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Simplify Your Vessel Arrival and Departure Checklist and Increase Workplace Safety

Robyn Neath

by Robyn Neath | August 17, 2022 | Reading time: 7 minutes

Utilize a straightforward yet effective vessel arrival and departure checklist to accurately adhere to national and local legislation before and after your vessels depart. With Lumiform's industry-standard checklists, you can achieve business goals more quickly by resolving problems before they result in costly errors and legal repercussions.

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What Is A Vessel Arrival And Departure Checklist?


A straightforward yet effective method to list, arrange, and carry out the tasks that need to be completed before a ship arrives at or departs from a port is to use a Vessel Arrival and Departure Checklist. These checklists ensure that all necessary actions are carried out in a timely manner, that no vital information is missing, and that all personnel is aware of their responsibility for safety to avoid the risk of injury or damage to property during transit.


According to Marine Insight, a lot of ship-related mishaps are caused by crew members who don't follow basic protocol before leaving port or arriving at their destination. This can be avoided by using a strict vessel arrival and departure checklist.


Companies that manage vessel schedules must make sure that all pertinent parties are aware of, ready for, and informed about the responsibilities at hand. The relevant personnel is able to expedite all of these procedures by using checklists for vessel arrivals and departures. To maintain their checklists, some businesses utilize spreadsheets or email, and while these methods are adequate for smaller businesses, they can rapidly become cumbersome.


Lumiform provides digital checklists as a substitute for any problems that can result from using inappropriate or inadequate software to complete checklists. With digital checklists, you can design specialized audit forms for any area of your business operations, from pre-arrival reviews for new hires to post-departure briefings for exiting employees, and then distribute them simultaneously across several departments for faster resolutions.



In this article, you will learn about:


1. The importance of arrival and departure checklists


2. The benefits of a vessel arrival and departure checklist


3. Essential elements in arrival and departure checklists


4. How to prepare for a ship arrival


5. 24-hour preparation for departure


6. Ideal practices and tips to maximize your vessel arrival and departure checklists


7. The solution to speed up voyage audits for consistent higher returns



Small vessel in water

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Why Are Arrival and Departure Checklists Important?


An arrival and departure checklist is an integral part of maritime safety regulations as it ensures that all crew members have completed their duties before the vessel leaves port or arrives at its destination. A poor vessel arrival schedule often spells the difference between failure and success of a company’s target goals.


Expert reports from maritime lawyers even show that some of the biggest causes of maritime accidents or failures have a lot to do with incompetence in preventive measures in pre-arrival and departure audits. Even though vessels have been transporting goods across oceans for centuries now, accidents still happen at sea from time to time due to human error or natural disasters like tsunamis.


The effective application of vessel arrival schedule checklists is the best strategy to prevent these hazardous events. Additionally, these checklists are crucial since they:


  • Make sure that employees are completing all necessary steps quickly and correctly to guarantee complete shipwide safety, which is critical when lives are on the line
  • Help train new employees as well as remind experienced workers of their responsibilities
  • Establish confidence among team members so they can depend on one another to carry out their respective parts of the plan
  • Offer your team members the finest means of communication regarding what must occur when a ship arrives or departs
  • Avoid having to go back and fix something later by making sure that everything is done correctly the first time
  • Ensure that every step of the pre-arrival checklist ship procedure, such as crew and passenger security and safety, damage prevention, and punctual departure and arrival, is covered in detail to avoid mistakes


How Do Vessel Arrival and Departure Checklists Benefit Me?


These vessel checklists are necessary for any staff members, consultants, inspectors, executives, business owners, or managers of a company dealing with ships or vessel transport since they will support their short and long-term growth objectives:


Short-term Goals


  • Consolidate inspections thoroughly
  • Verify audits accurately
  • Accelerate speed in complying with local and international laws
  • Take advantage of digitalization to manage quality and safety effortlessly
  • Ensure safety for your dockworkers, customs agents, or other port staff and for any type of vessel, ranging from cruise ships to cargo ships to tugboats under your safety officer’s management
  • Centralize communications for managers and employees for initial preparations and post-departure inspections of the condition of vessels, which is especially valuable if your company has multiple locations or a large fleet of vessels
  • Identify and resolve issues for oil tankers, container ships, or even bulk carriers in an easy, clear, and timely manner

Long-term Goals


  • Boost productivity, sales, and overall bottomline
  • Save company overhead costs with appraisers identifying areas where changes can be made to improve efficiencies, such as replacing outdated equipment or adding new lighting fixtures or outlets.
  • Reach career growth faster by finishing more audits in a shorter timeframe and hitting benchmarks and milestones error-free


What Are the Main Points in Arrival and Departure Checklists?


