Author: Kerrie Forster

Association Revisited: Creation of the Towage Good Practice Guides

Previous WA Chairman Mark Meade takes a look back at the creation and development of the Towage Good Practice Guides.

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“Essentially it was designed to be a very down to earth and practical guide, it had to be easy to read and could be used not only to initially educate someone, but be kept in a wheelhouse and referred to by Masters throughout their career, or used by Crew Members actively as a toolbox talk or training aid.”

How did the concept for the Towage Good Practice Guidelines originate, and what was your involvement?

Following on from some of the discussions at various Workboat Association meetings back in the early 2010’s, I had the idea that the Association had all the right experience to document best practice surrounding Towng, the opportunity being to create a really useful book for reference and education specific to Towing operations.

My next consideration was how to start to write it, thank fully I was given great support from Mark Ranson and Norman Finlay. We mentioned to the MCA via Jenny Vines that we were in the early stages of creating such a guide and she was pleasantly interested. She took an early (and very incomplete) draft to a couple of her colleagues who had operational Tug experience and they agreed to meet us. Together we reviewed the material and they offered suggestions based on information they had in circulation, for example; in their Guidance to Surveyors.

(I must admit, one or two suggestions I disagreed with from experience!) but that is part of the learning curve in making a industry Good Practice Guide, it benefits much more than one user (eg a Seafarer), the overall process was very helpful and it inspired me to include much more material.

How long did it take to create the original versions of the Towage Guides?

Doing it in between my normal day job meant that it did take a couple of years I think, but the advantage of that was – coming back to it from time to time, I could see with fresh eyes that there was much more to add and revise.

What were the main considerations for inclusion in the guides?

Essentially it was designed to be a very down to earth and practical guide, it had to be easy to read and could be used not only to initially educate someone, but be kept in a wheelhouse and referred to by Masters throughout their career, or used by Crew Members actively as a toolbox talk or training aid.

Who were the main people involved?

Originally it was Norman, Mark and myself, me writing it with valuable input from Norman and Mark acting as Editor. This was until Mark saw the excellent Stability Guide that Gareth Bonner had prepared internally for SMS Towage, we persuaded Gareth to allow for us to include it as an Annex to our document. With a few small editing suggestions to Gareth, the final version was fantastic, it is a really useful supplement, simple to understand but practical to the operation. Written by an active Seafarer with considerable operational Towing experience, for his peers; this is just what is needed when explaining something theoretically complicated like Stability.

Is there any ideas for future additions/ updates to the guides?

It was always intended to be a ‘living’ document and to be developed over time, though as to yet the documents still remain in their original format. I have started making a list of corrections and new opportunities for a future review, noting some small editorial mistakes since its printing.

A couple of years ago a group of WA members got together at the AGM and started a discussion on developing a guide for barge handling and ship assist towage with workboats, I have started some writing on this, focusing on the barge element – I need to push it along [good pun Mark] but I need input from the others in the group regarding ship assist towage. It’s not always easy to keep up momentum when we are all busy.

I believe there is also scope to develop a guide for anchor handling with Workboats. I know there are, for instance, particular techniques developed between ‘our guys’ in Holyhead Towing and some of the Pipelay Barge Masters we work with that cover anchor handling in very shallow waters. I need to discuss with the guys involved and ask them politely to write down a copy that I can share.

How can we obtain a copy of the Towage Guides currently completed?

Head to the Workboat Association website, on the Training and Good Practice page you will find, amongst lots of other brilliant information, a link to order the Towage Guides. They are available in Hard-copy format only, available to both members and non-members, Association members do get a notable discount.

Member Profile: Ruari McLachlan, McLachlan Marine

Ruari takes us into the world of McLachlan Marine, a Workboat Operator based in Aberdeen, Scotland.

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Who is McLachlan Marine, How did it start and when?

I grew up at Stonehaven Harbour, Aberdeenshire and have always had a passion for the sea. Following a mixed background with boats and volunteering for the RNLI, I pursued my commercial endorsements and entered the Workboat industry prior to starting the business in 2011.

