West Nautical’s new Command and Control course offers real life scenarios

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West Nautical’s yacht management team has put together a bespoke training programme to demonstrate their skills in responding to urgent assistance requests from superyacht masters anywhere in the world.

From a successful initial programme, the Command and Control course has been re-engineered and become available to the superyacht community.

Delegates from the UK, Australia and Europe has joined the three-day course and carry out emergency scenarios under expert instruction.

The course is the first to be recognised by the Merchant Navy Training Board in Europe and second globally, meaning that the delegates receive an MNTB recognised qualification upon successful completion of the 3 day course.

The West Nautical team made use of the Marine School in South Shields’ simulation center to replicate characteristics of vessel types.

Using the expertise of Kate Gillespie of KG Maritime as course coordinator, a 90m motor yacht and a 40m fast craft were of those simulators. The captains of the simulators were tested on real time navigation and emergency scenarios that they could come across in their careers.

Examples of the scenarios include: medical emergencies in constricted sea traffic lanes, fires on board and rescues of migrants in Mediterranean waters.

We often forget that anything can happen at sea and this was an ideal way to check how we react under pressure. The scenarios were realistic and tested us to the extreme. It also reminded us of the duty of care we owe to our crew, guests and owners both at sea and in port”, said Captain Jean Marc Bitouzet, MY St David Vessel in Italy.

Gillespie agreed; “I was particularly interested in the debriefs and at the experiential learning that the candidates took away with them. There were vast improvements in team working and the way that they developed themselves over the course. I could tell from their body language and tone of voice that they had developed rapidly in such a short space of time. I put that down to a combination of their existing knowledge, a willingness to learn more and the intensity of the course.”

Daniel George formerly of the 68m MY Hermitage said it was a fantastic course that covered many of the aspects of being a Captain that weren’t included in the training for his Master’s ticket.

My last three simulator sessions have all been based on navigation and the “rules of the road”. This course focused on management decisions and communication skills and I found it very beneficial. The team at West Nautical has thought of everything that may cause problems at sea and then added even more pressure to really test us. I’m confident that the lessons learned here will be remembered always. I’m very impressed.”

Teamwork was something that Geoff Moore, West Nautical Managing Director, saw developing well over the three days.

The five delegates each had a number of opportunities to be in command of the bridge simulator during the exercises. I saw some great delegation, understanding of the crisis or situation and an awareness of the needs and abilities of their fellow crew members. By the end they were a tight team that could, and did, handle any situation together with ease.”

The delegates also spent a day at Gateshead’s AkzoNobel paint factory where they learned about marine coatings, especially focusing on the research and development of yacht coatings which are created and produced on site. The three-day course also encompassed team-bonding sessions, practical advice from trade union Nautilus International, insurance updates and claim guidance from ZIS Bespoke Insurance and financial planning from The Morpeth practice of St James Place Wealth Management.

“This years’ event has learned from last years one and is at a much higher level. The candidates have been fantastic, but during the work and classroom exercises as well as during the social side of the course. They have submerged themselves into the spirit of the event and that has benefitted us all. I’d like to thank the College Staff to have assisited us, Kate and the West Nautical team for all the hard work that has gone into this course, and the Captains themselves for their great spirit and attitude throughout. Bring on next years event!” said Geoff.

The delegates were:

  • Daniel George – MY Hermitage
  • Stuart Friee – MY Luna
  • Jean Marc Bitouzet – MY St David
  • Andy Robinson – MY Octopus
  • Nigel Bigwood – MY Liliya