Since its inception in 1999 Seawork is renowned as a show where some of the biggest names in the commercial marine industry launch products and tell their stories to a global audience. It is also the place where innovation is celebrated and lesser-known companies or individuals are given a platform to showcase products that could have a significant impact across the industry.
This week at Seawork is no different with the launch of the innovative app based system ‘BoatChecks’ which has been developed as a fully digital solution for compliance with a number of key marine Safety Management System regulations. The system has been specifically designed for smaller vessels that need to comply with the Passenger Ships Domestic Safety Management Code, the Workboat Code, Vessels operating under MGN 280, Fishing Vessels and the IPV code.
The brainchild of passenger boat operator John Peacock of St Agnes Boating in the Isles of Scilly and Ben Lake a compliance and cyber secruity engineer from Cornwall, the system takes the form of a cloud-based desktop administrator interface for the Designated Person Ashore (DPA) and a mobile phone app for onboard crews. Crew members working on vessels can undertake tasks for period maintenance reporting, daily prestart checks, periodic crew training, Incident reporting, defect reporting as well as viewing all certification and documentation required for both crews and vessels. This is all done on a crew member’s existing mobile phone or tablet without the need for an onboard computer network or Wi-Fi connection. The DPA is able to monitor all tasks reported onboard the vessels and quickly view all noncompliance issues. During regulatory audits the system reports provides the auditor with a snapshot of system compliance.
Speaking to John Peacock about the new launch he explained: “We’ve been working on this for over five years and the principal driver was my concern about the environment and our impact within the industry. I’m from the Isles of Scilly and I wanted to keep our beautiful islands clean.
“One of the very obvious things to us was looking at the carbon offset and reducing down the paper we use on boats. As an example, we produce about 50 pages of paper for a log book, plus we also hold onboard a vessel about 1,000 pages of text which we need to remain legally operational. There is also a big document of 543 pages long which every ship has to carry. Every day you have to do checks from vessels to crew, so you can imagine there is a continuous amount of paper.
“Our conclusion following this was to create an app which could be fully functional from a mobile phone, which is what makes our product completely unique. Every crew member has a mobile nowadays so you don’t need to invest in costly infrastructure and, whereas lots of different paper is hard to interpret, this streamlines everything into one place.”
The cost of the app is £1,000 per vessel, although multiple operators will be offered a discount.
So, what capabilities can users expect? Peacock continues: “everything that requires regulations will be accounted for via the ap which includes crew checks, vessel checks, staff information, documentation; the whole lot. Users can tick off all the listed components but if there’s something more in depth they can add photos or videos. If a surveyor comes onboard and asks for any vessel certificates you can have the paperwork to hand. We can also log trips from one point to another which is another really key benefit to the BoatCheck system because in 2023 every passenger boat in the UK will have to have digitally transfer their numbers of passengers to the MCA. Currently no other product is available to do this, so we’re first to market with this.
“The app will also allow users to see how long someone has been working on a vessel and with the Working Time Directive stipulating how long someone can legally work for, you can record how long someone has been onboard and if they are compliant.”
This is Peacock’s first Seawork and he knew that this was the place he wanted to launch the new App. He explains: This is the place you can connect with everyone in the industry; there are very few places you can really do this and connect so quickly with the right people. I do have a stand but it’s all about the networking for me and getting conversations going.”