The companies first boat was the Lady Gail II “a small sea angling business” know as Castle Charter & Marine Services in Stonehaven, I used my commercial experience to diversify into the Workboat industry via supporting Survey works, and since then we have expanded year on year and now operate and offer many diverse contracts. 

Due to our independent capabilities, innovation, and flexibility, along with the excellent customer service we have succeeded with rapid growth.

What is your operational expertise?

Our main experience is Seabed Surveys, Safety boats, Marine civils support and Crew Transfers on local windfarms, I am proud to remain closely involved in the day to day operations of the fleet and can often be found on board getting hands-on in projects of all sizes!

A main pillar of our experience is undoubtedly our local knowledge and focus, we are proud to support the Aberdeen Harbour Expansion Project (that we have worked on since its inception) and our local windfarms.

What is your position in the company and how does a day in your life look?

I am the MD of the Company and every day is different, mainly fun… we play with boats!

We have a fantastic infrastructure here in NE Scotland, McLachlan Marine a large 1/2 acre site where our main office, workshops and storage are situated (between Aberdeen & Montrose Ports). We also have operations offices at all the local major harbours, plus a great operations & office team supporting our vessels, without their support we would not have achieved so much.

How many vessels do you operate and what types?

Our customers refer to our fleet as a “marine multitool” we have a boat for nearly every job!

McLachlan Marine currently operates a growing fleet of 9 Workboats, we have;

  • 3x Cabin Rib Safety boats
  • 2x Survey/CTV Catamarans
  • 2x Windfarm CTV’s
  • 2x Multipurpose Workboats.

How many employees do you have and where are they based?

In the peak we can have up to 30 staff working across the operations.

Most of fleet is based in the NE of Scotland in Aberdeen, but regularly we travel to support East Coast projects. For example; our 26m Ocean Titan just returned from Eyemouth after supporting a UXO campaign providing a stable platform for the Dive spread, ROV operations and Survey works all from the same vessel for the NnG Windfarm.

Have you been affected by the recent COVID-19 crisis and how have you overcome such challenges?

It’s a very challenging market just now, many projects in Scotland are currently on hold or have been postponed in to the 2021 season due to the current Scottish government guidelines.

We have our core team still working, carrying out maintenance to the fleet and supporting those local projects that are still operating for essential works.

To control the spread of the virus and protect our passengers and crew we have implemented new COVID-19 controls across our business. Our methodology, aims and continued work in this area has been well received by both our own workforce and our clients. 

What do you see as the 9 – 12 month challenges faced by the COVID-19 crisis for McLachlan Marine?

We are seeing more demand for our larger vessels (to allow increased social distancing on board) where a smaller vessel would often normally be used.

The past few months have been a challenge and to be open; it has impacted the business both commercially and operationally. As the next few weeks progress and presumably the restrictions are eased, we retain an optimistic approach with the hope of seeing more projects coming back on line.

Do you have any highlight stories from the McLachlan Marine history books?

In the last 6 months McLachlan Marine has invested in an additional two vessels.

Firstly: The previously mentioned 26m Survey / CTV catamaran for offshore survey work and crew transfers, now called “Ocean Titan” purchased from the well known Dutch workboat company Acta Marine.

And our second addition: The “Ocean Supporter”, a 19m Multipurpose Workboat from Meercat workboats, which strengthens our marine civils support operations.

These two purchases have both been a whole lot of fun, but have also required a lot of hard work form the whole team, to whom I’m very grateful. I am very proud of both vessels.

“I would like to use this opportunity to wish all WA members and our friends the best of health and a successful 2020 season, we will see you all soon.”

Ruari and team

COVID-19 Weekly Update: 9

Guidance and Best Practice from Industry and Regulators – updated 20.05.2020

Supported by the WA Weekly COVID-19 Update meeting

Listed here you will find a number of Recommendations, Guidance, Best Practice and Governmental Advice linked to the Corona Virus (COVID-19) pandemic. It should be remembered that it is imperative to follow the local Governments advice at all times and any information contained within this document is subject to change as the research surrounding the virus develops.

