As you can see, my season is over and I have time to read finally, and I found this article very interesting. I have to applaud Amy Beavers; I am normally a critic of training centres but she is absolutely right in what she wrote!
I also agree with what my colleagues stated; they are all right and we all should be able to give ideas that should be considered not only by the training centres but also by the regulatory bodies. For instance, I am hiring a new deckhand that shows one certificate as ‘yacht hand’ and topics covered [in this course], among others, are nautical terminology, general seamanship, rope work, collision, emergency situations, watchkeeping and so forth. Although I am not expecting him to be an expert, at least this academy talks to the new crew about all these issues. I really doubt all of them do; most only do STCW 95 as compulsory but they should also, supported by regulatory bodies, give those courses to all new crew. Regulatory bodies should force all crew to have and fulfil a log book from when they enter this industry to keep track of what they have done, what skills they have learned on board, what training, what tasks and so forth, since the very beginning and not only when they want to become an OOW.
"I don’t see anyone coming to any of us asking for guidance; they just dream to do their next course without knowledge and these crewmembers can be very dangerous if they ever get a position as a captain."
Do any of the training centres in Antibes or Palma or Fort Lauderdale have, for instance, deck maintenance: how to sand and varnish, different paint procedures and so on? Do they really teach the future engineers how the vacuum toilet system works on board yachts? How to change air-conditioning chiller filters and what products to use so interior crew can remove a stain? Those are the things crew need to know and they should become compulsory, even if not supported by the regulatory bodies
If a deckhand after two or three years wants to move ahead (a logical step) and do his Yachtmaster Offshore, he has to, first of all, be ready for that. He should have done different tasks on board, developed his skills and proved to his master and later to the training centre he is ready for this huge step; not because he has just sailed 15,000 nautical miles and [he thinks] this means he is a good sailor. I have met this kind of deckhand, who doesn’t know anything about radars, watchkeeping or steering, so before even dreaming or planning to take the next step they do have to be ready for it, and unfortunately at least half of the deckhands I know that are in this category don’t know anything and don’t show the interest even if they have all the facilities, books and instruments on board, and support form all the officers to study. I don’t see anyone coming to any of us asking for guidance; they just dream to do their next course without knowledge and these crewmembers can be very dangerous if they ever get a position as a captain, even on a 60-footer!
To download issue 65's 'Following the paper trail' please click here.
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