Why every captain should have integrated yacht management software
Written by Michael Henson
A captain who has never used an integrated yacht management system may not know what they are missing, but if you asked a captain that has, it is very likely they would say that it has become one of the most indispensable pieces of equipment on board.
What is yacht management software?
Yacht management software is a computer programme that can be integrated within a yacht to manage the everyday operations of running a vessel. The software is specialised to include features unique to that specific yacht, such as crew management, itinerary and budgets. Different software sections can be added to the programme to cover an even greater area of the yacht such as maintenance check reminders for engineers.
Why integrated management software will help
Good yacht management software will perform functions such as:
- Maintain yacht equipment lists, including scheduled maintenance tasks and maintenance reminders.
- Keep track of yacht inventories, including engineering spares, provisions, uniforms, medical supplies, charts and electronic equipment.
- Manage documentation, particularly those required for MLC (Maritime Labour Certificate) inspections.
- Track information about owners, guests and crew, including crew hours of work and rest (required for MLC 2006). For instance, captains need to track and report on MLC 2006-required rest hours for crew.
- Yacht finance issues such as tracking receipts, submitting quotes and invoices for approval, providing reports to show the costs of various departments and tracking budgets.
Modern superyachts are highly technical and regulated, requiring a lot of legal documentation. This along with crew management, which has increasingly become more difficult due to safety regulation changes, has made integrated software vital and more importantly made captains able to operate their vessels more efficiently.
What to look for when choosing yacht management software?
- Is the software designed solely for superyachts? First-rate yacht management software encompasses several features designed precisely to meet superyacht management needs. Great yacht management software includes specific inventories, crew management, departmentalised accounting and safety management system sections.
- Does the software contain integrated sections? Yacht management software should link information between its various sections. For instance, planned maintenance tasks from engineering and license renewals from the crew manager should be available for the captain or management company to review on a common work list.
- Is yacht management software easy to use? Opt for software that operates in a similar way to programmes crew would already be familiar with, such as Microsoft Office. This means crew with experience in Microsoft Office will come to the yacht management software already knowing the functionality, eliminating the need for in-depth training.
- Does the software support all document formats? Yacht management software that permits you to attach any type of document (Word, Excel, photos, PDFs, HTML, etc.) to any item in its database will save time and a lot of headaches. This gives crew instant access to important paperwork related to the yacht’s equipment, purchase orders and inventories.
Yacht management software frequently asked questions (FAQ’s)
What does yacht management software cost? - It depends, because there are many options that can be included in a price. Most software packages start with a basic price and then when sections are added the price will increase.
Does a yacht really need the software? – Yes, the industry is changing fast; yachts have become sophisticated businesses with a lot of legal and financial regulations. Captains need support to operate a yacht effectively, profitably and safely.
Does the software take a lot of time to learn? – Ideally software should be chosen that comes with customer support from the manufacturer for training; many will offer this as an incentive to purchase and this should always be high on the agenda when looking for software.
How secure is the information that is stored? - There are a number of measures in place to ensure that all documentation and details are stored in a safe and secure manner. Most software will have enterprise level encryption similar to those used by banks.
Who will own the data put on the software? - This depends on the contract you have in place. Make sure that any contract stipulates that you own your data and the company you use must give you the most recent data collected if the contract was to end.