“Engineers don’t get any training as such”, says Shaun Towers, course leader and senior lecturer in marine engineering programmes at Warsash Superyacht Academy, “and because of the way mandatory courses are structured all we’re doing is training them to pass an exam.” This Towers warns, is creating a dearth of expertise in one of the most skilled areas of on board operation.

Current examination processes are not testing core skills, he warns, and this is compromising the ability of engineers to deliver an appropriate level of quality. However, this dearth is increasingly being filled by an influx of commercial expertise, lured to superyachts by superior salaries.

The allure of yachting to commercially qualified engineers is reaping benefits for the industry as more and more ‘jump ship’ and bring their knowledge to the yachting fraternity. “A lot of my engineering cadets are seeing the money on offer and jumping sideways into the yacht profession”, Towers explains. “The feedback I’m getting from the manning agencies is that the merchant guys have been properly trained, and if you have a 50 million-pound yacht, you’d rather have someone who has done the far superior training course.” And whilst these professionals are able to command higher salaries, the additional cost incurred is negligible in the context of the vessel’s operating budget.

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