“We [captains] are very independent and sometimes we don’t even know the captain next door [in the marina]. It’s nonsense. You should interact, you should be socialising with the other captains to share experience and information; anything concerning our job,” explains Captain Barletta. This was the primary aim – to share information – when the ItalianYachtMaster association was formed nearly two years. Now, with approximately 40 members (all of whom are put through a thorough selection process based on experience in the industry – not all make the cut), the association has grown in numbers and goals, and hopes to improve all aspects of yachting – including the owner experience.
“With fast learning by taking any information you get from captains and adding it to your luggage of experience, the benefits will be passed on to the owners, guests and charter clients,” explains Captain Barletto. “For example, if someone has been in a place you have never been before, he can tell you the information so without any reception, internet or agent contact, you know exactly what is at this new place – a marina, provisioning information, all for a place you’ve never been. That is a plus, absolutely.”
- Captain Mauro Barletta, M/Y Invictus and ItalianYachtMaster association
The association has already organised a number of educational days with brokerage houses and management companies, including Fraser Yachts and Yachtzoo, where the brokers and managers can provide captains with information about their shoreside role, and vice versa. “Brokers are moving the industry forward,” notes Captain Barletta. “Before you get in contact with any owner, the passage to an owner is a broker. This is one of the key points for our association; to be professional with brokers. We have had education days [with Fraser Yachts and Yachtzoo] to see how they’re managing the company, and we explain our management of the yacht. Sometimes you imagine what they do, but they actually show you what they do from an administration, technical and fiscal point of view. And they, in turn, understand what we do on the yacht. Especially with management, the best thing is to try to understand each other and to work as a team.”
As part of its growth, the association, which welcomes captains and first officers of all nationalities, hopes it will be able to begin candid discussions with Italian authorities about particular regulations that are problematic for both the Italian and wider yachting industry. Something, Captain Barletto explains, is possible with increased numbers. “It starts with a friendly discussion with the authorities to improve some of the rules that have been difficult to understand. As a representative with a sensible number of people, we will be able to discuss this with them. If you say, we’re talking about 100 million euros because we’re moving this yacht into the port in Italy, spending money on provisions and the guests taking in the nice places and spending money, the authorities are going to listen. You can achieve this if you have a target and if you’re all together. The first step is to share information; it helps each one of us to grow as a captain and as a person.”