems. This requires companies to consider the environmental impact of their maritime activities and take practical steps to manage it. Finally, naval fleet management software can improve the efficiency of naval operations, especially if companies use security management system software. Detailed instructions can help sailors avoid delays and other issues. This improves the bottom line. 

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