(This is a weekly living document and previous versions are removed for document control purposes, new features are highlighted in the separated box below named: New*)

If you are aware of any information that you believe should be captured within this update, please contact us here


New* :

GOV.UK – New guidance launched to help get people safely back to work

GOV.UK – Chancellor extends furlough scheme until October 2020

DfTNew guidance for safer travel and safer transport operations

UK Government business support webinars;
Government departments are hosting a series of webinars to help businesses understand the support available:

ShipOwners Club – Article on Clause 20 of the BIMCO Bargetime, Supplytime and Windtime contracts: Force Majeure

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International Organisations:

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International Maritime Organization

International Labour Organization

World Health Organization (WHO)

European Commission

  • The Green Lane Guidelines for border management measures to protect health and ensure the availability of goods and essential services

European Union


From the UK Government:

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Government Webinars and launches:

MCA

  • MIN 611 (M+F) Guidance and information to follow in the event of COVID-19 outbreak impacting UK seafarer services
  • MIN 612 (M+F) Corona virus (COVID-19) – MCA approach to survey and certification of UK vessels – Amendment 2
  • MIN 613 (M) Navigation – vessel traffic services COVID-19 impact and safety measures
  • MIN 614 (M+F) Corona virus (COVID-19) – UK Ship Register approach to registration services for UK Vessels
  • MIN 615 (M) The Support for Maritime Training (SMarT) Fund During the COVID-19 Period

MCA – MGN618: COVID 19 the reporting of occupational diseases

GOV.UK

  • Foreign travel advice Advice about travelling abroad, including the latest information on coronavirus, safety and security, entry requirements and travel warnings.

HM Treasury

HM Revenue and Customs

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Dept. for Health and Social Care

Public Health England

Department for Transport

  • Information on ‘Key Workers’ This includes those who will keep the air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating (see Transport)

Department for International Trade

“We advise you should now:

1. Visit the Business Support website for more information about these and additional measures and support available to your business. This website will continue to be updated with the latest information.

2. Pay particular attention to the
guidance for employees, employers and businesses which is being updated regularly with the latest advice.

3. Read the guidance for
UK businesses trading internationally

4. Take
steps to protect yourself and others.”

Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs

A £10 million financial assistance for Fishing and Aquaculture businesses

NHS

GOV.IE


From Industry:

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Free Industry Webinar;

Marine Society: Online education in a post-Coronavirus maritime world1st June @ 11:00 UK

Workboat Association

IMCA

UK Chamber of Shipping

British Marine

G+

ORE Catapult

International Chamber of Shipping

Maritime Skills Alliance

Maritime UK

Seafarers UK

SSI Energy

Safety 4 Sea

Chirp Maritime Reports:

Seafarer Help

  • Seafarer Helpline Free, confidential, multilingual helpline for seafarers and their families available 24 hours a day, 365 days per year.

Ship Owners Club

RYA

Bimco

One Ocean

Wilhelmsen Ships Agents

Learnometer

Squire Patton Boggs

Maritime Safety Forum

Maritime Journal

Energy Institute

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


Videos:

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  • Interview Experience of international travel from Workboat Crew at Acta Marine during the COVID-19 lockdown
  • Interview Workboat Magazine, Operator Golding Barge Line USA
  • Toolbox talk video: Information video, virus transfer awareness (press the video to play)
  • Information video: Information video, on board catering, cleaning and hygiene practices (press the video to play)

Stop and Think! : 2020 Safety Campaign #2

The Second Safety Collection of the campaign is: Passage Planning

Please download and promulgate this safety collection both on and offshore within your organisations and to your stakeholders, where appropriate.

This collection is intended to be used as a tool for inspiring safety meeting topics, toolbox talk aids, internal training and general guidance to those directly involved in passage planning and navigation.

More information can be requested through our Contact Page or via the links in the download:

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Workboats during transit: Covid-19 Innovation Challenge

The Challenge, sponsored by the G+ and The Workboat Association is looking for solutions to safely enable an increase of the pax carrying capacity of workboats; which is currently severely limited due to necessary Covid-19 distancing controls.

