Ocean Training Online has announced a new partnership with the City of Glasgow College for their recently launched MCA-approved blended learning programme for superyacht crew working towards the Officer of the Watch (OOW) (yachts under 3,000gt) ticket. Being the first offering of its kind in the superyacht industry, it is described as a unique opportunity for deck ratings to progress to officer level.

The application of blended learning in this sense essentially means that candidates can study all the necessary theory on board or at home from anywhere in the world. They can then progress to the college in Glasgow in order to carry out the practical elements: a one week bridge simulator course, followed by the final MCA examinations. Crew can also choose to do ancillary practical courses such as the Efficient Deck Hand course, ECDIS and the STCW basics.

Ocean Training Online’s principal, Ted Miley, believes that this method of education suits the needs today’s crew, and is not surprised by the interest the company has received since the programme's launch. “It means that crew can ‘earn while they learn’,” he explains. “It is often difficult for superyacht crew to get study leave at a time when full-time college courses are running. Blended learning means you can save time and money by learning all the theory at sea, in your spare time, or at home.”

The theory learning modules are provided on a memory stick, so that a student has everything upfront and ready to go, including charts and almanac, together with all necessary support materials, including many hours of animated illustrations which aim to enhance the understanding. The students will also have their own online tutor who will guide them through the coursework, assignments and exams. The City of Glasgow College will also provide the final MCA examinations at its new Riverside Campus on the banks of the Clyde.

The main courses Ocean Training Online offers are:

·      MCA OOW (Yachts under 3,000gt) Navigation & Radar

·      MCA OOW (Yachts under 3,000gt) General Ship Knowledge

·      MCA Celestial Navigation

·      RYA Yachtmaster

·      RYA Yachtmaster Ocean

The combination of learning remotely, together with the practical aspects of training at the City of Glasgow College, makes this the first MCA-authorised blended learning model available for superyacht crew. It is almost certainly going to be an attractive option to many, as finding time to attend college when working on board a yacht with a busy schedule is a constant challenge. The blended learning approach allows crew to progress in their career while being practical with their time and money. It will be interesting to watch how blended learning changes the dynamics of the training sector in the future.