ASF sparks industry debate on crew quality
In our coverage of last month’s American Superyacht Forum, held in Las Vegas from 14 – 16 May, one particular comment sparked heated debate from fellow industry professionals. In our coverage of session of the first day’s fifth session, we declared: Redmayne commented that some crew trainers are considered “paper merchants”; a view that was being much discussed by recruitment specialists and captains during the drinks and coffee breaks of the event.
This comment has given rise to a number of training providers coming forward and sharing their views on this complex and ever-pertinent topic. In the comments we have received so far, there has been a general consensus that there are fewer crew today with the desired skill level, however the issue of responsibility is one that continues to precipitate debate.
Amy Beavers, managing director of Maritime Professional Training contacted The Superyacht Group and observed the training provider cannot be the sole responsible party for the adequacy of crew today. “A training provider can only ensure the quality of the course, the facility and the lecturer. We do not formulate the syllabus for courses that are based on regulatory requirements, nor do we create or mark the examinations,” Beavers said.
the session that sparked this debate
Beavers also raised the problematic issue of time and cost as a deterrent when it comes to beneficial but non-mandatory training courses. “Additionally, we may offer numerous educational courses that would be of great benefit to the candidate and dramatically increase his/her ability to perform the requirements of their job, however of those courses are not mandatory they most likely will not take the time off work or spend the money to complete them.”
Beavers then outlined the responsible parties for these problems: “Certain legislative bodies that allow certification with grossly inadequate requirements; those candidates who want only to do the bare minimum; those captains who do not support or assist the crew in their efforts to obtain training or provide on-the-job training; and underwriters who overlook insufficiently trained, undercertificated and undermanned crew for private yachts who otherwise should deem the vessel unseaworthy for action.”
“There are many captains and crew today that see the benefits of more training and drills both onboard and at school taking courses beyond regulatory compliance to gain experience and readiness for extraordinary situations and if this becomes the trend, the lesser qualified crew will be the exception to the rule,” added Beavers.
In another email from Bluewater Yachting’s John Wyborn, who addressed the issue of quality of crew training in an article in Issue 63 of The Crew Report, Wyborn stated: “As a trainer I have been acutely aware for some time that my courses, taken as a whole, do not meet the real needs of working yacht crew at sea. The problem is two fold: we, the industry, do not have specific expectations for crew at different levels – we leave all that to the MCA; secondly, there are not enough common standards for non-statutory courses.”
Quality of crew training is not only a hot talking point today, but as the operators of superyachts, crew and their skill levels should be widely acknowledged as the core of the industry. And, in the words of Beavers, “We would welcome the opportunity to start a dialogue regarding real training for the jobs [as] this has been lacking.” We ask you to be as vocal as those professionals who have shared with us their honest thoughts and concerns, and ask you to do the same in the comment section below.