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SOP Manuals

Discussion in 'Yacht Captains' started by rocdiver, Oct 31, 2006.

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  1. rocdiver

    rocdiver Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2006
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    Location:
    Ft Lauderdale, Florida
    Good Day!

    First, I must commend this forum on the great exchange of information it allows. In the relatively short time I have been registered it has become part of my daily routine to check for new posts and try to catch up on some of the older threads as well.

    I'm on the verge of a project which is going to require writing, from scratch, a detailed job dscription and duties for crew aboard a 100' motor yacht. It will be a new crew on what will be a new yacht for me as well. (The yacht is not new.)

    It is going to require great detail, including such details as where each crew member will position themselves when guests are boarding, uniforms to be worn at specfic times, protocols for docking, pictures as to how staterooms are to look during daytime hours and after turndown, crew behavior both with and without guests on board, etc., etc., etc.

    My question is this: Is there a "boilerplate" out there somewhere in publication or on the internet that would give me good start or must I go through every agonizing detail from scratch? I'll also be preparing a detailed maintenance program with the assistance of the yet-to-be-hired engineer but if anyone has a good starting format for that too, that would be appreciated.

    Thanks in advance for any suggestions!
    ROCKY
  2. YES!

    YES! Senior Member

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    Aug 13, 2005
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    Location:
    Sarasota, FL
    Rocky -

    Send me an email and I will reply with the SOP under which the Lady Lola programs were operated. That should be a good start for you to customize to your specific yacht.
  3. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    Hi,

    That's a big call to do from scratch yourself.

    Who is going to say how the Cabins etc should look to be photographed in the first place?

    How many crew are you going to be running with on this 100 footer?

    You should strive to have the instructions as simple and straight forward as possible. People are more likely to be able to obey and follow them closely if they understand them fully.

    You will have to be careful that you don't write so much that you want "set in stone" that your crew spend more time worrying about complying with your rules and regs than paying attention to and adjusting their operations according to the dynamic situation that seems to be the norm on a smaller boat where everyone can generally cover all or some of each others roles onboard.

    I have written a few sets of operating instructions. I find the greatest help is when you think you have the operation of something covered that you ask someone else onboard preferably with little or no experience with this piece of kit to see if they can operate it by following your instructions. Don't be surprised if you have overlooked something simple, this can easily happen if you are quite familiar with something and take something for granted as a natural part of the process.

    Don't get upset if one of your crew suggests an easier way to carry out a procedure or task. It is impossible to write a set of instructions that are 100% accurate and efficient at the first attempt on new boat (new to the writer)

    In answer to the question about there being a template for this I would say that the answer is not for a single vessel of your size.

    Can you not draw on your previous experience to come up with a rough draft that can be fleshed out by you and the team once you are all together onboard and seeing how it all works in the flesh?
  4. rocdiver

    rocdiver Senior Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Ft Lauderdale, Florida
    Sop

    Yes, indeed it is a daunting task. Let me give a just a little more insight. I am sorry I can't be more explicit in the details but that how it has to be for the moment, at the owner's request.

    The yacht has been mostly in the yard for the last 3 years and has had a myriad of crew rotaing in and out as would sort of be expected. We all know yard time is not so much fun and tends to be a little dirty . . .

    Somehow, during the course of these rotations, all manuals and service records, etc have somehow disappeared, go figure. She is now out, and (hopefully) ready for the Big Water. Obviously, without a thorough knowledge of this particular ships systems and the history I won't even consider venturing out.

    So, I consider this a great challenge and am open to any insight that the great experience of this board has to offer.

    Thanks again,
    ROCKY
  5. ychtcptn

    ychtcptn Senior Member

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    Location:
    Lighthouse Point, FL
    Dear Rocky,

    I empathize with your situation, it seems that every boat I take over is a disaster, one of these I would like to take a boat over from myself.

    Here are a few pointers-

    1. start your own log system, I use a daily log sheet on the computer that I developed myself, it helps me keep track of the day to day (I can send you a copy). I also have my legal written logs to track vessel movement and maintenance/repairs.