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Representatives from the G+ and the Workboat Association will be involved in the review of submissions. G+ and the Workboat Association will give successful applicants the opportunity to present to members of their organisations from across both the offshore wind and broader maritime workboat industries, in both the UK and global markets.

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View the challenge website here: https://www.ktninnovationexchange.co.uk/challenges/single/59

Member Profile: Noor Kimit, Seaworthy Consulting

Find out about Noor and her reasons for starting Seaworthy Consulting

(Noor, pictured left with her colleague Nnekha, celebrating Seaworthy’s second birthday)

Who are Seaworthy Consulting?

Seaworthy Consulting is a recruitment agency providing crewing solutions, set up 2017 by myself following 8 years’ experience in Marine Recruitment sector.  

Knowing some Seafarers well – I could see how there was a gap in the market open for a consultancy business that would match clients’ crewing needs with the right Seafarer’s skills and competencies for a finder’s fee rather than through a payroll system.

My concept differs from many expectations, my ethos is not to take any money off the Seafarers day rate, but to charge only the client for my service as a freelancer’s fee.

This is a transparent, honest and radical way of working, meaning we get the best candidates approaching us as they are aware we will never miss-inform them about their day rates. It also means the vessel owners will not have to deal with day rate disputes on board, leading to vessel owners regularly receiving new crew to train and install competence to – due to crew not returning.

What maritime sectors do you work in?

Seaworthy Consulting provide crew and technical staff to the Workboat and Offshore Sector.

What does a day in your life look like?

I usually have a list of tasks to do, set-out during the day before. My day involves a lot of multi- tasking between live vacancies, speaking to client and candidates and making sure we are providing solutions to problems that may arise. Any non-designated time is spent qualifying and getting to know the crew that we are sending out.

Have you always had an interest in boats?

Not at a young age, I come from a family of Goldsmiths going back four generations. Being situated in Manchester, apart from Canal Barges, I am not really surrounded by boats – in fact, I graduated with a degree in Embroidery!

In a twist of fate my plan to work in the Fashion sector in London did not materialise, I applied for HR/Recruitment jobs locally to fund me staying in London, with the long-term ambition being get my dream job there as a Couture Embroidery designer. I landed a job recruiting within the maritime sector, and since then I have never looked back!

What is the highlight of your work for you?

My highlight is to resolve issues for clients at short notice, I have helped save many vessels from going off hire by providing relief crew on the weekends/ evenings or last minute requirements, my reward is knowing I have relieved stress and pressure from my clients and their crew.

Another enjoyable part of my work is supporting and placing [where practicable] graduate OOWs, seeing them in some cases become Master or even Managing Director.

It is also great to receive feedback from both clients and candidates that Seaworthy Consulting is trusted and respected for the professional service we offer.

Do you face any challenges?

Every day is a challenge, the maritime industry is very receptive to the global situation. We are constantly having to adapt to new conditions; including politics, war, medical pandemics, certificate regulation changes or acceptances, travel restrictions, Visas. But from these experiences we have learned how to adapt fast! We have great connections in the industry to help us with up to date and clear advice – like the Workboat Association for example.

What are your interests outside of the office?

I am an Ambassador for The Princess Trust, I raise awareness for this great charity which is helping many young individuals every day to develop their skills or business. Speaking personally, I was not diagnosed with dyslexia until my late teens, I try to share my experiences with others and provide them with confidence and inspiration to keep trying, eventually (I hope) to succeed in their own endeavours.

The rest of my time is spent with my family, I still enjoy my embroidery projects, which are now my hobby.

If you had ‘one wish’ to make a change in the Workboat Industry, what would it be?

I would like to see the Workboat industry become wider recognised and respected as an integral part of the overall maritime community, they are the key-stones of nearly every other marine sector.

I guess I would wish that the regulations and policies continue to be actively developed and where necessary added, to protect the Workboat industry and allow for it to work more efficiently and effectively connected with the larger tonnage sectors regarding training, safety, expectations and regulations.

