Manila Amendments 2013 - Re-train Or Risk Being Left Behind In The Race For Yacht Positions

Top Quote As the yachting industry prepares for the enforcement of the Manila Amendments to the STCW Convention this summer, those in super yacht recruitment look at the effects this could have on their industry. End Quote
  • (1888PressRelease) February 01, 2013 - As of the 1st July 2013 yacht masters and deck officers without Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS) training will have to endure negative endorsements as their Certificates of Competency will be endorsed with the phrase, "From the 1 January 2017 this certificate is not valid for service on ships fitted with ECDIS".

    Every crew agency committed to super yacht recruitment will be aware of the new Manila Amendments and what this could mean to the recruitment industry and candidates applying for yachts fitted with ECDIS.

    The UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) has recently issued a Marine Information Note (MIN 442), which expands upon and replaces the guidance first issued in January 2011 in MIN 405.

    MIN 442: Masters and deck officers on yachts under 3,000gt are required to have the same level of ECDIS training as those officers holding an Unlimited Certificate of Competency (CoC), if their vessel is fitted with ECDIS.

    For most yacht masters and deck officers this will mean having completed an MCA-approved, five-day ECDIS course before applying for or resubmitting their Certificate of Competency to be updated. Only after this is completed can they be put forward for a position on a vessel operating with ECDIS.

    So where can yacht masters and deck officers find this key component to their future career progression? What many may not know is that training for ECDIS systems has been around for years and that there are two types of ECDIS training, Generic ECDIS training and Type-Specific ECDIS training.

    The MCA requires officers and masters to complete the generic training. This entails a 5-day course covering basic principles, limitations and correct application of ECDIS. When a yacht is using ECDIS as the primary means of navigation, Port State Control will want to see additional evidence of the type-specific training having been undertaken by all officers for the specific ECDIS system carried on board. Type-specific training can either be undertaken at the manufacturer or at a college, alternatively an officer who has attended a type-specific train-the-trainer ECDIS course can train the bridge team of his yacht.

    Whilst there are a number of training schools out there, the Warsash Superyacht Academy (WSA) is MCA approved and recommended by many of the top yacht crew agents, including YPI Crew. The training is conducted in one of four dedicated ECDIS training suites on their waterside campus near Southampton and is overseen by highly experienced mariners. More importantly, the course also entails type-specific training on a range of manufacturers' equipment, including Transas, Kevin Hughes, Sperry and Kongsberg.

    Yacht masters and deck officers should be made aware that, whereas the Yacht Navigation, ARPA and Radar courses at operational or management level do contain some work on ECDIS, the MCA has ruled that the Yacht Navigation and Radar courses for OOW and Master are NOT accepted as meeting the ECDIS training requirements. Yacht masters and deck officers this will have to complete the MCA-approved, five-day ECDIS course.

    In their training technique, the WSA stands head and shoulders above their competitors as one of the few yacht training facilities that provides type specific training, approved by the manufacturer.

    Those in the yachting industry will see in July 2013 how this transition transpires and whether it will provide any difficulties in the placement of yacht masters and deck officers. However, with WSA producing over 200 graduates already, those that don't undertake the training program may find themselves unable to compete in the market despite the best efforts of their crew recruitment agency.

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