Following the inaugural meeting of the ItalianYachtMasters association in October, the newly formed association is moving forward speedily and has announced plans for the launch of the NAVIGO Superyacht Academy.

With a view to improve Italy's positioning and image within the superyacht and crew industries, the ItalianYachtMasters has signed a letter of intent with the Italian maritime industry’s strategic support centre, NAVIGO, and together the two are planning several ambitious projects over the coming years, one of which is the launch of a captain-focused training academy.

The long-term project is now in its very first stages, and NAVIGO and the ItalianYachtMasters are in the process of electric the Academy’s steering board and assembling a strategic marketing plan for the project, all of which will be developed over the coming months. While these facets of the project are underway, a specialist NAVIGO finance team has already been established to find funding for the project, ideally either by the government or the European Economic Committee.

The Academy will utilise e-learning and online platforms, and for its practical and yachting-specific courses will work with authorised and specialised university campsus and training schools.

In association with the ItalianYachtMasters, will be available to crewmembers of all nationalities, though only those who are members of the ItalianYachtmasters, so in all likelihood, we are looking at the beginnings of a training school serving mostly Italian crew. Courses provided will take on a slightly different nature to those this industry is already familiar with, and though there are plans to include the basic STCW course, the Academy will also be offering university-style courses in English, administration, management, human resources and tourism.

Italy's superyacht industry is well established, yet its crew sector has often been found to be lacking. Credit: Marto Van Belleghem

Captain Dario Savino of motoryacht Regina d’Italia, and one of the ItalianYachtMasters’ directors, spoke exclusively with about the thought process behind the NAVIGO Superyacht Academy’s unique composition. “Our masters will have a wider culture and deeper formation in many other subjects on top of their nautical skills. We all know that nowadays, a good captain is like an assistant director of a medium-sized company, running people and tools in order to guarantee a good result for the boat’s owner. We must give these captains the right tools to excel.”

And though the Academy plans to offer the basic STCW course – the only mandatory qualification for a junior crewmember – Captain Savino was clear about the benefits in establishing an academy tailored specifically to captains and senior crew: “It’s probably the first academy dedicated to superyacht captains and tailored around their needs. We hope to give a kind of university degree to our captains, [providing] a wider culture of specific subjects, not only the professional ones.”

The Italian shipyard industry has prominent footing within the superyacht industry, but its crew sector is one that, in the past, has in many ways lacked substance. Consequently, the development of the NAVIGO Superyacht Academy, a first of its kind for Italy, will be a project worth following over the coming years, with the potential to evolve the image of the Italian superyacht sector. “If this process will be embraced with the right attitude,” concluded Captain Savino, “it will boost our brand and the entire industry.”

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