Association Revisited: Introduction of the John Percival Memorial Award

Mark Ranson reflects on John Percival’s role within the Workboat Association and the introduction of the John Percival Memorial Award.

Who was John Percival?

John Percival was well known in commercial workboat and leisure circles as the founder and head of Hoylake Sailing School (& John Percival Marine Associates (JPMA). After a career deep sea and ashore plus a brief spell with Wirral Council, John started JPMA/Hoylake Sailing School in the mid 90s. – Whilst initially aimed at yacht training he quickly realised there was a significant role of training of Workboat crews and he worked with the Workboat Association to utilise RYA courses and also to develop the Master <200GT CoC with the WA and MCA.

For many years he was Chairman of the Workboat Association Training Workgroup, until his untimely death from Cancer in March 2014.

How did the Idea for the John Percival Memorial Award Come about?

Following John’s passing the Workboat Association Committee were looking for a suitable way to commemorate John’s life and his significant contribution to the development of Workboat crew training – at the time we were just embarking on the first Workboat Apprenticeship, it was fitting to create an award to recognise the achievements of our workboat trainees.

What Was your Involvement in its Creation?

Once the idea had been ‘hatched’, as Secretary at the time of the Association I coordinated the work of the Training Group – to bring the award to fruition – however, it should be recognised that much of the groundwork for creating the parameters for the award was down to John’s successor as Chair of the Training work group Damian Crowley, who assimilated the group’s ideas and drafted the original criteria for the award.

How does the Process for Nomination and Award Work?

The memorial takes the form of an annual award for the ‘best’ Workboat Industry Apprentice or Trainee. Training Providers and Apprentice or Trainee sponsors (Operators) are invited to nominate candidates for the Memorial annually using the nomination form.

The Award is presented at one of the WA annual events, typically the Seawork Dinner.

Who was Awarded the first JPMA and why?

The first recipient was George Turpin from Seacat Services for his efforts whilst training in 2015 – with the award presented at the 2016 Seawork Dinner.

George’s hard work and commitment, as well as his strong technical ability, set him in exceptional stead for an outstanding career at sea. His achievement in 2015 reflects the positive impact that apprenticeships can have on companies working within this sector

George received a set of high quality Nautical Instruments in a presentation case, this award followed suit for the future.

What is the current state of the 2020 JPMA?

On review by the Training Workgroup it was decided to widen the parameters for the award in 2020 to cover all Workboat industry Apprentices or persons who have completed a relevant period of training.

So far this year, revised nomination sheets have been finalised and distributed to the training providers and employers (and are openly available via the Training and Good Practice page of the WA website for download).  nominations for this catchment (looking at the work of those in 2019) are to be submitted to the k.forster@workboatassociation.org by the end of April 2020.

A judging panel ‘independent of any nominees’ will be selected from the Training Workgroup to review the entries and select a winner ready for the original Seawork date June 9th 2020.

Due to the postponement of SeaWork 2020, the current award date is tba.

How Can Others Get Involved, is it too late to Nominate?

It’s not too late yet!!

Get the form downloaded and sent to Kerrie Forster before the end of the month, as long as the nominee is registered in time; there is still a chance they could be this year’s winner!

Association Revisited: Selecting the Voluntary Towage Endorsement Assessors

Two of our VTE Assessors; Hugh Patience and David Brown, explain more about the VTE Scheme and what their role as Assessors includes.

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Can you remember how you first got involved with the Voluntary Towing Endorsement Scheme?

David: I first got involved in the Voluntary Endorsement Scheme on the invitation of the WA Secretary – at the time Mark Ranson. Mark had been a colleague of mine when we worked together for Adsteam UK and Svitzer UK

What was your career previous to this involvement?

David: I had a long career in towage and had been a Tug Master for fifteen years before coming ashore into management. After I retired I was keen to help with training the next generation of seafarers engaged in the towing industry

Hugh: Mostly Ship Assist Management and Master of tugs, final roll as Marine Manager for SMS Towage Limited

What is your role currently within the VTE scheme?

