What is a Safe System Approach?

The MSP 2026 incorporates the Safe System approach. Safe System is an internationally-recognised and adopted methodology to reduce trauma. It focuses on understanding and countering issues that cause trauma on the water and takes a holistic view of the interacting elements. The elements include safe people, safe vessels and safe waterways.

Safe System is guided by four principles:

  1. People make mistakes - some boating incidents are inevitable.
  2. People are vulnerable - human bodies have a limited ability to withstand crash forces, submersion and exposure to weather conditions.
  3. Safety is a shared responsibility - system designers and the maritime public share responsibility for managing boating incidents.
  4. All parts of the system must be strengthened - including vessel design, safety equipment, infrastructure, access points, communication and aids to navigation. If one part fails, other parts will still protect the people involved.
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