“I think we need to do a bit of a reset and say, this is what we’ve got and this is where we need to go. As an industry we should be able to consolidate the classes that we offer and provide crew a clearer licensing path,” suggests Connor, who believes that too many courses are wasting crewmembers (and the industry) time and money.
"It’s becoming harder to get the transitional role experience and we are seeing employers failing to hire the best crew for the job as they are being overruled by flag states needing to see a certificate over experience and personality."
The problem doesn’t only waste crewmembers’ time, but those in the wider crew industry are having to take the time to get to grips with the increasingly complex departmental career ladders. “I am spending a lot of time training my crew coordinators on how our crew graduate from each phase of their career licensing. The engineering path is probably the simplest where they move from an AEC to a MEOL and then a Y4, 3, 2 and 1. Yet even with the relative simplicity of a numbered scale there is no consistency in any of the steps,” explains Connor. “It’s not like you can say, it’s a year, a year and a half or six months between each step – they all have different transition rates and entry requirements. If you come in with a license from the commercial industry or another flag state, you can bypass this or that. To say it’s a little messy, I’m simplifying.”
The next step comes down to understanding what the crew industry really needs from its training and Connor believes that the regulatory authorities have made achieving this much more difficult. “I’m not trying to downplay the value of training. We need to train crew better and some of the safety management things are very beneficial when applied practically. But I think we are missing the point and we don’t have practical application for a lot the classes that are being taken; it’s still classroom based and built around a syllabus or tools that were built for the commercial industry and not yachting. They seem to just top it up with refresher classroom courses rather than going back to the beginning and re-evaluating. It seems to be adding on and adding on.”
And this is happening to the point where hiring someone with experience is secondary to hiring someone with the requisite ticket, adds Connor. “I would much rather have somebody who has been through my boat, knows how to push the buttons and the alarms and costs the owner absolutely no money, and he gets that certificate at the end of the first delivery the boat does because that is how long it takes for him to go through that farmiliarisation. Cayman requires fully certified crew all the time, so even for private yachts you can’t hire an engineer who almost got his Y4 and bring him on board; now you must have the right certification from day one. It’s becoming harder to get the transitional role experience and we are seeing employers failing to hire the best crew for the job as they are being overruled by flag states needing to see a certificate over experience and personality.”
Much is happening in the crew industry, with new courses and regulations being introduced at what sometimes feels like a daily rate. But is too much happening too quickly in a bid to keep up with a rapidly expanding industry? The Crew Report would love to hear your thoughts on today’s training programmes in the below comment section.