HMS report

M/V Martha's Vineyard

Find background, information & updates on the comprehensive review of the Authority's operations by HMS Consulting, Glosten Associates and Rigor Analytics here.

The latest 

Steamship Authority, Safety Management Systems LLC launch project to implement process-based management system

FALMOUTH (September 12, 2019) – The Woods Hole, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Steamship Authority (“SSA”) and Safety Management Systems LLC (“SMSLLC”) today marked the start of a project to implement a Safety Management System (“SMS”) and Quality Management System (“QMS”) at the ferry line.

The SSA and representatives from SMSLLC held a kick-off meeting this morning at the SSA’s administrative office building in Falmouth, at which each organization discussed its organizational history, the project’s objectives, key commitments for successful outcomes, project management tools to be used during this multiyear process, and an overview of the project phases and SMSLLC’s consulting approach.

 “Establishing a Safety Management System and Quality Management System will be a long and complex undertaking for the Steamship Authority, so we are pleased to have an imminently qualified partner with us for the journey,” said Robert B. Davis, SSA general manager. “We are excited to get under way in this project and begin a transformation that will have long-lasting positive ramifications for the organization.”

“Our project with the SSA is a major milestone for our company as we continue to expand our involvement in working with leading domestic and international ferry operators who recognize the benefits of adopting effective operational controls that are consistent with regulatory and voluntary standards. The SSA is especially close to home for our company, and we are excited to join an excellent team to form a solid and sustainable approach to manage operational safety, protection of the environment, and customer satisfaction,” said William Mahoney, managing director of SMS LLC.

The SMS/QMS project focuses on developing a process-based culture of continual improvement at the Steamship Authority. A management system will be built from the ground up that includes policies, plans and procedures and policies to manage operational safety and customer experience. The SMS system focuses on vessel operations, while the QMS system will focus on shoreside and administrative operations. The project is scheduled for completion in December 2021.

Based in Portland, Maine, SMSLLC was founded in 1996 and provides a broad range of maritime compliance solutions to address safety, security, quality and environmental impacts on shipping operations. Since 2013, it has been a wholly owned and independent subsidiary of the leading international classification society ClassNK.

SMSLLC emerged as the unanimous choice of a review committee tasked with evaluating the responses to a Request for Proposals issued on February 15, 2019, for SMS and QMS systems. The SSA Board approved the contract award at its July 24, 2019 meeting in Tisbury.

The implementation of an SMS and QMS are part of the SSA’s transition to a process-based approach to management and were two (2) of the ten (10) recommendations to emerge from the comprehensive review of the Authority’s operations performed in 2018 by HMS Consulting, Glosten Associates and Rigor Analytics.

For more information on the HMS report and the Authority’s implementation of its recommendations, visit


Steamship Authority seeking public input on updated mission statement

FALMOUTH (July 17, 2019) – The Woods Hole, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Steamship Authority is seeking public input from its ridership and members of its constituent communities as part of a project to develop a new mission statement for the organization.

The Authority has developed a dedicated page ( on its website where those seeking to provide comment can read about the last mission statement, which was developed in 1994 but never fully implemented, as well as answer some questions designed to elicit feedback to guide the mission statement project team.

The Authority will also be directly soliciting feedback from elected officials and community members in its five port communities – Barnstable, Dukes County, Falmouth, New Bedford and Nantucket. Additionally, it is holding open houses to allow for in-person feedback to be delivered to the project team. Those are scheduled as follows:

  • NANTUCKET: July 18 from 9:30 a.m. - 11 a.m. in the Discovery Center at the Nantucket Whaling Museum, 13 Broad Street, Nantucket.
  • HYANNIS: July 18 from 2 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. in the second-floor conference room of the SSA Hyannis Terminal, 69 South Street, Hyannis.
  • MARTHA'S VINEYARD: July 24, 2019 from 2 p.m. - 4 p.m. at the Tisbury EMS Building, 215 Spring Street, Vineyard Haven.
  • FALMOUTH: July 30 from 2 p.m. - 4 p.m. in the first-floor conference room at the SSA Administration Building, 228 Palmer Avenue, Falmouth.

The deadline for submitting feedback is August 23, 2019. The mission statement project team anticipates delivering drafts to the Port Council and Board at their September meetings.

