What is a Safety Management System?

 A safety management system can be defined as an organized system planned and implemented by companies to ensure the safety of its vessel(s) and the environment. The SMS scope includes certain shore-based and shipboard processes.

Reasons for a SMS?

A company’s reason(s) for implementing an SMS can be as varied as the maritime industry itself. Nearly all vessels that trade internationally are regulated and are required to operate with a safety management system that complies with the ISM Code.

Companies may elect to voluntary implement an SMS to promote safety, public goodwill, or to better align with industry standards.

Recognized Management System Standards

Recognized industry safety management systems standards which SMS are developed in accordance with include:

1.     International Safety Management Code (ISM Code)

2.     International Standards Organization (ISO)

3.     46 CFR Subchapter M Towing Safety Management System (TSMS)

4.     Classification Society guidance for safety management systems


Safety Management Systems, LLC was founded in 1996 and is a leader in management system development, internal auditing, and regulatory compliance. SMSLLC has experience with every facet of the maritime industry to include blue water shipping, passenger ferries, towing vessels, and in-land waterways. SMSLLC consultants are experienced maritime professionals who have been developing management systems and regulatory solutions on behalf of its clients for over 25 years.