“Most of the cadets from nautical colleges never go to sea. The few that have the choice and decide to pursue a career, most of the time have knowledge only of the merchant navy as a career,” explains Captain Dario Savino, ItalianYachtMaster board of director and captain of Regina d’Italia. “Nowadays, the yachting industry needs a more professional and informed approach to the officer career.”
Working with Navigo and the Nautical College, the ItalianYachtMaster association has given the opportunity for a number of cadets (currently five, though more are expected to take part in the programme in the near future) to experience life and work on board a superyacht.
Captain Carlo Summonti of Nataly, also on the ItalianYachtMaster board of directors, was one captain who welcomed a cadet on board the 65 motoryacht, based upon his past experience in the merchant fleet. “When I became captain of a superyacht, although the boat was only used for private purpose with the owner, due to her size and the number of crew on board I decided to [treat] her as a commercial yacht of equal dimensions. While working on the implementation of the ISM, ISPS and Maritime Labour Convention, 2006, I discovered that the arrangement and organisation are the same as for the commercial vessels, except for the sections related to cargo handling and management,” Captain Summonti explains.
For the ItalianYachtMaster association, then, the difference between crew in the merchant and superyacht arenas is not so noticeable and the cadetship programme has been designed to give those likely to continue as merchant crew a glimpse into the life of work on board a yacht. “We do not like to say that yachts are the only way to be a good sailor or officer," adds Captain Summonti. "Cadets need to see and live the commercial vessel industry experience also, but we are happy to let them know that we are part of the maritime industry and officers and crew now employed on board yachts are, and need to be, as professional as the others they will see in the commercial world.”
Since the programme began, Captain Summonti has welcomed an engine cadet on board for four days, who has undergone a total of 24 hours of technical instruction and practical experience. “The cadet has been accommodated on board for the full period and has lived in very close contact with the rest of the crew, being followed in every single step by the chief engineer,” explains Captain Summonti. “I saw from both sides – the crew and the cadet – a big interest in this activity. The cadet found a positive and welcoming atmosphere that is always a very good start for a young person facing a first job. He touched the various realities that are part of the job – not only the technical matters in which he was already interested, but he discovered the hierarchy of ranks on board, the common life on board after working hours, the respect for other crewmembers work, personal safety and being part of the yacht’s and other people’s safety, team work and of course the consciousness that this job is not a common job and is not for everyone.”
Captain Summonti is right when he says, “Until a few years ago it was unthinkable to have cadets on board of yachts”. But with programmes like this, and the ongoing work of the UKSA in this arena, there is the chance that the superyacht industry will begin to understand the value of investing in introducing professional crew to this niche industry.
Join The Crew Report's debate on cadetship programmes in the superyacht industry here.
If you've found this story to be 'a report worth reading', and you would like to enjoy access to even more articles, insight and information from The Superyacht Group, then you may well be interested in our VIP print subscription offer. We are inviting industry VIPs to register for a complimentary subscription to our print portfolio, which includes the most insightful information on the state of the superyacht market. To see if you qualify for our VIP subscription package, please click here to fill in an application form