SUPERYACHT captains from across the world have descended on the North East to be put through their paces at a specialist training course.
Run by superyacht sales, management and charter specialist, West Nautical, the Captain’s Command and Control course offers superyacht captains the opportunity to update and test their skills using modelled 40-metre and 80-metre superyachts in South Shields Marine School’s state-of-the-art simulator.
An officially recognised Merchant Navy Training Board (MNTB) qualification, the training is only accessible to yacht Captains with the highest level of accreditation.
Taking place across three days, the course is the brainchild of West Nautical managing director Geoff Moore, who established the course three years ago to spearhead a change in the industry and help Captains refresh their skills.
Speaking of the course, Mr Moore, who is a master mariner with a decade of yacht experience, said:
“One of the things I noticed from my years at sea is the lack of further training available for yacht Captains once they have achieved their final qualification.
“Captains have full responsibility for multi-million pound luxury yachts and the lives of all of those onboard, yet they can go for years without any form of further training, which could be the difference between life and death in an emergency situation.”
Mr Moore believes that the industry should be more highly regulated, similar to that of aviation, which can require pilots to train in a simulator up to four times each year.
“It has been demonstrated time after time that it is impossible to train for a crisis unless in a simulator, yet this is not currently a requirement in the marine industry. That was one of the key reasons we decided to launch this course and provide Captains with specialist training that will give them confidence in their own skills,” Mr Moore continued.
A majority of the course was based at South Shields Marine School and Captains tested their skills in the simulator under the observation of others on the course. Their performance was then played back and assessed, allowing all delegates to review how they reacted and any improvements that could be made.
A day of the course was also spent at AkzoNobel’s Felling paint facility, where the Captains spent time in the company’s research and development laboratory learning about the specialist yacht coatings that are developed and created, and application and maintenance techniques relevant to their role onboard.
They also undertook specialist life-saving training from author and expert marine specialist Dr Spike Briggs of Medical Support Offshore (MSOS).
Speaking of the course, Captain Piers French, of 85-metre superyacht Areti, said:
“I have thoroughly enjoyed the training and feel that it is imperative that Captains spend time in a simulator to update their skills.
“It’s hard to know how you would react in an emergency situation, and thankfully they are very rare, and I have a lot that I will be taking back and implementing on-board with my crew.”