At a recent conference in Malta, Joey Meen, training and GUEST director for the Professional Yachting Association (PYA), argued that countries should be promoting the superyacht industry more to their young people if they want to grow and strengthen their superyacht industry.

In a presentation at the third edition of Malta’s Superyacht Industry Seminar, a biennial event aimed at examining the superyacht industry in Malta and assessing the island’s value as a superyacht destination, Meen emphasised that the crew were often at the heart of decisions about where to complete refit and repair work or when choosing a home berth.

Joey Meen addresses Malta's Superyacht Industry Seminar

She gave New Zealand as an example of a nation that has really boosted its marine sector and has used crew to help its growth. “There are currently 15,000 Kiwi crew registered,” she told the gathering. “That is 25 per cent of the told 48,000 registered crew. And that is recent. By default these crew are beginning to attract their owners and yachts back to New Zealand for refits.” She compared this to Malta, which rather shockingly only had four nationals registered as crew.

Meen stressed that governments needed to support the industry by promoting crew careers and development. “Many junior crew still only see yachting as a short term option and only join for a few seasons, which creates a high turnover at entry level and will not affect the number of boats coming back to their country,” she said. “We know we are short of professional crew coming into the industry.”

"There are currently 15,000 Kiwi crew registered,” she told the gathering. “That is 25 per cent of the told 48,000 registered crew."

For her, providing training facilities would mean that more than just your own nationals were drawn to your shores. “173 yachts were delivered last year, and if we take eight crew per yacht as an average, it means 1400 jobs were created last year alone,” Meen said, stressing that there are 423 yachts on order right now, which will create approximately 3384 more jobs. “With a further 3384 jobs coming up, we need to ensure that the training requirements are met, particularly at entry level in yacht specific training.” She said that countries could encourage even more yachts to come by investing in crew training facilities to better fit in with yacht programmes.

When it comes to a home port or refit destination, a crew’s opinion matters as they will more often than not stay with the boat. “Most yacht crew do not have any mentoring within the structure of their on board life,” she said. “By offering them training opportunities a country can help nurture them and give them a reason to come.”

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