Helm launches crew rest product to help ensure STCW compliance


(VICTORIA, British Columbia) — Leading marine operations software provider Helm Operations has launched Helm CONNECT Work Rest, a new set of tools to help companies combat crew fatigue and ensure rest time compliance across their fleets by allowing them to efficiently manage onboard work schedules from a single screen.

Focused on freeing busy crews from unnecessary paperwork and overly complex Excel sheets, Helm promises the new tool will let companies plan, forecast and manage their work rest easily, guaranteeing their crew rest times are compliant with STCW rules or their own corporate standards — all in just three clicks.


Properly tracking crew work and rest hours is an imperative issue in the global maritime industry, where an estimated 75 percent of liability loss is caused by human error, primarily linked to fatigue. In response to these challenges, regulators have implemented ever more stringent work-rest tracking requirements, including ILO 180, the IMO’s STCW 2010 Manila Amendments, MLC 2013, and the United States’ Subchapter M. These rules require captains and operators to carefully manage crew shifts in an effort to manage fatigue and minimize accidents.

This is a challenging task given the dynamic nature of work onboard vessels and in ports, said Helm’s Steve Robertson, who helped lead the development of Helm CONNECT Work Rest alongside Product Manager Shawn Verhagen.

“Vessel and port operations are highly complex, and crew often pick up additional work or participate in drills that delay or temporarily reduce their rest time,” said Robertson. “This makes tracking rest time and forecasting who is allowed to work a difficult task with significant repercussions, including increased risk of injuries, casualties, and liability, as well as increased oversight from regulators.”

In addition, he said, the industry’s tools are often not up to the task. “During our research, we found that many companies still depend on paper logs or complex Excel sheets to manage work rest. Even in 2021, much of the industry is still using tools from 1984,” said Robertson. “The tedious and error-prone nature of recording work rest information on paper or in Excel means companies run the risk of not properly tracking rolling 24-hour periods of time, pencil whipping, or worse, not tracking their hours at all. All of these can lead to non-compliance, putting both crew safety and the company’s reputation at risk. ”

Built based on direct feedback from captains, crews, and regulators, Helm CONNECT Work Rest makes it easy for anyone — even the most software-averse captain — to track and prove compliance with regulations. “In the case of the STCW rules, for example, we can apply them to a work schedule with a single click, making it easy for captains to see exactly what shifts their crews can and cannot work in order to stay compliant with international regulations,” said Verhagen.

– Helm Operations

By Professional Mariner Staff