ISM Lead Auditor

There has been widespread support across the industry to develop and implement an audit structure for implementation of Safety Management Systems. 

The Nautical Institute’s ISM Lead Auditor course is an intensive five-day remote course, designed to give participants the expertise and the understanding required to conduct a full audit of an organisation’s Management Systems in the role of Lead Auditor dedicated to the ISM Code. The Nautical Institute’s ISM Lead Auditor course is predominantly theory based with guided practical exercises that introduce the participants to a varying number of scenarios.

Course Aims

The Nautical Institute aims to contribute to the improvement of vessel safety with the development of the ISM Lead Auditors’ Course. The ISM Lead Auditors course aims to give candidates knowledge in;

  • ISM Code – overview of specific parts (as required)
  • Auditing methods/timetable/scope
  • The audit process
  • Questioning auditees
  • Non-conformities and observations
  • Reporting
  • Follow-up and audit completion
  • Recommendations

Upon completion of The Nautical Institute’s ISM Lead Auditor course candidates should be confident in planning and preparing for an audit, conducting an audit, and subsequently understand how to follow up on an audit.


The ISM Lead Auditor Course is delivered over five days. The course is delivered over four hours per day, totalling 18 hours of teaching time. 

Who should attend?

The course is designed for members of the maritime community, specifically those in the industry who have the professional knowledge and experience to apply the principles of the ISM Code to vessels whilst understanding the culture and requirements of the industry.


This is a pass/fail course.

To achieve a pass, participants must:

  • Attend the course in full. 
  • Pass a theoretical assessment held at the end of the course. The pass mark is 70%.
  • Demonstrate the ability to complete all required elements of practical auditing tasks to the satisfaction of the instructor.


Meet your Instructor

Captain Sarabjit Butalia FNI
Captain Sarabjit Butalia FNI

Short course instructor

Captain Sarabjit Butalia FNI is a Nautical Institute Fellow who specialises in maritime education and training. Captain Butalia has years of experience as an onboard assessor, has an MSc in Maritime Affairs from the World Maritime University, Malmö. He designs and develops safety modules and training programmes based on need analysis to enhance skills and efficiency.
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