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

Posted: September 12, 2019

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