The recent sinking of the Costa Concordia cruise ship off the Tuscan coast of Italy serves to reinforce the notion that the design of larger vessels – megayachts and superyachts included – should be done with safety in mind.
While that is a seemingly obvious statement, thoughts of safety are often secondary when compared to overall costs, fuel efficiency, interior arrangements, length and a host of other design attributes.
But safety innovations are borne of real disasters. And whether the sinking of the Costa Concordia was an error of the captain and crew, navigation or a combination of mistakes, only an eventual investigation will tell.
Certainly, luxury yachts are designed to meet industry standards and specifications. But do these yachts incorporate the latest advances in engineering and safety technology?
While naval architects and engineers cannot manage safety training and crowd management, they can help design a safer ship.
Here are some questions that yachts owners, their designers and builders should be asking
– Can life rafts or boats be better designed for emergency deployment, specifically in custom designed superyachts?
– Should more consideration be given to damaged stability conditions?
– Are there further design elements that can enhance the actions of captain and crew during emergency situations?
– Can electronic navigation become even more reliable than it already is?
– Could escape routes and the locations of fire stations be enhanced?
– Are bulkhead fire rating requirements sufficient?
Individual architects and designers may not have all of the answers, but if safety is a significant concern for the owner of the luxury yacht being designed, an appropriate vessel design will incorporate these concerns prior to the build stage.