Reciprocity planned for Skipper qualifications - Europe/UK

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With the surge in the number of superyachts in the world those who love a working life on the sea can find their niche as crew or captain of larger yachts. Now, the harmonisation of captain's licence acceptance for small commercial vessels across Europe will make a real difference.

The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) Sea School and Yacht charter company Sea-Teach, based in Cala d’Or, Mallorca, have initiated an ambitious and worthwhile project with EU funding and working with six pan European partners.

Sea-Teach School Principle and Director Mike John said; 'In August we were granted EU funding to help us highlight and hopefully tackle a problem that has affected us as a Sea School & Charter Business and greatly affects Professional Skippers within the Small Commercial Vessel (SCV) sector across Europe.'

Mike explained further; 'Within the SCV sector, a UK commercially qualified skipper, boating in Spanish waters, can only work commercially on UK registered vessels; he is not allowed to work on Spanish or any other EU registered vessels unless he holds Spanish or other country specific qualifications. Equally, Spanish nationals boating in Spanish Waters with Spanish commercial qualifications can only work on Spanish registered vessels regardless of their knowledge, ability, experience and competence.

Therefore the only solution currently available to both skippers is that they must both re-qualify, i.e. the Spanish skipper must be re-trained and examined under the UK system with the condition that the training and examination be carried out in English language. Likewise the UK skipper, in order to work on a Spanish registered vessel in Spanish waters, must complete a Spanish course and examination in Spanish language.'

The project's 7 partners from 6 European countries are holding their first meeting on 27 & 28 October at Yacht Club Cala D’or, in Mallorca. Local Balearic yachting magazine The Islander, the monthly newsletter for boating and living in the Balearics, will be attending and handling the English language PR for the project.

The Islander’s editor Peter Franklin said; ' Its great to know that our local colleagues here in Mallorca have taken such positive action about this important matter. It flies in the face of all that the intended EU harmonisation should stand for, and is another barrier in the way of commercial leisure yachting becoming the consolidated European nautical tourism industry that it deserves and needs to be.'

For more information go to http://www.theislander.net!The_Islander. For more information from Sea-Teach, www.getafix.eu!click_here.