Developing a mission statement was one of ten (10) recommendations contained in a comprehensive review of the Authority’s operations conducted in 2018 by HMS Consulting, Rigor Analytics and Glosten Associates. For more information on the Steamship Authority’s implementation of the HMS Consulting recommendations, including more detailed implementation plans and a timetable for the projects, visit


Steamship Authority launches implementation phase of HMS Consulting report’s recommendations

FALMOUTH (June 13, 2019) – After completing two of the 10 recommendations for improvement contained in an external review of its operations, the Woods Hole, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Steamship Authority has moved into the implementation phase on the remaining eight (8) recommendations and set timetables for their completion.

Following a daylong public workshop and two additional days of staff work with representatives from HMS Consulting and Glosten Associates – the firms that, along with Rigor Analytics, performed the comprehensive review of the Authority’s operations that was released in December 2018 and February 2019 – proposed implementation plans were presented to the Authority’s Board at a meeting on Saturday, June 8, 2019 in Hyannis. The plans were approved by a unanimous vote of those members present.

“I, along with everyone at the Steamship Authority, appreciate the importance of this independent review of operations to identify areas for improvement. These multi-day workshops provided the Steamship Authority Board, Port Council and staff with additional context regarding the resources, risks and timelines necessary to support these projects moving forward,” General Manager Robert B. Davis said.

The Authority has developed implementation plans for the following projects:

  • Implementation of a Safety Management System (SMS) and a Quality Management System (QMS) in support of a move toward a process-based culture.
  • Implementation of a Learning Management System (LMS) in support of a move toward a process-based culture.
  • Developing a mission statement and promote it throughout the Steamship Authority and its constituent communities.
  • Developing and maintaining a strategic plan to provide the SSA with medium- and long-term decision-making guidance and a basis for measuring organizational performance.
  • Developing and maintaining metrics that are tied to the strategic plan for measuring the performance of SSA supervisory staff.
  • Satisfying the critical resource needs in the engineering department and further evaluate additional needs.
  • Realigning of operational departments and potential addition of an operations department head.

HMS and Authority staff agreed during the course of the workshop that two of the remaining recommendations – to hire a Health, Safety, Quality and Environment manager and to increase external recruiting – had been completed. Additionally, the Authority has added a director of marine operations to its management team to further a goal of realigning its organizational structure.

Mr. Davis noted that the timelines for accomplishing these improvements range from several weeks to several years and that, even after the projects are completed, maintaining the improvements will be an ongoing process for the Authority and its employees.

Following a Request for Proposals, the Authority Board voted in June 2018 to hire HMS Consulting for a contract price of $217,976 to conduct an independent review covering five aspects of the Authority’s operations: vessel operations, fleet maintenance, management structure, public communications and information technology systems. By the time the main portion of the report was released in December 2018 and the subsequent release of the Public Communications supplement in February 2019, the Authority had already made significant progress on improving its operations in a number of areas, including safety and training, vessel maintenance, operations, information technology, internal information management and public communications.

For more information on the Steamship Authority’s implementation of the HMS Consulting recommendations, including more detailed implementation plans and a timetable for the projects, visit


Steamship Authority adds to management team 

FALMOUTH (April 16, 2019) – The Woods Hole, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Steamship Authority is adding four (4) new individuals to its management team, General Manager Robert B. Davis announced today at the Authority’s monthly board meeting in New Bedford. Two of the individuals are filling positions created as part of the implementation of recommendations made by HMS Consulting, Glosten Associates and Rigor Analytics in the recent comprehensive review of the Authority’s operations.

The Steamship Authority conducted both an internal search for the four positions and a national search, both of which produced a slate of candidates that gave the Authority a wide range of candidates from which to choose.

“I was extremely pleased with the quality of candidates we had for these positions,” Mr. Davis said. “Being able to choose from so many highly qualified individuals ensured that the Authority is getting the very best of the best to join our team.”

The new hires are as follows:

Angela Sampson –Health, Safety, Quality and Environmental (HSQE) Manager

Angela Sampson has spent more than a decade in the environmental, health and safety field, both at sea as an environmental officer with Celebrity Cruises Inc. and shoreside with Hasbro, where she most recently worked as an environmental health and safety engineer. Ms. Sampson’s expertise lies in developing and implementing environmental, health, safety and sustainability programs to ensure compliance to environmental laws and industry standards. At Hasbro, she supported global and corporate sustainability initiatives and served as the hazardous waste coordinator, a position that resulted in cost and waste reduction measures. She is a graduate of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, where she received a bachelor’s degree in marine safety and environmental protection; she also received her master’s degree in environmental sustainability at The University of Edinburgh.