David: My role is to help promote the benefits of the VTE scheme to the workboat and towage sector and carry out the assessments on behalf of the Workboat Association /  MCA

Hugh: As per David, we are both Assessors for VTE’s of all of the 3 independent sections; General Towage, Ship Assist Towage and Sea Towing.

Do you remember any of the original discussions or plans for the WA to run the VTE scheme?

Hugh: Something was needed, on the grounds of safety, to demonstrate a candidates ability to handle towage vessels, all available certification at offer at the time was either based on written or verbal examination and did not assess physical or operational capabilities.

From memory, I recall there was a period in which training record books were becoming evermore popular. Most companies were implementing structured training schemes and the TRB provided a means of recording that training. Many Operators had some form of ‘signing off’ on trainees with a practical assessment, all this experience and good practice was brought together to form the VTE Training Record Books and assessment criteria – which in term helped the formation of the VTE Scheme.

What importance does the VTE scheme have for its stakeholders?

David: I believe that the VTE scheme demonstrates to Port Authorities and Customers that the Coxswains and Tug Masters have a sound knowledge of all aspects of towage and can operate their vessel competently and safely be it in the General, Ship Assist or Coastal sectors

Hugh: A degree of comfort for both Port, Client and Operator that Marine Crew holding this endorsement are capable of safely and professionally carrying out the towage operations as described within their endorsements

What are you looking for when you go on board to complete a VTE Assessment?

David: In brief we look for a Tug or Workboat Master that is professional and competent in their role, who understands the risks in towing and the importance to work in a safe environment.

Hugh: On one hand we look at the general impression of a vessel, on the other we are looking closely at the Company support and training scheme. Checking qualifications and then checking through record books with a view to getting a feel for who has signed-off on the Training Record Book and who has the company oversight. (Making sure that they have not been signed off because they are mates or for easing commercial pressure for example).

After the paperwork is complete, we take a general tour of the vessel to assess the candidates knowledge of their vessel and its equipment along with its use. We get underway and carry out manoeuvres in line with assessment criteria and then talk though those manoeuvres – including any specific items that it was not possible to do on the day.

Has there been any highlights or experiences that really shine out related to the VTE scheme?

David: The highlight for me is to see the candidates get their reward in successfully achieving the VTE, it gives them something that recognises their skill and competency and underpins their MCA maritime qualification

Hugh: A vast majority of assessments have been carried out by well practiced Masters, the usual feedback is “why do I have to do this!” However a large section of these candidates have said afterwards that they really enjoyed the experience and had even learned from it.

On the contrary I also like seeing new-starters in the industry doing well, many candidates have been successful in achieving their VTEs and they had a really good understanding of towage and the industry, this is highlighted by the TRB and assessment criteria which are written and structured from a vast array of industry and operating experience.

Can you tell us about your other nautical training activities outside of the VTE scheme?

David: I have carried out training for a number of customers including Svitzer UK, HR Wallingford / Thames Tideway project and the Milford Haven Port Authority using state of the art simulators, this is something I really enjoy.

Hugh: Like David we are both also involved in the End Point Assessment process of Workboat Apprentices and I also get to perform Tug training in both simulators and physically on board the vessels.

Member Profile: John Spencer, GPS Marine Contractors

This month John explains the background of GPS Marine Contractors, tells us more about himself and highlights some of the challenges that GPS are focused to overcome.

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Who are GPS Marine Contractors and what is your role in the company?

GPS Marine Contractors is the operator of the most tugs and the largest fleet of barges (in terms of tonnage) on the Thames. GPS Marine carries approx. 750,000 to !m tonnes of cargo on the Thames annually under long term contracts. GPS Marine also contracts to provide marine logistics and barge transport services in support of major contracts, these can more than double the annual tonnages carried on the Thames. GPS Marine also carries our dredging and marine civil engineering contracts and provides support to dredging and marine civils contracts throughout the UK and the coastal states of mainland Europe.