    2. Start a manual for the owner and interior, this you will have to start from scratch as it pertains to your owner and boat. I have started one on every boat, so new crew can get up to speed quickly.
    Include interior pics, a map of the interior showing where everything is stored, pictures of flower arr. (good for non us speaking ports) and the bosses likes and dislikes.

    3. I suggest having a pro come in and set up a periodic maintenance list of all equipment onboard. try Superyachtsupport.com, I have not used them first hand but know people that have, feel them out.

    4. Luxury yacht group has a list of job descriptions to get you going.

    5. I would not get too involved in the scenario's as where to be when the boss shows up or get bogged down in minute details. On a boat of that size you will find that all your time and the crews taken up by trying to follow the letter of the SOP.

    6. Be flexible and consider everything a work in progress.

    good luck and don't hesitate to contact me directly.
  6. wdrzal

    wdrzal Senior Member

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    K1W1 I thought that was a well written reply.

    I would think of it as a small business. Of course as the owner, you are the Boss,but each employee you hire will bring his or her special skill set.

    The sales man sells,the accountant counts.

    In your case I would be thinking of hiring a knowledgeable and personable captain, engineer, stew, ect,ect. Then Let the sop come together using their combined talents . As your employees are the "professionals" and should bring the required skill sets with them.

    A good crew should be writing the sop while asking you "how or which way would you like this done Boss."

    ps: I can tell you that if you have to give orders,you have hired the wrong crew.They should be happy to please you.
  7. YES!

    YES! Senior Member

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    Comments from the membership indicates that many have not worked in the yachting industry onboard ship.

    Professional performance and elegant, precise presentation demand standard operating procedures (SOPs), check lists, procedures, policies, rules and regulations.

    These missals are not "etched in stone" but rather are living documents which are reveiwed and updated by the department heads and their respective staffs based on lessons learned, owner requirements, basic etiquette and professional standards.

    This appears to be an excellent topic wherein the incredible demands placed on yacht crews can be examined. The analogy is much like the flight attendant - you don't realize they are much more qualified than required to serve drinks and snacks, and you will not appreciate them until you have the misfortune to observe thier performance in an emergency.

    The manning, training and management of crew is the toughest job in yachting; and unqualified crew represents the greatest cause for owner dissatisfaction in their yachting experience.

    You are on the right track, Rocky. Good Luck!
  8. rocdiver

    rocdiver Senior Member

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    Location:
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    K1W1 and wdrzal,

    I appreciate your insight and assure you the owner/his rep has the same philosophy as you described, they have many businesses and consider the yacht as a business as well, even though she does not charter.

    Unfortunately, the previous team has not performed so well so he feels a little more rigid approach is necessary. I'm OK with that. When he realizes we (the new crew) can work without such rigid guidelines I'm sure things will be a lot easier for everyone. Until then, the crew and I will be paying for the previous crew's trespasses. That's just part of the deal and I'm looking forward to the challenge of showing them what a professional crew is capable of.

    Again, thanks for any insight during this difficult transition period.
    ROCKY
  9. wdrzal

    wdrzal Senior Member

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    YES Yes you are correct ,I never worked in the yachting industry, but own a business and I am a captain too,but not of the sea, of the air.
    captains and engineers uses precise checklist. Following All state and federal and international laws and make sure the craft is operated in a safe manner at all times,logs are logged and systems are kept in A1 operating condition.

    Cooks and deck hands should not need a SOP to cook a meal or fluff pillows or put on the correct color under wear.

    I Sure hope every member tells me I'm thinking incorrectly or my hard drive failed tonight.
  10. ychtcptn

    ychtcptn Senior Member

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    Location:
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    "Comments from the membership indicates that many have not worked in the yachting industry onboard ship."

    Dear Stan,

    I am aware of your background and respect it immensly, but I think you should be careful with quotes like the above. Some of us have served aboard yachts for a along time, and still continue to command them today.

    A broad brush approach to fellow members is not very useful and might cause others not to respond.

    Sincerely,
    Capt. Randy Steegstra
    1600 Ton Master- Oceans
    Unlimited Third Mate- Oceans
    Maritime Academy Grad.

