In a preview from issue 67 of The Crew Report, we bring the responses from six captains who we asked to share their opinions on the level of tender training for today’s crew.

Are the current tender courses available sufficient to teach crew to man these vessels safely?

Captain Mannie Avenia, Lady Duvera
Not so long ago, driving the tender was the ultimate gift from the captain; once you were considered a sensible, responsible and capable crewmember, and had plenty of supervised runs, off you went driving the tender. It was in the interest of the crewmember to do a great job at it and prove to the captain that his judgment and trust was correct. Nowadays, if a crewmember is not allowed to drive the tenders or speedy toys from day one, he walks around like a bitten dog with a long face.

So long story short; no I do not think that Powerboat Level 2 is sufficient and it will never be for the simple reason that there are so many tenders out there with so many different handling techniques. To achieve a safe handling you must drive that specific tender with a person that knows it and will pass on his knowledge about it. With time you will be able to handle any tender.

Captain Rocka Romcke, M5
The tender driving course is something that I can take or leave. As captains, I feel it is our responsibility to teach our crews to drive the tenders in the way we want them driven. I don’t expect new crew to have done a course and know what I want and how to drive my tenders. There are so many different tenders and the way they handle is so different to others. The investment needed for a school to have all sorts of different drive units to deliver the wide range of training needed would be huge.

I would not hire a deckhand over another one because he has taken a tender course. I also worry that a heap of tickets makes youngsters over confident, which is dangerous. But young crew can go and do whatever course they wish and it should only help us, but I still wonder. So, my feeling is still, “Oh, not another course.”

I would not hire a deckhand over another one because he has taken a tender course.

Captain David Durston

Joining a ship earlier this year, I was aghast to discover that, not long before, a ship’s crewmember passenger had been bounced out of the RIB when returning from a crew pub evening ashore, no doubt well-earned after a testing charter period. Complete darkness, choppy sea, excessive speed, no lifejackets, no lights, no searchlight, no radio calls, no lifeline or buoy – nothing. Finding the man overboard was down to Lady Luck alone, it seemed; not even a systematic search, flare or Williamson turn. The captain back on board had been oblivious and showed no evidence of having checked or even noticed the soggy clothing when recovering the boat.

I would like to see wider adoption of higher professional standards for tender coxswains and crew CVs showing properly tested and certified qualifications to pass/fail standards specifically aimed at commercial operations. Through proper training, testing and licensing, tender coxswains need to demonstrate understanding of commercial accountability, just as much as the captain needs confidence in the skills being extended outward from the ship. A commercial endorsement or ‘add on’ is no substitute. So, come on, MCA; get something together while we in the industry set higher demands.

Find additional and extended comments in issue 67 of The Crew Report - click here to download.

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