My role in the company is the strategic development of the business. On the Thames this is by promoting and developing the benefits to be gained from modal shift to water transport, such as reduced emissions, improved air quality reduced traffic congestion, reduced road wear and fewer construction related road traffic accidents. Further afield my aim is to enable to business to meet the challenges created by Brexit and the green revolution in shipping. I am also tasked with developing our marine civils operations such that it can undertake larger contracts and work further afield. In addition I am responsible for the full implementation of documented and audited safety management systems throughout the entire business.

What are the ambitions for GPS?

GPS Marine Contractors aims to provide water fed construction materials transport hubs in West, Central and East London and in Essex / Kent. GPS Marine also aims to develop outside the Thames by adding value to its current offering. To do this the business will invest to ensure that it is more than a workboat hire organisation such that it can provide packages of craft and contract in its own right predominantly using its own equipment to reduce associated risk.

What markets and where do you currently operate?

GPS Marine operates in freight transport by barge, marine civils, dredging and bunkering on the Thames. We also deliver bunkers on the Thames and operate in the European charter market for tugs, multicats, hopper and pontoon barges.

What did your career look like before today?

I started as a marine engineer, working on marine civils plant, tugs and coasters. I then went to see in our own coastal fleet and as tug master on the Thames before coming ashore and starting to get involved in management. My whole life has been centred around small ships, tugs and craft engaged in dredging and marine civils.

What does a day in your life look like?

These days I spend my life behind a desk. I am no longer involved in day to day operations, crewing or the technical management of the fleet. Safety and the commercial aspects of running and developing the business are at the centre of just about every day. What hasn’t changed over the years is that mine is still the “phone of last resort”. Somebody has to do it and I can’t let that role go – my phone is on and next to me 24/7/365.

What are the current challenges you face at GPS?

Our biggest challenges today are:

  1. To ensure that a positive safety culture exists throughout our business
  2. To persuade local government that transporting goods by water is a sustainable, modern and environmentally sound proposition
  3. To locate and open wharves for freight
  4. To improve the environmental impact of our activities
  5. To manage the effects of Brexit [and COVID-19] in the best way we can

What is your motivator at work?

My motivator is just to try to be the best at what we do. That isn’t just about making the most money, it’s about doing what we do right. Keeping the kit right, providing good jobs, making the employees part of the enterprise. It’s about looking to make the most of the opportunities and the challenges that lie ahead, every day, week, month and year.

Stop and Think! : 2020 Safety Campaign

This year’s Workboat Association Safety Campaign has started.

At the 2020 AGM it was decided that this years Safety Campaign would be Stop and Think!

During the course of the year the Workboat Association will issue a number of targeted safety collections from around the industry that have significant interest to Workboat Operations.

Six Safety Collection topics have been agreed;    (Not in campaign order)

  1. Confidence surrounding Competency
    • Having the confidence to acknowledge and discuss if you are not self-assured with any parts of your  duties or tasks onboard
  2. Enclosed spaces
    • Guidance on the risks related to working with ‘Enclosed’ or ‘Confined’ spaces onboard Workboats and small vessels.
  3. Maintaining a proper lookout (ColRegs: 5)
    • The importance of, and what constitutes a “proper” lookout onboard Workboats and small vessels.
  4. Passage planning
    • The importance of thorough pre-departure planning and preparation, and the best practice to maintaining a live passage plan whilst underway.
  5. PPE
    • ‘Obtaining, maintaining and wearing’ the correctly fitted and job-specific PPE at the correct times onboard.
  6. Seat belts and passenger management
    • ‘When, why and how’ to implement and maintain a safe seatbelt usage ethic onboard.

The first Safety Collection of the campaign is: PPE

Please download and promulgate this safety collection both on and offshore within your organisations and to your stakeholders, where appropriate.

This collection is intended to be used as a tool for inspiring safety meeting topics, toolbox talk aids, internal management system review and general guidance to implementing and maintaining a good PPE ethic within the workplace.

More information can be requested through our Contact Page or via the links in the download.

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