    PS- I used my name and qualifications to prove a point for the above.
    Tadpole500 likes this.
  11. YES!

    YES! Senior Member

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    Sarasota, FL
    Please read carefully......

    I say again, Captain, for clarification, that MANY of the membership appear not to have served on yachts. The identifiers of ALL and NONE are not applicable or indicated.

    I stand by my observation based on comments made in these Forums.

    Neither your nor my qualifications have anything to do with the YF demographics, and every member has a right to their opinion and perspective regardless of background, education or experience. That is what makes this format so interesting and informative.

    I have responded personally to Rocky on his quest and will continue to enjoy discussing any and all aspects of yachting, shipbuilding or seamanship with the entire membership - whether yachties, merchant marines or real people.
  12. airship

    airship Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2006
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    297
    Location:
    French Riviera...
    Are you confusing SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) with SOPs (Specific Owner Protocols)...?
    To begin with, I think you really need to differentiate the stuff "that is essential to the safe and efficient operation of the yacht" from all the other stuff which might be required "to satisfy the owner's particular requirements..."?! ;)

    Example 1: Standard Operating Procedure - Yacht At Anchor

    1) The opportunity for guests and/or crew to "leave and/or board the yacht" (ie. access to bathing platforms, boarding ladders, on-deck areas which might represent a danger etc.) must be strictly controlled until all anchoring and/or engine manoeuvres are completed and it becomes safe to do so. The decision to allow or prohibit embarkation / disembarkation depends on the Master or OOW, taking into consideration sea-state, "traffic" conditions etc.

    2) No "swimming directly off the yacht" will be allowed until a tender is lowered into the water and is available for immediate use with crew standing by. A "watch" will be kept on all swimmers in case anyone gets into difficulties and requires assistance.

    Having a tender in the water and a watch looking out for swimmers is one that is often overlooked IMHO. This is from 1st hand experience: The intention was we would just lay at anchor for a few hours for lunch. Since noone needed to go ashore, no tenders were put in the water. But a couple of guests decided to go for a quick post-lunch swim and one of them got into difficulties. Fortunetly, we had a "head of State" aboard and one of the bodyguards spotted the problem and dived into the sea to make his way towards the swimmer about 75m away. "The alarm" was raised rapidly, and the crew frantically got around to lowering a tender into the water. By this time, a passing speedboat had rendered assistance. All turned out well. This time... :eek:

    Example 2: Specific Owner Protocol - Welcoming Owner Aboard In Port

    1) The entire crew, dressed in their finest (*see note under uniforms), will be assembled in-line on the quay. The Captain will welcome the owner and introduce the owner to the crew in order of the Chief Engineer, 1st Officer, Head Chef, Chief Stewardess etc.

    2) The Captain and Chief Stewardess will accompany the owner aboard and help with the removal of his footwear. The crew will remain assembled until all guests have boarded the yacht, followed by the other stewards / stewardesses to help them with the removal of their footwear. All other crew remaining on the quay at this stage (including the Ch. Engr.) will make a frantic dash to load aboard all the luggage, start the engines, receive last-moment deliveries of caviar, Brazilian steaks, Norwegian strawberries and the all-important EVAC pump in order to make the toilets work again...


    Example 3: Specific Owner Protocol - Owner Aboard - Offshore

    1) Deck crew will wear "deck crew - daytime tropical" (*see note under uniforms).

    2) Stewardesses will be topless, weather conditions permitting...(*see note under uniforms). :D

    Have I made myself clear?! :)
  13. scott49

    scott49 Senior Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Woodinville,Washington
    SOPs- Daily duties-with and without owners on broad

    SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) with SOPs (Specific Owner Protocols)

    As this is a old post , I am also looking for some SOPs and Sops. Any one with Boiler plate or highly modify, that I can revise to fit my yacht needs would be great.

