In the run up to The Superyacht Forum 2019, SuperyachtNews spoke to John Wyborn, training director at BlueWater, to discuss the next generation of operations, considering who operate, maintain and manage the everchanging superyacht fleet in the future. During The Superyacht Forum, Wyborn will take centre stage with a panel of experts in a session called “The Next Generation” to discuss the future of operations.

“What needs to change is the way people are recruited into the sector,” starts Wyborn. “There are some changes afoot and the industry is starting to develop a pipeline of people coming in that we’re requiring to have certain skills.

“For example, UKSA in Cowes has started an apprenticeship where 16-18-year olds can learn necessary skills,” he continues. “Our plan then, when they graduate next Spring, is to try and place them in roles with the hope that they will remain in those jobs for longer periods of time than some current crew. The current issue is that the industry is placing too many graduates or lifestyle tourists in junior crew roles. However, the UK is waking up to this and there is a lot of potential government funding to provide training to young people in our sector.”

“Management companies need to take control. You can’t change owners, you can simply manage expectation"

Ensuring the future quality of the workforce is vitally important to ensuring the prosperity of the market itself. How many times have we heard owners complaining about the quality or attitude of their crew? Too often. But, who bears the responsibility for working towards a proliferation of quality junior crew.

“Management companies need to take control. You can’t change owners, you can simply manage expectation,” explains Wyborn, “management companies need to lead this and [accept that] they have quite a responsibility. There needs to be a culture of learning on board, that’s what they need to focus on.”

Wyborn also believes that there needs to general change in crew members’ approach to safety on board. “There is too much focus on tick box compliance and not enough on reality. There are many initiatives to try and improve that, such as the programme implemented by the Merchant Navy training board, which will make life easier for management companies and I’m hoping to push that. This would provide training and exposure to potential risk which is a vital lesson for any crew member” he says.

As we look towards a new generation hoping to enter the superyacht industry, either as a deck hand or in a management role, steps need to be made to ensure that issues relating to the proficiency and longevity of crew are dealt with. At The Superyacht Forum we look forward to a dynamic discussion in which a number of the market’s foremost operational experts will explore the future of operations and discuss actionable market improvements.

The Superyacht Forum will take place from 18-20 November in Amsterdam alongside METSRADE. To register your place at the forum, click the button below. 

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