The question of crew training and where the time should come from has been raised in The Crew Report before by captains who have shared some divided views. With some believing that crew should be undertaking courses in their own time and others that think owners should allow crew time to do training, the question is; where does the time to train come from?

While both opinions hold disadvantages to either owner or crew, 50m S/Y Silencio believes it has adopted a successful attitude on board where crew are encouraged to go away and undertake training on the yacht’s time. We spoke to Siobhan Wood, relief first mate on board at the time of writing, about why this structure works so well.

First mate Siobhan Wood on board S/Y Silencio. Credit: Luke Sprague

“The great thing about this boat is that it gives the crew time to go away and do their qualifications,” Wood explains. “They are able to go away for longer periods rather than just for the exam so that they have the time to study properly and go and do the courses.” And this is true for all the levels in all the departments; engineering, deck and interior. “If the crew want to do a course and it can fit in with the boat’s schedule, then you are encouraged to go and do it,” Wood adds. “The boat will either be one crewmember down or we will get a relief in.”

Wood explains how doing this can be extremely helpful to crewmembers progressing with their career. “The crew benefit from it because they are not rushing off on a one-week holiday to do a course. Instead, you have actually got some time to go and do them and study properly,” she tells us, and adds that it benefits the yacht too by increasing crew longevity; “I think it is such a good concept for a boat because it encourages people to stay.”

“The crew are able to go away for longer periods rather than just for the exam so that they have the time to study properly and go and do the courses." - Siobhan Wood

“You don’t feel like you owe the boat but they are allowing you to do it so you respect the fact that if you were going to leave you want to give them more time,” Wood continues. “So you’re not just going to leave short term as you want to stay longer because you feel that the boat is doing things for you by being on board. You feel like you’re a valued crewmember.”

By allowing crew to take time to gain qualifications and training, yachts are keeping a stable, positive and professional crew; encouraging crew to progress professionally whilst maintaining crew longevity on board. Wood is certain that the concept on board Silencio has created loyal and hardworking team and if this can be adopted across a wider spectrum of yachts, it may start to instill a culture of yachts that truly value their crew and crew that want to stay on board for a long time.