About Us

Maritime safety has come a long way since the days of the Herald of Free Enterprise and the Exxon Valdez – and in some ways, it still has far to go.

There are new concepts afoot in terms of safety worldwide and it is time that the maritime industry took note.  Whether it be resilience engineering, human-organizational performance or any version of Safety II, 3rd Generation Safety or Safety Differently, there is much to be learned outside the maritime industry.

And much of it is about being human.

And regardless of the amount of automation involved, there’s humans involved at some level.

Our research focus is on the human aspects (soft or human skills), as well as the technical aspects and issues involved with operating on all sizes of vessels.  Our goal is to promulgate best practices for both the human and technical sides of operations with the intent to help everyone get home from sea with all their fingers and toes.


Captain Richard Madden – Founder & Director

Rich was raised in Sackets Harbor, NY on Lake Ontario, where he began his maritime career working at marinas, cleaning charter boats and racing sailboats.  He graduated from NY Maritime College in 1990 and worked for Military Sealift Command (MSC) on a variety of underway replenishment, cargo and towing vessels.  After leaving MSC in the late 90s, Rich transitioned into the tug and barge industry in Hawaii and then in the Northeast, conducting coastal towing, ship tows and, occasionally, ship assist.

Transitioning back from brown to blue water shipping in the early 2000s, Rich began shipping on commercial deep-sea vessels.  Over the past 19 years, these have ranged from contract survey vessels for the U.S. Navy to heavylift/multipurpose vessels to his current command on a medium-sized container ship in worldwide trade.  Working on a feeder container ship between the Middle East and East Africa afforded extensive experience during the height of Somali piracy, which lead to an increasing interest in security and safety.

Captain Madden has been an adjunct instructor in maritime education and training (MET) since 2013.  Courses he has been involved with range from operational to management level meteorology, hazardous weather avoidance, navigation (terrestrial, celestial and electronic), safety, bridge resource management, leadership and management and shiphandling courses.  Rich particularly enjoys simulations and has been involved with port research projects and skills assessments in a variety of roles.

Rich is an Associate Fellow of the Nautical Institute, member of the Council of American Master Mariners (CAMM) and has been an appointee to the U.S. Coast Guard Navigation Safety Advisory Committee since 2015.  He is founder of the Maritime Safety Innovation Lab LLC, a maritime industry consultancy and research organization.  Through this organization, Captain Madden works to identify and promulgate best practices in both human and technical skills with the goal of keeping seafarers and vessels safe from harm.

Rich is married to Kelly, a former U.S. Coast Guard boatswain’s mate who now runs the couple’s powerboat extensively on the Chesapeake Bay.  They have three adult children and live in Glen Burnie, MD.



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