Tug Boats

NYC DOT (Staten Island Ferry)

Description: The Staten Island Ferry is an historic institution within the City of New York. Its 24-hour operations support the transportation of over 21 million passengers annually within New York Harbor.

Challenge: The Staten Island Ferry required a world-class safety management system (SMS) on a fast-track basis following a major casualty in 2003.  Prominent stakeholders including the U.S. Coast Guard and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) expected nothing less than a leading and sustainable solution to deliver safety in vessel operations within a large and complex civil service organization.  The ultimate challenge was to develop and successfully launch an SMS that would encompass an organization of over 500 city workers tasked to operate, manage and maintain a fleet of 10 ferries, 2 passenger terminals, a vessel fueling facility, and an extensive maintenance facility.  

The  Solution: SMSLLC assigned a leading team of consultants to work closely with NYC DOT personnel to develop a leading SMS with mechanisms to sustain ongoing verification and review of its requirements.  Taking into account the challenges posed by a governmental organization, SMS established practicable controls to counter against them and keep safe operations on-track.  

Outcome: The Staten Island Ferry became voluntarily certified to the ISM Code during the fall of 2005.  Since implementation of its SMS, the Staten Island Ferry has experienced lesser incidents attributed to mechanical failures.  Investigation and review of these incidents has revealed that the SMS is functioning well and as intended.  Crew members are better equipped to respond to emergency situation and secure passenger safety.  

"The bad news is that the Barberi experienced an unanticipated and unusual failure in its propulsion system.  The good news is that no lives were lost and our investigation showed positive safety improvements following the 2003 accident, in particular the NYC DOT Ferry Division's industry-leading safety management system"
- Deborah A.P. Hersman,
NTSB Chairperson

NYC DOT leadership has extended the scope of the SMS in recognition of its value to effectively manage operations.  The system is frequently reviewed and revised to accommodate change.  It is unique to the Staten Island Ferry and has delivered benefits to the organization's stakeholders, including its ridership.