The introduction of a new regulatory regime to replace Australia’s existing USL Code – which covers the design, construction and operation of commercial vessels operating in Australia – provides an important opportunity for the masters of the country’s passenger vessels to help shape the future of their own working lives, and those of the people who will follow them onto the bridge.
The High Speed Craft Masters Association (HSCMA) considers it crucial that those in charge on the water also have a voice ashore. It is committed to providing the skippers’ perspective at a national level, and is seeking to encompass the opinions of as many masters as possible. Additionally, it is seeking to establish links with similar organisations and other interested parties worldwide, so that it can both benefit from, and contribute to, the body of international expertise that exists for this type of craft.
The HSCMA’s focus is on safety, policy and other industry wide issues, not specific employee/employer issues. Indeed the aims it has had since inception make this abundantly clear:
- Promote and enhance the safety and professionalism of high speed craft operations.
- Seek to represent members to Government regulators and operators of high speed craft, a like.
- Provide a forum for members to network, promote and learn from experiences in a peer group environment.
- Develop business/employment opportunities in a cooperative and a-political environment.
While relatively unknown outside Western Australia where it was formed, the HSCMA has existed, and been contributing to the professional development of passenger vessel skippers, for nearly a decade and is involved with numerous committees Australia-wide. For example, it is delivering the views of high speed ferry operators to the National Marine Safety Committee and will be present at the NMSC conference in March.
Representation is but one part of the HSCMA’s activities. It also seeks to promote the development of future masters and engineers within the industry. This is accomplished by providing impartial, practical advice (based on experience) for the training and direction of seafarers career paths. Membership also provides access to a wealth of industry expertise, experience and connections which are particularly useful for those looking to further their careers and skills. The HSCMA also hopes to establish links with similar organisations that may exist overseas as it feels that most of the issues its members face will have parallels in other nations.
Prospective members or anyone else requiring further information on the HSCMA can contact the Association’s Secretary, Lou Pittorino by e-mail