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June 27, 2011

Superyacht Australia recently met with AMSA to discuss the critical issue of Marine qualifications in the Superyacht sector. This was another key issue raised during the Superyacht and Marine Export Conference held last month prior to the Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show. Australia is losing skilled marine industry personnel due to the fact their qualifications and experience gained overseas is not recognised here in Australia and alternatively Australian qualifications are not recognised internationally.

Australian crew represent some 20% of the Superyacht industry. This equates to approximately 10,000 -15,000 Australians working as crew on yachts. This could be more than the combined total in the commercial, navy and merchant navy combined.

The primary issue concerning Australian crew is the lack of reciprocity of qualifications between those with MCA (yachting) qualifications and those with Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) qualifications. This issue needs to be addressed and highlighted because the Merchant Navy is not producing enough recruits to fill future maritime roles in the future, i.e. Harbour Masters and Harbour Pilots et al. The Superyacht industry is producing the experienced crew but their qualifications and experience is not being recognised!
At the conference, Donna Morris, Principal of Australian Superyacht Crew Recruitment and Training was part of a key panel discussing these issues. Donna stated;

“In Australia, “Recognition of Prior Learning” for State certificates takes time to acquire, so that on return to Australia after gaining sea time on Superyachts internationally, and if crew have RYA Yachtmaster qualifications, they have to go through an expensive and time consuming requalification process to meet State and AMSA qualifications.”

AMSA is currently working on a significant revision to Marine Orders Part 3 which will go further towards rationalising requirements for marine qualifications in Australia in accordance with the STCW Convention. AMSA have ensure Superyacht Australia that they have input when they are in a position to publicly consult on this revision.

Mick Kinley Deputy CEO AMSA said “we will ensure Superyacht Australia have the opportunity to provide comment on how these amendments deal with the issues they have raised. We are prepared to consider qualifications limited to superyachts but we will need to further investigate how such qualifications fit with Australia’s obligation under the STCW Convention”