The International Superyacht Society has been made aware of the recently issued United States Coast Guard’s Work Instruction which covers their guidance to vessel cyber risk management during Port State Control (PSC) inspections.

The Work Instruction is attached for completeness sake and whilst its contents are clear we would like to update our members on the following:


Further clarification will be required on the USCG applicability criteria. The term “SMS” is widely used; however it is unclear if this refers to those yachts having a Safety Management Certificate (SMC) or to those which use a Safety Management System (SMS) regardless of certification.

It is worth highlighting how privately registered yachts with an SMC will be treated. Inspections under the PSC regime are not usually applicable to private yachts, but inspections on pollution prevention measures do occur.

Due Date

Whilst 1 Jan 2021 is the international implementation date, this is not key, but rather the individual management companies’ annual verification date of their ISM Document of Compliance (the expiration date as shown on the DOC).

We recommend to our members that those applicable yachts have a formal plan for the development of their Cyber Security Risk Management, prior to their own applicable deadline. USCG PSCOs may react more favorably to this than an absence of information.

PSC Control Measures

Detention as a PSC control measure would be dependent on the severity of the identified deficiency. The Work Instruction provides some examples on the rationale used when determining when deficiencies arise and their corrective action.

More likely would rectification prior to departure and / or internal or external audit.

Next Steps

Operators of relevant yachts to develop a formal plan for their Cyber Security Risk Management.

As our members gain experience on the conduct of these inspections we will collate and provide suitable updates.

Although this is geared to the USCG inspections, further guidance will follow once other Flag / Port States information is issued.