Vessel Management Software

David Clarke looks at how to select the best vessel management software for your operation that is fit for purpose, reliable and delivers results

We’ve formulated a list of 10 must have features based on three decades of experience operating, building and managing large yachts, plus countless discussions with industry peers over many years.

Vessel management software should be smart enough to automate as many daily, weekly and monthly manual admin tasks as possible. When a system can automatically calculate each crew member’s accrued leave and payroll, assign familiarisations to a new crew member’s profile, notify the captain and DPA when a crew member’s ENG1 is due to be renewed, create planned and unplanned monthly maintenance reports, you know it’s going to free up a tremendous amount of time for everyone on board.

Top-notch content
SOPs, permits to work, drill matrix, risk assessments and crew certificate lists (just to name a tiny fraction) should be built in to the software and be fully editable to make them vessel-specific. Total Superyacht delivers different content options for 30 metre, 50 metre and 70+ metre yachts.

Off-line access (and automatic daily sync)
For an electronic SMS to be fully compliant with flag states, operating procedures and safety manuals must be accessible in an emergency when the internet connection might be lost. Daily automatic synchronisation will ensure vessel data and shore data will never be more than 24 hours old.

Keeps up with operational conditions
A good vessel management software company should have firsthand experience with day- to-day operations and a full understanding of the compliance requirements for both small and large yachts. They should adapt to new operational conditions. If they don’t know what you do onboard, they can’t build software to help you do it.

Connection to the real world
Yachts are connected with many external entities that provide services to assist in its smooth and efficient operation, such as ISM management companies, employment and payroll companies. Software should be designed to collaborate seamlessly with all shore-based support and be permissions based to isolate sensitive data.

Ease of use and smart analytics
Software should be smart enough to display data where you need it and when you need it without having to input the same information multiple times. Examples would be automatic coordination between

Fleet management

Many yachts today are part of a fleet, whether a single owner’s fleet or that of a large management company. It’s vitally important that vessel management software can connect to a fleet management system so that all onboard reporting can be

consolidated into one system. This enables fleet managers and DPAs to compare incidents for similarities across their entire fleet and allows the safety management manual to be updated and distributed to the fleet with the click of a button.

Training and online support
The software should have two to three minute training videos on each module, and onscreen help messages should be built-in and available at your fingertips.

Although applications like Drop Box, Google Docs and Laserfiche are great tools, they were never designed for the yachting industry. You will have a harder time trying to adapt these than using something that is designed by yachting veterans specifically for the task at hand.

When looking for your next vessel management software package, make sure to choose one built specifically for the yachting industry – one like Total Superyacht that delivers on all ten of these must haves and more.

For more details visit