The superyacht industry is becoming increasingly competitive amongst new and experienced Deckhands with additional skills being highly sought after to set individuals apart from the rest.
One of the most highly requested additional skill is a Power Boat Level 2 qualification. However, there’s a significant difference between having this qualification and actually having practical drive time. In this blog, we will explore the distinctions between the two and why real-world experience matters in the domain of superyacht deckhands.
Power Boat Qualifications
The Power Boat Level 2 qualification is essential for deckhands aspiring to work on a superyacht as this allows you to drive any powerboat up to 10 metres in length with any horsepower engine. This course typically covers theoretical knowledge and practical skills relating to power boating, including safety, navigation, and handling various types of tenders.
Theoretical knowledge is undoubtedly important, as it lays the foundation for safe and efficient boat handling. Candidates learn about navigation rules, safety protocols, and equipment handling. However, passing a written exam and completing a practical assessment does not necessarily make someone a proficient power boat operator.
Real Drive Time Experience
While the Power boat qualifications provide the necessary theoretical knowledge and ensure a basic level of competency, they often lack the depth of experience required for working on superyachts. Real drive time experience on power boats is invaluable because it teaches deckhands to adapt to various conditions, handle unexpected challenges, and make quick decisions in a dynamic environment.
Not Getting The Opportunity Onboard
Not every superyacht will be able to give you the opportunity to gain experience and drive time in the power boats. They may have large tenders that require a Yachtmaster to be held or might have company policies in place. Some superyachts are just too busy and don’t have the time. However, show your enthusiasm and interest in learning these skills, even out of your working hours. Ask the Chief Officer for the opportunity to learn and be taught. This shows your initiative and eagerness to progress your own deck skills in the industry, paving your way to becoming a well-rounded deckhand.
Here are some key reasons why real drive time experience matters:
Handling Different Tenders: Power boats come in various sizes and drive types, each with its own unique handling characteristics. Real experience on different power boats allows deckhands to adapt more quickly to the tender they’re assigned to, regardless of its size or type.
Navigational Skills: Practical experience helps deckhands refine their navigational skills, especially when it comes to piloting through congested harbours, dealing with adverse weather conditions, and docking in tight spaces – all of which are common tasks on superyachts.
Seamanship: Hands-on experience teaches deckhands valuable seamanship skills, including knot tying, line handling, and boat maintenance, which are crucial for day-to-day operations on a superyacht.
Problem Solving: Actual time spent operating power boats exposes deckhands to various challenges and emergencies, such as engine failures, equipment malfunctions, or unexpected guest requests. This experience fosters problem-solving skills and the ability to stay calm under pressure.
Safety Awareness: Practical experience enhances safety awareness, helping deckhands prevent accidents and respond effectively to emergencies. This is of paramount importance when dealing with high-value assets and passengers on superyachts.
While power boat qualifications are desirable for securing a job as a Deckhand, they are only the beginning of the journey. The real difference lies in the hands-on experience gained through actual drive time on power boats. This practical knowledge equips Deckhands with the skills and confidence required to excel in the demanding and often unpredictable world of superyachts.
So, if you’re aspiring to work on a superyacht, don’t stop at obtaining your power boat qualification. Seek opportunities to gain real drive time experience. In doing so, you’ll not only enhance your chances of landing a dream job but also ensure you’re well-prepared to excel in your role as a superyacht deckhand.