    I have heard of things like
    Wash exterior of yacht Monday
    polish all stainless Tuesday
    Etc Etc -Wednesday
    Etc Etc - Thursday
    Etc Etc -Friday

    Also things like no crew to be drinking at local bar with crew shirt on.
    No visitors on board without owner OK
    Cushions to be stowed when owner not on board.
    Flush toilet daily Etc Etc Etc

    Any help would be great. Thanks Scott
  14. rocdiver

    rocdiver Senior Member

    Joined:
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    189
    Location:
    Ft Lauderdale, Florida
    Sop

    Scott,

    Ironically I was the starter of this thread over 2 years ago. If you'll pm me with your email address I'll give you what I ended up with. I think you will find it very insightful.

    The SOP I came up with drew great accolades from the owner and the insurance company as well. The insurance company even asked permission to use it on other vessels they insured.

    I must thank Stan Antrim for the generous sharing of his wisdom and the documents which were a great start!

    ROCKY

    ps: The owner, his rep, Stan and myself are all former military (them Navy, me Marine Corps) so it helped that we all spoke the same language.
  15. scott49

    scott49 Senior Member

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    Location:
    Woodinville,Washington
    Thanks for the reply's. I get a few sops manuals. One is 91 pages long. WOW:D
  16. stevenpet

    stevenpet New Member

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    Nov 18, 2008
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    Location:
    Monterey, Maui, Salt Lake City
    Crew SOP Manual and A Guide for Guests

    Thanks to everyone that helped me in compiling my draft of the Crew SOP manual and a new booklet—A Guide For Guests Aboard the M/Y Grande Adventure.

    As a place holder, I used the name M/Y Grande Adventure.

    I haven't yet purchased a yacht or hired Captain, so I'm sure there will be many updates still to be made. Reading what others have included in their SOP manuals has been a great exercise to understanding the daily operations of a yacht from a crews perspective.

    In a few months my free time will be very limited, so I took this opportunity now to learn as much as possible from all of you while I still have ample spare time.

    Just send me a Private Message with your email address, letting me know if you want to see a copy of the SOP Manual, the Guide for Guests Booklet, or both. Also, let me know if you want the copy in PDF or Word 2007 format.

    Feel free to copy, modify and use the information for your own purposes. Also, I would greatly appreciate your candide feedback, corrections or suggestions.
  17. newtoyachts

    newtoyachts New Member

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    May 23, 2010
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    Location:
    abacos bahamas
    Manuals

    Hello everyone!

    I am getting into yachting and I want to learn as much as possible beforehand.

    I just joined and came across this thread, which is exactly what I am looking for. Does anyone have a copy of these manuals they can send me?

    Also, can anyone point me to where can I find a listing of safety equipment required on a US flag vessel under 100 tons, around 88 feet in length? What about safety drills and briefings etc...

    If someone will PM me I can reply with my email address, I'm not sure if I can post that in public on this board.

    Just trying to get a picture of what those aspects are like.
    Thanks!

    Steve
    Last edited: May 23, 2010
  18. Razon

    Razon New Member

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    Location:
    Dubai.U.A.E
    Just Curious..

    Good Day.
    I am a Filipino yacht captain who's handling a 50 meters long local made yacht here in Dubai.I have experience working in the Ship down to the Yacht.I have education and have some important credentials needed for this job.Not to mention our reputation when it comes to seamanship around the world.
    Now i am just wondering if i go somewhere like Europe or US and apply for the same job.will it difficult for me to maintain the same position or am i expecting demotion..I just need some words from you guys because i am planning to go out this country by next year.Any advice would be appreciated.
    Thanks and God bless.

    Razon.(dubai base captain.)(razon.reyes@gmail.com)
  19. August

    August New Member

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    Sep 26, 2014
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    Location:
    Singer island, Florida
    SOP Manual Help!!

    I realize this thread is pretty old, but I'm hoping someone could help me. I have to write an SOP (owner procedures) manual from scratch. Would anyone be willing to share a PDF or similar document from their vessel? I am under the gun time wise and the yacht had no previous manual. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated!
  20. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    Try sending a PM to the poster of Post No 16 above.

    I am just curious as to if you are the Captain you have not been able to gather enough experience on your way up to be able to write this for yourself.
    CaptPKilbride likes this.