What is the Professional Yachting Association (PYA)?
Written by Luke Wheeler
Last updated: 16/09/2019
The PYA is the largest association directly intended to represent the interests of yacht crew around the globe. As a not-for-profit organisation, they offer accurate, unbiased advice and support on various topics and issues relevant to yacht crew globally: certification, training, welfare, regulation, and more.
As an established voice within the yachting industry, the PYA acts as a huge driving force for changes to regulation in favour of crew’s welfare and working conditions. It is well positioned to assist members with employment disputes such as unfair dismissals, or lack of proper contracts, for example, and can be a real asset to crew when going through difficulty within their careers.
With that said, there is an annual fee to hold a membership with the PYA (and most associations) and it is perfectly possible to embark on a thriving yachting career without a membership; so, why should you bother?
The big one: sea-service verification
When trying to obtain a certificate of competency or progress your career, the biggest problem yacht crew have is accurately proving their time spent at sea. As the yachting industry grows and grows and becomes more and more competitive in terms of employment opportunities, it has become necessary for authorities and employers to place more thorough checks on recorded sea service.
One of the services the PYA offers members, and now non-members too, is the verification of sea time on behalf of the MCA (for all RED Group Flag Authorities) and Transport for Malta. Using its ‘ISO Quality Management’ system, it checks that the information on the crew member's sea service testimonials is correct — both retrospective and present.
For PYA members, this is then stamped into the approved Service Record Book along with their certificates. This can then be submitted to the authority without the need for additional documentation. For non-members, sea service testimonials can be verified on a pay-as-you-go basis, however the PYA Service Record Book is issued to members only.
The PYA is in constant consultation with policy makers who decide on and write legislation affecting the construction, operation and manning of large yachts. Over the years, PYA has participated in numerous workgroups and steering committees to ensure the point of view of those actually working on board is known, understood, and considered at all stages.
Working with other administrations to fight for the interests of yacht crew, the PYA have triumphed in many areas over the years and have deterred legislation being put in place which would negatively affect the yachting industry and those working in it.
It has also helped many members with issues such as non-payment of wages, unfair dismissal and lack of contracts. Going into a dispute alone is rarely advantageous over an established, respected association backing and fighting for your case.
Career advice and welfare support
Due to unpaid time offered by a small group of the PYA’s senior directors, councillors and members, the PYA staff in Antibes are able to direct individual enquiries, in confidence, to this knowledgeable panel of experts. In 2018, the PYA dealt with over 150 such enquiries.
The topics referred include disputes around contracts of employment or SEAs, unlawful stoppage of wages, unsuitable accommodation, bullying and harassment, career progression and advice, and more.
The PYA also offers one-to-one career advice on matters relating to sea service, certification and examination.
To find out more about the PYA
If you would like to learn more about becoming a PYA member, visit the PYA website to read about everything it can offer in further detail.