Following The Crew Report's article on the lack of mandatory training for the interior department, Joey Meen, training and certification director for the Professional Yachting Association (PYA) contacted The Crew Report and explained why the industry needs to steer away from this 'mandatory' wish list.



Please be rest assured that all PYA approved GUEST [Guidelines for Unified Excellence in Service Training] trainers (including those mentioned in the Nautical Academy's interview) are formally trained or teach together with someone who is, and all have to have some trainer qualification or proven experience of teaching in order to be approved. There is a requirement (particularly for the higher levels of GUEST training) to have the trainers’ backgrounds come from mixed formal training and on-board yacht (head of department) experience. The PYA has strict guidelines on this area of the accreditation procedure. Course notes are also part of the audit and a reflection on the teaching, and they too need to be seven star to match the trainers.

Back to the article. It was a bit disappointing to see no mention of GUEST but lots of mention of the word “mandatory”. I need to add that unless we (‘we’ is ‘you’ – the industry) work together, we (that’s you again) will end up with a bunch of maverick courses and various incentives – in other words, back to where we started before GUEST. GUEST remains as pliable now as it did at the start. In fact, GUEST equals the industry. Trainers, you are GUEST; you made it, created it and are running it – PYA is just the administration – so please, some solidarity, folks.


Surely the responsible action now is to get the industry to understand and see what the trainers and GUEST can do, get the trainers and GUEST better established and prove that owners do benefit from GUEST training.



It is an industry standard that we are aiming for. I do understand the wish-list to include mandatory, but I can’t help feeling we are wasting time on pushing this right now. We will never have an administration ask for the interior crew to have a mandatory qualification on, say, ‘how to make a hospital corner on board a superyacht’. They don’t have mandatory training within other hospitality sectors for such things – other than safety issues, of which some have now at last been addressed in our sector under the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC) with the food safety and hygiene requirements. The level of service is always determined by the end user and reputation of the industry in general. I guess we could ask for a mandatory course on “how to make a hospital corner safely on board a superyacht” but this then brings be to another point: be careful what you wish for.

If we don’t get GUEST established and someone someday does pop up to state they will enforce a ‘how a bed is made safely mandate’, then we need to be careful this won’t take away the whole ethos of the GUEST programme and yacht element we hang on to so dearly. Surely the responsible action now is to get the industry to understand and see what the trainers and GUEST can do, get the trainers and GUEST better established and prove that owners do benefit from GUEST training. If then someone does pop up with a mandatory requirement, we have some industry guidelines in place that we created and that can be worked with if needed.

Trust us – we know what we are doing and have been there before. If we don’t establish yacht interior training we might find ourselves being dictated to by other hospitality sectors who do not understand what yachting is about. Yachting will always remain a high-end, seven-star’ square peg in a ‘one hat to fit all’ round hole. That is not to say some of the edges of training can be generic, but certainly not all.