“I am very excited to join the Steamship Authority. With my collective knowledge in maritime regulations and corporate environmental, health and safety experience, I bring a vast array of best practices from both shipboard and shore side sectors. I am excited to share industry best practices with the SSA team,” Ms. Sampson said.

Janice Kennefick – Human Resources Director

Janice Kennefick has more than 20 years of experience in the human resources field, most recently as the HR director at Tribe Mediterranean Foods in Taunton. She has also served as a human resources manager at Ocean Spray Cranberries in Lakeville, where she also was a senior human resources generalist, and also worked in similar roles at Computershare and Fluor Daniel GTI. She has led talent review and talent calibration sessions, implemented business unit succession planning and talent management plans, created employee training and organizational development programs, and driven the achievement of company goals through objective and development plan setting, performance calibration, and talent development. She studied business management at Lesley University.

“To say that I am thrilled to join the SSA team is an understatement. I am proud to be joining such an iconic organization and look forward to bringing new ideas and energy and contribute to pushing the organization forward,” Ms. Kennefick said.

Capt. Jordan Baptiste – Port Captain (Note: Capt. Baptiste resigned on May 31, 2019)

Capt. Jordan Baptiste is a born and raised fifth-generation islander hailing from Vineyard Haven (Tisbury). He is 2000 graduate of Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School and a U.S. Coast Guard veteran, serving from 2002-2009. He has more than 15 years of professional maritime experience, including both shoreside and afloat management-level positions, and holds a Master of Unlimited Tonnage Upon Oceans. For the past six years, Baptiste has served as captain of multipurpose support vessels in the offshore oil and gas industry. Operating in one of the most heavily regulated sectors of the maritime industry has given Baptiste extensive knowledge and experience in the application of process-based management, including International Safety Management (ISM) code, safety management systems, learning management systems, and quality management systems. He has a bachelor's degree in transportation and logistics management from American Public University, where he is also currently enrolled in graduate school completing his master's degree in management and organizational leadership.

“I am extremely excited for the opportunity to be joining the SSA. This has truly been a dream come true for me to return home and make the transition from a seagoing career to a shoreside role, where I can continue to utilize my training, education, and leadership experience to make a positive impact on the maritime industry,” Capt. Baptiste said.

Mark Amundsen – Director of Marine Operations

Mark Amundsen brings more than 30 years of experience in operations, strategic planning, technical management, and engineering in the international shipping industry to his role as the Steamship Authority’s first-ever director of marine operations. His expertise includes strategic transportation business development, oversight of safety compliance, structuring and negotiating long-term contracts, cost control and purchasing elements, and presiding over dry dockings all over the world. He was most recently operations manager for Singapore Technologies Marine, operating ferry services in Europe. Previously, he was managing director for Nova Star Cruises Ltd., a ferry service operating between the US and Canada; and director, ship repair, at Irving Ship-building Inc. (ISI) in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He received his bachelor’s degree in Marine Engineering at Maine Maritime Academy, Castine, Maine, and is a licensed chief engineer of steam and motor vessels.

“After working with international passenger ferry services in Europe, I'm pleased to return to my native state of Massachusetts. It's an honor to join Steamship Authority as I believe in the company's mission, values and vision. I look forward to settling into the community and contributing to the future success of the company and our service,” Amundsen said.

The addition of the director of marine operations and HSQE positions were both among the ten (10) recommendations to emerge from HMS Consulting review. The port captain position was held vacant at the request of HMS Consulting representatives while they conducted their review for the latter half of 2018, and the human resources director position was left vacant following the 2018 retirement of Philip J. Parent.

Also among the HMS Consulting recommendations was to increase efforts to recruit from outside the organization; to that end, the Authority engaged the services of Flagship Consulting to recruit for the director of marine operations, port captain and HSQE positions and KLR Executive Search to recruit for the director of human resources position.

Capt. Baptiste and Ms. Sampson started their employment with the Authority today; Ms. Kennefick plans to start April 29, 2019; and Mr. Amundsen plans to start May 6, 2019.

For more information on the Steamship Authority’s implementation of the HMS Consulting recommendations, visit


Steamship Authority chooses Marine Learning Systems to provide Learning Management System services

FALMOUTH (April 10, 2019) – The Woods Hole, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Steamship Authority has entered into an agreement with Marine Learning Systems Inc. to provide the Authority with its first-ever process-based Learning Management System (LMS) program, both organizations announced today.

Marine Learning Systems’ proprietary software, MarineLMS, will act as the Authority’s central hub for delivering and managing its marine and shore side training and assessment programs. The secure web-based platform will be accessible to all Authority personnel, which in the summer includes more than 700 individuals.

