A little over 2 years ago, the Club commenced a review of our Boatyard facility.
Initial work included a review of our practices and equipment by an engineer specialising in the marina and boatyard environment. The recommendation included replacing the existing boat cradles with new boat stands.
The stands we purchased are manufactured by, US based company Brownell, who provide a training course for the proper use of their product. I am pleased to advise that all boatyard staff have participated in and passed that training. The changeover of the new boat stands took place over many months being held up by overseas shipping of some stands and manufacturing and shipping issues as a result of COVID. Due to the large number of boat stands required to stand vessels of all different shapes and sizes, we are currently building a platform to store the stands and free up space on the yard. This will be completed in March 2021.
The new Brownell boat stands provide greater vessel support, they are easier to move and have a reduced footprint per vessel which provides us with the option to stand more vessels in the Boatyard when appropriate to do so.
There were a limited number of tie-down points built into the boatyards concrete slab when it was built. Over the past 18 months we have also been using large concrete blocks which are able to be moved into position with our forklift. These blocks have worked well; however, they are labour intensive to move and they create an obstacle in the yard that is sometimes difficult to work around. We are currently trialling a proprietary tie down pot which is used in the automotive industry. These pots are installed in the concrete and if successful they can be placed throughout the yard to provide conveniently located and immediate tie-down points.
Unauthorised access to the Boatyard was also identified as a safety matter and significant work has been carried out to improve fencing and gates that are linked to the Club’s security system for access control. Sign-in requirements for boatyard visitors have been introduced and members who wish to carry out DIY on their boats must be site inducted and achieve a work health and safety certification prior to entry onto the yard.
New pathways around the Boatyard have been created to provide convenient and safer access to the Yard, tenant workshops, our newly built toilet facilities and also Green Point Hardstand.
Over the past 12 months we have been working with external work health and safety experts, Commercial Safety Assurance. We now have in place a Work Health and Safety Management System (WHSMS) which complies to the requirements of AS/NZS ISO 45001. The WHSMS applies to all areas of the Clubs operation, however with a strong focus on our Boatyard operations I am pleased to advise that this week the yard is the first area of the Club to achieve a 100% completion of the Safety Procedures Register for its operation.
The straddle carrier (Travelift) has been fitted with a new engine and recently Travelift have engaged a local engineering company to carry out maintenance on their equipment and keep stock of parts in Sydney. We have scheduled improvements to various safety aspects of the Travelift to bring it in line with many of the improved features of the latest Travelift. Safework NSW are very happy with these developments.
Key RPAYC Boatyard staff have attended the Marina Industry Association straddle carrier course and are qualified to carry out and stand vessels. Additional staff will participate in the next course to be held in Sydney in mid-2021.
The RPAYC Boatyard is a busy and important aspect of the Club, and is a benefit for our members. Safety, quality and compliance issues have increased significantly over the past few years. The management team in the Boatyard has recently expanded to include a ‘Yard & Tenant Relations Manager’ position to look after the ‘on the ground’ aspects of the operation. This demanding role has been filled by a new employee, Damien Goff assisted by Gary Moon and the Boatyard team. Damien’s role also encompasses WHS on the yard and quality of boat delivery to the customer.
Our Boatyard Services Manager, Monique Mobbs will continue to carry out the important role as point of contact with boatyard customers and managing the boatyard office. She will continue to assist members and external boat owners with bookings, scheduling boat lifts and yard allocations.
As demonstrated, we’ve made several changes to improve the boatyard operations, however, it is important to acknowledged that Boatyards are an inherently dangerous working environment requiring continual assessment and improvement. Club management is committed to this task.
Surprisingly there are no Australian Standard for Boatyards, nor do they exist abroad. Last year at a Certified Marina Managers Forum, I was invited by the President of the Marina Industry Association to Chair a national advisory committee to produce a ‘best practice’ document for the industry. This work will be carried out in 2021 and I look forward to implementing the outcomes of that committee.
24 February 2021