Warsash Superyacht Academy observes shifts in large yacht training

Three elements have caused a significant shift in large yacht training patterns during 2014, according to Warsash Superyacht Academy (WSA), one of the world’s leading superyacht training providers and part of Southampton Solent University.

Firstly, the Manila Amendments to the STCW Code (also known as STCW 2010) have brought the biggest change to the international regulatory framework that governs maritime training since 1995.

Secondly, there has been an increase in demand for officers with unlimited certification within the yachting industry due to growing numbers of yachts larger than the threshold of 3,000GT and yachts coded as passenger yachts capable of carrying up to 36 guests.

Finally, yacht crew enrolling on non-mandatory courses as part of continued professional development is increasing.

Commenting at the start of the 2014 Monaco Yacht Show, Lars Lippuner, business development manager at Warsash Superyacht Academy, said, “The new training requirements caused by the Manila Amendments to the STCW Code put a lot of additional strain on yacht crew, but the completion of these courses are inevitable.

“At the same time the gap between the simplified yacht route and the route leading to full unlimited certification has further decreased and many junior crews would be well advised to explore their options accordingly.”

The Manila Amendments to the SCTW Code, which applies to all maritime sectors including yachts, demands additional courses for crew progressing to deck or engineering officers. These include: an Efficient Deck Hand course; the Human Element; Leadership and Management (HELM); Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems (ECDIS) courses; and the introduction of a set of new security courses for all crew working on ISPS compliant yachts.

The next important change will come into effect in January 2017 when all crew will need to update their STCW fire fighting, rescue craft and sea survival courses every five years - known as STCW ‘updating’ courses.

Lippuner continued, “We were the first yacht training provider to roll out these courses during 2014 and while updating training won’t be required for another two and a bit years, yacht crew are well advised to start planning ahead as mariners worldwide will be wanting to complete their updating training by that date.”

Reflecting the rise in trend of yachts built above 3,000GT, a key training achievement for the academy was the first cohort of yacht students successfully completing the Officer of the Watch (Unlimited) certificate in May this year. The academy’s 27-week intensive programme is a career milestone for yacht personnel, and gives them the ability to progress to Master Mariner (Unlimited).

Andrew Hair, director of WSA says, “Deck officers with unlimited certification and yacht experience are in very high demand and the course has been immensely successful with candidates achieving outstanding results. They are now back at work with an unlimited certificate of competency in their pocket.”

The academy has also seen an increase in yacht officers on non-mandatory courses, such as ISM familiarisation and ISM internal auditor – a clear indication of yacht crew wanting to further their professional knowledge.

The pinnacle of professional development for deck officers is training on the academy’s 20-acre manned model ship handling lake, which is one of very few specialised centres in the world. Due to its international reputation, officers, including yacht captains, utilise this specialist facility which allows them to practice slow speed manoeuvring (mooring, overtaking or crossing in close proximity, narrow canals) without having the fear of a costly bill should the manoeuvre go wrong.

Other significant performance milestones that have been met by WSA during the past 12 months include:

  • The roll-out of MCA-approved ‘updating’ training courses according to STCW 2010; updated Proficiency in Personal Survival Techniques, Proficiency in Fire Prevention and Fire Fighting, Proficiency in Advanced Fire Fighting, Proficiency in Survival Craft and Rescue Boats and Proficiency in Fast Rescue Boats 
  • The expansion of the Warsash app to include Android, following the iPad launch in 2013. WSA was the first superyacht teaching institution to develop a mobile learning platform, enabling superyacht crew who are enrolled on WSA yacht deck and engineering courses to access course notes and teaching aids remotely.
  • In collaboration with its reputable training partners - MedAire, Regs4yachts, Interior Yacht Servcies, Da Gama Maritime and Marine Matters, WSA has further increased the offering of on board training, providing tailored solutions to the yacht’s needs.
  • Helping to shape the world of yacht racing, Southampton Solent University has enjoyed another successful year for graduates in 2014 on their world-renowned Yacht and Powercraft Design degree course: Jason Ker - the designer of the last South African America's Cup entry – is one of the design team working on Sir Ben Ainslie’s GB America’s Cup bid; and Guillame Verdier, who designed the yachts that came both first and second in last year’s Vendee Globe. This degree has seen many seen many famous alumni emerge, including German Frers Jr, Bill Dixon, Ed Dubois, Rob Humphreys and Juan Kouyoumdjian.

For more information, visit Warsash Superyacht Academy.

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