“We are extremely pleased to enter into this agreement with Marine Learning Systems,” said Robert B. Davis, the Authority’s general manager. “From the beginning of our search for an LMS system for the Steamship Authority, they quickly emerged as a leader in the field and were our clear preference for the job at hand. I strongly believe using their MarineLMS system will provide a clear advantage to our personnel and the entire organization.”

“The Steamship Authority has been truly proactive and thoughtful in their search for a Learning Management System provider that shares their commitment to safety and the highest standards in training. We are thrilled to be chosen to provide them with a robust solution that will help ensure the safest maritime operations possible,” said Murray Goldberg, founder and CEO of Marine Learning Systems. “We firmly believe that optimizing safety and performance requires a structured, practical, and insights-based approach to training. We’ve seen first-hand how the effective deployment of an LMS affects an operator’s approach to engagement with front-line personnel and how it supports a strong safety culture; we’re excited to work alongside the Steamship Authority as they do the same.”

Marine Learning Systems, based in Vancouver, British Columbia, includes among its customers some of the largest marine operations in the world, including Washington State Ferries/Washington Department of Transportation, the Staten Island Ferry/New York City Department of Transportation, and BC Ferries. Locally, it also serves Boston Harbor Cruises and Hy-Line Cruises.

The Authority is already at work incorporating its training materials into the MarineLMS system in advance of its company-wide launch within the next few months. Further materials, including vessel-specific manuals now being developed, will be included on the system as they are completed.

Implementing a Learning Management System was one of the ten (10) recommendations to emerge from the comprehensive review of the Authority’s operations performed in 2018 by HMS Consulting, Glosten Associates and Rigor Analytics. The Authority is currently in the process of recruiting individuals who will fill key new management positions – namely, a director of marine operations and the health, safety, quality and environmental manager – as well as the vacant port captain position.

“I am extremely pleased by our progress over just the last few months as we seek to improve our operations, and our partnership with MarineLMS and bringing these key positions on board will even better position us to continue our implementation strategies with regard to HMS Consulting’s recommendations,” Davis said.

For more information on Marine Learning Systems, visit

For more information on the Steamship Authority’s implementation of the HMS Consulting recommendations, visit


Background materials 

SSA Board approves implementation plans for HMS Consulting recommendations

Following several days of workshops with the Board, Port Council and staff, the Authority Board on June 8, 2019 approved the following plans to implment the recommendaions contained in the HMS report. 

Safety Management System/Quality Management System

Learning Management System

Mission Statement

Strategic Planning

Performance Metrics

Engineering Resources

Vessel operations

Please see the following documents for an overview of the initiatives and a timeline of the implementation plans: Initiative Summary | Initiative Timeline

June 5, 2019 presentation - implementation workshop (first day)

June 8, 2019 presentation - implementation workshop (final day)

Island sessions held on HMS Consulting report

The Woods Hole, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Steamship Authority held public sessions on Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard to allow island residents to learn more about the results of the comprehensive review of the Authority’s operations issued by HMS Consulting, Glosten Associates and Rigor Analytics. The review covered five topics: vessel operations, fleet maintenance, management structure, information technology systems and public communications.

March 4, 2019 HMS Presentation on Nantucket

March 5, 2019 HMS Presentation on Martha's Vineyard

December 17, 2018 HMS presentation

Comprehensive Review of the Steamship Authority's Operations 

Staff Summary #GM-708 from General Manager Robert B. Davis

HMS media release

HMS Presentation at December 17, 2018 Board Meeting

Video of December 17, 2018 Board Meeting (Part 1) (Part 2)

February 9, 2019 HMS presentation 

Supplement to the Comprehensive Review of the Steamship Authority's Operations

HMS public communications media release 

HMS presentation on public communications supplement to the Comprehensive Review

Video of February 9, 2019 Board Meeting 

January 22, 2019 Board meeting

Staff Summary #GM-709: Initial Thoughts About the Final Recommendations and Implementation Plans from HMS Consulting Comprehensive Review (including draft organizational chart options)

Feburary 9, 2019 Board meeting 

HMS Proposal for Implementation Services (approved by the Board)

Staff Summary #GM-710: Proposed Process to Proceed with Implementation of HMS Consulting Recommendations (The Board approved creation of director of marine operations and HSQE director positions, as well as issuing Request for Proposals for consulting services to develop and implement a Safety Management System and Quality Management System.)