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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.

Martin H. Redmayne was joined by four superyacht captains in
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.