“There is a serious lack of mentoring in safety, seamanship and the operation of tenders for new, or relatively inexperienced deck crew”, says senior lecturer at Warsash Superyacht Academy, Ben Benson. Benson, who teaches Seamanship and Meteorology (Master, Yachts), General Ship Knowledge (OOW, Yachts), fire fighting and other safety related courses, and is the course leader for the MCA approved superyacht deck training modules, believes this is a cultural crisis that is causing the superyacht industry great harm, and something that should be addressed urgently.

“A new deck crewmember arriving in Antibes or Antigua with next to no superyacht experience suddenly finds themselves part of a team operating a vessel”, Benson continues, “and although they’ve done their basic safety training it’s nowhere near what they meet on board in the real world.” This means that vast swathes of the superyacht fleet are being operated with knowledge vacuums among junior crewmembers whose understanding and experience is not being adequately enhanced by their seniors, potentially compromising the safety of those on board.

One practical solution Benson does propose is rotating junior crewmembers among active yachts within the same management fleet, to give them as much front-line action as possible. If management companies could facilitate moves, upwards in size or from sail to motor, for their crewmembers it could offer invaluable insight into how other crews work. “At the end of 12 months, which is better?” Benson asks, “the guy who has done six months on two different vessels with distinctly different systems, or the guy who has done 12 months on the same boat continuously; Who is the more valuable asset?”

Read the full story and extended comment on SuperyachtNews.com.


Junior crewmembers could benefit from switching from motor to sail. Image courtesy of Claire Matches.