West Nautical’s Captain “Command and Control” Course

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In October 2015, West Nautical invited a select number of yacht Captains to Newcastle in England, for their inaugural Command and Control Course.

West Nautical hosted its inaugural Captains’ Meeting in association with the South Shields Marine School and Akzonobel AwlGrip paint factory. Two days of bridge simulator training using simulated 40-90m motor yachts, in seven sessions, were created and ran by the marine school, and were undertaken by five superyacht captains and a chief officer. Individual debriefs following each, with a view to improve bridge team resource management and emergency response training. The objective and primary purpose of the Command and Control course was to continue to build strong relations between the Captains and West Nautical, whilst focusing on industry issues and concerns. They focused on senior level training for Captains in their primary function as a navigation and commanding officer on board during emergency situations.

West Nautical along with Kate Gillespie from KG Maritime developed the simulated scenarios making them Superyacht-specific and crew-focused to ensure that the attendees gained as much experience in a realistic environment. Over the two days, the Captains had to deal with a crew stabbing in the Galley, a severe fire in the engine room, missing crew, a sea rescue of immigrants along the Gulf of Suez, collisions in Sydney Harbour, mayday distress situations, a death on board, all with demanding guests on the bridge and whilst dealing with major incidents happening all around them.

What’s more, the West Nautical yacht management team was put to the test, with their office team playing an integral role, dealing with the captains via telephone and testing their responses as managers. Moreover, to ensure maximum knowledge and insight was gained, those Captains not involved in the simulations were split up into groups: one to observe and discuss the bridge team’s response; the other to observe the West Nautical team’s response.

Kate Gillespie said ”It was a pleasure to work so closely with the Marine Schools staff and West Nautical’s office team, an honor to help enhance and encourage a bourgeoning safety management system. If all companies worked together in such a proactive way the seas would be a safer place.”

Some of the other seminars also included Sarah Butler a training nurse from MedAire, who also supported the week, gave the group a refresher course on first response trauma emergencies, this gave the Captains a great reminder of what actions are needed to be taken in these types of emergencies. Martin Amy from David Store Navigational Management also conducted training with the group on ECDIS (Electronic Chart Display and Information System) and discussed current methods and systems that the Captains should be aware of.

Jean-Marc Bitouzet, Captain of 60m motoryacht St David said “The simulator training was fantastic” he said “These types of training exercises are a must for us as Captains, I felt I learnt allot from particular scenarios and incidents that were given to us, we forget from time to time that these things can happen and we need to have this type of training to refresh us and remind us of what practice we put in place when we are on our own yachts”. He also mentioned “I have worked for large Management companies for over 13 years in the industry and I have not ever been offered this type of training before, I will be highly recommending this to other Captains to join next year”.

Captain Hefin Rowlands also mentioned “Being in a Masters role with over 30 year’s command experience, it was an interesting exercise to join the bridge and support the role of another Captain and observe how the crew operate in these scenarios, there is a lot to take back from this. It was great to be involved with the young team at West Nautical, great personalities and good knowledge of the industry”.

Geoff Moore, Managing Director of West Nautical said, “The week has been a huge success. We had a group of 6 on the course which was the ideal number for time in the simulator, which ran 6 different exercises, and had Captains of different experiences from those who had commanded for over 30 years, to those experiencing the role for the first time”.

As part of the weeks training and seminars in Newcastle, West Nautical took the Captains along to Akzonobel AwlGrip paint factory. Here they met with Hans Slegtenhorst who is in charge of the special operations at Akzonobel and Peter Disselhorst Account Manager at Awlgrip. The group was taken on a tour of the factory and learnt about the management of care and maintenance of the yachts paint surfaces but also how much goes into creating this specialist paint for our industry.

Global Superyacht Business Development Manager Ken Hickling said, “It is a credit to West Nautical that they put their time and care into a project like this.  As a leading manufacturer we welcome the opportunity to get close to the key individuals who live day by day with our paint for the entire service period.  Spending a few days together gives all participants the chance to share their knowledge and experiences and we all benefit from this”.

The week ended with a trip to a Rugby match to watch the Newcastle Falcons Aviva Premiership rugby union match against Gloucester, which the group thoroughly enjoyed courtesy of The Morpeth Practice of St James Place Wealth Management.

Geoff Moore ended the week by saying, “The feedback from all who attended has been nothing but praise, and it was great to have our sponsors assist with this event, which will now be ran annually. They added a different dimension to the training, and ensured the week’s entertainment and networking activities were well attended and diverse”.

Chief Officer Daniel Hodgson said “before this course the commercial NAEST Management Simulator training was the best I had in my career, this week beat it”.

All the captains who attended the West Nautical training week received a certificate and all in all a view of improving themselves as captains and taking ownership of the great responsibility laid upon them.

With thanks to our sponsors: MedAire, David Store Navigational Management, AkzoNobel Awlgrip and The Morpeth Practice of St James Place Wealth Management.

Thank you also to the Captains and Chief Officer for attending: Captain Simon Johnson, Captain Hefin Rowlands, Captain Jean-Marc Bitouzet, Captain Casey Burrows, Captain David Purcell and Chief Officer Daniel Hodgson.

For further information on the West Nautical Captains Training week or to sign up for next year contact training@westnautical.com or call +44 191 478 9920