Under the STCW 2010 Manila Amendments, as of 1 January, 2017, all superyacht crew will have to provide evidence of completing their basic safety training within the past five years or provide evidence of having updated their basic safety training within the past five years – and repeat this every five years going forward. Companies assigning crew to any vessels, moreover, must ensure the crewmember in question has taken this training. This has been on the radar of yacht crew for some time, but recently the talk surrounding this has got louder, as have associated concerns.

Captain Danny Keeven who works in both the superyacht and commercial sectors, recently commented on an article on TheCrewReport.com, stating: “My career will most probably end by December 31, 2016. By that time, Dutch authorities will want to see all the modules in refreshment courses but since there is no fixed employer I have to finance this myself. The authorities have made a list of training institutes that they accept and they are so expensive that doing the refreshments in today’s job market is plain financial suicide.” (To see Captain Keeven’s full comment please click here.)

We have also heard concerns coming from the commercial sector specifically, surrounding the age of some of the older crew – some have reportedly refused to take the course for fear of not passing it. We put this to Lisa Morley, vice president of sales and marketing at Maritime Professional Training (MPT); Morley said she had not heard any such concerns but noted the most physical aspect of the training would be the figrefighting component, where figrefighting equipment would be donned and where fires must be extinguished in an enclosed space.

"While I can understand crews’ frustration to a certain degree about yet another mandatory course being introduced, not doing it or simply ignoring the new requirement is not an option."
- Lars Lippuner, business development manager, Warsash Superyacht Academy

“The revalidation course is only one day and it is all assessment based – not classroom,” Morley explains. “They are really only required to demonstrate proficiencies as were required in basic safety training. But I can understand where there could be concern as this has not been extensively required before.”  Based on her own experience, however, Morley doesn’t foresee this as a problem. “Most of the yacht captains and crew are very fit and I do not think they will have any issues with the assessments,” she confirms.

But Lars Lippuner, business development manager at Warsash Superyacht Academy, notes that regardless of opinion, refresher training is a legal requirement. “While I can understand crews’ frustration to a certain degree about yet another mandatory course being introduced, not doing it or simply ignoring the new requirement is not an option.” Lippuner points out that not complying with the refresher regulations will cause several problems: “It risks detention due to failing Port State Control inspection; it brings the managing company or owner into trouble as they are obliged to ensure their seafarers have received updated training; crew won’t be able to apply for a UK MCA CoC; and crew won’t be able to revalidate their CoC, which needs to be done every five years.”

Across the industry, however, there is no doubt that while another mandatory course isn’t necessarily met with open arms, improved safety practices are no bad thing. “I do believe that training is essential for the beginners and refresher training is very important for the veterans to maintain the highest standards in the maritime industry,” Captain Massimo Marras of motoryacht Vicem, explains.

“Of course to attend these courses free time is needed and it also represents an investment of money that sometimes can be considerable," he adds. "But personally I think today it is necessary that all of us refresh our knowledge about safety – and not only safety.”

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