About Compliance Maritime

Compliance Maritime was founded by Captain Katharine Sweeney in 2010 and has since provided over 400 International Safety Management (ISM) audits and more than 300 vessel security audits.

Having been on the receiving end of audits during her 20 year career as a master mariner, Captain Sweeney knew auditing could be done better. She established Compliance Maritime with auditors committed to treating clients with respect, to facilitating a constructive experience and providing companies with the information they need to continually improve their operation.

During the early days of her career sailing as Master in the late 1990s, Sweeney was the junior master at her company’s first management review of its Safety Management System. Sometime later she became the senior master in the same review process. After a career immersed in the application of the ISM code, Captain Sweeney has a deep understanding of its intent to bring consistency to a fleet of vessels while continuously improving the operations of each individual vessel, and has shared this knowledge with her team of auditors.cook inlet ice 2012 (2)

All Compliance Maritime auditors are experts on the ISM code’s requirements regarding Safety Management Systems. The objective of each auditor is to learn something new on every vessel they board and in every office they visit, and to listen to what clients have to say while always being cognizant of the highly regulated and litigious seas in which American vessels operate.



Auditing can be a tough business model, given that an auditor must often find fault with the clients they are serving. Compliance Maritime auditors do not promise to always tell a business what they want to hear, but they do provide a quality, value added audit or verification.

Compliance Maritime auditors carefully communicate what the audit entails, what the objective evidence they are looking for is and why it’s relevant. Their commitment is to always be consistent but fair, and to document audit findings including what is being done well, what is considered an industry standard (or best practice) and what needs to be improved.

Compliance Maritime is deeply concerned with its clients’ operations and the safety of their clients’ crews and vessels. Auditors are always striving to help businesses continually improve operations and to empower clients’ employees to take ownership of their Safety Management System.



Compliance Maritime auditors are certified, insured and current USCG licensed Master Mariners with 150 years of combined experience on a large variety of vessel types. They are all certified American Waterways’ Responsible Carrier Program (AWO RCP) Lead Auditors as well as certified International Standards Organization (ISO) 9001 (Quality) and 14001 (Environmental) Lead Auditors, giving them an understanding of the foundation on which ISM and Subchapter M were based.

In their shipboard careers, our auditors have managed when there was trouble down below, when an ETA was going to be missed and when a crewmember was injured or sick. Compliance Maritime auditors understand the real world in which crews operate. They also know how to conduct an audit during a difficult abbreviated port stay, and how to efficiently cover all aspects of a good ISM or Subchapter M audit under time pressure.

Compliance Maritime is a certified Woman Owned Small Business (WOSB). Clients consist of several key players in the industry, however each and every audit is confidential, and treated as such.