|Why is Port Safety so important?
Most, if not all, navigable rivers, channels, ports, harbours and berths are subject to danger from, for example, tides, currents, swells, banks, bars or revetments, traffic density and changes in depths. Such dangers are frequently minimised by lights, buoys, signals, warnings and other aids to navigation and can normally be met and overcome by proper navigation and the handling of a vessel in accordance with good seamanship. The reputation of a Port is largely dependent on its safety record and efficiency. Any damage to a port’s safety record may impact on its reputation and by extension, its trade.
The Harbour Master’s role in Port Safety
The Harbour Master plays a key role in the development and implementation of a safety management system which manages the hazards and risks associated with port operations along with any preparations for emergencies. This should be operated effectively and revised periodically.
Some countries provide guidance to their ports on port safety. An example of this is the UK’s Port Marine Safety Code and its accompanying Good Practice Guide which can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/port-marine-safety-code