Here are some of the major items that should be included in your vessel arrival/departure checklist:


  • Navigation and communication details, such as vessel name, port authority papers, listed safety concerns (that have been explained to crew ahead of time), weather conditions, type (tanker, an oil tanker, etc.), call sign (if applicable), flag state, port of registry, IMO number, IMO type.
  • Date of arrival or departure at the port
  • Name of captain
  • Name of chief engineer
  • Name of chief mate
  • Ship's logbook
  • Safety management system (SMS) certificate (if applicable)
  • How to prepare for the ship's arrival (e.g., make sure there are enough tools on hand)
  • What to do when the ship is in port (e.g., inform local authorities if anyone needs medical attention)
  • What to do following the ship's departure (e.g., dispose of any hazardous waste)


What Should I Do in Getting Ready for Ship Arrival?


The process of preparing your business for a vessel arrival can be overwhelming. There are many details to consider, and it's easy for something to slip through the cracks. To help you get organized, make sure you prepare a checklist that covers all the bases. Here are some of the variables you should include:


  1. Make sure that you have all the information you need to make the ship's arrival a success. The ship's pre-departure checklist should include information on what time of day the ship will be arriving, whether it's coming in with another boat (if so, what time it will arrive), and what type of cargo it's carrying.

  2. Make sure you are aware of the crew's accommodations for the duration of their stay. You want to guarantee their comfort and that they are aware of where everything is, both in terms of the facilities, and services on board and in the surrounding area.

  3. Once you have this knowledge, you should consider how to make the most of your interactions with the crew members who will disembark from the ship. Ensure the arrival of your ship is covered by your checklist. Make any necessary arrangements for power and water supply if it will be docked overnight.

  4. Create an arrival checklist with all the tasks that need to be completed before the ship docks and start delegating them according to the relevant skillsets.

  5. Communicate with the port authorities to determine when they will arrive so you can ensure that everything is ready before they get there. If there are any concerns about safety or security issues in your area, reach out ahead of time so that you don't have anything come up unexpectedly.


Necessities for Preparation 24 Hours Prior to Departure


If you only have 24 hours' notice to do a vessel audit, here are some of the major details to secure in your checklist:


  • Review the vessel's arrival information and adjust to new regulation changes accordingly. Ask yourself questions like: “What are the three most important things I need to do? Are there any steps I can take before they arrive/depart so that when they do, everyone has everything they need?”
  • Check whether there is enough fuel on board so that it won't run out before arriving at the destination port. Audit for oil level and the sounding of bunker tanks to make sure the right temperature is consistent at 40 degrees or as required when opening steam.
  • Liase with the crew and inform them completely of all security concerns that might affect the voyage. It can boost your company’s efficiency if you centralize your vessel audit management, streamline the audit tasks, and automate all of your audit workflows
  • Ensure that all necessary audits have been completed by the crew and delivered to you prior to departure date
  • Verify that your ship's pre-departure checklist checks all safety equipment and verifies that they have been inspected and maintained regularly (e.g., life jackets, fire safety equipment). Make sure your drivers are ready prior to the departure date
  • Fill the jacket water header tank to the right level, making sure you’re not overfilling as it might start to overflow when the engine starts
  • Double-check the circulating pumps on your jacket water after checking the levels. Make sure you also check the jacket water temperature of the main engine, making sure it won’t leak into the scavenge space
  • Double-check the lights, inter-ship communication modules, and other parameters to watch for obstructions and interference to avoid them when the vessel departs
  • Get fuel and water supplied to the engine room immediately after arrival. Make sure that all tanks are filled with appropriate fuels and oils before departure


What Are the Best Practices and Tips To Maximize Your Vessel Arrival and Departure Checklists?


When it comes to optimizing your vessel arrival and departure checklists, there are a few things you can do to guarantee you're getting the most out of your inspections. Here are three ways to maximize your vessel arrival and departure checklists:


1. Ensure you have the right tools


This means having access to the right software to help you manage your team's workload while they're on board a vessel. This could be as simple as using a free task management app that’s been tested and proven to get the job done. If you're looking for something more comprehensive, find shipping management systems that can give you access to templates ranging from employee onboarding forms to real-time weather data.


