West Nautical hosted its annual Superyacht Captain Command and Control Course in association with the South Shields Marine School and Akzonobel Awlgrip’s paint factory, with valid input from Butterworth Marine, Keystone Law, Superyacht Rubbish and St James Place Wealth Management.
For the 5th year, this bespoke Merchant Navy Training Board recognised course involved 2 days of immersive bridge simulator training, with a variety of evolving scenarios, which put the 9 Captains through their paces.
The primary purpose of course is focused on senior level training for Captains in their primary function as a navigation and commanding officer on board during emergency situations. Secondarily, the course focusses on headline industry issues and concerns, whilst also building relationships between West Nautical, the sponsors and the Captains.
Managing Director Geoff Moore said “This was our biggest and best course to date. We are always adjusting the course contents with the feedback we receive and ensure the training scenarios are relevant to trends within the superyacht industry.
This year’s addition of having two industry leading legal experts join the course delegates for a training seminar and then mock integration was a huge success, with lessons learned for everyone in the room.
The course builds strong bonds between the onboard and office teams, improving our service to the yachts and relationships with Captains as we are all working together for the same objectives.”
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 death, a helicopter ditching, collision, piracy situation along the Gulf of Suez and mayday distress situations, all with demanding guests on the bridge and whilst dealing with major incidents happening all around them.
Dùghall macLachlainn, Captain of a 78m Feadship said, “I’ve been trying to get on the course for the last five years, but circumstance has intervened where I was unable to until now. Having just completed it, I strongly recommend it to all senior deck officers in the industry and would certainly attend again myself and send officers from my yacht in the future. The instruction is thorough and professional, delivered with passion and enthusiasm.”
The simulated scenarios also put West Nautical’s emergency response team to the test, with their DPA and management team playing an integral role, dealing with the captains via telephone and testing their responses as safety managers. Live calls were made to insurance brokers and EOS Risk Group, who act as the fleet’s emergency response co-ordinators, in order to test response quality and share valuable feedback with the observing Captains.
Captain Graeme Affleck of a private 60m Lurssen said, “This is a very unique course offering effective training that I highly recommend to any Master or Chief Officer who get the opportunity to attend, regardless of their prior experience. ”
The course also involved a presentation from David Gates, Owner of ‘Superyacht Rubbish’, a company specifically dealing with the garage issues onboard yachts, offering innovative solutions to the waste handling and storage onboard these vessels.
West Nautical also invited Iain Butterworth from Butterworth Marine, and Benjamin Maltby from Keystone Law to participate. These maritime experts, a marine lawyer, and barrister respectively, offered insight and training to the Captains on ‘what happens next’ after any serious incident onboard with regards to who will attend their yacht, what evidence is needed to be supplied, and what the onboard proceedings would be.
On day 3, the group visited the nearby Akzonobel AwlGrip paint and coatings facility. The group was taken on a tour of their facilities and learned about the management of care and maintenance of yacht’s painted surfaces, identifying and dealing with paint issues, and learning about new innovative topcoat and antifoul products that have better performance and less environmental impact.
During the time in the factory, Butterworth and Maltby spent 2 hours conducting a mock interview with each Captain, based around the simulated scenarios that were completed the day before. This was a new element of the 2019 course planner, where each delegate was questioned by the lawyers, testing their memory, quality of evidence and ability to answer under pressure.
Captain Oliver Castle of the 69m ‘MY Game Changer’ said, “having the lawyers present for the scenario de-briefs was very beneficial and informative, letting us experience something we would not be exposed to on any other course”.
West Nautical runs this unique course once per year during October, but they are able to put on additional courses for specific customers upon request.
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