Yacht captains set course for South Shields

Some of the West Nautical team and superyacht Captains in South Shields Marine School's specialist simulator.
Some of the West Nautical team and superyacht Captains in South Shields Marine School's specialist simulator.

Superyacht captains from across the world have set course for South Shields to be put through their paces at a specialist training course.

Run by superyacht sales, management and charter specialist, West Nautical, the Captain’s Command and Control course offers the opportunity to update and test skills using modelled 40-metre and 80-metre superyachts in South Shields Marine School’s state-of-the-art simulator.

Captains have full responsibility for multi-million pound luxury yachts and the lives of all of those onboard, yet they can go for years without any form of further training, which could be the difference between life and death in an emergency situation.

Geoff Moore

An officially recognised Merchant Navy Training Board (MNTB) qualification, the training is only accessible to yachtcaptains with the highest level of accreditation.

Taking place across three days, the course is the brainchild of West Nautical managing director Geoff Moore, who established it three years ago to spearhead a change in the industry and help captains refresh their skills.

Geoff, who is a master mariner with a decade of yacht experience, said: “One of the things I noticed from my years at sea is the lack of further training available for yacht captains once they have achieved their final qualification.

“Captains have full responsibility for multi-million pound luxury yachts and the lives of all of those onboard, yet they can go for years without any form of further training, which could be the difference between life and death in an emergency situation.”

Geoff believes the industry should be more highly regulated, similar to that of aviation, which can require pilots to train in a simulator up to four times each year.

“It has been demonstrated time after time that it is impossible to train for a crisis unless in a simulator, yet this is not currently a requirement in the marine industry,” he said.

“That was one of the key reasons we decided to launch this course and provide captains with specialist training that will give them confidence in their own skills.

Captains tested their skills under the observation of other students and their performance was played back and assessed, allowing all delegates to review how they reacted.

Captain Piers French said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed the training and feel that it is imperative that captains spend time in a simulator to update their skills.

“It’s hard to know how you would react in an emergency situation, and thankfully they are very rare, and I have a lot that I will be taking back and implementing on-board with my crew.”