2. Set clear expectations for everyone involved


The success of any project is dependent upon clear communication between all employees involved in the process. When new employees join your team, for example, make sure they know exactly what their responsibilities will be before they set sail (and then follow up with them after).


Make sure everyone knows their role and responsibilities. This includes other departments within your organization as well as outside stakeholders, like customs officials and port authorities — you may even want them involved in the planning.


It’s important not to forget about logistics — you'll need plenty of room for cargo containers and trucks at both ends of the process. This requires putting a lot of trust in your audit team and empowering them to become forward-thinking advisors that are capable of delivering actionable steps and practical insights.


3. Make sure your checklist is comprehensive


To get the most accurate audits with your vessel checklists, you have to digitally transform your quality check practices and provide comprehensive audits. This includes specific areas, such as life jackets, soundproofing implements, distress signals with brand new batteries, tools and spare replacements for light bulbs, fuel filters, and many more.


Your checklist should also include an audit of the fuel oil, fire extinguishers, ventilation, bilges, fenders, weather forecasting equipment, and charging supplies. Make sure your personnel is ready for any delays or issues that may occur while traveling.


Check that your list is immediately operational. Before the ship departs or docks at the port, it should be able to arrange all of your paperwork so that you can breeze through customs and obey regional and international rules without hindrance.



Large vessel carrying cargo to port

Speed Up Voyage Audits for Consistent Higher Returns


Lumiform understands your need for steadfast audit solutions that make arrivals and departures error-free and consistently compliant with local and international laws. This is why we designed our vessel arrival and departure checklists to be results-oriented, efficient, and impactful. Consequently, you can boost your company's bottom line by using a shockingly straightforward yet incredibly effective template with limitless customization options.


In fact, with Lumiform, you get vessel arrival and departure reports that will guarantee to:


Manage your time better by integrating Lumiform into your organizational structure so you can create the fastest, most efficient vessel arrival and departure inspections free from fault. Through trademarked features, Lumiform reduces cumbersome manual tasks and helps your team optimize inspections in every audit lifecycle.


Compete With Market Demand


Dominate and wade off competition by using Lumiform’s form builder. Lumiform allows your team more time to come up with game-changing innovations because you can complete more audits in a day than when you didn't use our pre-made templates, regardless of the sector or size of your vessel business. Unlike anything else your company has ever done, this enables your audits to match consistent strategy and stakeholder expectations.


Generate Faster, Higher Returns


Accelerate your company’s profitability and net revenue with cost-efficient solutions from Lumiform’s proprietary “if-then logic” so your managers and employees can execute vessel inspections correctly without supervision. Lumiform can speed up your company’s sales goals and quarterly revenue targets by merging into your operations its methodologies that leading companies in all industries already trust.


Mitigate Costly Risks By Avoiding Penalties


Avoid costly non-compliance penalties by ensuring your team follows robust workflows and never deviates from ever-evolving regulatory, and legislative requirements and codes. Streamline repetitive tasks in your business plans and navigate strategic risk by tracking and automating KPIs, KRIs, and control processes with Lumiform. Take photos, write notes, and even assign tasks using Lumiform’s straightforward mobile app to rapidly identify and reduce errors accurately in real-time, even offline.


Operate Using Cost-Effective Practices


Lumiform ensures your company only stick to best practices during each vessel arrival and departure audit. Save on costs and mitigate risks across the board by using Lumiform’s extensive data analytics, automation features, chat logs, and inspection features that live up to your team’s highest potential. Empower your crew members to correct issues fast with Lumiform’s synchronized dashboard. With simultaneous access, you can build a culture of accountability and teamwork in the workplace like never before.




Small vessel with onboard crew


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Robyn Neath

Robyn Neath

Robyn started her writing career after receiving her screenwriting diploma from InFocus Film School in Vancouver, BC. She has since worked for esteemed sports, casting, and news organizations. When she isn’t concentrating on generating content with Lumiform, she enjoys working on her sitcom scripts and entering them into writing competitions. She has a strong interest in the arts, and can usually be found re-watching Frasier or stumbling her way through The New Yorker’s daily crossword.

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