News

Former Below Deck Bosun Launches CrewPass to Protect Crew’s Security

10 December 2021By Laura Shaughnessy
Conrad Empson

Written by

Laura Shaughnessy

Laura Shaughnessy has been the managing editor at Dockwalk since February 2018. Having grown up among the cornfields, she is ecstatic to be among the boats in the yachting capital of the world. Armed with a bachelor’s degree in communications and a master’s in journalism, 15 years of experience with newspapers, magazines, and the online world, Laura has joined a great crew. When not writing about superyacht crew, she’s hanging out with her husband and their German Shepherd, working on house projects, or binging on Netflix.

Safety and good service is essential in yachting. CrewPass is looking to supply those two essentials and promises to “ensure the safety and security of all individuals in the maritime industry,” according to former bosun Conrad Empson, the managing director of CrewPass. His new company, which launched on December 3, provides crew background checks, criminal record checks, and ID verification checks. They will also soon offer automated Certificate of Competency checks through the MCA.

The CrewPass Approved Accreditation is the global equivalent to an Enhanced DBS check in the UK, the press release states. Empson describes CrewPass as a passport. “[Crew] keep their data, they keep everything together. They can load their certificates on there. They keep all their information and they can share it with the people that they want to share it with.” Once an employer is looking to hire, they would only need the crewmember’s CrewPass ID to be able to access their information and background check.

Conrad Empson

Empson’s background gives him plenty of credibility for the job. The former bosun, who spent four or five years in the superyacht industry before becoming a cast member on Below Deck Med season 3, is highly motivated to protect yacht crew. He left his position as a crewmember to work as the project manager for three years at a yacht security company called MarineGuard. It was there that his boss asked him some questions that led him to start CrewPass.

“My boss came to me … and asked me if I’d ever been background checked, following a conversation that he had had with clients in the past about background-checking crewmembers. There’s quite a security flaw there if you think about it,” he points out. “It’s not done throughout the board. It’s done in little bits and pieces when you have a high-level owner or whatever in there, they’re very stringent on their checks, but it’s definitely quite a costly move to be able to do it on every crewmember, especially every crewmember that comes on board,” he says.

His boss then pitched him to come up with an idea and see what came out of it. “That was how I kind of came up with CrewPass,” recalls Empson. “And it's more about security and safety of everyone on board, but then also empowering the crewmember to take hold of their certificates and gain their own accreditation, ready to take it to their employer.” The company has three key audiences: crew, vessels, and crew agencies. 

Filling a Need in the Industry

“Many crewmembers are not vetted before working on board,” says Jessica Lauryn Collins, marketing assistant at CrewPass. “CrewPass offers enhanced criminal record checks and ID verification checks specifically for crewmembers, as well as offering a daily operations app.”

“A subscription to CrewPass will allow individuals to verify their identity and conduct enhanced global criminal background checks, helping vessels, crew agencies, and management companies ensure that only fully vetted individuals are allowed on board,” says Empson.

A huge component of the company is their app. “I’ve built it with my experience of the yachting industry to make daily operations on board, better, easier, and more advanced for the vessel. That was kind of the main aim of this,” explains Empson. “You know, I wouldn’t release something that wouldn't generally be used in all aspects.”

The CrewPass app’s features include:

  • A digitalized watch ROTA and encrypted inter-crew vessel chats.
  • A real-time crew list that displays when a crewmember is on/off board using their beacons.
  • Once on board, the new app and website allow vessels to improve their daily operations, ensuring the safety and security of everyone on board by enabling them to check, communicate, and monitor the day-to-day operations of crewmembers.
  • CrewPass has features being developed for the new year, such as crewmember rest hours and sea time reports.
  • Furthermore, once on board, CrewPass helps vessels improve their daily operations that, in addition to everyone’s safety and security, enables them to check, communicate, and monitor daily crew operations.

How CrewPass works:

  1. Sign up — at CrewPass.co.uk
  2. Begin checks — advanced checks are carried out (seven to 10 days)
  3. Verify ID — instant passport/ID verification
  4. Checks complete — crewmember status changes to approved or declined
  5. Unique ID created — crewmember gives their unique ID to the vessel to verify their CrewPass status
  6. Approved crew join crew list — vessels can view crew profiles, add them to crew lists, and assign them to ROTAs
  7. Improved vessel operations — crew benefit from the advantages of ROTAs, in and out boards, private messaging, and more
  8. Go on board — you’re in!

Recent Developments and What’s to Come

Beyond their launch, they’re still expanding. “We’re already pushing forward enhancements [for] work [and] rest hours. So we’re essentially trying to make this the one app that everybody has,” Empson says.

Recently, CrewPass officially signed agreements with some of the leading crew agencies, such as Viking Crew and Bespoke Crew, who are supporting this accreditation as an industry standard. They’ve also selected First Advantage, a global provider of technology solutions for screening, verifications, safety, and compliance related to human capital, to partner with them in providing identity checks and background screening.

The cost is £9.99/month (depending on country) or £99/year up front.

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