He adds that the industry and its practices constantly evolve and it is important that formal courses and assessment evolve alongside. “This can only be done,” continues Lippuner, “in close collaboration between the regulator, the MCA, and industry representative bodies, such as IAMI (International Association of Maritime Institutions) or others.”
In order to keep up with the changes Lippuner sees a two-pronged approach as an effective practice: One hand continues to work with the regulating bodies to ensure the right assessment is up¬to-date and in place. On the other hand work within the industry to define the self-imposed standards it wants to adhere to. The latter should extend beyond safety related issues advises Lippuner.
The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) is another source of traditional seagoing training. Its network has an international reach with around 2,400 training centres in 58 countries and 250,000 people take training with the RYA each year.
Training to suit the super yachties can include the RYA Powerboat Level 2 and RYA Tender Operators courses that equip crew members with the skills needed to safely operate tenders and to transfer guests to and from the yacht. Both of these courses were developed by the RYA in conjunction with the superyacht industry; great examples suggests Richard Falk RYA Director of Training and Qualifications, of the way the industry has set the standards for safe operations rather than waiting for the regulations to catch up. The shore-based courses cover everything from marine radio operation to navigation, providing the underpinning knowledge needed to operate small craft and progress through the ranks.
Crew can also qualify as RYA Personal Watercraft Instructors, which will then allow the yachts on which they work to become recognised for the delivery of the RYA Personal Watercraft Safety course – perfect for getting their guests safely afloat. Explains Richard Falk, “RYA Yachtmaster™ Certificates of Competence can be commercially endorsed and used in their own right for Deck Officer or Masters on smaller yachts, or as a starting point for those looking to progress through the MCA Large Yacht qualification framework.”
Falk would like to see a more proactive approach to onboard training and development for existing crew. For example, he thinks onboard opportunities and mentoring programmes led by experienced Skippers and Deck Officers are useful in helping to develop and retain crew, as well as ensuring they are better prepared for when they eventually put themselves forward for exams for certificates of competence. He adds, ‘Whether it’s involving them in passage planning, or tutoring them in the handling of large tenders, crew will always benefit greatly from assistance in developing their knowledge and skills.”
Ted Miley is the Principal at Ocean Training based out of Cheltenham in the UK but you don’t need to know that or go there because all of the courses on offer are provided by distance learning online. These include MCA approved courses such as: MCA OOW Navigation & Radar (Yachts under 3000gt), MCA General Ship Knowledge (GSK), MCA Master 200, RYA Yachtmaster and RYA Yachtmaster Ocean. Says Miley, “All our courses are done via Distance and Blended Learning and the courses include high quality course modules and over 370 animations which enhance the learning and allow our students to get high pass grades in the final MCA exams. The students also get 12 months to learn so that they can fit the courses around the rest of their lifestyle. All our online tutors are Master Mariners so the students work with the best!”
An obvious choice for anyone looking to avoid college fees or accommodations costs, Miley explains the main aim of Ocean Training is to get students qualified so that they can rise up the ladder in the superyacht industry and become Captains. He adds, ‘“Ocean Training Online provides very high quality training courses for both MCA and RYA theory courses. Our students are based worldwide and have the benefit of studying at home or at sea in their own time and at their own pace.”