By nature, superyacht toys are used primarily with fun and enjoyment in mind and as a result it is often easy to forget that they also have risks associated with their operations. In a preview to issue 69 of The Crew Reprt, we speak to superyacht toy providers who know the ins and outs of safe operation to find out about the particular safety implications thrown up by the wide range of toys available in today’s market.

One of the main issues associated with superyacht toys and their operation is the illusion that they can be treated lightheartedly, because of the fun aura that surrounds them. “As a yacht designer and as a sailor I am very used to saying that everyone must consider the sea seriously,” explains Mattia Massola, chief executive officer of Green Yachts. “Water activities have to be done with proper equipment and with the right weather conditions. Nature is fantastic but can be dangerous if you are not able to understand its signals.”

Credit: FreeStyle Slides

While the manufacturers are able to ensure that all products meet safety standards before the product leaves the factory, realistically there is only so much they can do to ensure that safe operation continues on board, as the main responsibility is left to the crew and guests. Because of this, Stephen Philip, chief excecutive officer and owner of FreeStyle Slides, believes that imparting serious advice and knowledge onto the crew is essential to enjoy their products safely. “First and foremost crewmembers are advised on proper installation methods and operational procedures to ensure safety of themselves and their guests,” says Philip.

With the vast range of superyacht toys available on the market, it is important to look at which products will suit the yacht, but crew must also consider the safety implications that are thrown up by individual products. Considering the variety of products on offer this could seem immeasurable but, speaking to the manufacturers, some common issues were highlighted. “For most mainstream watersports products on yachts, such as towables, waterskis, wakeboards and kayaks, it is common sense and best practice to wear a lifejacket and helmet as required,” says Josh Richardson, managing director of Superyacht Tenders and Toys, offering one example.

“While I am keen to keep the industry accessible and free from further legislation, I do believe there is a case for more education and training for tenders, jet-skis and watersports safety.”

With regards to improving operations further, Richardson believes that training could be the key. “When it comes to items like yacht slides, climbing walls and trampolines, these are actually about as safe as it gets and the worst thing that can happen is you fall in the water,” he acknowledges. “For any of the more risky toys, such as the Flyboard, Jetsurf and Jetlev-Flyer, item-specific training is imposed on the purchaser. This is required not just for their safety when using it, but also to ensure that all of the maintenance training is also completed. Many yacht owners do not want any training and the way we have got around this is to not register the warranty until they receive the training. If there was no training then the risk from the manufacturer and the distributor would be huge. Due to yachts’ busy schedules we invariably fly a trainer over to complete the training on board.”

“While I am keen to keep the industry accessible and free from further legislation, I do believe there is a case for more education and training for tenders, jet-skis and watersports safety,” says Richardson. “With charter boats in the Mediterranean who have jet-skis needing RYA-training-centre recognition, this has greatly improved crew and guest safety. The reputation of jet-skis has never been good, but it is improving as people use them more responsibly.”

Find the full article in issue 69 of
The Crew Report – out 24 June,