This paper summarises the findings of a study on maritime safety in the Asia Pacific region. The study was conducted in 1999 by the Asia Pacific Maritime Institute for the APEC Transportation Working Group. The study aimed to identify specific mechanisms used by APEC governments and maritime industries to promote safer shipping and combat substandard shipping in the Asia Pacific region. Information was collected through a survey and interviews. The survey was posted on the internet and also sent by fax and post. The interviews covered 14 APEC economies: Australia, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and the United States. A total of 424 people from various maritime sectors participated. Information was cross checked against published literature and relevant documentation. Maritime experts in the region were also consulted. Seven mechanisms were found to be the most effective in improving the safety of shipping in the Asia Pacific region: port state control; ship vetting; ISM Code implementation; industry self regulation; government-industry partnerships; a regional approach and a stronger Asia Pacific voice; and media coverage and information exchange. To make these mechanisms truly effective, however, a range of implementation problems would need to be resolved. Further, two other issues need greater regional attention: better economic incentives to reward compliance and improving crew training, competence, and welfare.