The role of the superyacht captain has changed significantly as new rules and regulations have been placed upon the industry; there is much more of an emphasis on paperwork in order to conform to new laws and requirements. Are we becoming over-regulated or are these regulations imperative in a growing industry? In issue 76 of The Crew Report, five captains share their thoughts, and here we bring you a preview.




Mark Delstanche, M/Y Lady Nag Nag

Having been ‘out of the loop’ driving private yachts for the past 10 years, it came as something of a surprise when the owner decided to recently change to commercial status to charter the boat this summer. Fortunately for me, a very good designated person ashore (DPA) was appointed to hold my hand throughout the process, and without them I would have been somewhat lost – the amount of hoops that we now have to jump through are fairly bewildering. Since the systems have been put in place and make sense, they have increased both the crew’s and my own knowledge as well as the overall professionalism on board. That said, it does seem that there has been very little forethought put into some of the systems that have come straight from merchant vessels, which have strict schedules and rigid plans to stick to.

Captain Mannie Avenia, M/Y Lady Duvera

All the rules and regulations, courses and paperwork actually distract us from what we are – seafarers. And that is an art and skill that should be built over time at sea.

While I agree that we should have, and keep, papers in order, do the certificates, paperwork and regulations for every single little thing in yachting really make us better or safer? Or are they only for peace of mind, to make us feel that we are doing it right and by the rules? For example, it takes about 45 minutes to fill in a garbage declaration in Positano, where garbage disposal is not allowed. That’s crazy.


It takes about 45 minutes to fill in a garbage declaration in Positano, where garbage disposal is not allowed. That’s crazy.


Captain Benjamin Phillips, M/Y Atmosphere

After skippering yachts in Dubai it made me realise how important it was to continue down the route of the MCA. This wasn’t a decision for myself but for the safety of guests, crew and everyone else around me on the water. When I asked a local captain in Dubai what qualifications he was using to captain a brand new 35m motoryacht, his reply was simply “RYA”. I asked him whether that meant an RYA Yachtmaster or Ocean Yachtmaster but once again he simply replied with “just RYA”.

After further investigation and after asking port masters, it turns out that when they referred to an RYA ticket they were in fact referring to an RYA Power Boat Level 2 (PB 2). That’s right, captains driving motoryachts under 35m on a PB2 was the norm and considered more than adequate. When asked about a Yachtmaster they all agreed that this ticket allows them to basically captain vessels up to 50m. I saw it for myself later that year and this made me think; yes, the structure of the MCA back in the UK and Europe is daunting but at least it’s safe.

I have more stories than I can begin to write regarding safe navigation in UAE waters but this is a short paragraph touching upon whether we are over-regulated in Europe, and my answer is no.

Find the full article in issue 76 of The Crew Report, out mid October and available at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, Pinmar Golf and the Global Superyacht Forum.