A group of superyacht captains are beginning discussions in the industry surrounding a mutual vision for an organisation that solely represents yacht captains. The driving force being that yacht captains should have an organisation that represents and promotes their views and interests both within, and outside of, the yachting industry and to be at the forefront of promoting the highest standards of safety, professional and ethical conduct and training and development.

Speaking to Captain Ian Bone at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show (FLIBS), one of the captains initiating the concept, the issue was raised that as the industry has grown rapidly in the past decade, the role of the yacht captain has changed dramatically. As a result, the need for professionalism has never been higher and this has highlighted to Captain Bone and a group of other captains that there is an absence in the industry of a supportive organisation to promote, regulate and facilitate professionalism amongst captains.

"We are drawing conclusions from other industry's that have professional associations," explained Captain Bone. "We are considering the level of interest and relevance from the yachting industry and I am using the boat shows to determine this. So far the message from the industry in terms of relevance is very positive, and this is from conversations at both Monaco Yacht Show and FLIBS. Now it is a case of determining the interest from the captains; they have to see value in it."

The key area the organisation intends to address is professional development of captains. "The whole industry rides on the capability of captains," says Captain Bone. "They can make or break an owner or guest experience." And because of this Captain Bone feels that an organisation with this sentiment at its core could go a long way in supporting yacht captains and helping the industry to progress.

"The whole industry rides on the capability of captains; they can make or break an owner or guest experience."

Captain Bone and the group of captains are currently investigating the interest and relevance for this proposed organisation so planning and implementation is in the initial stages. “Our current determination concerning the interest and relevance of a captains organisation is ongoing,” concludes Captain Bone, “And we will be continuing to seek ways and means of moving forward. We are making future plans for our next activity and will continue to seek input and advice from captains as we progress.”

It is apparent that the industry is lacking a mode of communication for captains, where actions and ideas can be supported and developed and changes can be made towards increased professionalism. For this reason an organisation such as the one proposed by Captain Bone and his colleagues could be a much-needed structure for the yachting industry to grow and flourish. Similar associations have worked effectively in other professional industries, so it is perhaps time that the yachting industry enforced their own.

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